one foot in front of the other

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It’s been a challenging month for me in many ways, and Thursday I had one of those nights when I just sort of gave up inside. (Ever have those kinds of days? Nights are the worst for me; I suffer from a serious sleep disorder and nights can be so difficult, so lonely.) Fortunately, I have people I know I can reach out to at such times, and fortunately, I know that I need to reach out at those times.

Friday, I woke up feeling a little better, but still in quite an emotional daze. I got some work done, got my hair cut, and ended up having a heart-to-heart with a dear friend.

At one point, I was waiting for her outside of a restaurant where music was playing. I was only sitting for enough time to hear pieces of two songs, but I knew God was speaking to me through them. I almost couldn’t believe it when I heard the following words:

“I won’t worry my life away”

from one song, and then

“Carry on”

from another.

I smiled and looked heavenward. (I love how He will use so many ways to reach out to me with His personal messages…even using pop songs in a short few minutes of time to hit two important messages home.)

Friday night, I had the thought to reach out to a friend who recently moved from our area, to see how they were doing in the transition time in their lives. Early the next morning, there was a message with a brief update.

And the message ended with these two words:

“Carry on!”

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting. (Every first Sunday of the month, members of the Church fast and donate money that would have been used for meals (and often much more) as a fast offering to help those in need. In this monthly meeting, there no assigned speakers, just time for those who feel prompted to share testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel.)

I had a vague sense that perhaps I should stand and share some thoughts, but I didn’t know what to say. So I assumed I’d just be listening…

…Until I looked up at the front of the room where the hymn numbers are posted. My heart started to beat faster when I saw the hymn number for the closing song. Could it be?

I opened my hymnbook to confirm the hymn’s title:

“Carry On.”

As soon as the person who was speaking finished sharing, I stood and walked to the front of the congregation to share what had happened. I found out later in the meeting that this was the hymn chosen for the ward’s trek this week.

God’s grace and tender mercies are real. As Elder Bednar said in this talk (which for me was life-changing), often it’s the timing that lets us know when God is at work (credit payton). That talk gave me the confidence to just trust that when things seem like too much of a coincidence, they simply aren’t. When patterns like this show up, I pay attention.

I am so grateful to know that God pays attention to me and my little life. My life and my world matter to Him! He moves the world around for me, and He does the same for you, for all of us. He loves us each so much.

I know what it’s like to feel sometimes like the heavens are silent, to feel pushed beyond your limits, to wonder how you will find the strength to carry on. I  know what it feels like to wonder if prayers are heard when things don’t work out as you want or think they should.

My invitation from my own difficult days are to keep your eyes open for God’s tender mercies. They are there, even when we can’t see them.

And sometimes, He makes things really clear so they are hard to miss.