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.