Dear Heavenly Father

I'm so grateful that my application got to BYU, even though I put the wrong address on the envelope. Thank you for keeping my hysterics from becoming too dangerous to myself and others. Please do what you can to convince my mother that I didn't mean those nasty things I said at the post office when we were trying to send the transcripts. I know she didn't call me stupid, but that's what I was hearing. You know how bad I get when I go into emotional vertigo. Please help me to do better so I don't hurt the people I love.

Please be with that guy I saw on Mr. Bob's old patio today. I can't imagine that Mr. Bob's apartment already has another tenant in it, nor do I know why the guy was just sitting in the snow. Watch over him. I imagine he must need you.

I thought about a mission today. I'm still not sure what to do about my desires to serve. I know I would be good at it, but I can't afford it. If it's what you want me to do, I will go. I would ask that you will bless the missionaries out in the field, especially those two in the West Indies that just disappeared. Their families must be worried and in low spirits. Please be with them too.

My teachers need to feel your love Heavenly Father. I know I will eventually escape this place, but they can't. At least not easily. I try to respect their trials, and to help in any ways that I can. But I know that every time they whirl on their classes of belligerent students and yell, "SHUT UP! I'M TIRED OF YOU GUYS!" they lose something precious that cannot be returned. Please help me to know what I can do and say to make our thankless high school a little better each day.

But our problems are not so large. We have been reading about Africa the past few weeks in school, and my heart aches for your children there. Rape in Sierra Leone. Genocide in Rwanda. AIDS in Burundi. I feel so selfish worrying about the AP Calculus test I missed today when there are so many people living in poverty. Why am I so blessed? What did I do to deserve such prosperity? Instead, please remember the children. Comfort them. Bless them, not me. I do not think I have done much lately to deserve many blessings. Give them to someone who could really use them.

I am grateful for the time you have given me today with my friends and family, and to share the love I have for them. May they always know how much I care for them. Please, if nothing else, give them all peace. Even if it means taking peace from me. I will try to learn to take comfort in the peace of others instead of always wishing it for myself. I will need your guidance, but I've learned that you're a really good teacher. I'm sure you know exactly what I need to hear.

I pray for these things humbly in the sacred name of your son Jesus Christ. AMEN.

I spoke to a friend of mine today. She moved to Georgia some years ago, and I have missed her. Her family situation would make a great soap opera, I must admit. To make a long story short, she is dealing with issues of her own with her father. She has decided, after re-entering his life, that she would prefer not to have a relationship with him anymore. She has been talking to me about her situation because I have so much experience with less-than-perfect parents. I try to help her in any way I can.

In her most recent e-mail, she told me that she still struggles with the pain left over from severing all ties with her father, and yet she refuses to endure him any longer. Her resolve is so familiar, and the true miracle of her situation is a great relief. Few women ever get the courage to rise above a man like that. Look at the domestic violence statistics some time if you don't believe me. What she has to do is not easy, and her courage will give her strength. But finding strength, although the most important part, is not the hardest part of the situation she faces. I have learned the hard way that recovering from familial abuse is 10% situation control, and 90% healing/recovery. Fixing the inner scarring left behind by an abusive family member, in my opinion, is the hardest part of having an abusive family member.

I told her to "find something to give yourself. Give yourself something to love, because that's what the emptiness is. Something that no one can take from you would be best." I went on to tell her that prayer works when all else fails. If I've learned nothing else, it's that keeping a prayer in your heart gives you something that no one can take from you. My friend isn't Mormon, but because we're both Christians, we can talk about prayer and faith with each other when we need to most; a facet of our friendship that I treasure.

And so I think I need to add a line to mine.

Heavenly Father. Thank you for the friendship I have found in Katie. I pray that she will feel that she always has a father in you. Please stay with her. Please help her to cope with the hatred she feels so it doesn't ruin her beautiful spirit. Please help me to know if there is anything I can ever do for her.
I ask for this in the name of my beloved brother, Jesus Christ. AMEN.
May your prayers lift burdens (yours and those of others) this holiday season; the best gift never wrapped in paper.

Truth Eternal Tells Me I've a Mother There

Without further ado, let's do a scriptural deep-dive on Heavenly Mother. I've put a lot of thought into the best way to create a lon...