A couple of weeks ago, Ben gave me a blessing. In that blessing, I was instructed to use this time while he is living in Texas starting his new job to come unto Christ. I've had a lot of fears about this time over the next few months, and those fears were validated in the blessing (along with the course life is taking while he is gone. *sigh*). I was told that it would indeed be hard, but I was also told I would be given strength as I turn to Christ and come to know Him.
I've really been clinging to that promise. I've made a more solid effort over the past few weeks to turn things over to Christ. When I'm feeling down and depressed, but I don't want to pray, I pray. It's starting to become a stronger habit to pray/study scriptures when I am feeling low. I'm discovering in my thought processes the things that are little pieces of pride in me, and I'm trying to let them go.
Things are really hard right now. Like really hard. Every day this week, I've prayed for another snow day...even though we have 14 snow days to make up already. I'm tired--and by tired I mean I'm completely exhausted and don't know how I can take another step into another day. I'm emotionally and physically exhausted. And when I've woken up to false hopes of snow because the storm just barely missed us, I've seriously considered taking a sick day.
I've prayed a lot lately. I've prayed for light, peace, and patience. I've prayed for love. I've prayed for other people besides myself. I've prayed for light. I've prayed to recognize Christ in my life. I've prayed to feel His love for those around me and emulate that in my words and actions. I've literally said, "I can't do this. Please take it from me and help me have the strength to get through today." Praying and turning it over to Christ is starting to become second-nature to me. Which is a good thing because I tend to get stuck in the "I can do this myself" attitude. Or I just get so frustrated that I refuse to give it to God because it's His plan that is hurting me.
On Sunday I read Alma 34. This is one of my most favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon because it gives a lot of really great insight to the Atonement. Now, for the most part, it is talking about how the Atonement covers for sins and allows us to repent and be saved. I felt really prompted to read it, and as I started seeing the call to repentance, I kind of thought to myself, "Really, God? You direct me to read about repentance?" However, as I read, I had a lot of things jump out at me that brought me peace to my situation.
First, I was thinking about my relationship with Ben and my current pain level, and the thought hit me that it just doesn't matter. I mean, it matters because he is my husband and there are promises and all that jazz, but the most important relationship I will ever be a part of is with God. I need to focus on that, on Him, and things will be okay. I will feel peace because He will lift me up.
As I read about the Atonement in Alma 34, in verse 11, it asks if any man can atone for the sins of his brother. And in verse 12, it says the law requires the life of a man who murders. I thought of me. I thought of Ben and the pain he has caused me. No earthly thing can make it right. Truly. In the deepest depths of pain and despair I have felt, I have only been lifted up by the Atonement. He has killed a part of me, and he has never been able to make it right. Nothing he has said or tried to do has made it right. Ever. I've only ever been made whole through the power of the Atonement. I love the Atonement because it works in so many ways. It works when we are in need of repentance and being changed and made whole. But it also works when we are on the other side and have been deeply wronged and feel like we are wounded on a battlefield. That's me right now (but trust me, I need it for the other side too). I have to seek Christ so He can make me whole.
In verse 15, it says Christ will bring salvation to all those who believe on His name. The idea of eternal salvation, an everlasting peace and light is glorious. I want it. I feel like I can taste it, and it draws me closer. So I choose to believe. I'm choosing faith.
Also in verse 15, we learn that Christ's mercy can meet the demands of justice, and that will encircle us in the arms of safety. Being encircled by arms of safety is a dream to me right now. Feeling save, feeling love, is all I want and need. With that, I know I can press forward.
This chapter instructs us to "cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save" (verse 18).
We are told to pray--except he uses the word "cry", which has so much more power, humility, vulnerability, and desperation involved. We need to cry unto Him. Cry unto Him to fight the power of your enemies (ahem*Satan*cough*I hate him). Cry unto Him for all things. Pour out your soul. And when you can't physically cry out, keep your heart full and drawn out to Him.
I love this instruction. It gives me hope.
We are instructed to remember to be charitable. I've been studying charity and love lately, and I've really felt that change my heart and ability to receive guidance and strength. And the more I feel Christlike love in my heart, the easier it is to have patience and peace.
We are instructed to be watchful and pray continually, that Satan may not have us. Satan wants us. We are powerful women, us WoPAs. We are strong and beautiful and brave. Satan seeks us every day. He surrounds us with darkness and threatens to overcome us. At times, I have felt horrifyingly close to falling under Satan's control through the darkness he has set around me. But I've been rescued every time, and for that I am extremely grateful.
The last verse if my favorite: "But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm hope that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions."
I have hope. I have hope in the Atonement. I have hope that I will be made whole and that I will get through this. I'm trying to take it one day at a time. If I can just make it to bed tonight, I will have made it to tomorrow.