It started with the loss of my sweet, gorgeous, perfect 7 lbs 6 oz baby girl in labor. What commenced from that was a journey of heartbreak and a long road of grief balanced with sweet tender mercies and precious memories. A little over a year later a different heartbreak surfaced. While pregnant again my husband at that the time was forced to leave the home and he never came back. The journey that ensued from this experience has reached far beyond any pain scale that has been calculated.
Dark days and even darker nights enshrouded around me as I fought desperately to cling to the light of what was promised from earthly and heavenly blessings. I found myself struggling to go to church and was confused as to why people who used to talk to me longer did. I wondered why fingers were being wagged angrily in front of my broken hearted and traumatized children's faces instead of having arms wrapped around them in love. I ached to have a man by my side when talks were given about marriage and the roles of Mother and Father when I was now to serve both. I cried when I saw my children cry on Father's Day when they bravely stood before the congregation and sang "I'm so glad when Daddy come home..."
I hoped every Sunday with six children in tow that THIS would be the day that I would not come home in tears. I wanted church to be the place where I felt uplifted, strengthened, ready for my week. I would instead come home drained, judged, and again confused. Why did I feel this way in a place that should be the complete opposite? I remember a particularly hard Sunday I was determined to only come to the first hour of church from then on. My children were struggling too much and it hurt too much to see them go through more pain. I prayed to my Father to let him know that I just could not do it any longer. The very same day I received this email.
As I listened to Ammon and Tyler bear their testimonies on Sunday, it is obvious that they have been well-taught. Their testimonies are sincere and deal with feelings that mean a lot to them. They are thoughtful about what they say. I'm sure it's gratifying to you.Coincidence, I think not. I trudged forward One. Foot. In Front. Of. The. Other. I walked passed every Sunday the picture of a woman holding her baby in her arms with a wagon devoid of men behind her walking to what must have been an unreachable goal. I took courage from her. I also began to look at my circumstance differently regarding my attendance in church. Where I had blinders on before I now tried to view my position with different glasses.
It will be neat to see Ammon passing the sacrament, won't it?
I'm grateful that my family is surrounded by other families who work to make sure their children know and love the Gospel. We live in a great ward!
Thank you! You are awesome!
Those who worked with my children did love them, but the kids needed a different love. They needed mine. Once they realized that they could have my love at any time DURING church they became a different animal. They no longer pushed so hard against their teachers.
There were ANGELS in my midst in my ward. There were many who knew nothing of the situation that would purposely sit on/by my row to lend a hand. (Why they would do that and not be able to listen is beyond me... :) ) There were those who would constantly answer their phone when they saw it was me on the caller id and would know why I was calling... I needed help again... And they would help... Again...
For all the tears of bitterness I cried for the perceived judgement I FELT were overwhelmingly counterbalanced by those people who selflessly gave time and time again of their time, resources, and love to the sometimes unlovable state of me and my children.
This all culminated in a section in the "Daughters of My Kingdom" book when President Monson said,
Life is perfect for none of us. Rather than being judgmental and critical of each other, may we have the pure love of Christ for our fellow travelers in this journey through life. May we recognize that each one is doing her best to deal with the challenges which come her way, and may we strive to do our best to help out.It then dawned on me, I do not have the corner on the market for pain or hardship. The very people that I felt were being judgmental could be the very people that I needed to help. So I tried it out. Putting my pride behind me I served. I served everyone even those that I THOUGHT were judging me. Whether they had judged or whether they hadn't it no longer mattered to me. They were fighting a battle that no one knew about so maybe I could lend a hand too. It not only changed my perspective but I also gained deeper friendships with people that I wouldn't have if I hadn't have reached outside of my comfort circle.
The tears on Sunday grew less and less and true happiness began to grow in its stead. I learned that the greatest need my children had was to have ME in their corner. I decided to start living life not reliant on anyone else for providing stability or means for my happiness. The new lenses provided a means for escape out the darkness that held me bound. Light began to permeate and trickle through my surroundings like the sun through new budding leaves.
This drop in the bucket experience provided a critical foundation that was needed to help me keep my head above water. That foundation is this. Life is hard. Life will be hard, not only on me but all of my "fellow travelers" along my journey in life. As I choose to look outside of my situation and serve I become happy. Perspective comes into view and I realize that my journey brings growth if I allow it to come. I am grateful for a living prophet that provided words when I needed to hear them. I am grateful for change that allows me to become who I am supposed to be.