Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Hang in and Hang On"

It's past 3:00 a.m. and I have been lying here, praying, struggling. The past weeks -- the good and the hard -- have worn me beyond my limits. Sick kids, traveling boys, sick momma, another sick kid, tons of activities planned for the girls why they were gone, tons of issues with sleep meds not working while they were gone, tons of expectations to try to fulfill, and good face to maintain for my babies. Tons of stress to push through to keep them and me afloat. Tons of flakiness with things like appointments and returning library books (Sorry Jill!).

And then there was tonite. Tonight (or last night, I guess, if you want to be technical), I was supposed to have a night off, but instead, I had a husband come home to report about parent-teacher conferences, we had some significant until-that-point-unknown school issues to then discuss (nothing like a good surprise pt conference to perk up a momma's day. not). I had two little girls who needed to talk about the bullying they have experienced, and I struggled to help them sort through when and how and to whom to go about such issues. (I did have the presence of mind to remind them that they could talk to me anytime about anything...even years past, but that they needed to talk to school officials immediately when physical harm is caused.)

And then I found myself going to Wal-mart three hours later than planned (nearly midnight) to find some black pants for the dress rehearsal tomorrow (er, today) that I had only found out about before they left for pt conferences. I was driving nearly like a drunk person, so tired, so dizzy.

At least I stocked up on Cheerios for cheap.hehe

All my plans to get things done early so I could have a night off and maybe even an earlier night turned into one of the more intense and draining nights I have had in a while. One of those nights when you have given so much already and you just keep thinking -- I can't do more!

And so I scraped myself into a shower, and into bed, where I prayed: "I just can do this. How can I possibly pull myself together enough to do another day, to put on a face for the kids who need me more and more as time goes on?" If it were just the mommy stress, that would be hard enough, but there are other issues that I'm dealing with that have drained me big time. All I want to do is retreat into some space of isolation and insulation from it all.

As I lay in bed, I had the thought to pull out my computer and read Elder Holland. The talk I thought I would read wasn't the first I found, but this one was good. There is much there, including the always-stirring story of the toil and trouble and time that went into the building of the Salt Lake Temple. He ends with this:

Blood, toil, tears, and sweat. The best things are always worth finishing. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Most assuredly you are. As long and laborious as the effort may seem, please keep shaping and setting the stones that will make your accomplishment “a grand and imposing spectacle.” Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. Dream dreams and see visions. Work toward their realization. Wait patiently when you have no other choice. Lean on your sword and rest a while, but get up and fight again. Perhaps you will not see the full meaning of your effort in your own lifetime. But your children will, or your children’s children will, until finally you, with all of them, can give the Hosanna Shout.

I testify that God loves each of us and that Jesus of Nazareth, his Only Begotten Son, came to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5), bringing a divine form of workers’ compensation to you who keep tugging those granite boulders so faithfully into place. I love you and believe in you. I have wanted very much to encourage you. You are laying the foundation of a great work—your own inestimable future. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” I pray that you will know and that you will persevere, “however long and hard the road,”

I am all the more tired now, as my body processes my sleep meds and the minutes tick by. But at least I feel like I might be able to try again tomorrow, to tackle my life. I have just been giving so much lately, and feel that I keep finding more mistakes than not, and keep meeting up with the pain that my physical and other limitations cause for others. I give so much, and yet I fall so short. And in some ways I feel I fall backward, even.

But Elder Holland (then Pres. Holland) has always been one of those who says the right things for me. I joke that my guardian angel works with him and his wife, Sister Pat Holland.

And, so, I am hearing Elder Holland tell his story about being stranded in his car (remember that one?)

Don't give up.... Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead—a lot of it—You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.


On those days when we have special need of heaven’s help, we would do well to remember one of the titles given to the Savior in the epistle to the Hebrews. Speaking of Jesus’ ”more excellent ministry” and why He is “the mediator of a better covenant” filled with “better promises,” this author—presumably the Apostle Paul—tells us that through His mediation and Atonement, Christ became “an high priest of good things to come.” 1

Every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better. Moroni spoke of it in the Book of Mormon as “hope for a better world.” 2 For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. It is enough just to know we can get there, that however measured or far away, there is the promise of “good things to come.”

My declaration is that this is precisely what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of need. There is help. There is happiness. There really is light at the end of the tunnel. It is the Light of the World, the Bright and Morning Star, the “light that is endless, that can never be darkened.” 3 It is the very Son of God Himself. In loving praise far beyond Romeo’s reach, we say, “What light through yonder window breaks?” It is the return of hope, and Jesus is the Sun. 4 To any who may be struggling to see that light and find that hope, I say: Hold on. Keep trying. God loves you. Things will improve. Christ comes to you in His “more excellent ministry” with a future of “better promises.” He is your “high priest of good things to come.”

Thanks, Elder Holland. Thanks, Father, for leading me there. At least I don't feel completely overwhelmed. I'm exhausted beyond belief, but I feel more peaceful after reading his words. Elder Holland has often taught about hope and optimism. Not exactly what I feel I can muster. But I can begin by not quitting, but instead choosing to keep on going, right?

See you on the other side of the sunrise, more about lunchtime. Hopefully now I can sleep at least.


SilverRain said...

*sends you huge hugs* I'm so sorry about all you're going through right now, my friend. You are an amazing example of faith and endurance. Know that you are loved.

And don't hesitate to call if there is anything at all that I can do. Even if it's just venting.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love Elder Holland

Anonymous said...

Inspiring. Must be something about the end of winter. Many I know are struggling. Your words lifted my soul.

Ginny said...

oh, how my heart broke as i read this post. i am sorry to hear your girls have been involved in the awful circle of bullying. we've been there and it's so tough. i wish you the best as you hang in and hang on!! you and your sweet family are in my prayers!!

Anonymous said...

this was beautiful M. Both your words and the words of our beloved Elder Holland. In fact we got quite distracted at scripture group the other day when discussing our favorite Elder Holland talks. I think I have "The Other Prodigal" committed to memory as well as "Cast not away therefore your confidence." btu have you heard his January 13th devotional-- "Remember Lot's Wife'? It may be my new favorite.

Love you. Praying for you always.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you find comfort in counsel, and then you have the humility to share it with us. Thank you.

Mama D said...

I appreciate that you shared your challenges. I, too, have been struggling a great deal lately. Thanks for sharing the peace of Elder Holland's words. I grasp onto lifelines like these. They are what keep us going when our own strength and courage are waning. I am regaining some balance, but I cannot begin to tell you how much I needed to be reminded of these truths today!

Rosalie Erekson Stone said...

Thank you for you continued willingness to open your heart in ways that lift and inspire us the way this post did.

I hope you can feel the effect of lots of prayers and positive thoughts coming your way from all of us in cyberspace who care very much about "m & m." :)