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Monday, October 24, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life!

I just celebrated my 21st birthday this weekend!  Woohoo!  Now I'm officially, totally "legal"...whatever that means.. except I don't think I can rent a car yet.  Bummer.

I don't know about the rest of you, but for me birthdays are a time of reflection on the good times I've had throughout my life and the blessings God has given me each day.  I think back on all the October 22nds I've had (the night before my birthday-- B-Day Eve), and the mental playback that scrolls across my consciousness as I try to fall asleep (usually to no avail because I'm so excited for my birthday the next day).  This year, it seemed my entire life flashed before my eyes as I lay there in the dark, listening to the serene sounds of my companion sawing logs.  As I relived each year, I realized what a wonderful life I've had.  No matter the ups or the downs, it seems each year was filled with laughter, goodness, light, and growth.  How am I so blessed?  I don't think I'll ever fully understand the reasons.  But this much I do know:  God loves me, and He loves you.

Reminds me of a few scriptures in the Book of Mormon.  First, Nephi's simple declaration of God's love:
I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
I echo Nephi's testimony.  I can't account for all the things--good or bad--that have happened to me or others during my lifetime.  But I do know God loves each one of us more than we can comprehend and He has a purpose for our lives.  And what did an understanding of that love and a willingness to love God do for Nephi and his people?  Again, his answer is simple:
And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness.
I know the blessings I've received in my life so I could "live after the manner of happiness" have come because of my faith in Jesus Christ and His ability to make me a better person.  Living the gospel--Jesus' teachings and example--is the only way to true and lasting happiness in this life and forever. 

My life has truly been wonderful.  I have been blessed with family, friends, opportunities to grow, and the light of the gospel.  I thank my Father in Heaven everyday for His goodness these twenty-one-derful years, and know His kindness will be my rock and support for the rest of forever.  I know the same can be true for you.  If your life has been less-than wonderful, it's never too late to find true happiness.  Start with prayer.  Then read God's word.  Above all, trust in His love for you and His plan for your happiness.  I know these things to be true, because it's a wonderful life!

Much Love,

Elder Spendlove

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