It's 2 am and I am wide awake. Every now and then I have those nights where my mind just won't slow down. I toss and turn for hours before finally giving in and turning the light back on. Thankfully I don't have class tomorrow so the impact won't be that bad. On this nights I often read until my mind is exhausted and my eyes won't stay open.

Tonight I decided to read the journal I kept while I lived in Israel two summers ago. It's been a few months since I have read it, but I am always amazed at the experiences I had while I was there. I learned and grew so much there! I think we often forget how much we have grown and changed; we easily fall into this mind trap that we're stagnant, making little to no progress. I remember feeling this way while I was in Israel, but as I revisited my journal tonight I again realized how untrue this is. Whether we recognize it or not, the Lord is constantly molding and shaping us into the person He wants us to become. This change often comes in the form of trials, a refiner's fire. We're tried because we're worth it to Him. Heavenly Father longs to see us progress and become more like Him and for this reason He tests us; slowly teaching us how to be like Him.

My experience in Israel was four months of this growth--sixteen weeks of intensive learning of how to be more like my Savior. I hungered and thirsted after this instruction and Heavenly Father opened my eyes and allowed me to see His hand in my life. It was as if He was teaching me how He teaches me. At the beginning of my experience I mistook this teaching for something negative; I didn't understand what was happening. Only after I began writing things down and taking the time to understand my experiences was I able to appreciate the way the Lord was guiding my life.

I treasure my time in Israel for many things, but high on the list is the way it enhanced my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I know that He lives and loves each of us. He is quietly guiding our lives and protecting us from harm. If you're ever in doubt, keep a journal and read it often. His guidance will become clear.

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