This is the most wonderful time of the year. A time where we get to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. There is such a spirit of love and joy surrounding this time of the year and I love that it is a time to reflect on my life and see the struggles I've faced throughout the year as well as the beautiful blessings that have come from it all.
This year has been one of the hardest years that I have experienced so far. I received some news back in January that turned my world upside down. My heart was heavy and my heart was broken from the events that had taken place. I was crushed and I felt like I was in such a dark place. I felt lost and alone and knew that all I could do was draw nearer to my Savior.
The year started out for me as if I was drowning in the deep sea, just trying to keep afloat. I was lost and unsure of what it was that I needed to do, who to go to for help and who I needed to be. I was confused and I prayed everyday to my loving Heavenly Father for help and guidance. There were days where prayer was all that would sustain me throughout the day. It was a tender time for me, where all I wanted was to feel peace and love.
I've had experiences this year that have changed my life in ways that I am so incredibly grateful for. I've had loving friends be answers to my pleading prayers. I've had friends who have come to bring me a sweet note and treat just to say they were thinking of me. These friends have lifted my burdens by coming to my home or just by being out on the playground talking with me. I could not have made it without any of the these wonderful people who have thought of me and served me in these simple, but oh so meaningful ways.
To those who have ever watched my children for me, those days may have been the most needed of all. I felt like anytime I needed a break, it was on a day that my heart was the most tender and I either had a babysitter lined up, or someone just offered to take them for me for an hour or two. Even just something as simple as talking with me or bringing me a meal, has meant the world to me! I can't tell you how much my dear friends in the village have meant to me this year. My heart is about to burst with gratitude for you and your sweet service and love.Thank you for being the kind of friends I can come to for help or for thinking of me when I needed you most! You have lifted my burdens in ways that you would not have ever thought would mean anything, but in reality meant EVERYTHING!
I have received kind notes and friendly hellos on my hardest of days and have had strangers cheer up my tearful and uncontrollable children in the grocery store when I clearly couldn't do much more. I had a man take my cart for me when I was, what felt like a mile, away from the cart rack with my kids already in the car and put it back for me. Compliments of any kind from strangers or friends made me feel so good and lifted my spirits.
Even my children have lifted my burdens with their sweet and gentle hugs, kisses, laughter and service. They have brought so much joy into my life despite the struggles I have faced. Travis, has been here through everything and although he may think he hasn't done much, he has supported me and strives to lift my spirits and bring joy into my life, each day. My family has been my strength amidst trial and tribulation.
But my Savior, is who I lean on the most to get me through my hardest times. This year, may have been one of my hardest, but it has also, been one of growth. I have grown closer to my Savior and have a deeper love for him and I have come to recognize more, of his love for me.
I love my Savior, Jesus Christ with all of my heart. He is everything I hope one day that I can be. I know that he came to this earth for a reason, to atone for each one of us. I know the atonement is real and that Christ atoned for me. I know that he loves me...and that he knows me. He knows everything I have felt and am feeling and knows who I can be. I am grateful for this Gospel and I know that it is true.
In Matt 11:28-30 it says:
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
This year, I have felt this. I have felt what it means to come unto Christ and have felt his rest. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much of who Christ was and is and his love for me. I have learned that his way is the most sure and easy way, that he can make your burdens light if you let him.
I found a lot of peace and love in studying the scriptures and in attending the temple weekly. My heart has been lifted and strengthened as I have studied the word of the Lord and as I have served in his holy house. My burdens has been made light despite the heartache and hurt and I am so truly grateful for the blessings that have come through doing as the Lord has asked of me.
I don't know what burdens I may have lifted for those around me, but I do know that my burdens have been lifted in more ways than I can count by so many of you. I am grateful to those who have been there and lifted my burdens in the times when I really needed them most. But I am especially grateful for my Savior and for the burdens that he has lifted as I have come unto him.