Dear Family and Friends,
The days march on and here it is, the start of another week! I hope you all had a great week, mine was pretty good. There were a lot of little things to be grateful for. I've been working on being more social, and as such have been doing more with my YSA ward. I really do have some pretty sweet people around me, and I'm glad I finally am getting to know them! (Being social for me can sometimes be a real challenge, so this has been quite an accomplishment.)
As I was reading 1 Nephi 17 I came across a verse that really struck me. Part of why it really stood out is that I remembered it standing out to me while I was on my mission, going through some similar experiences and feelings. Griping and complaining on to Nephi, his brother says in verse 21, " Behold, these many years we have suffered in the wilderness, which time we might have enjoyed our possessions and the land of our inheritance; yea, and we might have been happy." After 8 years of being in the wilderness his brothers were still lamenting over having left Jerusalem rather than seeing the miracles and joy that they had experienced. They were so focused on what they were missing out on in Jerusalem they couldn't accept that what lay before them in the promised land could be more happiness and joy than they would have ever had in Jerusalem.
Sometimes my own personal "Jerusalem" calls to me, telling me of what I am missing out on, and how happy I could have been if I hadn't had to leave. But I know I need to keep my eyes focused forward and truly believe the Lords promises to bless me with something better. One of Satan's greatest tactics is to tell a truth, but in a way that isn't all the way true. Nephi's brother's statement that if they had stayed they would have been happy might have been true, but it cleverly hides the reality that happiness can be found in many different places. Sometimes happiness comes in a different flavor than we were expecting because life and plans change, but that doesn't make it any less real or valuable. The real question is how do we choose to see it? What is happiness to us? The Lord loves us and does things for our ultimate good, today's wilderness may lead to tomorrow's promised land with sweeping vistas and majestic mountains to feel our soul with joy! May we all keep walking on through the hard days, seek the little bits of sunshine that are there, and know that the Lord's promises include happiness!