A young friend of ours, who lives here in Puerto Rico, has been struggling with finding herself as of late. She is 19 years-old, lives at home and is attending University in Veterinarian Sciences. Her professors assign loads of homework and the stress of studying gives her a headache (like me), but she perseveres. She even babysits Widget when the Hubs and I go out on date night...and many times when we get home from dinner, after Widget is in bed, she is either reading scriptures or studying for school. This young lady is loving, kind, and even does the happy dance when Widget finally finishes her dinner or chores-which makes her one of Widget's most favorite people.
Our friend, which I will now call Alex (not her real name) for the sake of keeping things less confusing, has only recently started reading scriptures and praying. Her parents began the journey to draw closer to God along side Alex, but have now decided their journey should never have started at all. Her parents once were very supportive of Alex seeking her spiritual identity and drawing nearer to her Heavenly Father, then somewhere along the road her parents became afraid.
Mostly I think they are afraid of change. Scared that they would have to change their habits to continue down the road of spiritual discovery. Apprehensive to live a different life than the one they have been living. Alex's father, in particular, struggles with making time to study and pray because he will not give up his escape from reality-as soon as he gets home from work he starts drinking, which doesn't stop until he falls asleep. He has decided, during his drunken state, that Alex should not attend any meetings or interact with anyone she has come in contact with while she has been studying the Gospel. Alex's mother also drinks, albeit slightly less, and would rather not poke the fire that her husband is kindling.
So much of her life is completely dictated by her current situation. Because Alex lives at home, she is still subject to 'house rules' (which totally makes sense-in theory)...and because she does not hold a drivers license, she depends on her parents to take her anywhere she needs to go-which also means they do not take her places they do not want her to go (like partying with friends or to church). She still reads her scriptures when possible, and tries to live her life according to God's will...but her parents do not make it easy.
I mentioned before that Alex's dad is angry with her choices, right? When he is drunk, he likes to pick fights or yelling matches. Alex has decided that participating in the fights does not bring the Spirit, or keep the feeling of peace in her soul, but her refusal to argue angers her father even farther...so he says things in rage to hurt her. The other night Alex texted me about some very unthoughtful things her dad had said to her. She also told me that, at the time, he was "wasted," so she was not going to listen to him...although I knew his stinging words hurt her, she was trying to let the statements roll off her skin like rain drops on a raincoat.
I thought about the situation for a few minutes before responding to her texts, I even said a little prayer in hopes of knowing the 'right' thing to say. As I read back through my text log, I am still at awe with the words that were sent from my phone to hers. The message said: "....I know it's hard to hear something from a loved one (like that), but not want to actually listen to what they are saying. I think that is one of the reasons why we are given the gift of communcating with Heavenly Father through prayer...personal communication and revelation from God keeps us grounded to what really matters in this life."
Okay, so the message is not eloquent or poetic, but I think it is beautiful and true. I know that we can receive personal inspiration and strength through living righteously and praying often. Alex has continued to persevere in her studying of the Gospel and communicating with God, even though most of it is done out of her father's view. I know we should always respect and love our parents, and everyone else in our lives for that matter, but most of all we should respect and love our Heavenly Father. If we do that, everything else will fall into place...including future trials or hardships, along with peace, love, and trust.
Okay, back to General Conference: I am particularly excited to listen to a talk/sermon in English...especially since I have not attended a church meeting spoken in English since arriving in Puerto Rico in June. Not only will I be able to understand more of what is being said, but I look forward to the spiritual high, and loving personal guidance. As members of the LDS faith, we believe in personal revelation, and we also believe we are guided by our Heavenly Father through living prophets. These prophets will speak to us in the semiannual Conference this weekend.
If you'd like more information, you can click on the video link on my right side bar, or visit lds.org.***
Elder Holland says, “If we teach by the Spirit and you listen by the Spirit, some one of us will touch on your circumstance, sending a personal prophetic epistle just to you,” (Isn't that awesome? And I completely agree!)
Also, I hope you have a good Columbus Day weekend! I hear there are lots of sales going on a JoAnns...maybe I am just missing having an actually fabric/craft store near by :) Now I bet if you do go shopping at a craft store, you will be thinking of me while you are perusing the isles.
***Other ways to enjoy The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints General Conference:
- 2012 General Relief Society Meeting: read or listen to the entire meeting which took place last week
- Prepping Your Family: articles and ideas
- Activities for Children
- Activities for Kids: My Pinterest Board
- The Church Facebook Page
- Church News and Events
- Watch Sessions in live video and audio (16 different languages): this link should be updated starting Saturday morning, Oct 6, with current feed.