Within less than a week I had gone from becoming engaged to becoming single. It seemed as though I had experienced every emotion possible within that short amount of time. I think there are times like these in each of our lives when things go differently than we would have planned. Some of those times the trials are caused by others, and some of those times we are actually choosing those trials for ourselves through our actions. Through it all there are lessons to learn that we can gain in no other way. As the Lord told Joseph Smith, “All these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.”
Why do things that are good for us sometimes hurt so much? I believe the answer is simple: so we can grow as we “tribulate”. (wish I could take credit for that word, but it is from a friend) If I were to define “tribulate” I would say it is the ability to become more as we allow our trials to work through us. Our trials become a verb that we are using for our benefit rather than an adjective to describe our current situation.
During my current tribulation I have learned some valuable lessons that I hope might help others when they find themselves in a similar situation. These lessons include, what it is like to feel the prayers and support of other people, the value of agency and choice, and the importance of being still.
Nothing has ever humbled me so much as the support and love that I have received from everywhere. It turns out that many others have called off an engagement before. Their advice and wisdom has been invaluable. What is even more humbling have been the moments when I have literally felt strength beyond my own. It was as though I was being carried through my trial on angels wings.
Friends and family were those angels. They worked through cards, Facebook messages, calls, texts, emails, hugs, and small acts of kindness which surrounded me on every front. “We are praying for you” became a phrase that I heard almost every hour. I can’t really explain the impact it has made, but I am so thankful to everyone of you who have reached out, lifted and strengthened me. I hope that I can help you all in those moments too.
Just like everything else in life, love is a choice. We get to decide who we spend eternity with. For some reason I always felt burdened with pressure in that regard. As I chose not to spend eternity with someone I realized that God has given me the ability to choose how the rest of my life turns out.
No one else can make that choice for me. There may not be a wrong choice, but perhaps there is a good, better, and best for me choice. This may have no reflection on the other person at all, but simply on how I want my life to go.
When the whirlwinds of tribulation are swarming it can be most valuable to stop and take a rest. After the emotional roller coaster of a weekend I spoke frankly with my boss and asked him if I could use a vacation day I had saved up. That day I took the time to catch back up on my life. I wrote a paper, did my laundry, and even spent time relaxing and being alone with myself again. It was a needed rejuvenation that gave me the strength to make it through the rest of my week. It also gave me time to ponder, pray, and decide once again who I am and who I want to become. When in trials I find it helpful to spend some quality time with God.
As you have tribulation your lessons might be different than mine. It has been humbling to feel the love of other people, to learn about my ability to choose, and to take time to be still with God. I believe that each of these lessons have been for my benefit and helped to mold me even more into who God wants me to be.
What lessons have you learned through your trials? How have you helped someone else in their moment of need? What does God want you to become? What other lessons do you think that I can learn as I continue to “tribulate”?
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.