Sunday, October 20, 2013

Best of times...worst of times

our family gathered for a picture following Jaylen's funeral

Recently I have been inspired by my friend April who has been writing about her Mother who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease. April has been sharing her heartache and struggles with caring for her Mom, who is forgetting her grandchildren and children. She has inspired me to write some of my own struggles and share some of the things that have helped me currently and in the past.

In the past few years we have been dealt many trials such as; the tragic and untimely death of my husband's brother Brian who was 32, had a 2 year old daughter and had a wife who was 6 months pregnant. The illness and heart transplant of another  brother Paul, death of a beloved Grandfather, preeclampsia, a 32 week preemie, 7 week NICU stay, chronic health problems for baby and Mommy relating to that, selling a house, moving, raising 5 children that now includes teenagers, aging parents, the tragic death of a sweet nephew, financial problems and stress, and we currently have a very precarious job situation. Then there are the every day stresses that most everyone deals with on top of all of that. 

Not to mention that loved ones have suffered divorce, loss of parents, illness, serious financial problems, special needs children, rebellious children, job loss etc etc. the list could go on and on. 

I don't list these to garner sympathy as I know everyone has their list of hardships and adversity, but honestly the past few years have been a challenge. However if I saw someone else's list of trials, I would probably gladly keep mine.  It was actually therapeutic to write it all down in one spot (and there are probably other things I forgot) This has been our reality for many years. It seems we barely catch our breath and there is another storm on the horizon.  Mortality is not easy or blissful.  It is frustrating and hard a lot of times. 

Sometimes I feel exhausted by the raging storms and the unseen eye of the storm.  The unknown can be a scary place to be. However through it all I have felt a sense of calm and peace for the most part. I know that peace come from the source of all light. When I rely on Him, I know I can walk into the dark of the unknown and he will light my path even if only a step at a time.

That peace doesn't come without effort however. It comes when I seek Him through prayer, reading inspired words of scripture and words from inspired leaders, attending church and seeking answers at His holy temple. It comes when I gather my family and we pray thanking God in gratitude for all our blessings (and trials). It comes when we are united in our faith and prayers for  a better job situation, inspiration and guidance or when we pray for the comfort of broken hearts of our loved ones. It comes as I sit in church and look down the pew in awe at my 5 children and wonderful husband and feel so grateful to have a place of respite from the world.  It comes in the words of hymns that bring me to tears in the knowledge that God knows me and is sending me a "love note" right when i need it. It comes as we take time to teach our children about God's love for them and about our Savior who was willing to take upon him not only their sins but their pains, sorrows and afflictions and knows how to comfort our aching hearts.  It comes from knowing that Jesus Christ made it so we will live again after this life and be reunited with our loved ones. 

The storm that is swirling around us can still be calmed by He who calmed it 2000 years ago on the sea of Galilee. He still has the power to do so, and if it isn't time for the storm to stop raging, He can be our compass and lighthouse to lead us home.  I know this as surely as I know anything in this life.  I know He is the source of true peace and happiness even in the midst of the storms that are raging around us.  Mortality and this world are not for the faint of heart or for the weak.  I know sometimes it seems impossible to muddle through and our hope is sometimes lost in the huge waves and swells of the storm, but through Him we can ride them and be safe in His protection.

A month ago I was sitting in a funeral and this was one of the hymns we sang.  Tears rolled down my face as I knew this message was a message to me from my Father in Heaven who is always there to calm my fears in the midst of my storm.  Every verse was an answer to my prayer.

  1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
    With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In ev'ry change he faithful will remain.
    Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heav'nly Friend
    Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
  2. 2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
    To guide the future as he has the past.
    Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
    All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
    Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
    His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
  3. 3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast'ning on
    When we shall be forever with the Lord,
    When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
    Sorrow forgot, love's purest joys restored.
    Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
    All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.


Kathleen said...

Such a beautiful post, Cheryl. Your words are spoken so eloquently. I believe like you do and wonder how people without faith make it through this life. I continue to pray for you and your family. You have been through so much, but because of this post I know you will be alright.

Sarah said...

Cheryl you are truly an inspiration in so many ways. You know I look up to you and this post is an example of one of the reasons why.

Rachael said...

Dang Cheryl when you list guys really have gone through a lot of trials lately! Great post! You are a strong strong lady. You always seems to stay positive and see the bright side of things!