Sunday, November 30, 2008

Day 8 - {modern prophets}

100 days of gratitude tag

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 surrender.

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"


Natalie.Rob.Branson said...[Reply to comment]

What a great message, one I also needed to hear! Don't you love how personal the conference talks are...especially this last conference was so full of warmth and understanding. I find myself wanting to read cover to cover to feel that warmth. I pray that hope will consume your mind, and as it does so, that you will have your heart opened in the right amounts at the right times to let your emotions play out as they may...easier said than done. I loved the picture of the clouds, what a special experience you had that day.
Loving you and thinking of you!

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

What a beautiful journey, Michelle! Thank you so much for sharing. It was a reminder to me also to enjoy and delve into those words of the prophets that are just sitting there, waiting for me.

I am also so grateful for "bright clouds".

Maria said...[Reply to comment]

Beautifully written. I LOVE General Conference and the power of the Spirit that guides the speakers words to be EXACTLY what we need at different times of our lives. It truly is a precious gift.

Andrea said...[Reply to comment]

Beautiful. I am so thankful that you found those words yesterday, and I am grateful that they helped with your day. It is amazing how the choice to read something different affected you yesterday. I am sure it did wonders. I think you are amazing, and you deserve to have hope.

Andre said...[Reply to comment]

I loved his talk too. This conference was so powerful for me, probably because everything said had new meaning. It's great to have an insight about something! That means you are progressing. THinking of you.

Marc and Megan said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, I appreciated reading your thoughts today. That talk by Pres. Uchtdorf has made such a huge impact on my life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. I love that photo you took last year and the teaching moment that it was for you... so beautiful! Hey, I also was hoping I could get your address... you can email it to me at marcandmegan at gmail dot com

snbjork said...[Reply to comment]

Thank you for sharing this, Michelle. It was a reminder that I also need to read the words of our wonderful church leaders over the next 6 months. Every time I do pick up the Ensign and read through a talk (which I am always led to), I feel so enriched and blessed. I'm so glad you had this special experience. God sure does love you (even if he does give you hard things)! =)

Flamingo said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle I love the picture of the Angel praying in the clouds. It is such a special photo knowing that the Angels are praying for us in our bleak times!

Vauna said...[Reply to comment]

Michelle, you are amazing. Sometimes it is so hard to have all the hope we need. It's funny how sometimes a different perspective changes how we see/feel things. For me, eternity feels close. This is because I know I may not be able to be with Roland during this life, but I know beyond doubt that I will be with him in eternity. Every day I rely on that knowledge and have that to work toward. But my kids are growing so fast and time seems to fly by before I can catch up. Sometimes I just wish the Savior would go ahead and return to the earth so that we can do away with all the formalities and that things could magically be right with my family and people could see Roland and me as Heavenly Father does and we could all be a family again.
You amaze me. I am so proud to be able to call you my sister. Keep watching for those sunbeams, there will appear more and more of them. Here is a quote I love:
"I believe in Jesus Christ as I believe in the rising sun; not because I can see it but because BY IT I can see!"

Flamingo said...[Reply to comment]

I showed your photo of the clouds to the missionaires and they love it. All four of them saw the angel right away and one of them even pointed out the outline of the wings and then made sure we all knew that Angels did not really have wings! It was funny. Thanks for sharing with us!

Mom/Nana/A. Nancy said...[Reply to comment]

Dear Michelle,
I LOVE this post. It brought peace and HOPE to me as I read it. I think the quote by Elder Utchdorf: "...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." is one of my favorite now too. The photo you took fits in so well with your post and thoughts. Thank you for sharing. You are an example and inspiration to me.

Yolanda said...[Reply to comment]

I'm so glad I just found your blog. :) Thank you for sharing this. I have been feeling very overwhelmed lately with my children and husband working so much. (Still in residency.) But, I know the Lord can help us through ALL things. And so, I hope.

Yolanda :)