December 22, 2015

the upshot of it all

"Country roaaaaaaaaaads, take me hoooooome ..." I could not get the croonings of John Denver out of my head as my dad, Spencer, Savannah and me careened down the iced-over highway of Utah. With the promise that there would be nothing SCARY or LIFE THREATENING in between Provo and the mountains of Colorado, I hopped into the car, more than willing to take over from my dad, who had been driving for more than 24 hours to come and pick me up at school in Idaho. So, with that false hope of safety, I began to drive.

And then the road began to curve and we began to ascend. I felt my ears increase in sensitivity and I felt the tension in the car rising. My dad didn't say anything, but I could tell he was not sleeping, so I assumed the silence stemmed from terror. I couldn't tell if the road was icy, or merely brushed over with the salt mixture that Utahns and Idahoans love to use. I tried to manage my speed based on the trucks that were cautiously driving with their hazard lights on, but it was hard to tell if they were going the appropriate speed because there were also cars that were whizzing past me at high speeds.

I think my dad started to lose a few years of his life prematurely in that canyon mountain thing. He called out for me to find a place to pull over and park so that we could switch places, but there was no place in existence. I couldn't see the signs very well, so I failed to notice that the two lane highway had narrowed to just one lane. A huge semi was suddenly right next to me and I was freaked out.

I am not sure when we exited the canyon. I kind of blocked the memory out already. But I do remember the feeling of relief that came from handing the wheel over to my dad and taking a back seat position of honor. My dad poked fun at me, but I know he knew I did the best that I could. I mean, I think he did. His power to maneuver the situation was so much more than my own, however.

And so it is with Heavenly Father. This semester has been really good in teaching me that Heavenly Father is so capable of guiding my life if I will just let him. If I don't, it's not like my life will be completely messed up. I can still manage ... just barely adequate in my ability to make decisions and to handle my talents. But He definitely can guide me waaaaaay better than I can myself. And in a way that causes a lot less stress.

This semester, I had to a lot that I needed to learn. I needed to learn about my passions, about the way that I demonstrate love to people, and how to choose happiness despite my circumstances. There were moments that I started to feel really comfortable with myself and I began to take my own wheel and drive in the way that I wanted to. I thought that the road would be easy and without bumps ... because I was capable.

But I soon learned that I didn't have things under control. In fact, I lost control. I started getting terrible grades, I had less than satisfactory relationships with the people around me, and I wasn't really able to handle my callings. I was lacking balance. I gripped the wheel with terror, trying desperately to get back on track, but feeling really stressed out. 

In those moments, I chose to turn to the Lord. I literally cried out, "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!!!" I studied the scriptures with more intensity than I have ever read in my life. I prayed for strength and to have my heart healed. I changed my perspective to be able to see my trials as building blocks instead of stumbling blocks. I gave my life over the Lord and I found so much satisfaction in what he was able to do with my life. I ended my semester back on track, thanks to the heavenly assistance that Heavenly Father was able to give me.

I'm reading in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi right now. This is the BEST part of the Book of Mormon because it describes Jesus's visit to the Americas. I love the pure simplicity of the doctrine that he teaches. In his second sermon to the Nephites, he talks about the promises that was made to the people of Israel. One promise that he made stuck out to me as I was reading today:

"For I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward."

I love this description. I know without a doubt that Heavenly Father leads me in my life. He gives me little impressions about my decisions every day that help me to know that. He has helped me to know what I need to study, who I need to be friends with and date, what I need to accomplish on a day to day basis. He guides my life with such precision that I can't begin to understand how wonderful it will be when my life is over.

I also know that Heavenly Father has got my back. He supports and uplifts me in my righteous decisions. He helped me all semester with my calling as Relief Society president. He supported me through my trials, especially on the days when I felt lonely or afraid. He sent angels in the form of great friends and family to sustain me when I was weak. He gave me amazing professors and leaders that gave me advice and helped me to gain my academic and professional confidence back.

The road was bumpy and icy this semester (literally and spiritually and in every way actually), but Heavenly Father was always there for me. That was the most personal and beautiful lesson that I could have learned during my second semester of college. It is going to help me throughout my life -- because life is a highway (hahahahahah, so many country road songs) and it is taking me home, to my heavenly home. I am so grateful for this knowledge, and the safety and happiness it gives me despite the challenges that I face.
My awesome roommates (plus Kaesi, minus Chelsea [who graduated this semester and was super busy with homework when this pic was taken]). It certainly was a pleasure living with them this semester!!
My Relief Society -- I love them so much!!

One of my very best partners in mild crime this semester -- Kaesi! She made me such a better person and helped me to experience new things!
The Escape House -- so, basically you are locked in a room and you have an hour to escape. It was super fun -- and the company was AWESOME! :)
I got the chance to teach my favorite little sunbeams on Sunday! They are the cutest and are growing up so much! No longer are they the squirrely three year olds I taught over the summer! They are little grown ups. I adore them!
We got a visit from Santa ... which was awesome. I asked for a ring (JUST KIDDING).

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