Faith is an interesting phenomenon isn't it? Life is not easy. I appreciate the good days with all my heart. They provide hope and relief and joy.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, we all have hard days. Sometimes these turn into hard weeks, months, and even years. Despair and anxiety threaten to consume us. These feelings are not easy ones to combat. If we are not careful, they can consume us and become the window through which we see the world and our lives.
I recently posted on Facebook the exciting news of Jeff receiving a job. If any of you are like me, you may see that post and think something like "They are so lucky. Everything is going right in their lives. He is finishing school and getting a job. Their troubles are over."
I only wish this were true. Yes we have been on the school journey and are nearing the end. But for us, nothing about the last 2 1/2 years has been easy. There have been days when one or both of us were ready to quit. Stress, fear, and anxiety were common feelings in our house. Our finish line has never been a guarantee like it might be for some. But, despite the many challenges we have faced, we have been the recipients of countless blessings and miracles.
I want to share these experiences for those who have ever felt like they are in this situation. Almost hopeless. Very unsure. Scared. Overwhelmed.
There were times when Jeff didn't have enough faith in himself or his situation. Those were the times Heavenly Father blessed me with the comfort to know that things would work out. As long as we did our part and exercised even a little bit of faith, we were blessed with miracles that we couldn't have anticipated.
When Jeff left town, and I felt completely overwhelmed with work and motherhood, family and ward members showed up to offer help and relief. Every step of the way, Heavenly Father has strengthened us and brought us so much further than we ever could have come on our own. He did not take our challenges away. We had to face them. But I can see with absolute clarity that He carried us through them.
This summer has been no exception. Both Jeff and I have battled depression, anxiety, and fear as we near the end of this journey. This was new to me: having to be strong for Jeff when we both felt weak.
While at my parents last month, things really escalated. I wasn't always sure how to even pray, because the feelings were so overwhelming and distracting from the spirit. Many times I asked forgiveness for my weakness and prayed that Heavenly Father would help me with my weak faith. I truly felt that when I needed faith the most, I had the hardest time finding it and believing it. So I prayed for help in weakness. Through a series of events that I believe were divinely orchestrated, my parents were very instrumental in delivering us from what felt like an impossible situation. Then, after getting a handle on that problem, I still felt fear and insecurity about our future. Because my mother acted on a prompting, she encouraged me to seek counsel in the temple. I can truly testify that I did indeed receive very personal instruction there. Then we got back home, and I knew Jeff still needed help. He was struggling emotionally more than I had ever seen , and he was a thousand miles away. So I fasted because I literally didn't know what else to do. The only person who could help us was the Lord. A few days later, he was able to come home early and have a job interview that led to a job he has really wanted. That was not a coincidence. Then he and I fasted together, desperately needing that divine help again, and we have seen fruits of that. My weak faith has grown ten times stronger through these past few weeks. It is an amazing feeling after feeling so lost.
Our challenges are not over yet. I know once we get through these, more will come too. But I cannot doubt that Heavenly Father and our Savior are aware of us. They are supporting us. They are cheering for us. Many times, They are carrying us. When we have nothing left to give, and no where else to go, we have to look up. Only then will we find deliverance. We are not in this alone. Sometimes the angels supporting us are in heaven, and sometimes they are in the people around us.
Faith is interesting. We do not know how all of this will turn out, how it will end. But Heavenly Father does. That is what I have faith in. He has shown us countless times that very that He doesn't want us to fail, and I truly believe that if we turn to Him, turn to our Savior for help, we won't. When our burdens are too much to bear, our Savior will lighten them. He is our great mediator and the reason we have hope. I hate having to learn the hard way, but I am so grateful for the miracles we have witnessed and been blessed with. I know I wouldn't have appreciated them if not first having to suffer. We are not alone and never will be.