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HOW TO TURN TRIALS INTO BLESSINGS

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Attend the temple. Oftentimes there is nothing that can be done to immediately remedy the situation, leaving one with a sense of futility and frustration. By attending the temple, we exercise our faith in the Lord's ability to bless us and trust in His eternal purposes. There is a power from above that accompanies temple worship, and while we may not see the results at first, the Lord is purifying our hearts and consecrating our faithful efforts for our ultimate good.

- Receive priesthood blessings. During a difficult time for me as a single mother, I sought a blessing from my former bishop, then in the stake presidency. He gave me a beautiful blessing filled with counsel and comfort.- Surround yourself with inspirational tapes and music. Difficult times stress our emotional and spiritual reserves to the limit, requiring extra effort on our part to maintain faith.

- Seek to learn from your trials. One lesson that can be learned is that the Savior is always there to help us through any trial if we are willing to seek Him in patience and faith. Oftentimes a tragedy will prompt a caring person to later seek to help others with similar problems.

- Seek eternal perspective from the scriptures and from prayer. Through the Atonement, difficult or bitter experiences can be turned to our good if we will seek Him. As it says in Isaiah 61:3, He will give "beauty for ashes."

- Accept help and support from others, but do not expect from others what they do not have to give. Help will come, often from unexpected sources, but those who are closest to you may also be suffering and not able to extend themselves any further to help you. - Karen Baker, Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

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How we did it:

Numerous blessings

At age 23, when I was three months pregnant with my first baby, I had a stroke. While working with the physical therapist to learn to walk and train the left side of my body to move again, I kept thinking about all of the blessings I had. The problems I was facing were minor in comparison to the numerous blessings I had received throughout my life.

The faith, prayers and love of my husband and family were incredible. Thanks to our loving Heavenly Father, I gave birth to a perfect, healthy baby boy. We are all doing great and still receiving more blessings than we can count! - Sheila Barton, Richfield, Utah

Lord's omnipotence

I recently dealt with a problem that was severe and prolonged. During this time, it occurred to me that perhaps there was something in particular that the Lord wanted me to learn through this experience. So I prayed to find out what that might be. The answer I received was powerful and memorable, and as a result I obtained an even greater sense of the Lord's omnipotence and His care over His children. I felt closer to the Lord after this experience. - Name withheld, Massachusetts.

Not being punished

Realize that what happens is most likely not your fault and you are not being punished by God. The trial can be looked at as a blessing if we consider it an opportunity to become closer to the Lord, in heeding His Spirit concerning what to do and in having a chance to develop more Christlike attitudes in handling trials.

Reading the scriptures is often very enlightening, as we liken them unto ourselves and learn what the Lord and/or His prophets would do in such circumstances. - Hollye Holmquist, Lancaster, Calif.

A necessary part

A lot of people feel it is being unrealistic when they make an effort to see things in a positive light. Whether you view a partial glass of water as half full or half empty changes nothing about the actual contents of the glass. When we weigh ourselves down with negative thoughts and maintain a depressed attitude we are creating a self-inflicted major handicap. Our major focus is inward and we feel helpless and hopeless. We cannot be an instrument for the Lord or effectively help anyone.

Trials are a necessary part of temporal existence. When we want to build muscle, we expect to suffer some soreness and strain in the process. When we work for a college degree we accept mental stress in reaching to gain greater intellectual knowledge. Why are we so surprised or frustrated at discomfort associated with temporal existence? If we look for benefits in circumstances, endure with patience (especially when we can't understand why), and never cease to see other people's pain and try to help them, we will be able to recognize blessings even in our trials. - Mary Fellows, Dryden, N.Y.

Great attitude

Eighteen years ago, I was involved in a terrible automobile accident that severely damaged my left leg. Five years later, I finally had the leg amputated. At the time of the accident, I was very involved in dog showing. With the accident, my dreams of becoming a professional dog handler vanished, or so I thought. After the amputation, I went back to dog showing and have successfully finished three dogs to their championship and two of those through their grand championships. In addition, I have been able to be influential in other people's lives, helping them to deal with their disabilities, because I was blessed with a great attitude about my disabilities. - Lynne Frederick, Meadview, Ariz.

Blessing in disguise

In hindsight, most of us can look at a painful trial and realize that it was a blessing in disguise. We discovered or developed strengths or learned lessons that have been valuable to us. The difficulty with trials usually come while we are in the middle of our emotions, the pain, the sorrow, the frustration, etc.

As a mother of eight and a professional mental health counselor, I have either experienced or listened to a wide spectrum of trials. Through my experience as well as the research in my field, I have found that those who seem to handle trials best are the individuals that can find meaning in their suffering, or have an attitude of "What can I learn from this experience?"

The Lord designed this world of opposition for our ultimate good. Through experience we learn valuable lessons and have abundant opportunities to practice the Christlike traits necessary for our progress. - Karen Michaelson, Burley, Idaho

Peace within

Each time I am faced with a trial I think of it as another challenge - and I know my Heavenly Father has a blessing waiting for me. Being drawn closer to my Heavenly Father through prayer and knowing He is there for me brings me comfort and a feeling of peace within. Recalling other times of trial and the blessings that followed reinforces my faith. Reading some of my favorite scriptures strengthens me. Taking time to count my blessings and express gratitude for them helps me endure. Listening to the words of our hymns calms and reassures me that with the Lord's help all things are possible. - Cleo Price Mollinet, Murray, Utah

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How to checklist:

1. Realize trials are part of life; look for the positive.

2. Seek eternal perspective from scriptures and prayer.

3. Trust in Lord; count your blessings, express gratitude.

4. Reach out to others with strengths you gained.

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Write to Us:

June 10 "How to be tolerant of others' lifestyles without compromising your standards."

June 17 "How to become a greater asset at your place of employment."

June 24 "How to rid yourself of self-pity."

July 1 "How to overcome personal barriers to making friends."

July 8 "How to benefit from institute of religion as a college-age young adult."

July 15 "How to help young people learn about the legacy left by the pioneers of every land."

July 22 "How to maintain appropriate relationships among family members separated by divorce."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, or send fax to (801) 237-2121. Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.