Tuesday, September 17, 2013


As Winter approaches I find myself contemplating the seasons of life. 

I do not like Winter!! 

It is, symbolically, a trial for me. 

But I love Spring! 

I love the symbolism of Spring. The renewal of life. I love seeing the landscape come back alive. Grass, trees, flowers--all come back to color my life with beauty. My heart is always filled with gratitude as I am visually reminded of the promise of the resurrection and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And I know that I would not appreciate the Spring as much if I did not have the contrast of Winter right before it!

I have long been familiar with the strange, always unwelcomed, season of adversity. No more, however, than many I know. We all must encounter it in our lives. I used to think that it would come, be endured, perhaps even overcome, and then pass, never to be faced again. If I could just hold out and come through it with some small amount of faith still intact, then all would be well. Time, and many seasons of adversity later, I know through bitter-sweet experience, that I was wrong!! It is much like Winter. It cycles through and will come again.

It is amazing to me, and I cannot fully understand how it works, but I have learned from my own experiences that adversity in our lives is directly connected to blessings and growth. It is a means of being able to experience, and truly understand, joy! True, lasting joy. 

My dad used to tell me that if I didn't have any troubles in my life I should kneel down and ask God why He didn't love me anymore! Advice that is in stark contrast to the world in general who instead ask God why He doesn't love them because they are experiencing trials. I don't know that the absence of trials is indicative of our Heavenly Father not loving us,  but I do know that the presence of trials does not indicate that He doesn't love us!! 

What is expected of us during seasons of adversity? How do we get through? I love this quote from Deiter F. Uchtdorf that I found in the September issue of the Ensign. Look how he clearly answers both of these questions!

"The question is not whether we will experience seasons of adversity but how we will weather the storms. Our great opportunity during the ever-changing seasons of life is to hold fast to the faithful word of God, for His counsel is designed not only to help us weather the storms of life but also to guide us past them.”

It is through holding onto the teachings of the Savior that we endure. It is what is expected of us! It is the only way to come out on the other side victorious. We don't do it by ourselves. We do it by relying on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and by not turning away from Him! 

I have both experienced and watched those I love weather through difficult seasons. I have never seen someone emerge from such things unchanged. Sadly, not always for the better. There must be a conscience choice made. The choice to come off conqueror. The choice to endure and to better in the end because of it. The choice to accept the Offering of the Savior and take His yoke and allow Him to share the burden, to give shelter, to give strength and hope and, yes, even joy! If the decision is not made and we do not commit fully to it, then we will not gain the full reward that could be ours. The trial is only bitter. We miss out on the sweet. 

I do not welcome adversity any more than I welcome Winter! However, I know that to have the Spring, there must be a Winter! For without it, truly, Spring would not be so glorious!! So, with Winter quickly approaching, I will prepare for it. And, in like manner, I will prepare for seasons of adversity, knowing that my loving Heavenly Father has provided for me counsel and other resources "designed not only to help [me] weather the storm. . .but also to guide [me] past [it]."