Thanksgiving was so wonderful, and I'm looking forward to some fun posting about that. Today, though, I need to express gratitude for a special experience, an example of a tender mercy from Father today just for me.
I have been feeling a lot of numbness lately, with all the painful grief tucked down deep. Staying really busy has helped me stay afloat emotionally, and I intentionally avoid probing into the depths that I know are there.
This has helped me get through November. I hope it will also get me through the next few weeks. But I am already feeling some side-effects, one of them being a lack of Hope. Today in particular--I got home from church and could just feel the clouds surrounding me. Doggedly pursuing other interests keeps me from crying and makes it easier to sleep at night and get up in the morning, but it also prevents me from exploring my heart. It leaves me with the numbness. Today I felt inclined to stop resisting and just give up to despair, crawl back into bed and cry. Cry over Benjamin and his absence from my life. Cry over the fact that I can't seem to get pregnant again. Cry over how horribly long a day can feel.
But I felt a pull to do something uplifting. Someone must have been praying for me at that particular time! Thank you, whoever you were! :) The pull was strong enough to make me pick up the Conference report. It was freezing, so I started a fire in the fireplace, curled up on the couch, and rather half-heartedly started on the talk where I last left off reading.
It was "The Infinite Power of Hope", given by President Uchtdorf. How blessed his words are!
Here are some of my favorite passages. . . .
Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness. Its absence--when this desire of our heart is delayed--can make "the heart sick."
I have felt that "heartsick" feeling all too many times. I had never realized that it was partly because of my lack of hope. . .my tendency to begin yielding to despair. Pres. Uchtdorf knows personally what this is like, having grown up in Germany during post World War II, and spending much of his early childhood as a refugee. He shares an amazing experience his mother had during that dark time (to read the whole talk click here).
Hope is a gift of the Spirit.
To me this means I can pray and ask Heavenly Father to bless me with this gift.
The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. [It]. . .advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart.
This was so illuminating to me! The adversary has been trying to kill my hope. He could see that as I was beginning to lose sight of eternity and become enmeshed in the things of this world and its pains and unfairnesses, I was pulling away from the Lord. Now that I recognize that, I can resist it!
The things we hope for are often future events. If only we could look beyond the horizon of mortality into what awaits us beyond this life. Is it possible to imagine a more glorious future than the one prepared for us by our Heavenly Father?
Why don't I think about that more often?!
Well, because it seems SO LONG until that future! The part that is hard is maintaining hope during the hard times here in mortality.
Here comes my absolutely favorite quote from this talk:
No matter how bleak the chapter of our lives may look today, because of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, we may hope and be assured that the ending of the book of our lives will exceed our grandest expectations.
Isn't that breathtaking? I remember hearing him say those words during Conference and feeling as though Father in Heaven were saying them to me directly! I just want to engrave that sentence on my heart right now.
The photo below is one I took last December, only a few weeks after losing my precious little son. I was having lunch alone with Hyrum, and he looked outside and said suddenly, "Mommy, why are the clouds so bright?"
I answered, "Because of the sun. The sun is behind them." Immediately the Spirit struck deep into my heart the truth that because of the Son, even the dark clouds in my life are not really dark. They just mask the brightness for now, and someday they will be moved permanently, and the sun will shine down on me in all its brightness and glory and warmth.
I quickly grabbed the camera to record the image and hopefully remember what I had just learned. :)
This bleak "chapter of my life" is only a chapter. I already know the end of the story, and it is such a happy ending.
And to all who suffer--to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely--I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in.
Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.
Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.
Isn't it wonderful that Heavenly Father still sends prophets to the earth today? To me that is sure proof of His continuing love for His children.
Dear Father, I thank Thee for Pres. Uchtdorf's words, and for Thy Spirit in leading me to them today, bringing me strength and comfort!
painting credit: Carl Heinrich Bloch "The Doubting Thomas"