Not asked to walk a thousand miles, but to soften a heart

Audrey Stephen says answers to her questions have come in different ways and that it’s important to be willing to do the work.

FLORENCE, Neb. — There are often questions weighing on young adults’ minds today that have been asked by many in times past. As Audrey Stephen, a 25-year-old from Papillion, Nebraska, has looked for answers to her questions, she’s realized that she hasn’t been the first to ask them. 

As Audrey has wondered, “Am I on the right path? Am I doing the right thing?” her mind has been turned to prophets–both ancient and modern: “Like Nephi, and Joseph Smith, and Enos,” she said, “they all wanted to know where they were in standing with the Lord. That’s a big concern and a big question on young adults’ minds.”

At the same time, things within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been “picking up pace,” Audrey said. “I think the Lord, through President (Russell M.) Nelson, is expecting a lot more of us. Our spiritual standing is a big deal.” 

While determining her spiritual standing with God has been a priority for Audrey, it hasn’t come without more questions, and sometimes even doubts. During her search to answer the questions of her soul, Audrey said that the best balance she’s found between her beliefs and doubts has been constant scripture study and constant prayer. 

“I’ve found that that has really helped me not only learn more, but realize where Heavenly Father wants me to go in my life,” Audrey said. “ I don’t have as many doubts as I used to because I’m surrounding myself with Heavenly Father.”

Growing up, Audrey said that she had questions about Joseph Smith and the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. While Audrey said those questions are good to have, she emphasized the  importance of being in the right frame of mind to receive an answer. “It doesn’t do you any good to have questions and doubts if you’re not willing to find an answer,” she said. 

Audrey Stephen shares what she’s learned when looking for answers throughout her life. (Andrea Cabrera)

Finding and receiving answers can look different for everyone. “Personal revelation is personal,” Audrey said. “It can come in any way.”

As Audrey has grown older, she’s realized that her answers have come in different ways. 

“For a long time,” she said, “I just expected that when I prayed I was going to get the answer…but I’ve just found that whenever I’m aligning myself to the will of the Lord, I receive answers anywhere and everywhere.” 

In her process of learning to receive revelation, Audrey has been able to learn from the experiences that Joseph Smith had in hearing the voice of God. “I’ve learned a lot through (Joseph Smith) and his example of what it really means to receive revelation,” she said. “As I’ve gone back and studied the First Vision…I’ve been able to really understand his process…it has helped me receive answers to questions I didn’t even know I had.” 

Although God has given Audrey answers to many of her questions, sometimes she has been left in the dark. Through times when the heavens have seemed silent, Audrey has wondered if God was hearing her prayers. 

“For a long time…I felt like I was just on the back burner. It was really hard to feel like I had been forgotten,” she said.  

Through these moments, Audrey said that she has learned to be humble. “The more humble I’ve become, I’ve realized that…Heavenly Father has a time for everything, and everything will work out the way He wants it to if we align our lives to His will.”

As Audrey has sought to align her life with the will of Heavenly Father, she’s reflected on the sacrifices that her pioneer ancestors made to do Heavenly Father’s will. Although their sacrifices were different from hers, they have brought her strength.  

“Reading about their experiences helps me realize what I can do. I’m not asked to walk a thousand miles,” she said, “ but I’m asked to soften my heart and change who I am so that the Lord can help me.”

Though her search for answers hasn’t always been easy, Audrey has seen God throughout it all.

“I’ve been blessed with lots of faith…to know that no matter what, I’m still loved,” she said. “Even if life doesn’t match up to what we envision, it will all be okay because Heavenly Father loves us.”

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