In September, we attended the session of Stake Conference for grownups (it sounds so racy to call it "the adult session"). Our Stake President spoke of an experience he had with the Nauvoo Pageant. He was given 11 months to come up with a new presentation, and the last word of direction he was given was "don't frame it in the blood and carnage." How on earth do you share the story of Joseph and Hyrum Smith's martyrdom without any blood and carnage? It was a challenge. I can't describe it the way President W did, but his point was that we should not focus on the blood and carnage we may experience in our lives. We should focus on the eternal perspective and see our hardships for what they are: a refiner's fire.
When I think about the challenges/trials I've been given and spell them out, focusing on the "blood and carnage," it can be quite overwhelming. Some trials have been public, but most have been private. Listing them summarily can send me into waves of self pity, which keeps me from seeing my Heavenly Father's perspective: these trials are sent to sanctify me and my family, to bring us closer to Him and teach us eternal lessons that can be learned in no other way.
When I choose to find the blessings that God has given me through these trials, it is equally overwhelming. Because blessings have come, and they've come in very strange ways. I think of one particular person whose relationship to me and my family would seem completely unfathomable, but she has been an incredible source of strength and joy. She was put in my life exactly when I needed her. I think of my next door neighbor, who has become another sister to me. She loves my children almost as much as she loves her own. We've shared tears and pain, laughter and joy, and I can't even fathom what it will be like when she has to move away. I think of the changes in my brother's life, of his incredible outlook on life, and I am in awe.
I would not have chosen the trials I've been given. But I would not be who I am today without them, and I like the woman I have become. God truly moves in mysterious ways.