If I Knew Then...

...what I know now...

1 year ago: Church will be the most important thing in my life.  Next to family, of course.  I know that I made one of the most important decisions of my life when I decided to come back to church.  It was not an easy road.  And Lord knows,  I kicked and screamed.  But it will make the reward that much sweeter.

2 years ago: There is someone better out there for me.  Letting go of Marcus, ending that relationship, was bound to happen, but it was the hardest thing I have ever done.  But if that hadn't happened, who knows where I would be now.  We talked about marriage.  I now can not image being married to a non-member.  I should have listed to my mom.  I can hear her say "I told you so."

3 years ago: Sometimes, happiness is a mask.  I kept telling myself that this was it.  This was the relationship that I would grow old in.  I thought I was settled and happy.  I eventually realized that I was completely wrong. 

4 years ago: You never really know someone until you live with them.  I moved in with Marcus.  There's nothing more to really say.

5 years ago: Some friendships aren't meant to last forever.  Probably my best and worst decision I made that year was moving in with my best friend since I had moved to Georgia.  It was a test that split our relationship for a few years.  We have since moved on and are talking, but things will never be the same. 

6 years ago: Happiness can really only be found in one form = church.  I left BYU and came back to Georgia.  I tried to throw myself into church, but I found myself in sticky situations instead.  I thought I was happy.  Five years later, I'd find that I was wrong.

7 years ago: The glory years are just that.  When I graduated high school, I thought I was IT.  I thought I was on top of the world and knew everything.  But I ended up going to BYU too early for my maturity level.  It was a learning experience, but not necessarily a good one.

Some people say they don't regret the things in their past.  I'm pretty sure that's bull.  Yes, I learned a lot from my past experiences.  Yes, I look back and see that I have changed into someone different.  Yes, I do regret the mistakes that I have made.  Especially those that have tossed me off my path.  But that is the beauty of this world.  We are free to choose are mistakes and our triumphs.  God will always be there to help us along the way, but it is ultimately our decision.
To fully understand this gift of agency and its inestimable worth, it is imperative that we understand that God’s chief way of acting is by persuasion and patience and long-suffering, not by coercion and stark confrontation. He acts by gentle solicitation and by sweet enticement. He always acts with unfailing respect for the freedom and independence that we possess. He wants to help us and pleads for the chance to assist us, but he will not do so in violation of our agency. He loves us too much to do that, and doing so would run counter to his divine character. -- "The Golden Thread of Choice" by President Howard W. Hunter, November 1989 Ensign


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