I was talking to a missionary Saturday morning about some of the issues she is facing. We have seen her struggle with overcoming health challenges, but also some emotional challenges as well. Some of the physical things are related to the emotional struggles. It seems like it’s been one thing after another and life just keeps hitting her.
We were talking about why everything in life isn’t just perfect and why missions aren’t just perfect. It is so hard when you feel like you are trying to do the Lords work and things seem like they would just fall into place so the gospel can be taught better and more efficiently. It just doesn’t happen. Over and over again I see missionaries struggle with some pretty serious things who want desperately to be healed so they, cannot just stay on their mission, but have a highly productive mission. I have come to the conclusion that the Lord loves his missionaries and cares about their growth and learning just as much as an investigator or less active member. Missionaries lives are not perfect and are not meant to be perfect. I wish they were, I wish every missionary could feel good, be healthy and have spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being. It just isn’t life, or God’s plan.
God’s plan for each and every one of us is:
· We are meant to have weakness. I love the article in the Ensign last month about weakness vs. sin. I have realized my weakness personally in all of its forms while on this mission. J Ok maybe not all of them, but it seems like all of them. I have realized weakness can be a strength as it turns us to our Savior and makes us rely on Him. I have realized weakness can teach us to trust our Heavenly Father and our Savior and give them what we can’t do or make happen. I have realized weakness seen can teach us, change us and lead us to progression when we let it. Humility in our weakness leads to strength in our savior.
· We are meant to go through an imperfect life with trials that don’t make sense, hardships caused by others choices, and consequences brought on by our own sins. All of these issues can help us turn to our Savior because they make us humble and vulnerable enough to reach out and accept Him. As we go through deep pain we also understand a little better what our Savior suffered and what are Heavenly Father has sacrificed for us to experience this life for ourselves. Pain helps us understand Them better and it also helps us understand ourselves and others as well.
Anyway back to my sweet missionary who is struggling. Besides the anxiety she is dealing with that has caused many physical sicknesses, she is also tired physically and emotionally. As we talked I got a deeper sense of how much she worries. It can be exhausting worrying about, and trying to control everything. She talked about worrying because she loves so much. One of her members, who is the sweetest kindest person, has severe health challenges and needs a lung transplant. One recent convert is going through important life decisions she is making poor choices about. Investigators struggles and family concerns are also causing worry. None of it she has any control over. It’s difficult.
As we talked I felt impressed to turn her to prayer. Heavenly Father will always listen to us, understand us and teach us everything we need to know. As we talk to Him and receive His understanding and peace it is the greatest release of pain. When we can get our pain validated and understood we can release the pain to Christ and let go of it or accept it.
I also felt to teach her about having faith in our Heavenly Father. These are the things I felt she needed to know deep in her heart, “God knows you and all those you are worrying about. It all comes down to faith. Can you really believe and trust Him? He does have a perfect plan for all of us. We must know deeply that we don’t see with His eyes or His perspective. This imperfect view limit’s us so we have to have faith. This life is not the end. What we go through and what others are given and are going through has meaning for life and what we need to learn or become. Trust Him so you don’t need to carry and worry about everything to the point of depletion or exhaustion.” I know Christ can worry for us. We can, “cast our burdens on His care” and He will take them for us, allowing us to be free.
I also had another feeling I expressed to her….She is a wonderful, amazing young woman!! I love her so much. She has amazing gifts, talents and abilities. I just wonder if God gives great challenges to those who He thinks a lot of. I don’t know, but it reminds me of a story I once heard.,
There was a man who was visiting a ward and went to the gospel doctrine class 2nd hour. The lesson was being presented and the man kept making comments during the lesson; bragging about his children. He made a point to bring up their sport accomplishments, their missions, their temple marriages, their education and grades, their many awards, their callings in the church and how much money they were making. By the end of the lesson everyone was sick of it. Finally one old man raised his hand and said, “Well God must not think a lot of you to give you such easy children.” This story has always stuck in my mind. I think of Joseph Smith and all of his many trials. He was such a great man his trials probably had to be great to be trials.
I think if we could see ourselves correctly we would see a vision of amazing people put in situations of learning so as to be enlarged, to be used by God for good. God really knows us and we need to trust Him no matter what we go through. Struggles will come, the only question is-will we go towards Him or away from Him to get through it. There are only two choices. I know He is the right choice. Our eternal, broader perspective of who we are, what this life’s purpose is about, and God’s plan and ability to help us will change our lives too faith, strength and courage.
At the end of our visit she was expressing how much better she felt and her inspiration of how to change to feel better. I hung up the phone and thought, “The Lord has done it again.” He helps me help them. I am so grateful for that, but I recognize I can only teach or talk about what I have experienced and know for myself. I feel I have gone through so much on this mission and sometimes I wonder if some of it is just for them; so I can relate to them completely. I know how they feel, give ideas and suggestions all according to what I am learning myself or have learned in the past though the spirit. I have always said, “I am the poster child for change.” He has taught me so much. I feel the Lord has a plan and He is in charge. I have faith in that. He knows how to use us to do His will if we will let Him, and that amazes me. He amazes me.