Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking Back, Moving Forward

"Light in the wilderness." Photo taken in Albion Basin over the summer. 

When I had the prompting to move back to Utah last year, I had the distinct thought/impression that I needed to move back in order to progress in life. 

Filled with hope and faith, I suppose my vision of "progress" was a lot different than what God had in mind for me. I imagined I'd move back, immediately find an amazing job and maybe find my future husband too. I'd certainly progress in life in that way. 

Here I am at the end of 2016, looking back. Yeah, that vision of my life was definitely not how things went. 2016 was hard. It is humbling for me to say that. But, I realize it's ok to admit that life isn't perfect. This year was full of job rejections and disappointments. And here I am, still as single as ever.

But, oh how I have learned! I think I have progressed. I have learned that progress comes from challenge. We absolutely cannot grow without struggle.

I have hit rock bottom and had to rely on my Heavenly Father to help me and guide me. My challenges have humbled me. They have made me realize that I CANNOT do things on my own. I need my Heavenly Father's help so much. 

My challenges have helped me to appreciate the small and simple joys of life. This year I didn't get to travel as much. But, I did get to spend a lot of time after work enjoying the beautiful outdoors in Utah. I am so thankful for those experiences. They helped me draw closer to God and to the friends that came on those adventures with me. 

This year, I've read about and thought about people in the scriptures who've been on journeys in the "wilderness." I've thought about how that applies to my life. Sometimes, I feel like I am in the "wilderness" - not sure where I am headed in my life. Especially at this point. I'm not where I thought I'd be at 30 going on 31. But, I have realized that God never leaves us alone in our wildernesses. 1 Nephi 17: 13 says,  

"And I will also be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

Most of all, I've realized I am not the one in charge. God is. He's in control of my life. He knows where I'm headed. I have limited vision. He sees the whole picture. Neal A. Maxwell said, "What, therefore, may seem now to be mere unconnected pieces of tile will someday, when we look back, take form and pattern, and we will realize that God was making a mosaic." I love that quote. I came across it recently and have thought about it a lot (I see a potential art project coming on... Ha.). I'm sure God is making a beautiful mosaic in my life. 

And so, I will press forward. I look forward to a new year, a new start. I am grateful for the ways I grew this past year and for the many blessings I was blessed with. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said, "As a new year begins and we try to benefit from a proper view of what has gone before, I plead with you not to dwell on days now gone nor to yearn vainly for yesterdays, however good those yesterdays may have been. The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead and remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives."

Here's to 2017! It's going to rock!