I grew up believing that life was black and white. That to every situation there was a clear right and wrong. I grew up believing that if you made the right choices life would be easy. It would turn out the way you always dreamt it would. Somewhere over the last seven to eight years, I discovered otherwise. Life isn't always black and white, right and wrong, good and bad. Sometimes we suffer through extremely difficult circumstances created by no fault of our own. Those can be very painful times, and often hidden under the facade we display to others.
Those closest to me know how hard this year has been. It has definitely been a year of learning and growth (and it's not even over yet). A year to see that sometimes another's agency gets in the way of our plans. Sometimes we get placed onto a path we didn't originally want to tread. It's harder. It's uphill. It requires more focus, more energy, more work. I've learned recently, however, that "more" of those things, isn't always a bad thing. The uphill path builds muscles. It burns away the excess- the unwanted, stubborn, and hard to lose areas that develop with a sedentary lifestyle. In its place is something more firm. The uphill path makes us stronger... more sure of who we are and the direction we are going. The higher we climb, the more we can see.
I was pondering this concept a few days ago and I realized that my path this year has done just that, it has made me stronger and more sure of who I am. I immediately felt an abundance of gratitude to my Heavenly Father for allowing things to work out just so. I was reminded, yet again, that not only do I have a Heavenly Father, but I have a Heavenly Father who loves me. Imperfect, stubborn, impatient, and impractical... me. He loves me despite my obvious flaws. He loves me despite my weaknesses. He loves me because I am His child. He loves me perfectly and without conditions. I find this concept hard to wrap my mind around. Yet, again and again and again, I see His love for me reflected throughout my life. I see blessings and miracles given to me by Him... a reminder that He is always with me. I am not on this uphill path alone. I have the most amazing tour guide who is leading me to the top. He knows the best paths to take, the safest paths, and the most beautiful. He wants me to see the world as He does, and I cannot do that unless I stand where He stands. Hence, it is an uphill journey to find clarity, to feel peace, and to see the bigger picture.
I realize that everyone is on a different part of the path. Depending on the time of day we hike, the scenery will appear different. No ones path will ever be the same as our own. The only person who knows EXACTLY the path we are on, is the One who is walking it with us; our own personal tour guide. He is the only one who knows the good and the bad we experience on our journey upward. He has been there with us from the beginning. He knows about the anticipation we felt at the base of the mountain as we gazed up and saw how far we needed to go. He knows the moments we become tired and have to stop... because He stops and waits with us. He knows of the self doubts we experience when we wonder if we are strong enough to keep going. He knows about the times we have to mentally push ourselves to take another step and keep moving forward. He knows about the tears, the sweat, the thirst, and the frustration. He knows this, because He is there... He is encouraging us. His words inspire us to keep going, telling us that it will be worth it. He can only know this if He has been there before. He can only know this if He has experienced those same feelings. Lucky for us, our tour guide... our Savior... has been there before. He knew what we would need and He is prepared to give it to us.
I'm somewhere on that mountain. Hiking with the most amazing tour guide. Experiencing ups and downs, but knowing that I'm not alone. I know that I can turn to Him with any questions. I know that I can turn to Him when I experience doubts. I know that I can turn to Him when I feel unable to take another step. I know that He will always be there. I know that I can place my trust in Him and that one day when I reach the top of this mountain, I will see the world with the same perspective He does. On that day, I know that everything will all make sense. Until then, I will keep moving upward and forward and onward... anticipating the day when we can stand side by side overlooking the valley below.