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!