The Faith & Courage to Keep Going

I haven't blogged for awhile, and there is a reason for that. I want this blog to be a place with uplifting messages, a place to find comfort and reassurance. But it has been some time since I could come up any words to portray that message, and then more time to figure out how and if I could share this. As difficult as this will all be to share and admit, I feel that it is important that I do.

Theodore Roosevelt said, "Comparison is the thief of joy," and, man, is that ever true. No good comes of looking at the things others have that you do not.

After Max died I couldn't go see friends who had babies around the same time or right after. All I could think of is how old my baby would be, what he could be doing if he had been a healthy baby like them. The ache of seeing these little babies that were the same age as mine was too much for me to handle. I felt so much guilt for not being able to, but I couldn't help it. 

I've tried to keep a positive attitude throughout our journey to have a family. Of course, I've had my up and downs during years of infertility and my miscarriage, but a darkness seemed to slowly envelope me in the wake of Max's death and I sunk below depths I wasn't sure I could make my way out of. I looked around at the happy families with their beautiful healthy children, and I ached for my baby boy and for the joy of a family. I felt the pain of "unfair" and jealousy for what others had been blessed with. Despite what I knew about Max and his special mission, my broken heart outweighed my knowledge and I just wanted my baby back.

In the beginning, the grief had been difficult, but manageable. But as the months waned on, it just seemed to get harder and harder. I began to hear the voice of self doubt whisper to me that I wasn't worthy of a family, that I hadn't been a good enough mother, that I would never have the family I dreamed of. It felt like my heart grew more and more broken, instead of healing. Just as I would try to mend the pieces, they would crumble to dust in my hands. My chest began to feel like a gaping hole that would never close. Between the grief of loss and postpartum depression, I began to feel nothing but miserable about my life without Max. I felt hopelessly unhappy. I saw no way for us to ever live "happily ever after" after what we'd gone through. I wondered how I could ever escape the darkness of grief and the pain that I felt. I spent many of my days in bed and in tears, aching and, ultimately, just wishing I could die and be with Max again. I would find myself haunted by suicidal thoughts constantly in my moments alone. The longer I kept my feelings to myself, the more unhappy and hopeless I began to feel. I couldn't find the courage to admit to anyone how horrible I was feeling. 

People have come to expect me to be this positive, uplifting, ever-see-the-bright-side person. So, I felt like I had to keep up that act with everyone, everywhere. But it started crushing me.

My counselor suggested I get further evaluated by the psychiatrist to try a new medication. So, I started there. I prayed that I would have an easy transition and that the Lord would guide the doctor to put me on the right medication to help start making me feel like I could manage again.

Finally, I told Tyler about how bad my depression had actually become. I was embarrassed to admit my defeat to him. But, as he always does, he wrapped me up in his arms and comforted me. We prayed together for peace, help and guidance to navigate both of us through this difficult time, and to know what we should do to help me find my way out of the pit of darkness I felt I was in.

As always, it never fails to amaze me how the Lord so often blesses us through others. In church the following Sunday, a sister in our ward taught a powerful lesson I will never forget as long as I live. To me, it felt as though the entire room had vanished away and she was teaching only me. Her words struck my very core. She relayed her own story about trials and experiences that had lead her to a dark time in her life. And as if God was speaking directly to me through this amazing woman, she spoke the words I needed to hear and gave me the answers to my prayers. While I had been struggling so much, I thought that I had dug myself into a pit of hopelessness I would never be able to climb out of. She shared that she when she had reached such a time in here life, she had heard a voice declare to her, "If a seed of faith can move a mountain, it can surely fill the deepest hole." As she bore her testimony of that experience, a light began to peak in through my clouds of darkness and I began to see pillars of hope again in that very moment. 

As I began to actively seek that light and turn that hope into renewed faith, I began to feel my small seed of faith fill my deep hole. As time went on and my new medication also started to take effect, I slowly began to climb out of my pit and out of the darkness. 

Each and every day takes faith. Faith in the Lord, faith in myself, faith in the future and faith in each day. Is it easy? Not always. Some days it is so hard just to get up out of bed. I think, it would be so much easier to give up. It takes strength and courage just to keep going. But with a little bit of faith, I promise, it will start getting better.

Gordon B. Hinkley said, "In such hours of darkness there has shown forth a light, steady and certain, to sustain and comfort and bless." That light is the gospel of Jesus Christ. His perfect love, His infinite sacrifice, His faith in each of us even when our faith in Him dwindles. He is the truth and the light. When my faith is steady and strong in His redeeming power, I feel lifted up by His glory. He loves me. He doesn't doubt me, even when I, shamefully, doubt Him. We are never alone, if we can just believe in Christ. His atonement meant that He took on all of our griefs, sorrows, pains, losses; everything that has ever and will ever break our hearts broke His first. He knows us. He knows that pain and He wants to take it from us so we can hurt just a little less. It is the most beautiful part of His gospel, the most beautiful gift He could give us. 

And so, with faith we keep moving forward. We keep hoping and believing that something better must be somewhere up ahead. In the meantime, we seek out the joy that surrounds us right now. And, if we just look, we can find so much of it. Despite all the hardships we face each day, there are always blessings. That is the thing I know most to be true about my Heavenly Father, no matter what trials He allows us to face, he never leaves us empty-handed when we are faithful. With our most difficult trials come abundant blessings, if we can just have the faith to see them. If we can just stop worrying about "happily ever after," we might realize how happy we could be right now. We just have to find the faith and the courage to keep going.

XO