By Brynley L.
My life has been full of challenges. I have witnessed and experienced the heartbreak of abuse; I have been the child of a bitter divorce; I have been the target of prolonged and vicious bullying; I have battled anxiety and depression, and I have combated painful loneliness. Yet, throughout my life, even in the midst of my most serious trials, I have also been blessed to see God’s hand operating and to know and feel of His love for me. This great blessing has provided (and continues to provide) an invaluable balm for the hurts I have experienced, and it has saved me from making many of the major mistakes that a person living their life in pain might make.
In particular, learning and living the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has allowed me to tune out the negative, destructive internal and external voices that compete for (and that could so easily monopolize) my attention and energy and tune my mind and spirit into God’s voice of truth, compassion, promise, hope, and healing. Through the Spirit that I feel as I go to church, study and apply scriptural teachings, meditate, and pray, I have come to know my Father in Heaven in a close and personal way as I have learned what His voice sounds like (how He speaks and what He says). I have learned that He and my Savior, Jesus Christ, are real beings who know us perfectly and who have always loved us and will always love us. I have learned that they are merciful, gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering, full of goodness, and profoundly devoted to us. This knowledge has come through the peace I feel when I read, hear, study, or ponder about the principles of the Gospel. This peace comes quietly, but it always comes, and it has allowed this knowledge to settle deeply into my heart, changing my very nature for the better.
In the very first chapter of The Book of Mormon, the writer, reflecting upon his life, says that he has “seen many afflictions in the course of [his] days” but he has also been greatly blessed with experiences and knowledge of the “goodness and the mysteries of God” (1 Nephi 1:1).
One of the LDS Church’s leaders, James E. Faust, once said that having a personal, ongoing relationship with God “can unchain the divinity within us, and nothing can make a greater difference in our lives as we come to know and understand our divine relationship with [Him].” This has been my experience. At times I have had burdens lifted off my shoulders, and at other times I have been strengthened that I might bear up well under the burdens that I must continue to carry. I have had deep wounds healed, have been given hope that others will heal with time, and I have frequently been given grace to cover the often enormous gaps between who I am and who I want to be.
Specifically, as I have prayed to see God’s hand more clearly in my life, and then have actively looked for it, I have, indeed, been able to see Him working in the details, big and small. I have felt, at numerous points, personally aided and instructed according to my needs, responsibilities, and questions at a given time. I have been given just enough grace to do what is required of me and when I have reflected on these moments of grace, I have been able to see more clearly the tender, loving mercies of God woven throughout the days, weeks, months, and years of my life. Through the marvelous and wonderful restored Gospel, I have come to know that I am numbered unto God and I am known by Him. And I know that anyone who desires it and demonstrates the requisite faith can come to have this same knowledge for themselves, for the promise is given, “Seek… and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Doctrine & Covenants 88:63). I know and testify that this is true.