Monday, February 1, 2016

Through the mists of darkness

Matt and I study scriptures in a very different manner at a very different pace.  We have tried doing scripture study together several times, but it never quite works.  As an alternative, we have decided to study the Ensign together each night, usually laying in bed.  Most of the time we listen to the recording of the article being read, and I follow along on my phone.  The article we were on last night, however, didn't have an audio file, so I was able to read it aloud.  It wasn't 2 minutes into the article and I was already sobbing.  Not the small sniffle here and there cry, but a full on sob.  Tears soaking my pillowcase, snot running down my face, and my eyes so cloudy I couldn't read more than a few words at a time before getting yet another tissue.

I have never been able to adequately describe to someone else what my anxiety feels like.  Definitely not while I was in the midst of it, but not after the trial is (temporarily) over, either.  The article we read last night so eloquently said exactly how I feel.  It was so accurate I felt like the author must have some how heard my prayers to my Father in Heaven.  That she somehow intertwined herself in the depths of my soul.

It is a strange feeling, to say the least, but also a very comforting one.  Comfort that comes from knowing I am not alone in this trial.  Comfort knowing that Heavenly Father loves me so much He guided us to an article I most likely wouldn't have come across otherwise.  Comfort knowing that there is an end to the mists of darkness, not just the temporary end I seek now, but an eternal end when I return to live with our Father Heaven.

So, in a way I haven't been able to explain before...this is how and what I feel.  I'm including the article here more for my own selfish reasons (so I don't accidentally lose it down the road).

Finding My Way through Mists of Darkness
By Juventa Vezzani
California, USA

A few years back I went through an especially dark season of my life. I faced many difficult challenges, and I felt depressed and overwhelmed by heavy burdens.

At church one Sunday, I looked around at all the happy families singing hymns and tasting of the love of God. I wanted to feel the same way, but something felt physically wrong with me.

I had felt the Spirit in the past, but I had been unable to for some time. As in Lehi’s vision of the tree of life, I felt as if I were completely surrounded by mists of darkness—I couldn’t even see the tree (see 1 Nephi 8:2–24).

When the sacrament prayers began, I closed my eyes and reached out to Heavenly Father, pleading for assurance of His love. I asked Him why I couldn’t taste of the fruit of the tree of life.

As I pondered Lehi’s dream, I had a piercing realization. “Why haven’t I remembered this before?” I thought. Traveling through mists of darkness is a completely normal part of God’s plan. He allows us to experience difficulties from time to time so that we can completely depend on Him and His Son. The key is to cling to the iron rod. I still saw myself in mists of darkness, but I had hope.

As this impression left my mind, I felt a sweet reassurance from the Holy Ghost that my trials would pass. The Spirit testified that Heavenly Father was there. I wiped the tears from my eyes, grateful that I had been able to feel the Spirit again.

I began to immerse myself in the scriptures. I still had many dark days, but I had faith that if I clung to the iron rod—the word of God (see 1 Nephi 11:25)—I would be freed from the mists of darkness. I’m not sure how long it took, but one day I could at last taste of God’s love again. It was like warm sunshine after a long winter.

As I have struggled off and on with life’s challenges, I have remembered my promise to cling tightly to the iron rod by studying the scriptures and the words of the prophets. I know that when the mists of darkness come, I have the tools necessary to see my way through them and the promise of a warm reception on the other side.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

No Excuses

I clearly am a terrible, terrible, blogger.  However, just like everything else in life, I'm going to try again, and maybe one day I will figure it out!

The past month or so has been pretty rough.  We had an unexpected phone call from a police officer just before Christmas.  It turns out we are being accused of stealing bank account information of a family member and using it to pay an insurance bill.  I won't go into more detail, mostly because I don't even have a lot of detail, but I know it isn't something we did, and that it's caused an earth shattering break in a family relationship that means the world to us.  To say the least, it's been very hard.  We normally would have spent Christmas with this part of the family, but didn't, which caused a lot of hurt all around.  We have submitted everything we possibly could to the detective to prove innocence, and it's been several weeks since we last heard from him, but there are still a lot of questions as to how it happened (since we know we didn't do it).

The stress of the situation caused me to have another severe episode with anxiety.  One that lasted a few weeks, and caused me to leave my full-time nanny position.  Leaving abruptly as I did left a lot of hurt feelings for the family I was working for, which I feel terrible about as I really grew to love them.  I received a blessing that assured me they would have good, consistent care for their sweet boys though, which helped me to let the related guilt go, if only just a little.

Oh, I guess my blog has been so far behind I should probably mention we moved to Columbus, OH for Matt's work in June of 2015.  It has been a tough move.  We are in a big ward, that is very friendly, on the surface.  Everyone has been very kind, but it seems like once Sunday is done most prefer to stay in their own world.  Friendships we have built in our previous wards have been so fantastic that it's been hard to feel so alone here.  I have become close with one sister in the ward, and am grateful for her friendship and willingness to put up with my neediness while I dealt with my anxiety while Matt was out of town for work.  It's been nice that the move has kept Matt in town a LOT more than he was before, but go figure when I needed him home the most is when he was scheduled out of town for a 3 week stretch.  In any case, I am thankful for Matt's job being so steady, since my employment has been anything but.

This post is more a quick update of where we are at life, and I'll blog about where that's taken me spiritually later.  For now I am searching for work opportunities that will allow me to deal with my anxiety as it arises without having to leave the job.  Prayers and leads are always welcomed!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Back at it

The following is a post I started over a year ago, in October of 2014, but never posted.  However, it is an important part of the last year of my life, so I'm going to share it now.  It wasn't complete, and I don't want to finish it now because I'm not sure how I was planning on finishing it a year ago, however, I will follow-up to it soon!

So, if you actually read the blog, you know about my blood transfusion in September, and my subsequent news that was far from what I wanted to hear.  Well, that week was just the tip of the iceberg.

After the blood transfusion in September, I had 2 follow-up iron infusions scheduled - the first one being October 10th.  I had the infusion, but didn't feel any change at all.  In fact, in less than a week after that I was feeling even worse.  By Thursday I was feeling some serious anxiety because of it and I was a complete wreck.  On Sunday the 19th I barely made it through Sacrament meeting at Church (and that was only because I had to accompany the choir) and we then decided to head over and see Matt's mom who is staying at his sister's house.  With her being an RN I trusted her opinion on what I should do, and by 3 we were headed to the emergency room.  My hemoglobin was ba ck down where it was a month ago (5.8) and this time I would receive 3 units of blood in the ER, and then be kept for "observation status" for at least a night.  Understandably so, my anxiety went through the roof staying at the hospital alone, and it was nearly impossible for me to know what was being caused by the physical problems, or what was the mental/emotional problems.  I saw a new GYN on Monday, who said the ultrasound they did the night before looked fine and she doesn't think there is a reason to jump to a hysterectomy.  At the time this irritated me more than anything because I was finally coming to terms with the previous thought - but later, after realizing she said my ultrasound was normal, it dawned on me that a miracle had occurred as it was my first normal ultrasound ever (in 15 years!).

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Will I Be an Egg or Potato?

So, clearly, I am not very good at being a blogger.  I vow to be better.  Not because I really care if you read it or not, but because way back when, I was prompted to start this blog, and I need to follow through!  While a lot has happened in the past 14 months since I last blogged, I am not going to touch on that now.  I'm just too drawn to this Facebook meme I saw today:

We all have experiences, tests, trials, tribulations (and whatever else you would like to add here).  While none of us will ever go through the exact same thing, we are given similar experiences, tests, trials, tribulations and etc.  What's important is that we all have the opportunity to choose how we react to those experiences, tests, trials and tribulations.

One thing that has always aggravated me to my core, and I have striven my hardest to never do, is to blame my choices on my experiences, tests, trials, or tribulations.  When I hear people try to excuse choices that others have made, particularly poor choices, because of things they have endured, I want to scream!  Please understand, this does not mean I lack compassion for individuals and their circumstances (self-imposed or not).  I am far from having the compassion of the Lord, but I do strive to show compassion in all of my actions.  However, I think enabling is sometimes mistaken for compassion.  We enable and excuse poor choices because someone had a tough life or hard experience.  We think it's excusable they treat others poorly because of something that may have happened to them.  We excuse large concourses of people for living lives of crime because they grew up in poverty.  We allow those who were abused to abuse others.  It is a terrible, terrible, terrible cycle.   One that is like a record that keeps skipping, over, and over, and over, never allowing the music or message to progress.

As an individual, I need to progress.  As a nation, we need to progress.  As a people, we need to progress.  There is too much good that is being missed because we are allowing our circumstances to define us.  We are allowing our record to stay skipping, instead of fixing the needle and moving forward.  I write this post with a prayer in my heart that we will all choose to be better than what our circumstances allow.  That we will all choose to help each other up instead of fluffing the pillow that allows us to lay down and drown in our sorrows.  And that we choose to see the world, the entire world, in a better light than we currently do.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Broken Heart & Shattered Dreams

If you follow my Facebook newsfeed you know that I have been having some serious medical issues lately.  I had some lab work done last week that brought to light the fact my hemoglobin was at a 5.2 (I should be at a 14-15).  I was scheduled for an emergency blood transfusion where I received two units.  Today was my follow-up appointment where I found it is still only up to a, I will need 2 iron infusions as well.  I assumed that would happen, is was what I was told next that was more of a shock to my core.

The reason behind my severe anemia is the gynecological problems I've been having for over a decade. The beating my body is taking with the low levels of blood are causing a high risk of more serious problems such as heart damage, heart attack, stroke, or other organ failure.  Because of this it is important to stop the problem ASAP.  How?  A hysterectomy.  Something I've been avoiding for a long time because I want so badly to have children of my own, but something I can't avoid anymore without risking my own life.  I have been feeling that it was approaching this for several months now, but it didn't make the blow any less hard today.  I feel like my dreams have been taken away from me and I don't know how to rebuild new ones.  I know there is foster care/adoption.   I was adopted and we have always planned on adopting.  We just didn't know until now that it would be the only way we will bring children into our home.

I know that this must be part of Heavenly Father's plan for me, and I know that I can handle it if He did plan it for me...but at the same time I am not sure I will ever have the faith in my own strength as He does and I don't know how to cope.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sometimes it's OK

Matt has been gone for work a lot lately and it's really starting to take its toll on me.  Between my PTSD/anxiety, and the other physical problems I have, it's really hard for me when he is not here.  After finding out he'll be gone another three weeks, I expressed my frustration on a Facebook post, and while I am positive all comments were meant well, most rubbed me a little wrong - and I've had to really think about why.  There is a school of thought, especially with church-goers, that everything must be daises, and I strongly disagree.  I think we beat ourselves up too often telling ourselves we aren't allowed to be sad and that's just crazy.  Should we wallow in our self-pity?  Should we kick, scream, and cry acting out like a toddler who didn't get their way?  Should we lash out at other's happiness?  Absolutely not!  But, does that mean we can't feel sad?  I really don't think so!  

I know it's good and important to focus on our blessings.  We would be extremely ungrateful for the wonderful gifts our Father in Heaven has given us if not.  However, in life there are things that happen, outside of our control, that are definite bummers.  Are we supposed to ignore them and pretend they don't happen?  Pretend they don't bother us?  Again, I really don't think so.  I did that, for a lot of years, about the abuse - and it sent me to a place that wasn't good.  It set me back in my spiritual growth, as well as causing issues with my physical/mental self.  Since then, I've resolved not to let that happen.  Not to let people make me feel like I shouldn't ever talk about the bummers in life. 

So, while I know comments are meant well, I think we should think before we speak.  Instead of always telling someone "chin up" or "I did this, you can too" or "look on the bright side", maybe an "I'm sorry this is hard for you" would be more appropriate.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Oh, and by the way...

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately.  I am not even sure if overwhelmed can explain it adequately.  In the last six months I have felt myself allow my testimony to dwindle.  I haven't stopped going to church, or fulfilling my callings, or committed any heinous sins.  I have just stopped doing the things that help me renew myself spiritually scripture study, prayer, and etc.  I have also found myself questioning my purpose.  Questioning if I've chosen the right path for myself.  Questioning where my worth is - if I have any. 

With all of this I have learned several things that I need to do to help me get where I need to be...and after a pure breakdown late last night, a Priesthood blessing from my husband (learn what that is here) and a lot of inspiration from my Heavenly Father I have come to realize I NEED to take one step at a time.  I am supposed to take one step at a time.  So many times I will look at all the things I am supposed to be doing and I'm not, and I will resolve I have to start doing all of them right NOW, and when I'm not there in like a week, I get overwhelmed again and just give up completely.  

So one step at a time it is...but I don't know how to do that.  So that's why I am blogging... I need help. And a lot of times when I get things out like this, they start to make a little more sense to me.  They start to take a shape.  So, feel free to read or not - they are more my thoughts out loud.  

I was talking to Matt after church today and I realized I need to set my priorities... I need to schedule my life. The conversation went a little like this:  
I have to work, not an option, and I have to eat and sleep.
I have to go to church, and by the way I have to prepare my lesson, and work on my public affairs calling...
and oh and by the way, I have to study my scriptures daily, and make time for personal prayer 
and oh and by the way, I need to study the Sunday School lesson I'm missing while teaching my class, as well as the lesson for Relief Society
and oh and by the way I was prompted to do Jamberry - so now I have to start building my business 
and oh and by the way I really need to focus on my health, and we need to find time to go to the gym
and I really would like to spend some time with my husband, and in the process I am hoping my house doesn't begin to look like a landfill.  

So, there it is... it's written....and I am leaving it there to come back to as I don't know what to do wtih it right now.  If anyone has any advice then please feel free to share :)