This past year was one of great adversity for me. Feelings of disappointment, sadness, heartache, frustration, and grief were felt almost daily. Like President Monson said in this past conference,
"At times there appear[ed] to be no light at the end of the tunnel, no sunrise to end the night’s darkness. [I felt] encompassed by the disappointment of shattered dreams and the despair of vanished hopes. . .[I felt] abandoned, heartbroken, alone. [I was] inclined to view [my] own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. [I] become impatient for a solution to [my] problems, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required."
I also know that “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire.” -Orson F. Whitney
Over the past year I have learned:
1. TO BE PATIENT. "Faith in God includes faith in His timing." There have been many times this past year where I have pleaded with Heavenly Father to "please make this go away! I'm grateful today that He knew better than to give into my pleadings. If He had, I would have missed some powerful opportunities for learning and growing.
2. THAT HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES ALL HIS CHILDREN NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO. He doesn't want to lose a single one, and so "God . . devised a means to save each of His children." Our own Plan of Salvation- Our own individual, unique way to be saved! "From before the world was, a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son loved and worked with those who They knew would wander."
3. THAT CHRIST REALLY WILL TAKE OUR BURDENS UPON HIMSELF. He knows, from experience, how to heal and help us, and He wants to. We just have to ask Him, let Him. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
4. TO LET OTHERS USE THEIR AGENCY. My trials seemed to lessen once I came to this conclusion. When I stopped stressing over what bad choice my child was going to choose next, and finally came to realize that that was their choice to make, all the anxiety left! For the longest time I thought it was my duty as a parent to force my kids to do what was right. WRONG! That was Satan's plan. This is one of the best and biggest things I have come to realize. It also took me the longest to learn.
5. NOT TO JUDGE. This was probably one of the first things I came to understand. I have had many hurtful judgments said to me and about me behind my back (some by close family members) over the last year. Boy do they hurt! It is so easy to judge others, but the truth of the matter is, not one of us can see into another's heart. We can't possibly know all they are going through, what they have endured, what they are attempting, and what their intentions are.
Heavenly Father doesn't necessarily want us to experience pain, but He knows that in order to experience peace and joy and growth in this life, we must experience trials and pain. That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Through His Atonement I have found what it means to “cast [my] burden upon the Lord” and to rest assured in the promise that “he shall sustain [me]” (Psalm 55:22). Rather than take our heavy burden from us, our Savior will help us carry it. And we will grow from the experience. (source)