Mortal life. A testimony. Family. The Book of Mormon. These are God's precious gifts to me and to each of us.
My favorite scripture is 2 Nephi 2:25, written by a prophet who knew the importance of each of these: "Adam fell that men might be, and men are that they might have joy."
We were prepared from before the foundation of the world to face the everyday and long-term challenges that we have, to be reared in a family, to serve one-another, and to find joy in keeping the commandments. Can you believe that? We were prepared by Our Heavenly Father to experience greater joy.
The following are the things that have brought me true lasting joy. Many other things make me happy or bring a smile to my face, but these are what give me hope, purpose, and keep me on the strait and narrow path that will lead each of us to Eternal Life:
1. Knowledge of who I am. I am a daughter of an Eternal Father in Heaven who knows me and remembers me always. Though I impose limitations on His influence at times--thinking He doesn't have time, that I am not worthy of His love, that my imperfections can never be gotten rid of, or that He can't really help me--He is always constant. Constantly loving me. Constantly here. Constantly with those I love. Constantly reminding me that I am never beyond His reach. And neither are you.
2. A heaven-sent family (literally!). There is nothing that brings me greater sadness or greater joy. Though not to the same degree, I feel as Heavenly Father does, "He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with him" (Preach My Gospel p.31). I can't say it any other way. When my family is follows the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I am happy and oh, so blessed. When any of us wander or experience hurt, I sorrow for and with them. Truly, Eternal Life is seeing each of our family members striving to follow our Savior's example of happiness.
3. The Book of Mormon is a treasure to be...treasured. I remember the change of heart I experienced as I made a conscious decision to read The Book of Mormon every day. A day at a time, I received strength, clarity, and above all joy in knowing how I can strengthen my family relationships--ones that would last for eternity. I don't want to be the one on the other-side facing my siblings or my Heavenly Father, saying "I didn't have time" or "I didn't realize the impact". How we form our family relationships now will determine them for the eternities.
Yesterday, my grandmother passed away. Though I did not spend a lot of time in her presence physically, she taught me much. Two things that stand out to me the most are 1) There is a right and there is a wrong. We may rationalize, explain away, or ignore truth. But ultimately right is right and wrong is wrong, and 2) Hard work is good work, and it's the best work when it blesses someone else. There is no one I know who was more dedicated to serving her family. She reared them in righteousness and she spent her days "in the service of [her] fellow beings." I could not ask for a better family. They are so precious.
Many times missionaries are mistaken as prophets out here because how similar our purposes are. For today, I will join the brothers and sisters who spoke in conference these past couple days in testifying of Our Lord and Savior. He lives. He loves. He is the perfect example. It is He who rules and He who will reign again on earth. He is the source of truth and hope and light. I love Him and I know He loves you each. Please, turn to Him.