My schedule the past year-ish has been busy speaking at least twice a week to the youth. I absolutely loved last year’s theme, Arise & Shine Forth! But I have to express the excitement I have to base my talks on this year’s Youth theme, Stand Ye In Holy Places, and Be Not Moved. Going from Arise, to Stand!
I can’t help but think of all that has happened since joining the church. There’s not a post on my blog of what I had been through since baptism, but if you have been to one of my Firesides you’ll know that most of the stories I share are those difficulties that followed after. I do that for a reason. My message is not & will never be, that with the gospel your life will be perfect. Immune to trials. It is a message of continuing. A message of overcoming. Of faith. Endurance. Taking confidence in Heavenly Father’s promises.
I was not looking for the church. The church found me, and all I did was just follow happiness. That happiness led me to baptism. Which then led to loss of friends. Family. I recall perfectly my best friend, my Dad, telling me he didn’t want to talk to me anymore. He made me pick. This church, something I had just barely found out about weeks ago, or Him. And I thought… what an easy decision, for a difficult situation. I already choose who I wanted to follow, didn’t I? That’s what happens when you get baptized. I already recognized that this happiness, one that I didn’t even know existed, a real & lasting happiness, only came from the Gospel. So I decided, right then and there, I didn’t need time to think about it.
Since then, I have been through trials that had made me feel completely alone. I have been prompted to do things that I didn’t understand. Things that were incredibly difficult. Since then, I have been through things that made me feel like I didn’t fit in. Times were I felt as though my prayers were not being heard. Times were I felt like my strength ran thin & I didn’t know how much more I could take.
And each time I was shown that I could keep going and do so with strength & guidance because of this Gospel. Because of Christ. Heavenly Father. Each and every single time I was shown that even in the hardest of trials, I could be consumed with peace & this physical love that He has for me.
During my devotionals, I speak on those times because you need to know that, that happiness,through everything, has only gotten stronger!
Each time I have been blessed with something better then what I had in mind. Each time over coming something I never thought I could. Each time learning much. Growing. Becoming better.
My joy is not just full, but overfilling! OH how great is our God! How great is what He has in store for us! How great are our blessings & happiness when we turn to Him and simply try. I am overwhelmed with how great and how very true & real Heavenly Father’s promises are. When things are hard or not going as I had planned, it becomes fun to see how they will work out, because they always will & it will always be better when we turn to Him. When we keep going. When we hold tight to what we are taught.
How grateful I am to be a member of this church, for what we are a part of and what is asked of us! Making covenants open the gates to an outpouring of blessings in our life & should never be viewed – in any degree- in a negative way. They should not be approached apprehensively, but rather sought after & embraced with excitement to partake more fully & receive the best ever created & prepared for us- not just in the eternities, but here- daily- in mortality.
How grateful I am for all the times I made the decision to choose the Gospel. All the times I made the decision to stay with its teachings- commandments- covenants. The decision to trust. The decision to stand. How grateful I am I made the decision to choose God. His plan. His ways.
How grateful I am for Heavenly Father’s promises. For the Temple. For covenants. Commandments. For this gospel. I find myself overwhelmed with the direction my life has taken. How grateful I am with all the talents & opportunities that I have been given. For receiving more than I am able to bear- in abundance- when I still have an immeasurable amount of room for growth & improvement, complimented with my imperfections & shortcomings. How grateful I am for this love that He has for us that I do not fully understand. OH how great is our God!
Do not do anything that will stop you from receiving more fully the best ever created. Fear not. Forget not who’s hands you’re in. Choose. Keep going. Overcome. Grow. Embrace. Receive. Stand. And be not moved.
Be sure to subscribe to LDS Living Magazine and look for Mariama Kallon and I on the cover of their March/April issue!