When I was twenty-one, I had a detailed five-year plan. I was going to finish my neuroscience degree, get into pharmacy school, and make enough money to shop at Anthropologie. I was passionate about pharmacology and, after changing my undergrad major several times, reasonably confident that I’d found a career that fit.
However, Heavenly Father had other plans for me.
A few weeks before the semester ended, I sat in the Conference Center on Easter morning. I don’t remember much about the talks that were given, because a few minutes into the session, I very clearly heard the prompting: “Do not go to pharmacy school. Go to nursing school instead.”
I was shocked. I’d never wanted to be a nurse! I was terrified of the high-stress environment I imagined and uncertain of my aptitude for the work. But the prompting was undeniable. That night I went home and changed my classes to nursing prerequisites, feeling a mixture of confusion and excitement.
Nursing school was not easy for me. I succeeded academically, but the practical work of procedures and interacting with patients was intimidating and sometimes I was extremely awkward. I questioned my decision all the time, and the one thing that kept me going through 4 a.m. drives to the hospital, the snarky residents, and the at times heart-breaking experiences with patients was the knowledge that the Lord had asked me to do this.
Now, years later, I see the blessings of submitting my will to the Lord. I worked while my husband attended graduate school and ultimately, he graduated without any debt. I learned skills like flexibility and improvisation that have benefited me as a mother. And I’ve been forever touched by some of my patients. Becoming a nurse has changed the trajectory of my life.
But it wasn’t easy.
In Elder M. Joseph Brough’s talk, “Lift Up Your Head and Rejoice,” he discusses how we can “face hard things in the Lord’s way.” He shares the story of his daughter, Ganzie, who made many sacrifices to go to Guatemala when her father was called as mission president, and then followed a further prompting to serve a mission despite all she had already sacrificed. Elder Brough’s daughter “gave her will to Heavenly Father [and] served Him with all of her heart, might, mind, and strength,” one of two strategies he gives in his talk for “traveling and triumphing over our hard times.” This week, as we study Elder Brough’s talk, we will explore those two strategies, forgiving others and submitting our wills to the Lord, so we can thrive through even the most trying circumstances.
Read M. Joseph Brough's full address here.
Faith in Action! Is there a trial weighing on your heart and mind? Spend some time this week pondering how you can go through your hard thing with rejoicing--or if not actual rejoicing, some added perspective. This week’s download has journaling prompts to help you think about your trial in a new light.
Lesson / Activity:
When Lehi and his family left their comfortable home in Jerusalem, they experienced many trials, from the struggles of living in the desert (eating raw meat and giving birth on the road!) to conflict within their family. There were many cycles of murmuring and gratitude within Lehi’s family. When Sariah murmurs and expresses fear for her sons that have gone back to Jerusalem to find the brass plates (1 Nephi 5:1-3), Lehi counters her worries with rejoicing.
And it came to pass that my father spake unto her, saying: I know that I am a visionary man; for if I had not seen the things of God in a vision I should not have known the goodness of God, but had tarried at Jerusalem and had perished with my brethren.
But behold, I have obtained a land of promise, in the which things I do rejoice; yeah, and I know that the Lord will deliver my sons out of the hands of Laban, and bring them down again unto us in the wilderness. (1 Nephi 5:4-5)
Discuss the way trials can be seen as something to murmur about or a reason to rejoice. Discuss some of these trials/blessings in your family and how you can submit your will to that of the Lord to experience joy when things are difficult.
Sometimes the best way to help someone is to get to know what they struggle with. Ask your ministering sister what brings her joy (to keep it positive) and what she is struggling with now, if she is willing to share. Find ways to support her through her hard thing.
More resources about overcoming trials: “Firm and Steadfast in the Faith of Christ” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson
“Come What May and Love It” by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin
“Like a Broken Vessel” by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland