I appreciate winter's beauty, but I am not a winter girl. There is something about the cold and the darkness--especially the darkness--that I just don't like. I know that darkness isn't going to last forever, but sometimes, in the throw of January or February it's hard to remember that.
Many of my most trying times have also come in the middle of the winter. When they've come, I needed something that could bring me hope, and peace, and light. In my searching, I've found some beacons.
My absolute go-to is this talk, However Long and Hard the Road, by Jeffrey R. Holland. I found it during my first winter and over the years, I've returned to this talk time and time again and it's brought me peace. I don't understand all, but I do understand the promise that, "You are laying the foundation of a great work—your own inestimable future" and I trust that it will be inestimable one day.
This talk, The Sustaining Power of Faith in Times of Uncertainty and Testing by Elder Richard G. SScott, was an answer to prayer when it was given in 2003 as I needed to remember that "God will respond with what is best for you in His eternal plan." He gave a follow up to this talk in 2010 called The Transforming Power of Faith and Character. "
In 2012, I was feeling very much like the Lord has forgotten me. I was hurt and angry and I felt far from the Lord and it scared me. No matter what I did, there was this cloud that I just couldn't seem to lift. In the General Relief Society Meeting, Sister Reeves gave a talk called The Lord Has Not Forgotten You in which talked about an experience from her past and the anger, hurt, and loneliness she felt. It struck a chord. If she could get out of it so could I. Slowly, I did.
Over the years, I've had a lot of time to think about what an eternal marriage looks like. Elder F. Burton Howard (Eternal Marriage) said something that has guided my relationships and shaped my decisions. He said, "If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. … It becomes special because you have made it so." I've come to see how true those words are. Real and deep love is more sweet, more pure, more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.
And you can bet because it's taken it's sweet time to get here that I treat it differently.