My friend Julie has been an example to me and a friend. Though, we haven’t met in person she is a shining light of joy and peace.  Julie who blogs at Julie In Real Life, is a wife and mother of three beautiful children. You can check out her blog HERE.  Often she shares her life with readers, adventures of her family, and she shares personal experiences and what she has learned from them.

Julie has been really open on her blog. She has endured a lot of trials in her life from things her family members are going through; as well as her own personal struggles with anxiety and depression.
Julie has suffered with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For Julie it came on out of nowhere. Somewhere between the age of sixteen and seventeen, between my junior and senior years of high school, depression crept into my life. It crept in without an invite and without warning. It gradually spread out it’s bleak, heavy blanket, choking out the light, the life, and the joy from my once vibrant self.  I had no reason to be depressed. No trauma, no unpleasant situations or experiences.  No environmental factors. My life had been pretty golden. Why, one day, could I not get out of bed?

Anxiety and depression are so prevalent in so many lives, but also so misunderstood. Many compare their experiences with another, or brush it off as if it is nothing. She describes it so well to get a full understanding of what she deals with. “Imagine you have just received a phone call from the hospital that your child, your parent, or a sibling has just been in a terrible accident and they are in the operating room. You get to the hospital waiting room and all you can do is pace back-and-forth, not knowing whether that person is going to live or die. Essentially, you are in a state of panic for fear of the worst. Now take those same feelings of fear and panic of something horrible happening, and imagine feeling that way, but for NO APPARENT REASON. And you try so hard to figure the WHY of you feeling this way, but simply cannot. Sometimes this leads to debilitation. All you can do is curl up in a ball underneath the covers and ride out the storm.”

I know so many people, myself included who have endured anxiety and depression, but many who are embarrassed and hide it from others. The thing I love about Julie is she works so hard to get through her bad days, and share her experiences to help others. Julie is grateful for her life and all that she has learned from her trials. What would happen to us if we only saw the darkness? Julie finds the light in her life and lets it shine for all to see.  “As I’ve thought about this and the different trials we go through as well as times of reprieve, I realize that sometimes we get to stand in the sun, enjoy its rays, feel of its warmth and light. Other times in life we have to rely on our memories of that warmth and sunshine. In either situation, there is always room for the light to enter our souls and permeate us with joy.”

I’ve learned so much about gratitude by Julie’s example and her love for her family and life. Even through her depression and anxiety she still enjoys life and is so grateful for her struggles and what she has learned from them. Julie keeps the Savior as a big part of her life and is grateful for all He did for us all. Thanks Julie for your great example of Gratitude. God works in mysterious ways, but I do believe he has a plan for each of us. That plan includes valleys of sorrow, peaks of happiness, and all the unknown terrain in between. It takes a lot of faith to swallow our pride, let our will be His, and let life play out trusting in Him. But when we do trust in him, when we endure times of sorrow, doubt, and pain by keeping our covenants and obeying Celestial laws JOY will truly be ours.”

I asked Julie if she could tell her Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren anything what would it be and her response was great. “Wow, this is a LOADED question! I feel like I could write a novel.” Which is the exact answer I wanted, because I feel the same. There is so much that we can teach our children and pass down the line. I know this because I have learned so much from those before me. Some of her wonderful thoughts and advice was perfect.

Love is the answer for almost everything.

Love your parents, love your siblings, love your friends, love your extended family, love your children with every beat of your heart.

Express your love to others on a daily basis, you never know when it could be the last time.

Celebrate others’ successes. In doing this you will find true joy.

Never withhold a compliment. Build others up like it’s your job.

It’s okay to be different.

Kindness is crucial. Spread kindness like it’s going out style and you need to cover the earth with it.

Being kind is more important than being popular.

Be kind to yourself and discover ways you can feel of your self worth. Know that you are a daughter or son of the most high kind, even Jesus Christ.

Stand up for what you believe in.

Believe in Jesus Christ and come to know him. A Christ-centered life will bring so much more happiness.

Humility is one of the greatest attributes you can have in this life. Humility does not mean thinking poorly or less of yourself. It means your are willing to put your ego aside to learn from and serve others.

It doesn’t matter what happens to you in life, but how you react to what happens to you that is more important.

“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your Faith” -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Remember to read more from Julie HERE