- In most languages there exists a phrase as magical and full of promise as perhaps any in the world. That phrase is “Once upon a time.” “Once upon a time” promises something: a story of adventure and romance, a story of princesses and princes. It may include tales of courage, hope, and everlasting love. In many of these stories, nice overcomes mean and good overcomes evil. But perhaps most of all, I love it when we turn to the last page and our eyes reach the final lines and we see the enchanting words “And they lived happily ever after.” Isn’t that what we all desire: to be the heroes and heroines of our own stories; to triumph over adversity; to experience life in all its beauty; and, in the end, to live happily ever after?
He shares how the Young Women's material highlights their divine purpose.
- On the first page of your Young Women Personal Progress book, you will find these words: “You are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Father, prepared to come to the earth at this particular time for a sacred and glorious purpose.” Sisters, those words are true! They are not made up in a fairy tale! Isn’t it remarkable to know that our eternal Heavenly Father knows you, hears you, watches over you, and loves you with an infinite love? In fact, His love for you is so great that He has granted you this earthly life as a precious gift of “once upon a time,” complete with your own true story of adventure, trial, and opportunities for greatness, nobility, courage, and love. And, most glorious of all, He offers you a gift beyond price and comprehension. Heavenly Father offers to you the greatest gift of all—eternal life—and the opportunity and infinite blessing of your own “happily ever after.”
Trial Is Part of the Journey
It is important to remember that in any literary story, there is oposition that must be overcome. It is no different in life. We all have trials we must face and how we handle those trials builds character and experience in our journey through mortality.
- The scriptures tell us there must be opposition in all things, for without it we could not discern the sweet from the bitter. In stories, as in life, adversity teaches us things we cannot learn otherwise. Adversity helps to develop a depth of character that comes in no other way. Our loving Heavenly Father has set us in a world filled with challenges and trials so that we, through opposition, can learn wisdom, become stronger, and experience joy.
- My dear young sisters, you need to know that you will experience your own adversity. None is exempt. You will suffer, be tempted, and make mistakes. You will learn for yourself what every heroine has learned: through overcoming challenges come growth and strength. It is your reaction to adversity, not the adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.
Many among us have already experienced trials of great significance. President Uchtdorf speaks to those people specifically. He wants all of them to know that they have a Savior how has overcome for them.
- There are those among you who, although young, have already suffered a full measure of grief and sorrow. My heart is filled with compassion and love for you. How dear you are to the Church. How beloved you are of your Heavenly Father. Though it may seem that you are alone, angels attend you. Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone. If you ever feel your burden is too great to bear, lift your heart to your Heavenly Father, and He will uphold and bless you.
Stay True to What You Know Is Right
We live in a world that has make things that can distract us from living the gospel. It is important that we not get distracted by these things and stay focused on our goal of eternal life.
- Everywhere you look today, you will find promises of happiness. Ads in magazines promise total bliss if you will only buy a certain outfit, shampoo, or makeup. Certain media productions glamorize those who embrace evil or who give in to base instincts. Often these same people are portrayed as models of success and accomplishment. In a world where evil is portrayed as good and good as evil, sometimes it is difficult to know the truth.
We can be comforted to know that the plan of happiness is a perfect plan created by our Father in Heaven. His plan is for all of us and if we live it, it provides the greatest happiness we will be able to have.
- We all search for happiness, and we all try to find our own “happily ever after.” The truth is, God knows how to get there! And He has created a map for you; He knows the way. He is your beloved Heavenly Father, who seeks your good, your happiness. He desires with all the love of a perfect and pure Father that you reach your supernal destination. The map is available to all. It gives explicit directions of what to do and where to go to everyone who is striving to come unto Christ and “stand as [a witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places.” All you have to do is trust your Heavenly Father. Trust Him enough to follow His plan.
The Gospel Is the Way to Happily Ever After
- “Happily ever after” is not something found only in fairy tales. You can have it! It is available for you! But you must follow your Heavenly Father’s map. Sisters, please embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ! Learn to love your Heavenly Father with all your heart, might, and mind. Fill your souls with virtue, and love goodness. Always strive to bring out the best in yourself and others. Learn to accept and act upon the Young Women values. Live the standards in For the Strength of Youth. These standards guide and direct you to your “happily ever after.” Living these standards will prepare you to make sacred covenants in the temple and establish your own legacy of goodness in your individual circumstances.
President Uchtdorf concludes with these inspiring worlds for the sisters of the church.
- You are princesses, destined to become queens. Your own wondrous story has already begun. Your “once upon a time” is now.
President Uchtdorf provides wonderful words of inspiration to the sisters of the church. I am going to print this talk and give it to each of my daughters to help them understand how important they are to our Heavenly Father. I tell my daughters that they know something very important. That is the rest of the world knew it, it would change the world. I tell them that the first line of the Young Women's theme has the potential to change the world. It reads, "We are daughters of our Heavenly Father who loves us." If the world knew the love that God has for them, the world would be a different place. This talk shares a portion of that love that Heavenly Father has for each of his daughters. When I share it with my daughters, I hope they will take it personally. I hope they will realize that God loves them individually and personally. That knowledge will change they self-image, their attitude about themselves, and help them view others are children of a loving Heavenly Father.