Two of my dear friends lost their spouses 1 year ago. As I sat pondering tonight at what comfort I might give them, I was led to the most recent talk of our prophet Thomas S Monson who lost his wife less than 6 months ago. I sat down to annotate his talk and here are my thoughts along with my favorite parts.
“She was the love of my life, my trusted confidant, and my closest friend. To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth of my feelings.
Even after a year, I find that I echo this same sentiment for my husband, Scott
“Of utmost comfort to me during this tender time of parting have been my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the knowledge I have that my dear Frances lives still. I know that our separation is temporary. We were sealed in the house of God by one having authority to bind on earth and in heaven. I know that we will be reunited one day and will never again be separated. This is the knowledge that sustains me.”
For me as well, my temple marriage and sealing brings me great comfort because I know that we will be together again. God has promised us that if we keep our promises to Him. That also gives me a goal and a purpose to work towards. That temple sealing also allows me to feel closer to him now.
“Sometimes in times of trial, “We feel abandoned, heartbroken, alone. We are inclined to view our own personal misfortunes through the distorted prism of pessimism. We become impatient for a solution to our problems, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.”
When we are in a place of darkness, we can lose our hope-discouragement, and personal pessimism can set in. We forget that PATIENCE is required. I have to remind myself of that every day!
The difficulties which come to us present us with the real test of our ability to endure.
A fundamental question remains to be answered by each of us: Shall I falter, or shall I finish?
Enduring is one of the biggest challenges, but enduring doesn’t mean just toughing it out or suffering through. We have to endure WELL. That means actively finishing, not having someone drag us across the finish line.
“Whenever we are inclined to feel burdened down with the blows of life, let us remember that others have passed the same way, have endured, and then have overcome.”
“The history of the Church is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer. The reason? They have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. We will still experience difficult challenges, but we will be able to face them, to meet them head-on, and to emerge victorious.”
The examples of Job and Joseph Smith and countless others from the scriptures give me great courage that I can also face trials head-on and emerge victorious!
“From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” Such comfort is priceless.”
These are words that I hear when I pour out my soul to God .
“Sadness and suffering are universal. No person has everlived entirely free of suffering and sorrow.”
“Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we maybe tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before.”
I used to wish and hope that I would never have to face a difficult trial. Now I know better. I understand that these experiences are necessary if we want the experience that precedes major growth.
“This should be our purpose—to persevere and endure, yes, but also tobecome more spiritually refined as we make our way through sunshineand sorrow. “
Understanding and internalizing this purpose for our trials and suffering gives us the strength to overcome them and become someone better
“Good timber does not grow with ease,
The stronger wind, the stronger trees.
The further sky, the greater length.
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.”
We like the trees need the stress of trials to help us grow stronger.
“Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and oursuffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words:”
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
“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.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change.”
These are words to memorize and recite in your head when particularly difficult times come. These scriptures can be little packets of light to a darkened soul.
“We should not need to experience difficulties for us to remember Him,and we should not be driven to humility before giving Him our faith and trust.
We truly need Him every hour, whether they be hours of sunshine or of rain. May His promise ever be our watchword: “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
I know that God can be with us and strengthen us and lift us in trial. I know this, because I have undeniably experienced this. God is real, he is our loving Heavenly Father, and like any father, he is right there waiting to help us if we will just ask.
Questions to Ponder:
1. When has God strengthened and lifted you in the past? How do your experiences and the experiences of others help give you courage to press forward?