SO, in no particular order, here are some happenings over the last 6 months and the lessons I'm learning (or being reminded of) through it all.
1) I briefly dated a Nigerian guy that I met at Uni. The whole experience was so incredibly unlike me or anything I've experienced before. I still have a hard time processing it sometimes haha.
- Don't ever give my phone number to a guy I barely know, no matter what reason he gives me in asking for it. He only wants my number for one reason. #rookiemistake (It's embarrassing that I am 27 and still so naive about something so obvious to most people. But since I'd never been asked for my number by a guy who was interested in me, the thought he was a) lying and b) interested in me genuinely never occurred to me.)
- Sometimes trying to be kind should take a backseat to being clear, firm and straightforward.
- If I have the Spirit with me, my initial reaction to things is personal revelation. Heed it. That is what will make me *happiest*.
- Being with someone who adores me is nice, but it's better to be with someone who truly knows, loves and respects me.
- I refuse to put up with someone who tries to make me feel bad, no matter what it's about. #aintnobodygottime. (But seriously, if you notice red flags, PAY ATTENTION. Manipulation, threats or abuse are never ok, no matter how mildly it begins.)
- My sacred covenants really are the most important thing to me. I want to be with someone who can understand and have that feeling about their covenants, too. That is a deal breaker.
- Even if God does like to see me sweat a bit, He loves me. He's never left me hanging yet, so He's not going to start now. He will make things work together for my good. Trust Him.
- I really DO have friends who care. Stop trying to do everything on my own.
- Do what I can, and leave the rest to God. He's my best resource, especially in a crisis.
- In case I've forgotten, I CAN DO HARD THINGS.
- God really does love me, even when I don't feel it. Like Nephi said, 'I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things' (1 Ne. 11:17). Even when I know nothing else, I can cling to this truth and use it to help rebuild my foundation of faith.
- Having sincere questions is never a bad thing, especially in matters of church and/or faith (which in this case are two very distinct things). Exercise my faith. Ask the questions. But be willing to receive and accept God's answers, even if it's not what I wanted or expected. And if the answers don't come, keep waiting. They will.
- The Temple is such an incredible source or strength, peace and hope. Don't ever be unworthy of entering God's holy house.
- The struggle is real, but so are God's Tender Mercies. He will use the most unexpected people and experiences to help restore my *hope*. Embrace these beautiful blessings!
- Be PATIENT with the process of perfection. Refining my rough edges is going to take awhile.
- My life is immensely blessed when I share in someone else's Struggle.
- It's NOT my job to FIX their struggles. Just to listen, love, empathize, or when appropriate and asked--to counsel and advise.
- I need to be brave and vulnerable enough to *ask* others for help, too. (Seriously, 10 months of healing from a broken leg and I'm STILL being taught this lesson... I think it is time that I remember and apply it!)
- I'm better with children than I give myself credit for.
- The Gospel is simple. And it is true. Focus on that, and all the other questions seem to diminish in importance.
- Teaching the one is always more important than getting through a lesson.
- I have an ironclad testimony in the Plan of Salvation. However, every time I lose someone I love, the Spirit reconfirms to me that God really does have a plan for His children and that death is not the end.
- Don't pass up an opportunity to visit someone I love, or to express that love to them. I never know when it may be too late.
- I really do have friends who care and would gladly mourn with me and offer comfort--if I give them a chance. *LET THEM*. (Are you seeing the pattern? haha)
Ok, that's more than enough for now. A lot of struggling brings a lot of stretching, growing, and ultimately learning. I'm grateful for an infinitely loving Heavenly Father who is far more patient with me than I am with Him.
I promise the last few months have also had a lot of good things happen, too, which I'll write about later. But for now, just know that either in spite of or because of all the struggles, I believe and hope for Good Things to Come.