Saturday, October 25, 2014

Look Up

The year 2012, was by far the hardest year of my life. I didn’t realize it then, but looking back I would say that I was suffering from depression. My life was falling apart and I had no control over it. It didn’t matter what I did or how hard I tried, nothing changed and my spiritual reserves finally diminished.  I was in a dark pit that I could not get out of.
No matter how exhausted I was, every night I would lay in bed thinking about how to fix my life. It would take me 1-3 hours to fall asleep. Then throughout the night I would wake up with my baby or other children which started the process of trying to fall asleep all over. By the time morning came, I never felt that I had slept at all.
The days consisted of me running things over and over in my mind about my life. I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t crazy. I was torn between reality and the part of me that kept trying to soften the hardness of what was happening in my life. I was so burned out by fighting this mental battle. I would frequently turn on some Christian music and lay on the floor feeling lifeless. My kids playing around me was like background noise to this constant battle in my head. On those days, I would be praying nearly every second that I could get through that one day or even make it to lunchtime, or dinner, or bedtime.
I distinctly remember when I hit my lowest moment. I was laying in bed looking at the stars out of my window. I rolled onto my knees again pleading for specific struggles I was facing to go away. I wanted to run away, but knew that I couldn’t. I had to be there for my children and really, I knew that there was no running from my life, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I finally just said aloud, “It is not worth living through Hell if that is what it takes to get to Heaven.” At that point, I didn’t care what eternal consequences I would face, I just wanted my trial to be taken from me.
When Carl B. Cook was called as a General Authority for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he finished his first week feeling extremely overwhelmed. He got on the elevator at the Church Administration Building and was staring down at the floor wondering how he would ever fulfill his calling. President Thomas S. Monson (the President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) walked into the elevator and asked “what are you looking at down there?” Elder Cook quickly looked up as he recognized the Prophet’s voice and responded, “oh nothing.” To that, President Monson replied, “it is better to look up.” 
The phrase has stuck with me. It is better to look up. I too have been given a certain calling in life, as is every person on earth, It felt so overwhelming at the time, but I knew I needed to “look up.” From that motto along with what I was experiencing came the creation of this song.  
If you are reading this and are feeling any bit of this despair in your life, I testify that it is worth it to hold on. I know what it feels like to see no end in sight. I know what it feels like to wonder if you will ever be happy. I too have felt that there was no purpose to try anymore; that it really doesn’t matter how hard I try to do everything I should. I was wrong though. I know with every piece of my being that someone is there beside you. I look back on that time and I see now how Heavenly Father’s hand was in every detail of my life. He is with you too. He is leading you to somewhere better. Accept where you are and what you are dealing with, but then push forward and allow Jesus Christ to take the load. There really is hope that the darkness can go away. I wish I would have heard those words or at least allowed myself to believe them when I was so miserable. Heavenly Father loves you and wants you to be happy, but only He knows what path will help you reach the place where you will be most happy. Look up and trust Him.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Sacrament Cup

A few years ago, I spent countless days and nights searching the scriptures and praying for answers to show me how to solve certain challenges that I was facing in my life at that time. I put forth all the faith that I had in hope that a miracle would occur to take away the emotional pain I was suffering.
When Christ was suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, He plead with His Father saying, “if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”(Luke 22:42) Throughout my struggling, I was constantly praying that my “cup” would pass from me, but it wasn’t until I was able to accept that it wasn’t Heavenly Father’s will that my trial would suddenly go away, that I was able to find peace and allow the Atonement to begin to heal and strengthen me.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it…” (October 2013 General Conference). The Sacrament cup, to me, has come to symbolize the acceptance of Heavenly Father’s will. Each week as I take the cup and drink from it, I am promising Heavenly Father that I will accept and follow His will and do whatever He asks of me.
Being able to accept and try my best to follow wherever Heavenly Father leads has brought so much light into a world that was dark for me for so long. I know that as I willingly drink from whatever cup Heavenly Father may ask me to partake of, I will be able to withstand any difficulties I will face in my life. I am grateful for my loving Father in Heaven who puts struggles in my life that He knows I need to endure to become like Him and I am grateful for my Brother, Jesus Christ, for making the Atonement possible so I can make it through and accomplish those things.


2kwarriorsmom? The name comes from one of my favorite stories in The Book of Mormon that has become known as The Two Thousand Stripling Warriors.
There were people called the Lamanites. They were wicked. However, some of them repented of their sins and murders when they were taught about Jesus Christ. Those that were converted called themselves the Anti-Nephi-Lehies. They made a covenant with God that they would no longer shed blood so they buried their weapons of war. They sought protection from the Nephites when the Lamanites came to battle against them. When the Anti-Lehi-Nephies saw all the the Nephites were sacrificing to protect them, some of them wanted to fight back and break the covenant they had made with God, but their sons who had not made the promise to God that they wouldn’t fight, went and fought in their fathers’ stead.
I cannot imagine sending my son off as a young man to fight seasoned, blood-thirsty warriors. These boys were courageous though and they had faith that God would protect them. It says in Alma 56:47, “Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed…the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it.” They knew that God would protect them because of the faith that was instilled in them by their mothers. In Alma 57:21 it says,” yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; …[as] their mothers had taught them.” These boys fought and though many were wounded, not one of them died. In verse 26 it says that their preservation was astonishing and it was accredited to their exceeding faith that there was a just God and that whosoever did not doubt, would be preserved by God’s marvelous power.
If I only accomplish one thing in this life, I hope that it will be that I raise children who do not doubt that God is there.  Children who will courageously choose to follow and obey Him with exactness. I hope they can say “my mother knew it” because I do know it. I know that Heavenly Father is there and that through faith and obedience great things, nothing short of miracles, occur. Even if not one other thing turns out in my lifetime, I will die happy if I know my children have developed as deep and unwavering faith as the sons who became known as the 2,000 stripling warriors.