General Conference will be here soon. Are you excited? I am. 🙂 I would like to share a few thoughts I had from a conference talk last October.
I always love every single talk, but it was during Elder Hales’s talk that my ears really perked up. He said:
“I have often pondered, Why is it that the Son of God and His holy prophets and all the faithful Saints have trials and tribulations, even when they are trying to do Heavenly Father’s will? Why is it so hard, especially for them? … As we ask these questions, we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we ‘wait upon the Lord.’” – Robert D. Hales
There are so many things to say about this talk and this quote, but I have been thinking about the concept of “waiting” in general. Waiting takes time. It takes patience. Those are hard for me. However, during a trial, I think that we can learn to pass the time effectively. When we do, we will be renewed and comforted.
There are many ways to pass the time: prayer, service, scripture study. However, I would like to really talk about one way to pass the time while waiting on the Lord….Temple Attendance
We pass the time while waiting through regular temple attendance. Going to the temple nourishes our souls with holy blessings, and help from beyond this world.
Last year, I found out that my dad and step-mom were getting a divorce. They had been married for over twenty years. My heart ached for my dad. He was surprised when she wanted to leave. I knew that it was kind of tough for him. As everything was unfolding, I said a prayer for him. Before kneeling down, I felt a little frustrated – my dad isn’t Mormon. He is Catholic, but doesn’t go to church much. My brothers have been baptized, but don’t really go to church. I felt alone in my prayers. Even though I know that every prayer has power, I wished that there would be more of us united in prayer for my father. I kind of felt hopeless.
However, as I prayed, I was filled with this sense – I wasn’t the only one praying for my dad. I had done the work of My ancestors. They knew and loved my father. They were praying, too. I was overwhelmed with love and hope. Prayer doesn’t only transcend distance. It could transcend the veil of mortality and death. We could be united in prayer. I knew that I wasn’t the only one praying. It is because of consistent temple attendance that I was blessed with this comforting knowledge.
There are times when attending the temple can be difficult. There are physical limitations – especially if you live a long distance from the temple. Other times, the trials we face may tempt us into thinking that we don’t want to go to the temple: that we won’t find the peace and blessings we desire there. I testify to you that this idea is false.
Years ago, a month after my husband left me, I attended the temple with my ward. I didn’t want to go, but my Bishop very strongly encouraged me. I was sad, and afraid. The temple is about families being sealed together forever, and I was getting ready to file for a divorce. But I went.
I won’t pretend like it was easy. It was an incredibly difficult trip. I lived in Philadelphia at the time, and our temple was the Washington D.C. temple. Our stake had reserved busses for this stake temple day, and months before, my husband and I reserved our seats. By the time the temple trip arrived, He was gone, and I boarded that bus alone. Most of the other people who were in on the bus were there with their companions. I felt a little sad, but on the plus side, I got a whole bench to myself! When we got to the temple, the pain that I felt was even more pronounced – as I saw many happy couples worshipping and serving together. I was alone. I had never been “alone” – a divorced, single woman – in the temple before.
Yet, waiting upon the Lord through temple service wasn’t all bad news. Even though it was hard, and I felt pain, the blessing of the temple calmed me that day. I was assured that – even though the path would be very hard – I would be blessed with a worthy companion. I knew that I needed to come back to the temple often to receive that blessing. The Lord assured me that waiting upon Him would be worthwhile despite the difficulty. And it was!
I knew that rescue from this trial wouldn’t be immediate, but I was blessed with strengthened faith – which helped me to endure. This was not a one time blessing. It seemed like after a while I needed to refill my spiritual gas tank. Repeated, regular temple attendance nourished me as I tried to keep pushing forward in the midst of the trial of being a single, divorced mother.
If you find yourself in the midst of trials, try going to the temple. It may be hard, but there is peace and strength that comes from temple service.