Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Quick Response

I just read the following comment:
Stephanie
I cannot deal with my own pain today. I have been to the temple, read my scriptures, say my prayers, but the pain is so intense it seems unbearable. What do you do when you can't escape the inner pain that is so consuming? Today is just too hard.

I do not know who sent this as it was anonymous. I don't know to what kind of pain you are dealing with. Here is what I do aside from what you have already done, which I would continue doing over and over. I gather my children, husband and family around me. I surround myself with those who love me unconditionally. I let them know about my pain. And I write. I get as much of the pain out in writing as I can. And I cry. Sometimes it helps to let it out.

Lastly, I want to share with you this post that my friend Britt wrote up. It is a talk by Elder Holland given at a stake conference she and her husband attended. Her husband is an awesome note taker. And Elder Holland ... he is just INCREDIBLE! LOVE HIM!  Hope this helps. Thanks for the post Britt!

When we feel broken, which we all have....

1) When these times come for you or others remember God loves broken things. It takes broken clouds to nourish earth, broken earth to grow grain, broken grain to make bread. God can fix all things that are broken, they are understood by him and incorporated into His plan for us. The think that he loves most is a broken heart and contrite spirit - symbols of the Atonement which replaced the firstling of the flock after the Atonement was wrought. 

Broken heart and contrite spirit is a more personal sacrifice that a burnt offering. Please don't resist if God helps to break your heart, he doesn't do it maliciously. He will handle it with care while it's broken and we will get it back whole. It will be restored whole just as our bodies will be restored whole through the Atonement. If we'll be faithful and true and not cut and run we'll get it all back. Don't panic if something breaks even if it's our heart of a child, spouse, or family member. The 'Night' will pass

2) When these times come and they will come and your in the middle of the offering remember what Virgil (Christian contemporary), "When these times come, endure, and save yourselves for days of happiness ahead." The declaration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that you will be happy again. The longer you think about not being happy the more you convince yourself that you never have been happy. The gospel brings happiness, it brought you happiness before this night began and you will have that happiness again. When you're in the middle of night you might say, "I can't do this, the load I've been asked to carry I can't carry." We all say that, it's the natural thing to say. 

During this time we realize that the path we say we can't walk we do walk. We start to see what God is trying to say. When you look deep within yourself we start to see your true divinity, with a lot more strength than we thought we had and probably more that we wanted ;) You're waiting for the crash and somehow the ship levels out, although you're sure you're still going down.....and then the incline of the valley starts sloping up and you see a ray of light. For some this comes soon, others later, others in heaven but be assured it will come. In tough times square your shoulders, pull up your socks, and grit your teeth.

We have had the crash. We are on our ups and our downs. Sometimes we feel like our ship has set sail and left us, or we are on a rocky ship, but the ship always smooths out.... eventually.


Elder Holland was VERY adamant about this part. He was teary eyed and firm. I remember thinking, "If I have a really hard trial, how would I handle it? Would I lose my faith? Would I turn to it? How will/ would I react?" I pondered on the trials past and realized I had taken the higher road. At times, those trials really seemed like they were the hardest thing I ever had to do, and so goes with this one....

3) Don't you dare in those times say, "Well I guess God doesn't love me." If you say that personal problems are equated to God's lack of love you are wrong, because what does that say of some of the best people that have lived on this planet? What does that say about the Son of God? Elder Holland then told about an experience he had with President Hunter. 

President Hunter was very sick and had just given Elder Holland an assignment to go overseas. ElderHolland knew that Pres Hunter would probably pass away while Elder Holland was away on assignment. One of the unwritten rules is you do not stop by the Prophets house for a social visit, so remember that when you're in SLC. Elder Holland felt like it would probably be OK to stop by Pres. Hunters house in spite of this unwritten rule because of the circumstances. So on his way out of town he went to the prophets apartment and knocked on the door. 

Sister Hunter answered the door and just as she was opening the door an unearthly cry came out of the backroom coming from the President Hunter because of the great pain the cancer was causing him. ElderHolland has heard a cry similar to this only one other time from his 3 year old brother as he was having a seizure that killed him. Sister Hunter and Elder Holland both started crying. Elder Holland then knew it had been a mistake to come and said something along the lines of, "Forgive me I shouldn't have come, tell him I love him and am going on my assignment." 

When the plane Elder Holland took got to England he was given word that President Hunter had died and to return back to SLC. President Hinckley is another of great suffering. He is alone and sick but keeps coming to work every day - does Heavenly Father not love him? When you hurt He hurts, DON'T YOU DARE SAY HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU. The first rule of seamanship is when there's a storm you stay in the boat. You may need to hunker down at the bottom of the ship with the oars pulled in over you but you stay in the ship, don't even consider jumping ship. When you have storms in your life you've never needed the church more, 

DON'T YOU DARE LEAVE. Where would you go?....the rotary club?....the gardening club? You stay with the truth, prove there's divinity in you. You're gonna have to say, "please let this cup pass" but if it won't they you square your shoulders, bow your head and say, 'yes.' We have to do it to prove who we are and who He is. 

When the disciples were in the storm tossed ship in the New Testiment Jesus slept. They awoke Him and asked, "carest thou not that we perish?" The ship is going to sink! He responded, 'oh ye of little faith.' Then he raised his arm to the square and said, 'peace be still' and the wind and waves obeyed his voice. The disciples said, 'who is this man that even the wind and waves obey his voice.' In stormy seas we need the person that can control wind and waves. 

Be believing, the sun will shine again. 

Only the Gospel truth will bring happiness, don't try other things looking for happiness because they've been tried and don't work. 

Elder Hollands favorite title of Christ in in the book of Revelations: 'Bright and Morning Star.' The Sun will come because of the Son. The only hope we have to offer you is the truth of the Gospel, all of it. He knows everything about sorrow and pain, everything about you. He has figuratively raised his arm to the sqare and declared figuratively peace in your life and this peace will come. 

Seek the Peace and hunker down till it comes, people. Love to you all and especially to you today Anonymous! Love to you.
Stephanie

33 comments:

Janelle said...

Although I am not the reason for this post, I just wanted to say Thank You! This is just what I needed today! I am a silent reader of your blog, and I appreciate your words! Thank you!

Liz's Blog said...

wow! Steph...that post was amazing. I also would like to extend my love and prayers to the Anonymous person.
Stephanie, you are a wonderful woman, mother, wife and sister to us all...even though this post was written to someone specifically as they are feeling so much pain...I know that this post will help and touch many! Love you steph!

Lisa said...

I hope that Anonymous is comforted somewhat by your words of encouragement. Dear Anon- I will pray that angels surround you and bring you some comfort tonight. Please don't keep your pain inside with so many out here who can be here for you during this awful time in your life. Please continue reaching out.

Anonymous said...

To Stephanie and Your Husband,
Is it hard for you to hear about other people's loss when it doesn't have anything to do with your loss of your sweet littl girl? Many people are suffering from losing babies from miscarriage or losing their babies different ways. As a mother who has battled with this pain, do you have any suggestions or do you prefer to keep this blog centered around Camille or is it open to all people that are feeling a loss? Thank you for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie: It's anonymous - thank you for posting Elder Holland's words, but more than that - thank you for just connecting with me. My heart sank when I saw your response. I'm so broken and lost, but noone knows, and sometimes that scares me. Today I needed someone to know. Today I needed someone to care. Today I wanted to knock on your door, but I was afraid. I spend a lot of time at the temple - it is the Lord's House and I know if I go there he will care for me. Thank you so much for responding. I so needed a friend.

Through the Storm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
So Blessed said...

Stphanie,
Do you care if I copy this post and send it to my younger brother? It is so beautiful and true. He needs to hear this.

Lisa Gregersen

Anonymous said...

But what do you do when you've told those that you love of your pain and they seem to not care? What do you do when your pain is so great and you feel so alone. What do you do when you pray and you hear nothing? What do you do when if feels like you have nothing. I've felt this way the past few days. I have 4 children and a husband and I feel as if I could walk off the planet and not be missed until it is dinner time. I feel unloved and unappreciated.

Honestly I'm to the point where I feel unloveable. I feel as if I've deserved a life of solitude somewhere along the way. I'm beginning to walk each day, more and more in silence and noone seems to even notice. I reply with simple yes and no's. I have conversation with noone and yet noone seems to miss it. I spend quiet time alone in my room reading, or most often crying and yet noone cares.

I cry far more than I laugh and I hurt far more than I feel any kind of joy.

I feel that life is hopeless and yet I continue to pretend, put on a fake smile and continue through the day. I'm so completely dead inside.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, thank you for posting this today, and thank you to Anonymous for inspiring this post. I frequently have days in which I don't think I can deal with my own pain. Sometimes it is hard to remember that we are truly loved. But there is a quiet place in me that knows this is true.
And thanks again, Stephanie, for being someone to whom all of us, the Anonymous, can reach out and feel like there is a human being who will listen. Sometimes the only way we can feel our Heavenly Father is through an earthly angel.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Today I was desperate - that is why I wrote to Stephanie. I did not know she would even reply - I just wanted someone to know I was scared and I was ready to jump ship. I wanted someone to listen, I wanted to beg for a friend, I wanted to write to SOMEONE, to release my pain and feel spiritually connected to a sister in the gospel. As I stand on the edge of the ship wanting to jump I want someone to grab me, embrace me and tell me I'm worth staying aboard. I am ashamed to write to Stephanie and even mention that I am feeling pain, because I have not experienced her loss. But today maybe the answer to my prayer is her blog. At least for today I do not feel alone in my pain. At least today, through her blog I am talking, and I feel a little safer. Maybe I can hold on. Thank you Stephanie

Anonymous said...

This post was an answer to my prayer tonight. I now know what decision I need to make and can do so now with a great feeling that I am doing what is ultimately best. My Heavenly Father does know me and I am grateful for the tools he uses to teach and direct my life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and testimony. It certainly has made me ponder and reflect in a deeper manner.
P.S. Please tell your husband that that carpet cleaner he recommended is great. I LOVE IT!!!

Heidi said...

This was awesome. I starred it in my reader so I can read it again whenever I need to. Thank you, Stephanie!

Kelli said...

Oh Stepanie, I love you, and to you anonymous, I love you as well. My heart hurts for the both of you. I too have gone through trials this year that were nearly unbearable and I thought would never end, and they haven't really, just my perspective of them. I have laid my burdens at Heavenly Father's feet and I am trusting in Him because He knows me better than I know myself and knows what I need. I keep doing the best I can and leave the rest for Him, some days are better than others, but I have seen His hand in my life each day and His tender mercies let me know that He is there watching over me. NEVER GIVE UP!!

Anonymous said...

It's anonymous day - I'm #4 or 5.

This post touches different people in different ways. I wonder why some feel that it is OK to express their pain as long as it is anonymous, even though what they want and need more than anything is a real person who will listen and love. I want to reach out to each one who feels alone and neglected and offer a shoulder, an ear, and a heart, yet I am posting anonymously.

Stephanie has taught us all much by being so open about her feelings, and even through her pain, has never turned anyone away who needed a listening ear or word of encouragement.

How can we be more open to each other, our sisters, friends, neighbors, and strangers, when we are in need or when we can offer strength? I have been on both sides, and much prefer being supportive to others than needing support (duh!), but I don't know who needs support in my church or neighborhood. How can we better connect with each other so we don't feel so alone, especially when there must be people nearby who would care if only they knew???

I'm just asking, becuase I don't have any answers, but it appears to be a real problem.

Sarah Hull said...

That was so powerful and so beautiful. Thank you for that. To Anonymous, you are in my prayers tonight.

Anonymous said...

I heard that talk by Elder Holland at a stake conference (in Michigan), and it was absolutely amazing. People are still talking about it, though it's been a couple years ago, I think. It seemed every person there felt he was talking directly to them.

I attempted to take notes, but they weren't nearly as good as your friend's, so thank you for sharing this!!! It came at a time I needed to be reminded of it.

Shanan said...

Wow - what powerful words from Elder Holland. Thanks for Britt's husband for taking such good notes! :) and thanks to you for sharing them.

Amber said...

Thank you so much for that today, I am in tears. I was just thinking this Conference what a remarkable and spiritual person Elder Holland is. He is incredible, and I don't know why I haven't always thought of him as one of my favorites. I don't know you, Stephanie, but I tell people about your blog all the time. It is a daily boost to me, and I thank you again! I am so impressed with your strength!

Ryan and Amanda said...

I LOVE Elder Holland, he's been my favorite (or one of) for a long time now. Thanks for posting this - I loved reading it and will share it with others who could benefit from it.
To anonymous #3, it sounds to me like you are depressed and when anyone is depressed they feel unloved and unloveable. Perhaps I am wrong, but that is what it sounds like to me. There are amny ways to fight depression, but one good way is advice Stephanie gave a month or two or so ago - every day you need to do something social, mental, physical, and spiritual (and it is great if your social thing can be an act of service.) Also, I am sure you know intellectually that not only does your family love you but that Heavenly Father and Christ love you as well, so grasp on to that. In General Conference last October there was a talk on keeping a journal daily of the blessings we receieve. I am almost positive Elder Bednar gave the talk but I could be wrong. (If you are a member of the LDS church look up the talk, it was a great one. If not, email me and I will send you a copy if you want.)I have been doing this the past year and ending each day, or starting it, by thinking of the blessings I have received not only helps me feel grateful for all my blessings, but also helps me remember how much I am loved - by those around me and the Lord. I would suggest doing this. Anyway, I pray you will overcome the darkness you are in and find your worth again.

Mimi's Toes said...

Dear Anonymous,
Please know that you are not alone. I believe in the power of prayer. I too have been in a place of hopelessness. I will pray a special prayer today. I am so thankful for Stephanie and her blog. She has a special ministry. Don't give up! Our God cares and he Loves you.

Captain and First Officer said...

Steph, you are awesome. So glad to hear you are doing better lately.

Love from Mesa

Shanan said...

I would like to add to what Ryan and Amanda said directed to Anonymous #3. I think the most important thing to remember when life becomes unbearable is that there is always one person (not just a figure) who knows exactly what we're going through! Rely on this knowledge and call on Him who knows.

I also want to offer these words of wisdom from Pres. N Eldon Tanner from a First Presidency address in August 1971 titled, 'Importance and Efficacy of Prayer':

"It is easy to pray and give thanks when all is going well and we feel blessed and prosperous. The real test of our gratitude and love for the Lord is in our ability to do as Job did when his trials and tribulations seemed to be almost more than he could endure. He still gave thanks, praised the Lord, and said with all humility and sincerity, 'I know that my Redeemer liveth.'

"When one feels that things are not going as they should or as he would like them to do, and discouragement comes, as it does to all of us at times, then is a time when he can gain great comfort, courage, and strength, and indeed happiness, by going privately to the Lord, alone, and in all humility, kneeling and giving thanks, naming one by one his blessings and praying that he might be worthy of them. It will suprise you to know what the Lord has done and how long it will take you to count your many blessings."

I have taken this challenge and know that it works. It's amazing to see the change that can happen within when your mind and heart are forced to focus on what you have been blessed with.

I hope you will find the answers you need and understand how much you are truly loved - and noticed.

Shanan
http://sdurda.wordpress.com

a.k.a. Jack said...

Anonymous #4 or 5. I think the answer to your question is service. I know that sounds generic, but if you sincerely offer service when you see a need, it begins the blessings of a Zion founded society. For stay at home Moms, one great way to serve is to offer babysitting, or to call friends or neighbors before you run to Walmart or the grocery store to ask if they would need you to pick up any items while you are there. When we lived in Iowa, we really learned what it was like to live in a Zion-like society. Everyone helped everyone. From, even before we moved there, we had people offer to do major things for us. Because of what they did for us, we wanted to do things for them. As a result we all helped each other and no one ever needed to hire help. We just knew people were willing to help (because they so earnestly, readily, and sincerely offered to do so). This brings you close to each other. Then, as you grow close through service, you begin to rely on each other not just for physical needs, but for emotional needs as well. You have people to listen to you. And, as you listen to others, you develop special bonds. Everyone feels connected. I have found this process starts more slowly out here in the West, as most people are reluctant at first to accept service, but if you continue to offer, then, eventually, in a desperate moment, people accept and the beginning of a bond is formed. It still works here. Anyway, that's my two cents worth here.

To anonymous, who is feeling so down. I know how you feel and I know there are others on this blog who can relate as well. I had a time in my life like you are going through not too long ago as well. I just have a few thins to say. You are loved. I don't know who you are, but my heart aches for you because I love you. The Lord loves you, the Savior loves you, many readers of this blog love you. You may not feel appreciated, but, I believe, many of those reading this blog appreciate you and your comments. It helps all of us to know that we are not the only ones out there that have felt so SO so much pain.

Like Ryan and Amanda said, try to do each of those things Stephanie mentioned a while back each day. When you are in that much pain, however, I know it can be extremely difficult to do those things. One other thing that helps depression is to get out in the sunlight. If you can do no more than lay in your bed and cry, try doing that outside. Lay in a chair or on the lawn or whatever and cry. Just get outside. This will hopefully give you enough of a boost to be able add one more thing to do to help improve your spirits.

Another thought--as a mother, you are particularly prone to feeling unloved, unappreciated, etc. Part of the problem is that what you work for all day each day (raising children) doesn't show much of an immediate reward. It is a very long-term goal. We spend our entire lives in school, setting and accomplishing short-term goals all the time. Then, we are suddenly in a situation where we are no longer seeing the fruits of our labors. We may not see the fruits of motherhood for another 20 years! In the mean time, I have found it extremely helpful to have short term goals to accomplish--hobbies, decorating, service, independent study courses, learning a new skill, etc. This helps bring meaning back to our lives. It helps us remember that we are worth something. It helps us remember that we are AMAZING, and can do anything we put our minds to. And, it makes the rest of life easier. When we are depressed, doing even the tiniest thing seems unbearable. If we can break that cycle, we can be more efficient.

Anyway, I'm rambling now. It's hard to start things like this when you are already in so much pain. They are more preventative measures than solutions. So, in the mean time I would say this:
"This too shall pass".
It really will. I don't know what is causing the pain, but I promise that the pain will pass. My mom always said that things will look better in the morning. There is alot of truth to that statement and, most of the time, you do feel better in the morning than you do in the evening when you are exhausted. However, sometimes, it takes more than a good night's sleep. But, I promise, that things will look better eventually. Even if it takes a little while. Keep doing all the things you are already doing and hang in there. This too shall pass. Life has a way of teaching through hindsight. Often, you can look back on times like these and find meaning in them later, even though you can't see the meaning when you are in the thick of it.

Finally, I just wanted to say that, at least for me, when I am so depressed, it's easy to feel like it's my fault, like I'm not doing enough, or whatever. Although, in some instances that may be true, often, it has nothing to do with what I'm doing and everything to do with hormones, chemical imbalance, a real tragedy that has occurred, or whatever. So, just keep trying to do what you can. We are not perfect and are not expected to be so. That is why we have the atonement--so He can fill in where we fall short. You do what you can, given the circumstances (those including emotional state). And, when we are in so much pain, that may not be alot. Just know that you are heard. Many of us can empathize with your pain. You are not alone. We love you. I hope that this down time passes quickly for you. Hang in there.

Sue Sparks said...

Wouldn't you know it...I just received Elder Holland's new book(Broken Things to Mend) in the mail the other day:) Chapter 1 ends with this BEAUTIFUL poem that I'd like to share:

The Carpenter of Nazareth
by George Blair

In Nazareth, the narrow road,
That tires the feet and steals the breath,
Passes the place where once abode
The Carpenter of Nazareth.

And up and down the dusty way
The village folk would often wend;
And on the bench, beside Him, lay
Their broken things for Him to mend.

The maiden with the doll she broke,
The woman with the broken chair,
The man with broken plough, or yoke,
Said, "Can you mend it, Carpenter?"

And each received the thing he sought,
In yoke, or plough, or chair, or doll;
The broken thing which each had brought
Returned again a perfect whole.

So, up the hill the long years through,
With heavy step and wistful eye,
The burdened souls their way pursue,
Uttering each the plaintive cry:

"O Carpenter of Nazareth,
This heart that's broken past repair,
This life, that's shattered nigh to death,
Oh, can You mend them, Carpenter?"

And by His kind and ready hand,
His own sweet life is woven through
Our broken lives, until they stand
A New Creation-"all things new."

"The shattered [substance] of [the]
heart,
Desire, ambition, hope, and faith,
Mould Thou into the perfect part,
O, Carpenter of Nazareth!"

Isn't that beautiful? :)

The Pett Shop said...

Dear Anonymous and Future Anonymous posters!

I understand secret pain. It is easy to rally around a dear friend or sister in our wards and neighborhoods when we know of their losses and struggles. Unfortunately we can not always share what "breaks" us. Those are the experiences that bring us close to our Saviour.

Don't forget that when our older Brother was asked to bear the pain and sins of the world, a pain that was so great it caused even Him to bleed from every pore and ask the Father to take it away, He did it ALONE. There was no member of the Relief Society to bring him bread and console Him, no Home Teacher dropping by to check up on Him. Even His friends, His disciples, fell asleep. He was ALONE.

And the best part is that He was alone so you won't have to be. It is not as tangible as having that friend there to hug and hold you but it is deeper and better. Use this gift. The Atonement was also given to us to take away our burdens.

You can do it. I promise the light will come someday. Please don't jump ship. I know you feel alone. I've been there. I also know you will be ok if you bring your burden to our Savior and share it with Him. You are NOT alone!! Train your brain to stop thinking about feeling alone and tell yourself to start thinking about your Savior and His peace. When you change your focus, the peace will come! Trust me!

The Pett Shop said...

One more thing anonymous:

my email address is lisaannpett@gmail.com if you want to chat

Jeanette said...

This is also what I needed to hear today. You are, as ever, a beacon of faith and endurance.

Thank you

Melinda said...

I have also been a silent reader of your blog but today I just have to speak out to anonymous. I am alarmed about your statements that you just want to jump ship. What does that mean to you? Are you feeling suicidal? If so, have you thought of a way to do it? Depression is a very serious thing, It can lead us to feel completely hopeless. You say that you have told family members how you feel. Maybe they don't know how to help you. Maybe they really do care and love you but don't know what to do to help. Sometimes it takes a professional and even medication to help us over the hump and get us feeling hopeful again. I liked the advise everyone has given but sometimes it takes some medical intervention. Excercise, fresh air, service, gratitude, being surrounded by loved ones, prayer, fasting, scripture reading all help us get out of a funk or depression but sometimes it's just not enough. Please do not give up. You say you have 4 children. They may not know how to show you that they need and love you but they do. No one can replace you. I MEAN NO ONE. They need their mom. A happy healthy mom. So please please do not give up. Keep talking, keep reaching out, don't try to carry this burden alone. All of us have experienced deep pain that feels like it will never let up but it will. I promise it will. Heavenly Father will not abandon us. Just keep turning to him. I am so impressed that you are going to the temple so much. you are already doing some things that are helpful. Be grateful for that inspiration that is leading you in the right direction. Please don't keep this inside find a friend, your bishop, or relative that you can trust and be honest about the deep pain you are in. I care about you. Your Heavenly Father knows, he really does. And your children need you.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie,
Thank you for sharing your friend's notes from Elder Holland's talk. I work for EFY, and Kenneth Cope had a song on the 2005 More Excellent Way CD called "Broken" that was based on Elder Holland's words.

Someone asked our office how this song came to be, and this was Kenneth's response:

"I was on a plane a year and a half ago and two gentlemen I was traveling with...they are from Boise, Idaho, and were flying through Salt Lake City, where I joined them, on to Las Vegas...they told me that Elder Holland had just been to their stake conference in Boise and had spoken to the Saints something along these lines:

'It takes broken clouds to nourish the earth. It takes broken earth to grow grain. It takes broken grain to make bread. It takes broken bread to nourish us. Some of the sweetest and best things in this life are broken. God loves broken things. One of His favorites is a broken heart.'

Well, over the course of the weekend, the words and ideas kept pressing upon me, so I decided I needed to seek the Lord and attempt to find a song in there. The Lord blessed me, and a song emerged. That's pretty much how it happened.

I don't believe that the talk is available, since my traveling companions said that Elder Holland had no notes in front of him.

I hope that helps you. It’s too bad we don’t have access to all the talks these amazing men give."

The song is also available as an mp3 at http://www.ldsaudio.com/shop/music.aspx?id=341&type=album . I have no financial interest in this, nor does EFY anymore, so I am not trying to sell it. I think the song is 99 cents. If you are someone who is touched by music like I am, it is a wonderful song.

Thank your friend for taking wonderful notes so we all have the chance to share Elder Holland's words.

Jeanenne said...

Stephanie you are touching so many people. All the anonymous people who are hurting. I love the words from Elder Holland. When we are hurting or feeling down sometimes it's good not to think of our problems, but count our blessings and be greatful for what we do have. Then do something for somone else. Even if its small, it will make you feel better. After loosing Holly, I couldn't believe the world could go on. I hurt so bad, then financial worries were creeping in. It was so very hard. Then I started to do things with and for others. visiting a rest home is always apreciated, even if you don't know anyone there. Doing your best in your calling or making sure you do your visit teaching. Even if you don't feel like it, square the shoulders and fake it. Soon you will feel the joy service brings. I love your blog. I spend too much time here I think. Later Jeanenne

Anonymous said...

Wow....

Stephanie, I've been loyally reading your post for many weeks. I still am not sure how I came across it; probably from another friend's blog.

I have prayed for you and your family each day- amazed at your strength and open-ness and (most especially) your ability to love your other 3 children and husband so greatly despite your own mourning for beautiful Camille!

I converted to the LDS church in 1999...and became inactive (for various reasons) a few years later. I found the LDS faith very difficult at times. I never truly felt like I "fit in," especially since I was in my late 20's at the time I joined and still not married. (Being the oldest in your singles' ward is not easy- and it can be...pardon the phrase..."slim pickins'!) I also disagreed with some of the philosophies of the church, having been raised in an entirely different religion (pretty devoutly- and one that I loved greatly) all of my life.

Long story short, the last 2 years of my life have been horrible. Horrible to the point of not wanting to go on in this earthly realm. I often have wondered, "Am I being punished for being inactive?" The last few days have been especially painful, but always in my mind is a question: "Should I go back? Should I maybe give the Church another chance?"

This last post you wrote was an INCREDIBLE "talk" by Elder Holland. (I met him once at one of our stake conferences when I first converted!! And he's always been a favorite of mine too!) I have to tell you: it has affected me GREATLY. I feel like a different person after having read it. Like, as I'm sure you felt, it was written to speak to people like me that are barely hanging on anymore. And it was all because YOU shared it. You wrote it- and the spirit came through your post and into me.

I'll be honest, I still don't know if the LDS church is right for me or if I can go back, but these tears streaming down my face are trying to tell me something!

Thank you, Stephanie. Thank you for the array of "healing" you help give to people like me through your writing...It saved my life.

You are loved,
"JL"

PS: I have written (very briefly) on your blog before, and with my real name, but today I'm posting as anonymous...for obvious reasons.

a.k.a. Jack said...

To the last anonymous commenter:

I just wanted to say that I have a testimony that the gospel is true. I know this because I have applied its principles to my life and seen that they work. I have acquired this knowledge through both confirmation of the Spirit as well as through the same means I would acquire any other knowledge--the experimental process. I have "experimented upon the word" by trying out the principles of the gospel to see if they would be disproved. My experience has only showed the principles to be true. And, as we can all see through Stephanie's blog, applying the principles of the gospel is what has helped her and her family through this most difficult time.

Of course, this is knowledge that each individual must obtain for themselves. As I'm sure you know, you have to decide for yourself whether the gospel is true, despite what other say to you or how they treat you. So, to answer that burning question you have had returning to your mind, "should I give the church one more try", my answer would be and emphatic "yes!" Give it another try. But, be careful not to form you understanding based on the people or traditions of the church, as we are all imperfect--we make mistakes and we don't all apply all the gospel principles properly in our own lives--we are learning line upon line, principle upon principle, just as you are. But rather, look at the basic fundamentals and try them out for yourself to decide if they are true. Everyone will have their own opinions on particular gospel topics, and, alot of opinions are sometimes presented as doctrine (even though they are not) simply because it is tradition to think of them in that way. There is nothing wrong with understanding a principle in a different way. It doesn't nullify the truthfulness of that principle, but emphasizes our own unique differences and gift of free will.

What is it that truly makes the gospel of Jesus Christ amazing and unique? It's the concept of personal revelation. You can always ask for yourself and receive your own personal witness and understand things in the way that makes the most sense to you--whether that be through confirmation of the Spirit, or though a logistical understanding, or, as in many (and perhaps most) cases, through both.

I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to communicate directly with our Father in Heaven and receive answers to our questions, as long as we are willing to do our part and keep searching until we find the answers. I am grateful for the sacrifice of our Father in Heaven and of our Savior who made the atonement possible so that we could be granted the blessing of free will, through which we are able to make our own decisions and discover truth for ourselves, thus allowing us to grow to become more like God ourselves.

As I have grown, I have come to understand many different principles on new, more profound levels. We start with simple understanding and build upon that. We are all in different stages of our progress, and therefore, all understand each individual principle in a different individual way. We obtain our knowledge in different way as well--through learning from others, through study and pondering, through prayer, through making mistakes of our own, etc.

I am so glad that Stephanie's blog has helped you hang on a little longer. I'm so sorry that you have been suffering so intensely for the last two years. I do not think you are being punished. We all have a right to make choices--that is why our Savior made such an incredible sacrifice for us. But, I do believe, that if you were to embrace the gospel once again, truly trying to find answers for yourself and applying gospel principles to your life to the best of your knowledge and ability, then those trials that you have been facing and those trials that you will face in the future will be easier to bare, just as the gospel has helped Stephanie and her family and friends through this most difficult trial of Camille's death. Camille was NOT taken so early as a punishment of something her family was not doing. But, having the gospel in their lives has helped Stephanie and her family to see the meaning in her death--to see all the good that has come from it--and to share the burden of this tragedy with Christ. I know another couple who has recently lost their child to drowning. Before the drowning, they had left the church. Without the gospel, they have had such a difficult time coping with this tragedy, and their mourning process has been so prolonged. My heart aches for them, as I wish they could bring Christ back into their lives and allow Him to carry some of the burden for them. But, He can only do that if they allow Him to.

I know it is difficult to physically go back to church and face people, not knowing what they are thinking of you (even though your absence is probably more obvious to you than to them). But, it is SO SO much more difficult to deal with the everyday burdens of life without the gospel. I hope that your burden can be lifted as you work to find answers.

Anyway, I hope this isn't preachy. I really don't mean it to be. You are the only person that can make the right decision for you. But, I just wanted to share my thoughts on the gospel, as it has brought so much peace to my life. I just want everyone else to be able to have that same peace and to receive that same comfort during times in their lives when they are so intensely suffering. Hang in there. We love you.

Chrissy said...

How do you alays know what we all need? Thank you for inspiring me!