When Richard went from a comfortable existence to living in a small apartment with his wife and young son, he realized he was a victim of his poor choices. He’s grateful for challenges that helped him grow and learn from the Lord.
It took a while. At first, Richard wanted to blame everyone else for his financial misfortune. When he realized that he was the problem and that he alone was responsible for the consequences of his poor decisions, he also realized that he was the answer.
He felt torturous anxiety for his plight and saw no way out. He prayed and prayed often. He knew he was loved by those around him, but he also felt imprisoned in a dark tunnel with no light at the end.
In time, he talked with others in similar situations to get their advice. One friend suggested that for 10 days he make a list of 50 things for which he was grateful. After the 10 days, he felt blessed and more confident, but he was still weighed down with burdensome darkness.
Another friend suggested he needed to learn to love himself and treat himself daily to something that made him happy, such as time spent with family and in nature.
All these things helped lift his spirits to take heart for his challenge. At times, he reflected on a placard from his childhood: “God don’t make no junk.” And he wasn’t junk.
He meditated on counsel from Church leaders to pray like all depended on heaven and to work like everything depended on him. “That’s what I did,” he said. He knew he couldn’t change the past, but he could go forward with humility.
As he cared for his wife and son and saw to their happiness, he noticed the darkness lifting and peace returning. He examined the Savior’s example in scripture, how He fasted for strength and direction. Richard began fasting one day a week for four years.
Now, more than seven years later, Richard feels he and family have emerged from their challenges. “It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “But I wouldn’t change a thing. It was during this time that I learned that no matter how high the mountains are or how great the obstacles, we can overcome.
“I’m so grateful I went through those challenges,” he says. “Instead of edging God out of my life and blaming everything on Him, I took advantage of those trials to become closer to Him, to become more of the person He wants me to be.”
Remember, he said, “God don’t make no junk.”