The last few months, probably since just before Thanksgiving my heart has been overwhelmed with, hmm what's the best word. Awe - I don't know but just overwhelmed with the amount of trials that some are called to go thru. I have had my heart and mind drawn continually to "trials of faith". It is simply amazing to see the many heartbreaking examples of adversity all around me. I have seen women lose their husbands to death, and perhaps just as painful wives who feel that they've lost their spouse to pornography addiction, I've seen mothers who have had to bury children, watched as couples see their children fall away from the gospel, families battle chronic illness, individuals and families deal with chronic pain, I've seen women who want so badly to be mothers struggle with infertility while they see the teenage neighbor cry because she is expecting a baby she didn't plan. And the older I get the more I am amazed at the different sides there are to every single trial. There is always more then one person involved and more then one person's heart who is breaking in a different way over the very same thing. For a personal example - almost 10 years ago I made the very painful decision to get a divorce. I can honestly say it was the hardest decision I have ever made and one that I spend more time on my knees and counseling with bishop/stake president's/counselors then I ever had before. It was a choice that I had never imagined myself making and yet also one that I knew was necessary for my own spiritual survival. I knew that I had the blessing of the Lord as I made that choice and I knew that it would bring with it life long consequences. I didn't know however that at some point my children would chose to live somewhere besides my own home. That choice is heartbreaking to me as a mother and yet as I watch Barry wish that his children lived closer to us - I know that for their dad this is a great thing. I know that I don't understand how the Lord can turn things to our good or for the good of somebody else but I do know that it is possible. Just a week or so ago I learned of a family in Pocatello who lost almost their entire family in one night, while the two oldest children are serving missions. A few days ago I heard of a sweet family in my own town who lost their father and husband. My heart aches so much for these families. I have good friend who lives with almost soul wrenching depression and I only wish I had an idea of how to reach out to her. Everywhere I turn their are heart aches and trials.
I've watched as my own husband struggles with not being able to financially support our family and even though I assure him over and over that this is the Lord's plan for my life he still struggles with how to cope with the trials that life has handed us.
Before you think that this whole entry is full of sadness I also must say that at the same time I am amazed at the miracles, large and small, I see all around me every day. I have watched over the past year as a patient I know who has been handed some of the hardest of life's trials is overcoming them. She is rising up and in the process she is setting and example and raising the bar for her children so that their lives will forever be better for her choices. I have watched as women who thought they would never get to hold a baby in their arms, are told that they will very soon see their very own infant in a few short months. I have seen in my own life financial blessings that seemed impossible. A short memory of that goes like this. One day while I was a single mom and very much struggling each day with just making ends meet I had a strong desire to attend the temple. I called and ask my mom if she could take me. She apologized but said she couldn't leave the elderly gentleman that she cared for in her home. I didn't have enough gas to drive myself to the temple or even to drive myself to work the next week. I did not know what to do and I wanted the peace that is felt in the temple so badly. A few hours later as I sat wondering how I would get my laundry done with out any quarters that week and feeling rather sorry for myself in my quiet apartment (my children were with their father for the weekend) I got a call from my mother. She said that my little brother Joseph had volunteered to watch Mr. Ricks (the elderly man my mom cared for) this was in and of itself a small miracle because this was not a task that either of my little brothers relished. Anyway my mom told me that she and my dad would drive me and attend the temple with me. I was so glad. After we had left the temple my dad gave me a $20 bill and told me he wished it were a hundred and that he loved me. They also gave me a roll of quarters from my little brother Joe. I did not understand what was happening. Not only did I get to go to the temple but I had money for gas and quarters to do my laundry with. The Lord had truly provided for me. To me it was a miracle. I have great faith in the Lord and know that He can turn all things. Even sickness and heartache and death to something that works for our good. Even though I don't understand how or when. This week my nephew Christopher, who is a missionary posted this as his face book status:
We’ve all had that experience. We’ve prayed for something to happen, and it didn’t happen.I think we need to learn a lesson from the Lord Himself who taught us how to pray. In the Lord’s Prayer He said: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:9–10...). If we can train ourselves to pray to God that we might conform to His will rather than have Him conform to our will, that problem will disappear. It’s a matter of learning who is the Father and who is the son or the daughter. You pray to be consonant with the will of God and to let your life be consonant with His will and direction for you. Maybe that means you have to suffer through a death or an illness in the family in order to get the growth and the experience that will be to your eternal advantage. Remember who you are when you pray and to whom you’re praying.