“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest … unto your souls” Matthew 11:28-29
The healing power of the Lord Jesus Christ—whether it removes our burdens or strengthens us to endure them—is available for every affliction in mortality. - Dallin H. Oaks
I have watched the inspirational videos of all these people full of faith who in the midst of horrible challenges were filled with peace and comfort, never doubting, never wondering. They were amazing videos to watch. And I waited, hoping the same would happen to me. I read my scriptures, I went to church, I did my best to fulfill my callings at church, but those feelings of peace and reassurance didn't come. I could never seem to feel them, let alone be "washed over: by them.
I doubted myself. I doubted my faith. I doubted my worthiness. I doubted my intentions. I doubted all that I knew. I tried. I did my best. Yet my best did not seem to be enough to make me worthy of these feelings of peace that I so desperately needed. I wondered why I wasn't able to feel His love? Why was He so far from me when I needed Him so much?
I have come to the conclusion that the healing I received did not come through removal of my burdens like I wanted. It came through strength to endure - ugly, awkward, grasping, stumbling strength.
When I was 21, I served a mission for my church in Ireland. My first month or two out was quite an adjustment. Our days were spent going door to door trying to talk to people about our Savior, Jesus Christ. In those days I was in pretty good shape physically but nothing could prepare you for the constant pounding on your feet that happened as you walked for 10 hours a day (except for walking 10 hours a day ☺). A few weeks into it, my feet were hurting so bad. At the end of the day my feet would be swollen so my toes couldn't touch the floor. In the mornings, as I would try to stand on them for the first time, pain would shoot through my feet and up my legs. I prayed for them to get better but it didn't happen. I even told God, "Look, I'm doing your work. Take this pain away so I can do it better." It still didn't go away. Finally, one morning as I was getting up and feeling that pain shoot through my feet and legs, the thought came to me, "I didn't take it away but I gave you the strength to walk each day." It was true. He didn't take away the burden, but each day I was able to get up and go and get through the day. Eventually, my body got used to the daily routine and I didn't have anymore problems with my feet except for a stone bruise every now and then.
So it was with this last year. He didn't take the pain away. I felt every ounce of it and I still do. In fact, not only was the pain not taken away but there was more stress added to it with medical issues and worries to go along with everything else. He did give me the strength to endure it - some days better than others. He gave me good friends to support me and listen to me, a good work environment that allowed me to be able to take care of the things that needed to be taken care of, a couple of family members that stood by me through all of it no matter what and a very patient, loving husband who endured with me.
Do I still question and struggle? Yes. I think I always will. My core was shaken. Everything I knew and believed became a source of pain and confusion. Who I was, my connections to this life, everything was taken from me. Do I know God is there? Yes. Do I know that He is aware of me? Yes. But for now, I doubt my worthiness in His presence. I doubt my faithfulness. I doubt my ability to feel Him near. I doubt my spirituality. I hope that will continue to change as time continues to pass on. I hope that I will find my place again and my own way of feeling and doing. I hope that God looks down on me with patience and understanding. I hope He doesn't take it personal when I yell at Him and wonder why such cruel jokes are continuing to be played on me. I hope, when I finally climb out of this pit that I am in, that His hand will be stretched out still and He will be willing to take me back in.