01 February 2013

"Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face..." -President Gordon B. Hinckley

The time has come. As I'm finishing last minute packing and saying my final goodbyes, a staggering wave of emotion sweeps over me. Angst and discord, contentment and hope, nostalgia and excitement. Leaving this little apartment in Takapuna New Zealand is so final; the finality of it all confounds me. Saying goodbye to this perfect little place on earth is saying goodbye to the last seven months. Saying goodbye to the last seven months is turning the last page, and starting an entirely new chapter. Living on the other side of the world map has been my escape and refuge. Largely, it has been a perfect excuse for me to hide and spend all my time reading scriptures, studying gospel doctrine, and watching the waves on the beach until they are too dark to see. Takapuna, New Zealand has been my sanctuary; my sweet, precious haven, and to be perfectly honest, I'm getting profoundly sick and tired of saying goodbyes!

There is so much uncertainty, so many doubts. I have more questions than I have answers to. I don't know where I will be six months from now. I don't know where I will be two years from now. I don't know what state I will be living in, or what school I will be going to. Every aspect of my life is incognito. However; despite the apprehension, the indecision and the suspense, with conviction I can say that in six months from now, two years from now, five years from now; I will be okay. With conviction I can say my Heavenly Father and Savior will be totally aware of me, as They have been, as They are, and as They always will be. There are some things I know, and these things that I know are enough.

I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the one and only true church on the face of this earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is a book written by prophets called of God, and I know these prophets were and are very real. I know the things they write are true, and I am amazed at their unshaken faith in the things they believe, and in the complete and utter trust they put into their Heavenly Father and Savior. I know the temples we are blessed with truly are the Lords dwelling places here on earth, and I know that in those temples we are closer to heaven than we could possibly imagine. I know the men who preside over our church in these latter days are called and chosen by God, and their words and their counsel are correct, and pure, and complete. I know that our mortal lives are only the smallest fraction of what our eternal lives are and can be. I know that if we prove ourselves here in this earthly realm, we have an eternity so perfect and so glorious waiting for us. I know that heaven is much closer than we think, and I know there are angels in heaven and on earth that have been placed in our lives to protect us and guide us. I know the Lord atoned for the sins of each and every spirit that ever has been and ever will be. I know that we have a Savior Who is so perfect, and so devoted to His Fathers will that He was willing to pay a sacrifice that our earthly minds could never comprehend, and I know I owe Him absolutely everything that I have and everything that I am. I know that the love our Father in heaven and His Son have for us is unfathomable, and I know that neither our Father nor His Son will ever forsake us, nor ever forget us. I know that, as Elder Holland perfectly said, "It is not possible for you [us] to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines." I know that the Lords hand is stretched out still, always, and forever. I know that we are not given trials and difficulties in vain. I know that the trials and difficulties we are given in mortality are given to us with love and trust. I know we are given trials because we are required to prove ourselves worthy of the blessings that eternity has waiting for us. I know these things are true and so many more, and I know that the knowledge of these things will get me through every obstacle, every trial, and every question I will ever have. I have an all-knowing perfect and Eternal Father, and He has a perfect and all-knowing Son, who is my Savior. We are so loved. We are so cared for. We are children of our Heavenly Father, and we are never, ever alone. 

"For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit. You can be excellent in every way. You can be first class. There is no need for you to be a scrub. Respect yourself. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Do not dwell on unkind things others may say about you... Polish and refine whatever talents the Lord has given you. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life and look for its opportunities, and forever and always be loyal to the church. Never forget that you came to earth as a child of the divine Father, with something of divinity in your very makeup. The Lord did not send you here to fail. He did not give you life to waste it. He bestowed upon you the gift of mortality that you might gain experience - positive, wonderful, purposeful experience - that will lead to life eternal. He has given you this glorious Church, His Church, to guide you and direct you, to give you opportunity for growth and experience, to teach you and lead you and encourage you." -President Gordon B. Hinckley

The church is true.