They say with age comes wisdom. I’m not sure I’m really old enough to claim I have wisdom, but I have some very beautiful and life-experienced women who I call dear friends from whom I’ve gleaned wisdom. Add in my own life experiences and I might have a tiny bit of insight into real life.
All that to say, one thing I know for sure is we all have to find our own way to Christ and our trials can help us build a deep and lasting relationship with Him better than anything else. I know I wouldn’t have the relationship and trust I do without the challenges I’ve been through.
I had my biggest “come to Jesus” moment when I was really young. I was lost after my father died. I was definitely a daddy’s girl. I would turn to him for love, comfort, answers, all those things a little girl needs. I didn’t know how to do that with my mom, and I never really tried. Add in the fact that he ended his own life, and not only had I lost my pillar, there was anger, abandonment, and guilt. I was a month shy of 13, and the next 5 years were hard.
I ended up in my Bishop’s office a few times. It was a part of my path. Amazingly, my Father trusted that I would find my way. And in one of my most cherished moments, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, told me He was there.
I felt on fire. My heart was so full of love and joy and happiness, I thought it would explode. I wanted to run and jump and yell and tell everyone!
It changed me.
My experiences are not unique. Everyone has their own refiners fire. Some people (me) are more bull-headed and need to be knocked around a little before we learn our lessons. It seems some of us have a deeper faith and need less time in the refiner’s fire. Some of us haven’t come to the trial point in our lives. But we will all get there. We all get the testing we need to humble us enough to find our way back. For some of us, it might not happen until the next life.
I think my younger brother is one of those in that last group.
I was reading in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 3:34 when I got the phone call about my brother. That scripture quickly became one of my favorites: “O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever.” It helped me understand that he was finally in a place where he would find peace. This was his way to the Lord. He had also been lost after our dad died, and I knew that he was getting the answers he so desperately needed but weren’t available here. He was remembering his testimony and kneeling before his Savior.
I truly feel that our Father loves us so much that He gives us every chance He possibly can to find our way back. And we have to go through the experiences we have in our lives so that we can be like Him and associate with Him on a personal level.
I can absolutely say that I am grateful for what has transpired in my life because those things have made me who I am today. I know my Father in Heaven trusts me, and I trust Him. I might not always understand why, I might question His motives, and I might be mad about some things, but I trust Him.
After all, I can only see my tiny picture, and He sees all of eternity.