Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Let Not Your Heart be Troubled

It was cold, dark, and early when my husband Carson woke me up this morning. "Come downstairs, I want to show you something, " he said.

I had mentioned a while ago that I felt I was the only one who remembered our babies' due dates and birthdates....but Carson surprised me this morning with a breakfast of waffles (whole wheat banana flax seed waffles with applesauce on top....I was impressed!) in memory of our baby Luke's due date. In an ideal world, he would have been born on January 31, instead of September 11, and we would be celebrating our beloved baby boy's first birthday today.

I could almost feel Satan tap me on the shoulder and tempt me to curl up on the couch and cry, and think of all the joy we had missed out on this past year…...all the happiness that wasn't had (Satan is pretty good at snatching away our joy by making us dwell on what could have been...).  I was tempted to run through all the questions in my mind again, for the five hundredth time, "Why couldn't we keep him? Or Samuel? Why do other couples get surprise babies and we just get surprise deaths? Why twice?" etc. etc. etc......but I didn't invite those familiar thoughts in this time. I didn't curl up and cry. I sat at the table and chose to feel something else instead.

Last week I was emailing my mom about how hard it is, every day. They say trials get easier over time, but I have felt that every day without my babies and without expecting another one is harder and harder….and harder. I ache to just have something meaningful to look forward to, to live the mom life that I believe to be so fulfilling and influential. My mom replied, "My dear, you must listen to what the leaders of the church are saying,  and the most important thing they say to us is to have faith in the Atonement, in the Plan of Salvation.  There is a plan for you, and you are doing everything you possibly can to live your plan.  You must have faith that "everything will turn out," as Pres. Hinckley so often mentioned."

Her words stung at first. "She thinks I don't believe the words the prophet and apostles say? She thinks faith can take away all my heart ache? Doesn't she understand how hard this is on me, even though I have a testimony?"  But I tried to understand more, and I soon read this quote that has changed my attitude ever since, and brought welcome joy.

Jeffrey R. Holland said, "The Lord has probably spoken enough such “comforting words” to supply the whole universe, it would seem, and yet we see all around us unhappy Latter-day Saints, worried Latter-day Saints, and gloomy Latter-day Saints into whose troubled hearts not one of these innumerable consoling words seems to be allowed to enter.

Consider, for example, the Savior’s benediction upon his disciples even as he moved toward the pain and agony of Gethsemane and Calvary. On that very night, the night of the greatest suffering the world has ever known or ever will know, he said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. . . . Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).

I submit to you that may be one of the Savior’s commandments that is, even in the hearts of otherwise faithful Latter-day Saints, almost universally disobeyed." 

I knew he was talking about me.

Christ suffered so that I wouldn't have to be troubled, he told us to not be troubled....but I do let myself be troubled almost constantly. I am disobeying the one request the Savior made as He was about to suffer for me. Ouch.

 I used to  think when I heard people say "it will all work out," that they meant we would survive. “Yes,” I thought, "my heart will keep beating, I suppose. But what about happiness in this life? What about now? What about finding fulfillment?” It might work out in a million years, but that did not give me much comfort.

I've since felt that, because of the Atonement of Christ, it will ALL really will work out!  We will be strengthened during this life, then we will be compensated for our losses, for our moments (or years) of pain, we will be rewarded 100 fold, it will all make sense (hallelujah!) and we won't feel like we were robbed. We won't only survive, we will be blessed beyond measure! It really will all work out, and we will wish we never went through so much anguish and worry in the meantime.

I don't understand completely how "all that is unfair about life will be made right through the atonement of Christ," but even though I don't fully understand how, I believe it's true. I don't understand how anything could possibly be better than having my babies here with me now, happy and healthy,  but I believe Christ when He says, "thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment." I will try to obey his command to "be of good cheer,” “be still and know that I am God,” “let not your heart be troubled,” and “doubt not, fear not.” He has overcome the world!

So this morning, we ate waffles in memory of Luke and I didn't wallow in sorrow as I thought of him…. which almost made me worried for a second, because it would appear I am forgetting him, as if that precious tiny baby isn't always on my mind and heart....as if he is fading from my life. In reality, I miss him every day, but I want to choose joy through Christ, out of gratitude for His sacrifice. We talked about all the blessings we have received because of Luke and his short life, and dwelled on how grateful we are for him, and how he brought us closer to our Savior. And I felt that Christ was happy that, because of Him, I wasn't troubled.

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