I've always wanted to be inspirational, someone who lifts and inspires others, encouraging them to be the best they can be, and who loves life and embraces it with joy. I always wondered how those people got their zest for life and made their lives seem like such an amazing experience for them. I wanted to figure out their secret so that I could have that same joy and be able to share that with others.
That dream stayed with me for quite a long time, that is until I started reading some of the biographies of those people that inspired me the very most. I learned about Stephanie Nielson and how she was burned over 80% of her body, and how Meg Johnson was paralyzed after falling off of a cliff. Paul Cardall had to have a heart transplant and Elizabeth Smart had terrible things happen to her as well. The more I learned about these inspirational heroes, the more I started thinking that maybe I didn't want to be inspirational after all.
My life was already hard enough, but not in any inspirational way that I guessed people would be inspired by. My challenges were the ones that nobody knew about or could see. My marriage was failing. I spent a lot of my time alone. It was also difficult being a mother of so many kids. I felt like I was alone in trying to care for them and I struggled to deal with their many unique challenges and distinct personalities.
The only hope I had was that someday, my marriage would improve and that as we worked together, things would get easier and I would have more opportunities to share my testimony of the things I had learned along the way. I knew I had songs and messages that were meant to be shared, I just couldn't see how, when I needed to focus so much of my time and attention on family, my kids, and in trying to keep my marriage together.
Ultimately, my efforts didn't save my marriage. It takes two people dedicated to making a marriage work, and though I wanted things to be different, the only person I could change was myself. However, through it all, I have been grateful for the changes I have made. I learned how to appreciate and love the blessing and opportunity it is to be a mother. I love each of my children so very much. I've also become much stronger spiritually. I trust my Savior and in His plan for me. I've learned to be grateful for the differences in those around me and appreciate each person's strengths and weaknesses and desires to be good.
I've learned that it really doesn't matter what kind of trials you are going through, everyone has the opportunity to be inspirational. It happens whenever someone looks to God and shares with me what they are learning, or someone who tells me what they are grateful for amidst their obvious pain and suffering. I've learned that it's a choice to be happy, and that when people choose happiness, it blesses everyone around them as well.
I know that God still has a plan for me, as He does for everyone, but it's up to me to make that happen. I'm excited to see what's next and to share the things I'm learning along the way. I would invite you to come along with me on this experience and to share the things you are learning with me as well!
Enjoy the Thanksgiving season. There's so much to be grateful for!!!