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The Pearl Necklace

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The cheerful girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.  
Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!" 
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl's upturned face. "A dollar ninety-five. That's almost $2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. Your birthday's only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma." 
As soon as Jenny got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbor and asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. 
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace. 
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere--Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green. 
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready for bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, "Do you love me?" 
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you." 
"Then give me your pearls." 
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess--the white horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favorite." 
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. Good night." And he brushed her cheek with a kiss. 
About a week later, after the story time, Jenny's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?" 
"Daddy, you know I love you." 
"Then give me your pearls." 
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my babydoll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper." 
"That's okay. Sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you." And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. 
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed Indian-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek. 
"What is it, Jenny? What's the matter?" 
Jenny didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver,she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you." 
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime-store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. 
He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the dime-store stuff so he could give her genuine treasure.
A member I worked very closely with in my first area told me how this story helped her let go of her boyfriend in order for her to meet her husband. This dear sweet sister had no idea what my situation was, but it hit so close to home.

In order for me to explain how this story relates to my relationship with Alex, you're going to have to know a little bit about my past.

Leaving to serve a mission became super hard because there was another righteous decision I could have chosen. But I had to make a choice and I chose to serve the Lord.

It was so hard. I knew I was supposed to be a missionary. I've know it for years. But it was really hard to accept at this point in my life. What didn't make my situation easier was when other missionaries in the MTC, after hearing what was on the letters from the one I left behind, say, "Sister Limas, why are you here? There is someone at home who wants to marry you. You don't have to be here".

But I did have to be on a mission. I knew that deep down inside. I just didn't understand why.

I remember going to the temple with my companion during my first month as a missionary. The only question I could ask once I entered the celestial room was, "is he the one?" The answer was a clear and fierce, "NO."

It was hard for me to accept. I tried to bury it in my thoughts. I couldn't let my feelings get in the way of the work.

There came a point where things became rough between me and this person. It was an emotionally dark time for me. I became physically sick, to the point I was told I could possibly be sent home. I prayed and pleaded with my Heavenly Father to take it all away. After weeks of prayer and blessings and study, it was finally lifted. I can't even begin to express how many times I had to tell Heavenly Father, "I am leaving this in your hands. I don't want to deal with it anymore". I am so grateful for the comfort and peace I felt from my Saviour during that dark period of my life.

I felt free and I was ready to soar. I once was afraid of change because I did not want to go home with a different relationship with this person. But after that dark experience, I was ready for the Lord to mold me any which way He would have.

And just as I was starting, he tried to mend things up.

Now here's the tricky part. I could have just ignored him, right? WRONG. The Spirit made it very clear that he was not the one for me, BUT I was still supposed to be writing and uplifting and encouraging this person. (Holy moly, can you imagine how confusing this was when it was actually happening? Geez.)

My whole mission was a constant battle of doing my best to accept the Lord's will. There are countless stories told, Mormon Messages watched, members's examples seen, that the Spirit would use to confirm again and again that the one I left behind was NOT the one for me. Did I want to believe it? Of course not. I tried not to think about it, but I felt like something was always always hinting at it.

Then came the last few months of my mission. Much growth and learning has happened at this point. I was also pretty sure that I had let everything go. He told me he was seeing a new girl and I knew this girl most likely the one for him. I told him to date her. Although I was accepting of this, I felt such a discomfort and I had no idea why.

In my 2nd to last email home (Life Lessons Learned), I shared my thoughts on my lack of faith. I had enough faith that this work would move forward. The amount of miracles I saw my last transfer confirms that. But I learned I had a lack of faith in Heavenly Father's promises to me specifically. I didn't trust the promises given to me would be fulfilled because I could not see the plan.

I remember getting on my knees and really evaluating where I stood. Even though I had told Heavenly Father multiple times that I was leaving this in His hands, I had to make one last official promise to Him before going home. I said in this prayer, "Heavenly Father, I am giving my pearls to you." I remember crying because I didn't know what was going to happen next. I didn't know what to expect for what the Lord had prepared for me. I really had to fight my own doubts, but I felt at peace that He had a plan.

A week before going home, I had the opportunity to once again visit the temple. This visit was like none other. After much struggle and refinement and learning about my Saviour, the temple and the covenants I had made had a new meaning and significance to me.

I entered that celestial room one last time and asked the same question I did 18 months ago. The answer was, "Sister Limas, you know you can make it work if you really wanted it to. But receiving what you want most now won't give you the things you truly desire (which are the promises in your Patriarchal Blessing.) I have someone else prepared for you. But it is your choice".

I look back and realize I had to make that one last statement of handing over my pearls because I had to stick to it. Heavenly Father knows that if I fought for what I wanted, I would have gotten it. But He knows me better than that, and knows I wouldn't fight for something I knew was not in His plan.

I get home and it was the hardest month of my entire life. I hated not having a companion, I hated not having a my missionary schedule, I hated the drama I was being thrown into, I hated not knowing what direction to take in life, and I just missed being a missionary so so much.

Exactly one month after I got home was when Alex got home from his mission and we started talking right away. What's funny is the moment Alex and I started dating, everything else started to fall into place. There have been a couple times during the beginning of our relationship where I was brought to tears as we talked over the phone. Alex was not at all what I expected. But I knew deep down inside that this was the person Heavenly Father spent the last 18 months of my life preparing me for. He was my genuine pearl necklace the Lord had been preparing for me. He proved to be everything that I was expecting in an eternal companion. It shocked me how quick the Lord was willing to fulfill that promise even though I was so stubborn throughout my mission. My gratitude was, and still is, overflowing.

I always say that I used to think my mission was a huge sacrifice I had to make. But over time, it had become a very sacred time between me and the Lord. And now I find it even more so because I realize what the Lord was trying to do in order for me to meet my eternal companion.

Lesson learned: Heavenly Father has beautiful blessings in store for each of us. Sometimes we forget that what we're holding on to might not necessarily be the biggest and better blessings Heavenly Father wants us to have. He doesn't take away our agency. And it isn't until we choose to let go when 
He can start pouring them out to us.

I know with my whole heart that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us. He loves us too much to not help us succeed. What might seem like a boulder in our way in our individual paths of life is really a stepping stone He has placed to help us reach higher. I know that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can turn those boulders into stepping stones. It's because of Him that we can have hope in the promised blessings our Father has in store for us.

Mucho Lovin'
Sister Limas (soon-to-be del Mundo!)

1 comment

  1. I love you so much Ariana. I remember when you were going through this time and how much you were hurting. I'm happy that you endured to the end and got your perfect strand of pearls. He is well worth the wait. I know Alex loves you endlessly.
    Love,
    Sister Clements

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