While I was in the MTC we watched a video called "The Miracle of A Mission." Elder Holland was speaking to a group of missionaries. I was having a hard time and dealing with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. A few quotes that stood out to me were, "Don't give up, don't ever give up!," "Salvation is not a cheap experience," It was not meant to be easy...It will never be easy...It was not easy for our Savior." and "Don't feel sorry for yourself." I tried often to think of these quotes as I served. It wasn't easy. It was the hardest experience I have had in my life. Even though I didn't serve a full mission, I will never regret the opportunity that I had and the lessons, such as these, that I learned.
Yesterday I came across a talk he gave in General Conference in April 2006 titled, "Broken Things to Mend." I remember reading this talk on my mission and many times since then. One of the things he said that stuck out at me was, "...come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven's promises. In that regard Alma's testimony is my testimony: 'I do know,' he says, 'that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions.'"
Elder Holland goes on to say, "There can and will be plenty of difficulties in life. Nevertheless, the soul that comes unto Christ, who knows His voice and strives to do as He did, finds strength, as the hymn says, 'beyond [his] own.'"
I have tried to rely on my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and also am trying every day to put my trust in God. It isn't easy. I struggle every day. Just because I have a testimony doesn't mean that I won't have trials. That being said, I know that it is because of my testimony that I have been able to get through a lot.
This past October in General Conference, Elder Holland gave a talk titled, "Like a Broken Vessel." He specifically addressed mental illness such as anxiety and depression, focusing mainly on MDD - major depressive disorder. This is one of the things that I have been diagnosed with. Elder Holland talks about how there was a time in his life when he went through a fit if depression. He also mentioned others such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and the eighth president of the Church, George Albert Smith. Many people deal with depression in some form. Elder Holland gave advice to those friends and family members on how to handle situations when their loved ones are depressed. He also gave great advice for those of us who have it.
One of the things that stood out to me in this talk was: "God's love never changes...It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God's love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve [it]. It is simply always there."
I love Elder Jeffrey R Holland! I have felt the reassurance of the Spirit that he is called of God. I don't always remember the things I know especially during the really dark hours but I am trying. I do know that my Savior has paid the price for these thoughts and feelings that I struggle with. I am extremely grateful to men such as Elder Holland and all the General Authorities of the Church, including the prophet, Thomas S Monson, who give us council and advice to help us through whatever trials we may face in this life.