Sunday, March 15, 2015

Enduring ongoing adversity

There are so many differences in all of our lives. Depending on the circumstances, new mothers sometimes feel overwhelmed, fathers feel pressured to take care of families while some struggle with loneliness.  I believe we all  have at least one challenge in common. Dealing with some type of adversity.  I've also realized the reality of those adversities  cannot be compared to each other.  For example; Many years I was dealing with a teenager who was really struggling with some serious issues.  It was heartbreaking to watch, especially knowing if this child would just be obedient life would be so much easier for them. One day I went to visit a friend who was clearly devastate and beside herself in tears. When I inquired what was wrong I was shocked at her answer. She mentioned her daughters name then through her tears explained "She broke a family rule and got her ears pierced, she's only 15, we agreed no ears pierced until the age of 18" Her perspective and her trial was nothing like what we were dealing with, however in her family it was obviously just as heartbreaking. 

There have been periods, sometimes long ones, when my life seem to flow with little difficulty. Unfortunately the nature of our lives gives way to distress,  for me periods of good health have come to an end, and misfortunes have arrived.  It seems to be more difficult  when the comfortable times have gone on for a while. The suffering of health issues or the loss of material security can bring fear and sometimes even anger. I have to be transparent here, and admit I have felt the anger and questioned why?

I realize the  anger comes from a feeling that what is happening is unfair. It came at such a shock. To be blessed with  good health all my life, the serene sense of being secure had become deserved and natural, almost as an arrogant ignorance. After all hadn't I proven my worthiness and loyalty to the Lord? For this health issue to continue now for over 5 years, a feeling of injustice has sometimes come to my mind.  I have considered myself a brave woman yet many times have cried out loud “I have always tried to be good. How could this happen?”

The very opportunity for us to face adversity and affliction is part of the evidence of  infinite love. God gave us the gift of living in mortality so that we could be prepared to receive the greatest of all the gifts of God, which is eternal life. Then our spirits will be changed. We will become able to want what God wants, to think as He thinks, and  be prepared for the trust of an endless posterity to teach and to lead through tests to be raised up to qualify to live forever in eternal life.

There is an  aching sometimes for an answer to “How could this happen?” it becomes even more painful when I see others struggling including those I love.  When Recker was diagnosed with Autism I wouldn't say I was devastated, but I was honestly asking "why?"  It was especially hard for us to accept when he was so innocent. Then having our 2nd grandson diagnosed with Autism, I have to be honest it rocked my testimony, hitting my knees continually asking "why, why would you send these spirits to the same patents?" This type of  distress can shake faith in the reality of a loving and all-powerful God. I felt the spirit continually reminding me, the Lord knows all and if I continued without faith doubt could grow and spread it could make me or my children turn away from God, blaming him with the thought of him being indifferent or cruel. I knew I needed to check in with Him daily or  those feelings could lead to loss of faith and question if there was a God at all. Again I found myself asking like I did several months after processing a cancer diagnosis...."why me?" with the comforter conveying to me over and over again I soon asked "why not me?"  It takes time to get that pain to go away, but I can honestly say now "Thank you Lord for blessing us and trusting us with these two little boys" (I am not speaking for Jeremy or Kayla, I'm not sure they are feeling the same.)  What a pure love they have for us and we for them.  

It soon became clear that for me to have trust in Him, I  must be transformed through making righteous choices daily, that is hard to do. I often still wonder  if I am prepared for such a great a trust.  Passing through trials and testing requires a great deal of faith.  I deal with facts and  the education for me could come only as I allowed myself to be subject to trials while serving God and others for Him.

I'm so grateful for this education, as I experience misery and happiness, sickness and health, the sadness from sin and the joy of forgiveness. I'm convinced that forgiveness can come only through the infinite Atonement of the Savior, which He worked out through pain we could not bear and which I can only faintly comprehend.

It comforts me even to know I must wait in distress for the Savior’s promised relief that He knows, from experience, how to heal and help me and others who suffer.  Faith in that power has given me patience as I pray and work and wait for help. He could easily take this all away but He chooses to teach by own personal experience. Just as I need to learn from my own personal experiences.
The Lord’s relentless answers to my pleading  has helped me and has encourage me in times of darkness. Even when I feel the truth of the Lord to deliver me in my trials, it still tests my courage and strength to endure. Lately it feels it will not end, during these times even physical strength is difficult, listening to RS lessons on how to deal with trials and adversity are hard to comprehend.  The comments made are even difficult to hear. (sorry just being honest)

I have seen faith and courage come from my testimony.  I am being prepared for eternal life. The Lord will rescue His faithful children. The child who accepts a trial as an invitation to grow and therefore qualify for eternal life can find peace in the midst of the struggle. This is so much easier to write than actually live through.

I am far from perfect, but I have begun to prepare my heart to be worthy of the Lord. I've had the attitude “Things will work out.” Medical insecurities have not eroded my faith; it has tested it and strengthened it. And the feeling of peace the Lord has promised has already been delivered in the midst of the storm. Other miracles are sure to follow. I expect the miracles to happen, and thank the Lord ahead of time for the miracle that I know is just around the corner.
I watch from a distance how Kayla and Jeremy have embraced the trial they have been faced with.  Recker and Ezra are beautiful loving children, but don't mistake their love and affection with an easy road to take.  From day to day they struggle, not knowing "what is going to happen next?" Those boys are into everything.  Recker and Ezra are both non-verbal so try to imagine their frustration knowing everyone around them can talk.  Their only way of communication is by taking us by the hand and leading us to what they need or want.  I can only translate my feelings as a grandparent, not as the parent who is caring 24 hours, worrying 24 hours.  The special bond these boys have with their cousins and family is unconditional love however, I can't imagine the heaviness on the shoulders of his parents. The responsibility the Lord has given them, is beyond what I can comprehend.  I know that I am on a road to be the best I can be so I can live with these perfect little boys for eternity.

I don't know why but I truly believe the Lord customizes trials to best strengthen and purify us individually.  Often it will come in the inspiration to do what might seem especially hard for the person who needs help himself. The test, and there is always a test, is how we deal with the trial.
 I know from my own experience that He can and will give us strength to rise through every trial.