Some people love the shore. We vacation in the mountains. The glacier-formed peaks in Western Montana are breathtaking beyond description. They are God’s natural cathedral. No matter the season, these mountains stand colossal and constant. But in July, an even more amazing sight dots the landscape amongst the glaciers. They don’t stretch high into the clouds. In some cases they’re harder to find. They’re delicate in comparison, but equally beautiful. They are the wildflowers of Glacier Park.
This summer was a bounty for wildflowers. The bold reds and pinks of the Indian Paintbrush followed the hiking trails in full view. Wild Asters, with their golden center and sweet purple petals, lined the pathways along the aqua lakes. Higher up in elevation, Bear Grass dotted the hanging meadows like snow cones perched on candy poles. If you hiked too fast, you’d miss the delicate blues of the Forget-me-Nots, seen in patches along the highest trails. Is it any wonder that more people pointed their cameras down at the flowers this year than ever before? I think they discovered what I had—while the mountains are bold and majestic, the wildflowers make the mountains come alive.
In comparison, I sometimes wonder what my place in life is. Do I stand out like the mountains, tall and strong, making a statement for all to see? Surely as a Latter-day Saint with high moral and religious standards, I must seem this way to my non-member friends and family. I don’t smoke, drink alcohol, or use foul language. I attend church regularly, read scriptures and pray daily, and I do my best to keep the commandments with integrity. I spend many hours in service helping those in need, teaching children and the youth, serving in various positions in church. This makes me stand out from the crowd, sometimes in awkward ways. When I stand with my fellow believers, I feel as tall and strong as the mountains, steadfast and immovable. But when I am surrounded by people who find me peculiar or who mock my standards, I shrink a little inside. I feel like the outsider, forgotten, often times ridiculed, certainly not considered important.
It is the plight of those who are true to their faith amongst people who consider their faith unimportant or worse yet, blasphemous. The world has a different standard than those faithful to God. Often times it feels like the world is all too quick to rise against believers, to crush them with their false gods of pride, wealth, fame, or control. While the world measures people by these empty standards, those who serve the true God may find they don’t have much on the world’s resume to show for themselves. During times of sorrow and feeling alone in my faith, I think of the wildflowers that blanket the mountain landscape and I take solace in the message they bring: I matter where it matters most.
We know that Christ taught how even the tiniest sparrow matters to our Father in Heaven. The wildflowers are equally tiny, if not more so. I may be small in comparison to the world, but I matter. We also learn from Moses that God’s plan is of infinite magnitude, his power is as immeasurable as time, his glory as infinite as the stars in the universe. How could we possibly matter to him? But we do. He has said so, for he created this vast universe not for himself, but for us and our exaltation. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf , Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said:
“Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters. This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing; yet we are everything to God. While against the backdrop of infinite creation we may appear to be nothing, we have a spark of eternal fire burning within our breast. We have the incomprehensible promise of exaltation—worlds without end—within our grasp. And it is God’s great desire to help us reach it.” (You Matter to Him, Ensign, Nov. 2011)
When I feel like I’m drowning in a world that doesn’t know God or doesn’t care about our relationship to our Heavenly Father, restored gospel truths give me hope. When I find myself falling under the pressure of worldly ways to measure up to false standards and empty promises, the truth of who I am in relationship to God helps me rise above it and make it through another day, knowing the rewards my Father in heaven has for me are everlasting and glorious beyond comprehension. When I feel like a tiny wildflower—fragile, small, and overlooked, I remember that it is the wildflower that gives the mountain landscape life, color, fragrance, and beauty as a crown completes the clothing worn by royalty.
Heavenly Father created all the beautiful wonders of the world for a reason—we can appreciate them in their uniqueness and glory. When we see ourselves merely as tiny wildflowers on the backdrop of massive mountainous landscapes, He reminds us to stop and remember the importance of even the smallest of his creations in His eternal plan. There will be many who miss the delicate beauty of the wildflower on the hike. But this does not diminish its worth. And along the way, one by one, the wildflowers are noticed, appreciated and valued for their role in the plan. They point to everlasting life awaiting us all thanks to the plan of happiness which our Father in heaven created.
Nanette O'Neal loves the gospel and is very happy to share her testimony on LDS Blogs. She is a convert to the church and still feels the spirit burn strong within her heart. She graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a degree in music education and has taught children and adults in the private and public sphere for over twenty years. Nanette continues to study the gospel and the art of writing. She writes weekly inspirational articles on her blog and is currently working on an LDS fantasy novel series, A Doorway Back to Forever. You can find her at NanetteONeal.blogspot.com. Nanette has a wonderful husband, talented son, and three beautiful dogs.