Good morning, y'all!
Have I mentioned that it's Mardi Gras season? Probably. I love Mardi Gras. Last year when I was in the Hattiesburg Zone, I told myself that next year I wanted to be in Louisiana for Mardi Gras season. Little did I know that Heavenly Father would actually make that happen, and I'd be spending the best time of year in northern Louisiana.
I've learned the origin of king cakes, as well as the meaning behind the iconic purple, gold, and green that adorn Mardi Gras wreathes across the state. I now understand that you start Mardi Gras twelve days after Christmas, and it ends the day before Lent. What exactly and precisely we are all celebrating is completely beyond me, but I'm sure I'll continue to learn as I serve!
One night during a drive back to our apartment, Sister May and I noticed how large and staunch the moon was in the sky. Although we were far from the main city of Bossier, few stars dappled the night. The glow of the houses around us mocked their otherworldly glitter, but paled in comparison to the moon's presence above us. Its usual glaring white light was yellowed and wide, as if someone had forgotten a spot on their black canvas. I felt as if the moon were watching us, and my eyes never left that moon as we drove. My companion and I were silent, and the soft hum of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Called to Serve" filled the car.
I was taken back to when I'd first entered the Missionary Training Center in Provo, and I remembered singing that same hymn with five hundred other missionaries who'd entered that same day. I remember the strongest feeling I'd ever felt come straight into my heart, like there was a warm hand gripping my heart. A burning sensation filled my chest and encompassed my entire being, and in that moment I knew I was supposed to be in the MTC, at that time, with those people.
This feeling I had while watching the moon was not quite like that. But, I felt in my heart a sort of calm. It wasn't overwhelming; it did not leak from my head down to my toes. It was a small, gentle nudge in my heart as I stared at the Louisiana sky. I was meant to be here. Somehow, for some reason, I was supposed to be in Louisiana, preaching the gospel of Christ.
Sometimes when we are searching for peace or enlightenment, we have a tendency to seek for "signs." "If the Book of Mormon is true, then this will happen." "If I'm meant to go here, then I will feel this particular feeling." We want strong feelings of validation. We want a miracle confirmation that this is where we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to be doing. And those feelings do come. I've felt them. But most often in my life, Heavenly Father has not given me this confirmation until I've found myself firmly rooted in a decision.
The prophet Moroni writes about this. He says, "And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith" (Ether 12:6).
If you are to be faithful, you must act and remember that the Lord will strengthen you if it will be right. Sometimes the right decision is not the easiest, but it will help you grow. My greatest bounds of faith have come from my most lonely acts of courage. It is when we have made our decision and taken our own steps in our own plan of salvation that Heavenly Father gives us His guiding hand to help us to the right one. We won't make the right decisions all the time, but we know that He is there to guide us to them. It takes some trust, but Heavenly Father never changes. Of all people I love to trust in, it is my Heavenly Father. He has never let me down, and He never will.
Be strong in your decisions, brothers and sisters. Heavenly Father is waiting to give you guidance. In the strength of the Lord, you can do all things.
Have a good week.
And here we have Sister May, looking fabulous.
We spent some time at the Boardwalk last Tuesday. It was loads of fun! :D