One year ago about right now as I type this the most difficult trial I have as of yet faced began. I was not sure how my life would move forward. I knew it would, but I knew my life was changed forever. I didn't know if I would ever eat, sleep, or even breathe the same again. My face drooped with worry. My eyes lost their smile. I did not feel hunger or sleepiness. I felt consumed. At the same time, Ryan took a steep dive downward in health and I thought I was losing him. He had multiple severe seizures. Each morning I went to his bedside nervous that he might not be alive. I spent my days and evenings trying to comfort children and make sense of something that didn't make sense to me. My heart ached.
As this date has started to approach I have had mixed emotions. At first, it felt like something to be dreaded, like when New Year's rolls around again and one realizes they still didn't reach their goals from last year. I'm sure none of you have ever felt that way though. Then I realized that this is not like that. This is a date to be celebrated. It is one year later and: I can breathe. I can sleep. I feel hunger again. But, those aren't the important things that I've learned, or really remembered through it all.
We are blessed with an organized church. We have home teachers and visiting teachers and Bishops and Stake Presidents and teachers. It is very organized. People have volunteered positions to play and for the most part, people play their rolls very well. I'm so thankful for the rolls they played. Each of them were essential in helping and they did it so gently and kindly. Some play a small roll in my life. Some play a large roll in my life. Some people may not even realize what kind of a roll they play in my life. (Hmm... maybe I should fix that.) I'm very thankful. The Stake President, he's the man who's responsible for multiple congregations, took time out from his family's vacation last year to give our family comfort during a very difficult time. He didn't hesitate. He just came. The Bishop, who leads voluntarily over the local congregation, has helped our family in so many ways! His wife also. She put one of our sons to work one day doing just the perfect job for him.
Family is a gift from God. I am so blessed with a loving and supportive family. My sweetheart works so hard and is so dedicated to his family. My children are so kind and loving to Ryan. My parents are my backbone. My sister is such a strength and support, and a great example to me. My nephews are my dear friends and some of my very favorite men in the world. My in-laws are kind and loving to me. And, the list goes on. I have wonderful Aunts and Uncles, Great Aunts and Great Uncles, Cousins, 2nd Cousins. I am just very blessed in the area of family. That's the way it should be. We all need strong families.
Friends who lift and strengthen you are priceless. I hope it is never taken lightly when I say how much I appreciate you, my friends. I really do. There is a hymn that says, "What greater gift dost thou bestow, What greater goodness can we know, Than Christlike friends, whose gentle ways strengthen our faith, enrich our days."
When you feel like you can't stand anymore, kneel. Prayer works. I think we all experience, or will experience times in our lives when we feel that no one will understand all that is in our hearts. But HE will. He will listen perfectly. He already knows your heart. He just wants you to come talk to Him. Prayer is healing. Check in at least daily with your Father in Heaven. Then when you've developed that habit, start your morning with Him and return and report back to Him at night. He'll be so glad to hear from you. He loves you!
With His help I can do ALL things. Each of us will experience our own difficulties and trials. In talking with friends, I have not met anyone who does not have something that is difficult for them. Some try to compare mine to theirs and say, "Well, I shouldn't complain." I don't think we can compare. I sometimes hear some of your trials and think, "I don't think I could do that." I think Heavenly Father prepares us for what we are given. Sometimes it's hard to see how we've been prepared until after we've passed through the trials and are on the other side of it and can look back. Although this past year has been very hard, I'm thankful for what I have learned. My relationship with Savior has deepened. I have learned to rely on Him. I have learned that He truly is there for me in all things. That when my legs feel to weak to stand any longer, He will hold me up. I have learned that He will give me the words to say when I have no idea what I will say. I have grown to love Him, even though I thought I already loved Him.
I know now more than I knew before that I love Him and He loves me. Both my Savior and my Heavenly Father.
It has been a hard year. But I am thankful that I know these things.