These past few weeks all of my blog posts have been “Thankful Thursday” posts! This happened once before when I first started blogging, and it caused me some stress. I felt like my blog was off-balance, and over-saturated with one topic. Part of me is feeling this way again, but another part of me feels OK about it too. I mean, if I’m going to over-saturate my blog with any topic, being grateful is probably the best one.
I don’t require myself to write every Thursday, but recently doing so has lifted me up. It has helped me to focus on the good things in my life. And I hope that it has helped others focus on the good as well. Although my specific day-to-day blessings might be different than those who read what I write, I always hope that it will spark a memory of something similar (or even totally different) in your life to be thankful for too!
At times, what I have to be grateful for is something that we all share in common – and that is the case today. Of all of the things that I am thankful for in my life, more than anything else, I am thankful for the Savior of the world. Although we may all have varying knowledge and understanding, He is the Savior of us all. He knows and loves each one of us, and our need for Him and His ability to help each of us is equal to each other.
I first realized the importance of focusing on the Savior in my life a few months prior to serving my mission for my church. This was a very difficult time for me; in fact I would say one of the most difficult times in my life. I didn’t feel any real direction, and my grades were slipping in college. I felt like I should serve a mission, but I didn’t really want to. I decided to take a break from college for a bit in order to “figure it all out” and went home. But I continued to feel anxious and stressed, and I allowed discouragement to take over. One day in my frustration I said to my dad that I didn’t know if anything I had learned about my church was really true any more. His response to me was that “sometimes when we pray we like to do all of the talking, and that we forget to listen too.”
When he said that, I realized that I did need to listen a little better when I prayed. So, I said a prayer about what I should be doing with my life, determined to listen. And I remembered some council given by our prophet at that time, Howard W. Hunter. He had said,
“I invite all members of the Church to live with ever more attention to the life and example of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially the love and hope and compassion he displayed. I pray that we will treat each other with more kindness, more patience, more courtesy and forgiveness. . . . Let us study the Master’s every teaching and devote ourselves more fully to his example.”
This made all of the difference in my perspective! Suddenly the details didn’t matter anymore – I knew that I just needed to focus on the Savior.
As time went on, I began to focus more on serving others, and I felt a lot happier. Things started falling into place for me. I started preparing for my mission – there was no longer a “decision to be made,” but it just became the natural thing to do. After my mission I finished school, and after my graduation met and married my husband. Now we have 3 happy and healthy children, and I am so grateful for each one!
Life hasn’t been without bumps and trials, and I feel that I have fallen short of remembering to do what Jesus would do so many times. But what I have learned over the years is that keeping my focus on the Savior brings clarity and direction. It brings peace of mind and heart.
So, with Easter being on Sunday, today I am thankful for . . .
1. . . . my Savior!
2. . . . President Hunter for reminding me to focus on Him.
3. . . . my dad, for always being a great listener, and for giving me wise council to “listen as I prayed” when I needed it. Thanks, Dad!
When have you felt that a focus on the Savior has brought clarity or peace in your life?