A New Year

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Sunday night I had a dream. It was brief, but significant. I looked up into the blue sky filled with puffy clouds. Two strong and familiar arms reached out of heaven, took me by my wrists and lifted me off the ground, just enough to separate me from the heaviness of this world.  

I’ve been thinking about what my focus should be this year. I’m so grateful for the path I’m on, the healing I’ve found, and the testimony I’ve gained. But these things can be taken away as quickly as they came. This world has a way of drowning me in distraction and frustration. I feel very deeply, but this gift also causes me to fall fast and hard. The Atonement is not a one stop destination, rather, it is a daily renewal. What I need most this year is to draw upon that strength daily and remove negative influences.

My husband and I have been studying the prophet Joseph Smith’s life from the Church History institute manual. Teachings focus on the First Vision, translation of the Book of Mormon, and organization of the church in 1830. Joseph lead a full life, one of service and sacrifice. But his path was not an easy one. “We should not conclude that revelation came easy to him, for another lesson he learned during this time was the price in faith, diligence, persistence, worthiness, and obedience he had to pay to receive communication from God.” (Church History: In the Fullness of Times Student Manual, Chapter Four: A Period of Preparation, 1823-29. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, 2003. P. 50. Print.) 

Studying Joseph’s life has caused me to reflect on my own interactions with God. I’ve asked myself what lessons I am willing to learn in order to walk in God’s light. Lessons in confidence and trust. Difficult ones for me are lessons in patience that all things will work out in His time. Some days I accept these lessons with humility. Other days I fight against them like a stubborn child.  

Emilism: The path must be cleared.

I wrote this Emilism years ago. At the time my decision making was driven by trial. My focus on getting answers to whatever stress was demanding my energy. I remember hearing the soft whisper of God’s voice assuring there was a plan for me, but it felt cluttered by worry, doubt, fear, and lack of understanding.

I love a new year. I think 2016 is going to be a good one. The spike that appeared on my orchid in September is about to bloom. For the first time I have a year with a blank slate. No outside influence to determine my destiny. No major life event, no crisis, financial burden, huge obstacle, or important goal to take over my decision making. My time is free to make of it what I want.

The path must be cleared and now it is. I didn’t realize it, but I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very long time. I am yet weak, but ahead of me there is only light—light for me to use to pave the way. My life is no longer driven by trial, but by my own desire to be better. I wonder if I’m strong enough to be the person I need to be in order to do the work God has given me.

In some ways it’s scary to have complete stewardship over my time. The most important thing for me to do now is not to rely on God to make all my decisions, but to move forward in faith knowing He will bless my efforts. And to draw on the Atonement daily so that any situation I find myself in I may be able to respond with courage.

My vision for the future is to build a bridge between community resources and the need for spiritual healing.

The Bridge Builder by Allen Dromgoole

An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.
The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fears for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again must pass this way;
You have crossed the chasm, deep and wide—
Why build you the bridge at the eventide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building the bridge for him.”