I am grateful for THE LIFE I'VE LIVED.
I feel like I've been talking a lot about how difficult life is right now. I was thinking about it this morning ... and really, my life is not bad at all. It never has been bad. I have been fed and taught and loved for my entire life. I feel comfortable leaving my door unlocked and I believe in the good. I have nothing to complain about.
My childhood was so awesome. My parents loved me and I had amazing brothers and sisters. All of my teachers were awesome. Learning came naturally to me. My favorite cat, Maxine, would snuggle up with me at night and I would feel so happy. I had so many friends ... it didn't always feel like it, but looking back ... it is true. I was a little bossy and smart-aleky. I was a teacher's pet. But I really loved my life.
Middle school was rough. I'm pretty sure it is for everyone. I tried to figure out who I was and I was failing. I changed my group of friends a couple of times. I wasn't really in my happy place, but my life was still good. I made choices -- some good and some bad -- and I now know that through every step of the journey, Heavenly Father was directing me to a better place.
High school was a good middle ground between my childhood and middle school. There were some days that I hated every minute of it. I went through intense mood swings ... one day I would be incredibly sad and nostalgic and the next I would be incredibly happy. In high school, I experienced drama, but I also experienced success. I participated in everything. I had friends of every type and in every class. I finally found a groove that I was happy with and I stuck with it. My life continued to be awesome. I could see my future in the distance and I started to meet it.
Now, I am in college. It hasn't been easy for me to live away from my family, but I am so, so blessed. Every day, I find something that I can be grateful for. At the beginning of the semester, I would tell people, "I am on a roller coaster that only goes up." This is still true. I am always trying to improve and to learn more and more about myself. I can see the hand of the Lord so clearly in my life. It is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Soon, I am going to be on a mission. I was thinking about it last night, and for the first time ... I felt terrified. I felt inadequate. I look to this mountain that lies before me and I really don't know how to feel. I've climbed mountains before. I remember the hurt and discouragement that comes after you round the tenth switchback and realize that there are four more to go. I also remember going to bed so tired that my bones didn't want to get up in the morning. I remember when I began, always looking at my feet to make sure I was going the right direction ... and then I remember gradually finding the confidence to look up to see the spectacular view from the top.
I think my mission is going to be like this. I'm not unaware that it is going to be the hardest thing I have ever done. I am not unaware that there are going to be days that are discouraging and painful. However, as I look back on my life ... I think that I can handle it. I know that Heavenly Father is always watching out for my welfare. He hasn't given me anything that I can't handle yet ... and I know that he will continue to put experiences in my life that are exactly what I need.