This last week of my life I got to experience first hand at what it means to be a Child of God. Of someone who is truly noticed and loved and not forgotten. It changed my life and brought me out of a pit I've been in for 12 long months now.
Without going into all the details, January 2012 was the starting point of the hardest year of my life. And this had little to do with Paisley's birth; it was just ironic that much of the negative arrived with the miracle of her arrival. I've noticed more lately now than ever, the the bigger and tighter we make our sails in life, the harder Satan tries to work to blow them down. The more good we experience, the harder the trials are that come too. The last twelve months have brought numerous changes to our family, so many obstacles and hardships, sacrifices, pending change and the most exhausting moments Ammon and I have ever experienced. The more right choices Ammon and I have made for ourselves and our family this year, the more it seemed the adversary has tried to knock us over.
A week ago this morning exactly, I reached the lowest point I have ever gotten to in my life. As Ammon walked in the door from being gone three days straight and I was trying to get six people ready for church on my own again, I lost it. I didn't care what happened to me, I didn't care about being a wife and mom, I couldn't take care of everyone anymore. His bloodshot eyes said the same thing. We had finally reached our physical LIMIT this year. After being sick for a month straight now and pregnant the last six, my energy was gone and I wasn't the me I've always been. I crashed hard.
That ensued the worst 24 hours I've ever dealt with. That night I said a simple prayer in our dim lit family room after everyone else had gone to bed. It was the last thing I could muster. I begged Heavenly Father that he could protect our family, our marriage and help me out of this pit I've been in the past year.
I then opened the most recent Conference Ensign and just randomly started reading the talk, "Trial of Your Faith". Being someone that has always trusted in everything, I didn't know what this talk would have for me, but I felt drawn to it that night. The next five minutes brought peace I had needed for a very long time. There were two scriptures that stood out very signficantly...
"Remember....it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foudation, a foudnation whereon if men build they cannont fall". It was a powerful reminder of the foundation I've been given but hadn't been utilizing that well.
Also the scripture from the Savior, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid".
That was all I needed...especially that last scripture. I fell asleep on the couch with the talk in my lap and slept better then I had in months.
That was a week ago and brings me to describe this past week. I don't know how else to express it other than that there have been angels around Ammon and I that we didn't know we needed. Phone calls started and persued calling to check up on me. Treats from random friends showed up at our door. Emails started flowing from people I hadn't heard from in a while. The sunny, beautiful flower arrangement below, was presented to me from a florist when I opened the door one day...it made me sob...I'll admit it. A friend came and kidnapped Paisley for hours...do you know how wonderful it was to have more than a few minutes to myself for the first time in a year? And the sad thing was that I insisted over and over that I was fine. She literally came and kidnapped Paisley from me. And then that same friend sent me home with dinner for our family. Emails offering baby sitting for my appointments from my visiting teachers...etc. Ammon's partner and boss have also stepped in our behalf this week, noticing the unfair scheduling stick Ammon was handed this year and changes are currently being made for Ammon to have a little more time off. So many tender mercies all in seven days time.
I really thought I was lost for a while. I was so used to proving I could do things all on my own that I didn't know how to ask for help from the support nets around me. When I've questioned some of these friends and family on how they just knew to call, write, etc they've all responded the same way. "I had a thought and acted upon it".
I know more than anyone, that these aren't just thoughts. The are prompings from our Heavenly Father that we are all given daily, weekly or monthly, to respond to a call that he can't always personally make. We are his hands on this Earth and I am so truly grateful for so many people that felt and acted on that prompting this week. I will never take for granted a feeling I get to help someone who may need something.
I have also learned to never judge by outward appearance. For over 30 years I've handled personal struggles pretty well as well as some very hard and stressful life circumstances. I thought I was my own rock until this last year. I'm sure to many around we appear to have it pretty well together, and for the most part, we try really, REALLY hard to do so, but sometimes even that isn't enough. Sometimes those that seem like the strongest "ships" might be the weakest "boats". I've learned that now. Sometimes we need to really look into someone's eyes to know that outward appearances aren't everything. As mothers especially, we have so much on our plates. So many roles to fill, so many parts to play. If we aren't happy, it really affects the balance of our families.
Ammon and I have four more months to get through. Four more months...that'a all. We have had to go back to the very basics of happiness. Lunch dates with Paisley while the kids are at school, even if Ammon is tired and post call. Regular Family Home Evening consistently. Daily scripture study. Planning dates back to the temple and learning to trust in baby sitters. All the things that are sometimes hard to do, but are protections for our families in this day in age.
As Ammon and I sat on the couch together the other day, looking through a file he had to send to his new job, I got choked up. The file held so much of our life in its contents. Certificate after certificate of Ammon's qualifications. Cards representing his skills he passed. A check off list of the hundreds of procedures he can now perform on his own. Another monetary check we had to write in this whole expensive process and showed how hard Ammon has worked for our family. It became clear that it's all been worth it. These last nine years have tried us something pretty good and stripped us of a lot but they have all been worth it. Graduation day will mark a very significant point in our life.
I'll close with one more quote from the same talk that sums up this year for me perfectly. It was dawned on me that it ironically used my favorite scripture from Proverbs. "The fact that I was forced to turn to God for help over an extended period of (time) taught me truly how to pray and get answers to prayer and taught me in a very practical way to have faith in God. I came to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father in a way and to a degree that might not have happened otherwise or that might have taken me much longer to achieve....I learned to trust in the Lord with all my heart. I learned to walk with Him day by day."
Trust. This has become the very essence of what I believe life's about. Trust in our Savior and Heavenly Father. Trust in our spouse and those marriage covenants. Trust in ourselves and in the relationships around us.