TOTW: President Monson; "The Perfect Path to Happiness"

Happiness. How do we find it? Is it something we can achieve in this life or is it something we just hope for in the life to come? If it is attainable in this life, where do we get it? Can we just pick some happiness up at the store? What do we have to do to be happy? Can we be happy even during trials in life? 

This week, I'm sharing thoughts and quotes from President Monson's talk, The Perfect Path to Happiness. (read it, watch it, listen to it here) As I was studying this talk yesterday, I also found some great comfort from our Relief Society lesson, "Marriage-- An Eternal Partnership" (from the Howard W. Hunter lesson manual, chapter 16, you can find it here) and a few hymns, so I will be sharing that as well. I hope that as you read this, the Spirit will join in and everything will make sense and you will be able to find peace and happiness and joy to help you throughout your week. 

President Monson started his talk with a story about watching a film about the plan of salvation. He talked about the truth of the Plan and then he reminded us that, "Our Heavenly Father's plan for our happiness and salvation is shared by our missionaries throughout the world." As a missionary, I learned that the Lord's plan is so perfect, it is all inclusive and all inviting. There is room for everyone in the Lord's kingdom, but there are specific things that the Lord has asked us to do in order to get there. There is a path. And along the path, we make choices. It reminds me of the Game of Life-- there are a few different paths, but ultimately, the goal is to get to the same place. Just like in the game, in God's plan, we have all have to stop at certain points in our lives and do certain things. God calls these things covenants, or promises. We make covenants through ordinances (special ceremonies: baptism + the gift of the Holy Ghost; Melchizedek priesthood ordination for men; receiving temple endowments; and temple sealing) But once we make these covenants we aren't done. We continue forward, striving every day to become better versions of ourselves. We cannot do any of this without our Savior. 

President Monson said, "Essential to the plan is our Savior, Jesus Christ. Without His atoning sacrifice, all would be lost. It is not enough, however, to merely believe in Him and His mission. We need to work and learn, search and pray, repent and improve. We need to know God's laws and live them. We need to receive His saving ordinances. Only by doing so will we obtain true, eternal happiness.

Switching gears a tiny bit, I want to talk about the most recent ordinance and covenant I was able to make with my Heavenly Father; it included someone else-- Parker. I don't know if this is allowed, but it has definitely been my favorite covenant I've ever made (with my endowment at a VERY close second!!!) Making this covenant has brought me so much happiness in my life. I seriously cannot even imagine my life without Parker in it for the rest of eternity-- and I don't want to. But yesterday in Relief Society, the lesson was from the Howard W. Hunter lesson manual, lesson 16: Marriage-- An Eternal Partnership and SO many quotes stood out to me. Some stood out to me about my life BEFORE I was married and some stood out to me about married life and some applied to both. 

photo by Debby Leavitt Photography
But my most favorite quotes were these:

"Try not to let what you don't have blind you to that which you do have." - Howard W. Hunter

"While waiting for promised blessings, one should not mark time, for to fail to move forward is to some degree retrogression. Be anxiously engaged in good causes, including your own development." - Howard W. Hunter

Our Heavenly Father's plan is truly a plan of happiness. He doesn't want us wasting away our days being sad, lonely, depressed, or envious. We truly are here on earth to have joy. (see 2 Nephi 2:25) God has given us everything we need in life to be happy! Even during the hard days. Trust me, I know the hard days will come. But "even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise." (Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo) And "blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted." (3 Nephi 12:4

All we have to do is cling to hope and seek out the will of the Father. I get it, sometimes that is waaaay easier said than done, but it IS possible. 

photo by Debby Leavitt Photography
Two more favorite quotes from yesterday:

"As I search the holy scriptures,
May thy mercy be revealed.
Soothe my troubled heart and spirit;
May my unseen wounds be healed."
As I Search The Holy Scriptures; Hymn 277

"In brightest day or darkest night,
He said, 'Thy will, O Lord, be done.'
... And pray for strength, that we may say,
As He, 'Thy will, O Lord, be done.'"
Thy Will, O Lord, Be Done; Hymn 188