I owe much of the person I am today to my beautiful parents. At a very young age, they instilled in me a love for Jesus Christ and this gospel, which only grew the older I got. I remember during my middle school and high school years that night time was my "spiritual time". I always made sure I listened to church music before I went to sleep or that I read my scriptures. I would hide my scripture reading calendar under my bed and I always locked my door because I didn't want anyone to know. I didn’t want to be caught reading my scriptures or praying. I don't know why I was so embarrassed and why I hid my true feelings about the gospel. I didn't want my parents or family to know that the gospel meant everything to me. To this day, I still don't understand why I was like that. Though sometimes I still struggle to openly talk about my feelings and my testimony about this church, I have no problem typing it and letting you all know the whole story of my deliverance...
It was the summer of 2005 and I had just finished my junior year of high school in Brandon, Florida. We then moved right before my senior year to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and I was completely devastated. I felt like I had so much going for me back in Florida. I was a part of a competitive baton twirling team and singing group, there was a certain boy I did not want to leave, and my church ward was amazing. There were so many youth who all became my very best friends. I was heartbroken to leave all that behind. Fort Campbell had no baton twirling and the high school choir just stunk. I remember going to my very first Wednesday night mutual feeling excited that maybe I will make some friends, but I was the only one who showed up. I decided to join the soccer team but I still felt lonely. I remember during one of the games, while I was running around and chasing the ball that I started to get teary eyed because I still felt so alone. One night after that I had had enough. As usual I locked my door, and I got down on my knees and told my Heavenly Father everything. My pain was immense. The second I was done, all the pain went away. And it never came back. It was a miracle. I ended up becoming best friends with the homecoming queen, and we had a wonderful senior year! I became great friends with some of the youth in the stake, and it seemed like life was coming back together for me. That prayer. That simple prayer, changed my life. It reaffirmed to me more than anything that He is real and listening.
Back to that summer before my senior year...Harrison was months away from going on his mission so I had the privilege of spending lots of time with him and mom and dad. I was still sad from leaving Florida and I felt like I was very negative at the time. Harrison was so sweet to me and I could tell he would try to cheer me up. Well spiritually at this time I knew I was struggling yet being able to spend time with Harrison was a God send. Not only did that prayer save my life that year, but my brother did as well. I don't think he knows how much of a difference he made in my life that summer and how he made me realize that I needed to change for the better. Every night before we went to sleep, Harrison and I would stay up late, and we would talk. Well mostly he would talk and I would listen. He just talked about life and the gospel and of everything good. I remember one particular night he said something that hit me hard. So hard, that I knew I had to change. I knew I had to change that very second. Though I can't recall what he told me, all I know is that it was life changing for me. From then on, I decided I didn't want to go to college in Florida anymore to be closer to "that boy" but that BYU-Idaho was the place for me. Since then the gospel got more real for me and the tiny seed in my heart was growing. I think back on those days with a smile on my face. Sometimes I wonder where I would be today if I didn't have those spiritually uplifting talks with my brother. That prayer. Those talks. My brother. All life changing. Looking back that move was one of the greatest blessings of my life.
I look back at that summer thinking that the pain I felt then is nothing compared to the pain I have felt since. I have felt such sorrow and such heartbreak. I have felt so low and so insignificant. I have cried more tears of sadness than I would have liked. Yet as hard as it has been, I am grateful for the struggles I have had. These struggles that have given me a fraction of a glimpse of what the Savior went through. These struggles that have not only made me feel closer to Him but have also wanted me to make sure that I make each second of my life count. Each second of pain Christ went through for me, I want to make sure I make it up to Him by simply being the person He would want me to be.
Last father’s day I decided to read grandpas writing called 10 Seconds until Dawn. It was 2.5 hours of my life that I will never forget. I laughed (especially about his disgust with squash, he really did hate it) and cried. I had no idea that he went through so much pain. As long as I knew him and of all the days I had spent with him, I had no clue all that he had endured. I learned so much about his life and felt so much gratitude for his words that brought me so much comfort and peace and a longing to be with him again. One sentence caught my attention and will stay with me forever.
“That’s part of enduring, continuing good things in our lives. Repentance-enduring- means keeping on in the work of the Lord, keeping on in the work of the Lord right to the end.”
I am so grateful that because of Him, I know without a doubt how to live each second of my life. I know who I am. I know where I am going and I know what I need to do to get back to my heavenly home. I know that life is going to be hard. I know that there are times I may want to give up the fight, but I am going to do the best that I can. I am going to fight and endure and repent and keep on in this great work…right to the very end.