For the past three years, I have had the opportunity to be tested. I have come to realize that no matter what you go through, with God you do not have to do it alone.

Shortly after my 16th birthday, I discovered that I have eczema. It was difficult every morning to look in the mirror and see the rashes that covered my body. I challenged myself to see this as an opportunity to be tested. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I tried to do what my Young Women teachers taught me: to count my blessings each day despite my trials. Even though I don’t have clear skin right now, I am grateful for my family and friends and for my musical talents. I am grateful to have two legs, two hands and feet, eyes to see, and ears to hear. I know that true beauty lies within one’s self, not on the outside.

But my eczema gradually got the better of me. I was no longer as friendly as I used to be and no longer smiled. The many doctors I consulted were certain that I would be “flawless” before Christmas. But I wasn’t. I prayed every day for strength to overcome the shyness brought about by my skin disease.

Everybody kept telling me not to think about my plight, that I should act normally and pretend there was nothing wrong with my skin. But this was not easy to do. My mom would gently repeat scripture stories over and over again, hoping to comfort and encourage me.

Doctrine and Covenants 24:8 says, “Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.” This scripture gave me words to live by. I have them written on bookmarks, on notebooks, and in my room. It is now one of my favorite verses for encouraging me to do my best despite my trial.

Enduring this trial has been difficult, but now I am more prepared for future trials. Heavenly Father has prepared me so that I can handle whatever challenges come. Now I know that no matter what I go through, I do not have to do it alone.

The Lost Lamb, by Del Parson