Press Forward// an open letter to a friend.

Press Forward//an open letter to a friend| love, Marybelle

A few months ago, someone left an anonymous comment on my blog, and it really touched me. She said,

“Hello! I have been watching and reading a lot of the remarks from the General Conference and the General Women’s Meeting on my phone over break, and I remembered this blog post. As I watch/read the Conference remarks, I feel so inspired and I know in my heart that the church is true. I have been praying to my Heavenly Father every night for about 5 months, and over time, my feelings have steadily grown. I have attended church twice with a friend, and met with a wonderful sister missionary over the summer. The problem is that my parents (well just my dad, really) are adamantly opposed to the LDS faith. Also, the few friends that I have confided in have either laughed or just looked at me like I was insane. I feel so alone and I am not sure what direction to take. The sister missionary I met with over the summer was transferred to another place, and the friend who invited me to church went off to college and is involved with his college life. I could really use some advice… Maybe you could post something on this blog?”

As it was anonymous, I have no way to reach out to this girl except through posting here, so that’s what I’m going to do!

Dear Friend,

I was so touched by your note to me. I don’t know your name, but I want you to know how loved you are, and that you are not alone!

I am so impressed by your example of faith. I know how hard it can be to feel like your friends look down on you because of your beliefs, but my parents have always supportive and encouraging when it comes to religion. I am so impressed that in your free time you are doing things that will strengthen you and help you come closer to Heavenly Father. I admire that you haven’t given up even though what you are going through is hard. The best advice that I can give to you is to keep going!

In 2 Nephi 31:20 it says, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” I love this scripture! It tells us so simply how to make it back to our Father in Heaven, and it makes it sound so joyful! I think you are already do what this scripture says to: “Press Forward.” Your faith is strong. You are diligent in your prayers and studying the words of those called by God to teach us. You love Him. There’s one more part of this verse to which I want to draw your attention– “[have] a perfect brightness of hope.”

Have hope! Keep smiling. Keep moving forward. It’s hard to keep hoping sometimes, but these scriptures and promises help me to remember the reasons why I can be happy and have hope. In the gospel of John, the Savior says “In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Life is going to be hard sometimes, but the Savior has experienced everything that we will go through! Because of the atonement, He knows exactly how you feel, and He will not leave you to struggle alone. When we come to Him, He will make our burdens light! He will give us peace, and joy, and the strength that we need to keep enduring. Elder Jeffrey R Holland said, “One of the greatest consolations… is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path alone, we do not have to do so… Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone, nor unaided, even if sometimes we feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said, ‘I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you’.”

Lastly, don’t forget to be happy! “God didn’t design us to be sad, he created us to have joy!” Even in the middle of our struggles we can find the little rays of sunshine that make life worth enduring. We can choose to be grateful, to revel in the little things, and to find joy in the promises the Savior has given us.

My dear sister, you are in my prayers. I pray that you continue to press forward, find joy, and keep hoping. Please know that you are not alone! You are so loved, and though you may not see them, there are so many people praying and cheering for you. Keep smiling, keep being faithful, and I know that our Heavenly Father will bless you!

love,

Marybelle

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