November 11, 2014
Greetings and Happy November!
Games are afoot and changes are ahead.
Okay, so no games, but yes to the changes. Sister Harper and I will say goodbye this evening and I will head to the Washington East Stake with a new companion: Sister Jaramillo! She is from Columbia. We have known each other for a while, serving together in the Visitors’ Center. And here’s the most interesting part. Neither of us have served there before, so we are “white-washing,” or completely starting fresh in an area with no prior knowledge. It should be quite the adventure/challenge. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.
In anticipation of this upcoming transfer (beginning today, actually), I am all kinds of everything. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m mostly just ready to rise to the occasion. “White-washing,” should be an awfully great adventure.
I look back on my time in Bloomington Hills and I know that I did a lot of good. But I also wonder if I did enough. This is not a new thought for me. I have thought this of different areas and companionships. My mind is drawn to a thought that was shared with my zone by a few of the sisters after our Zone Conference a few months ago with Elder Clark. We all came away feeling like we had failed in some aspects and had a lot to live up to in others. They quoted Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, with a little bit of paraphrasing: “Now, you may be thinking to yourself [after listening to Elder Clark], ‘I already blew it. My four minutes are already a disaster. I may as well give up.’ If so, stop thinking that, and never think it again. The miracle of the Atonement can make up for imperfections in our performance.”
I needed that and I need it now and I will ever need it in moments of doubt and discouragement. I once had a conversation with another sister I served with at the Visitors’ Center, a discussion about the Atonement, where we concluded that the Atonement is not just for sin, mistakes, and so forth: it is for moments when we forget who we are; when we forget Him; when we are not enough without Him: we can be all we need to be WITH Him.
I heard from another great friend from my mission this week. She spoke of her own endeavor to learn from what she has experienced and move forward. She said, “[The Savior] loves us. He doesn’t judge. He doesn’t tell us to feel guilty. Or take a month of punishment or whatever. He tells us: Get up! Look forward. Learn. Change your behavior.”
As I write this out, I notice all of the different sisters I have mentioned. It causes me to reflect on one of the most beautiful blessings in my mission: my association with all of the incredible people that I am serving with. What a blessing it has been, and will continue to be, to be around so many marvelous disciples and friends; to learn from them; to grieve and rejoice and labor with them. I am forever in debt.
I testify that the power of the Atonement allows doubt, discouragement, disappointment, and despair to be dissipated, eliminated, and replaced with joy, hope, love, and determination. I testify that it transforms lives, if we will let it, and that we can, indeed, “do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13).
And so I look forward, now, with excitement and determination to bring to the Washington East stake all the love, effort, and labor I have in me.
So, an invitation for you: stop looking back. Move forward and let each step towards the sun (or the Son) cast shadows of doubt and discouragement BEHIND you. Know that you are enough, right now, and just need to press forward with a determination to be a little better today than you were yesterday (to paraphrase Maya Angelou). Check out the videos below. And know that you are loved, valued, and have the power to do more than you think you can.
I really love you all. I really do. Please, please know this. 🙂
And, also, Happy Thanksgiving just around the corner! What are you grateful for?
Much love and rice and beans and all best wishes for each of you,
P.S. Mormon Messages of the week:
You Never Know (click on the photo)
Hymn of the week: #124 Be Still My Soul/I Love the Lord