Wednesday, March 9, 2016
This is me. I'm a teacher. I'm a wife. I'm a mother. I have a great life. I have an amazing husband. I have a beautiful daughter. I don't live a glamorous life. I've never had some big horrible thing happen to me. I'm just a typical LDS woman. Trying to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and keep the covenants I have made. I know I should be happy. But in the last few months, I haven't been. I've been doing a lot of silent suffering.
I am a perfectionist. A perfectionist who feels she has to appear perfect all the time. Especially because I know how to be happy. I have all the tools I might need. About five years ago, Heavenly Father put me on a path that taught me those tools. I used to see sad women who would say mean things about themselves, and I would wish I could share with them all the things I had learned. That's how this blog came to be.
I realized a couple weeks ago that I'm now one of those women again. I've been praying to my Father in Heaven for relief. To return to being the woman I once was. Optimistic. Happy. But I'm still waiting for it to come. I've been more depressed than I have been in a very long time.
At first I kept telling myself that I was fine. Nothing was wrong with me. I'm just tired. That was the excuse I often used to convince myself and others that it was nothing. I'd feel very inadequate as a wife, mother and teacher. Especially as a mother. I have a very easy baby. She sleeps through the night and is generally a happy baby. I love her. After I'd think that, there would be a big BUT in my mind. But I wish I could let someone else take care of her for a while. But I'm so tired all the time, I'm not helping her learn and grow like I should. I would see other people with babies and hear them these expressions of overwhelming love and gratitude and just...happiness. They'd tell about all the things their babies were doing that my baby hadn't even come close to starting to do. I didn't always feel about my baby the way they seemed to about their babies. Every time a family member would innocently ask me ask me if she was doing some milestone yet, I'd feel like the worst mother in the world that she wasn't. I'd feel guilty. Guilty that I wasn't doing as much as I could. Guilty that I just wanted some time to myself. Guilty that I felt mad towards people who didn't really deserve my anger. I would sit around waiting to be happy. Even though I knew that it wouldn't work.
Then I started praying. And praying. And praying. I haven't received any big answers. But I have received little ones here and there. He sent promptings to people in my life to talk to me and get me to at least tell them how I'm feeling even if I don't know how to tell them why without bursting into tears. He sent other little tender mercies into my life. It's like He's reminding me that I know what I need to do. I have all the tools I need. I just need to dust them off and get busy. So I did.
I unzipped my actual scriptures and started studying my Book of Mormon in a more in-depth way than I have in a very long time. I'm choosing to eat better and exercise. And Heavenly Father has put something else in my heart. To write. To tell people about this moment in my life. To share what I'm learning through all of this.
And that's why I'm here today. Writing to you. Not you in the group way, but YOU! The one person reading this! Sometimes Heavenly Father doesn't step in right away and fix things. Sometimes we feel like we've been left in the dark, BUT I know that He's right there with us! As hard as life is sometimes, we wouldn't learn if he just immediately fixed everything for us. We wouldn't progress or grow to become like he is. There is a purpose in every experience we have. It's hard to go through them. It hurts. Sometimes we get depressed, but He is there with us still.
I recently read a post by Emily Freeman, who is one of my favorite authors. Click here to read it. In it she talks about just before the Lord was crucified. Mary and Martha send word that their brother Lazarus is sick. Christ waits a few days before he begins to travel to Bethany to see them. Martha hears they are coming and runs to meet them before they get to the city. She tells him, "...if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee" (John 11:21-22). She had been waiting in sorrow for four days. She still had faith that Christ could do anything through Heavenly Father.
Then "Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
"Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoso ever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
" She said unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world" (John 11:23-27).
Martha goes to bring Mary to the Lord. He weeps with them. Then they go to Lazarus' tomb. They took away the stone that covered the tomb. Jesus prayed and then cried out "with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth" (John 11:43).
After reading the post from Emily Freeman, I felt more connection to this story than I ever had. I feel like I can relate to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. I feel like I've been waiting in a dark place where I've been feeling sorrow, grief, guilt and so many other emotions. I've been waiting and wondering when answers will come. I haven't lost my faith. I still have that, but I sometimes wonder at the Lord's timing, but just as he used the life of these people, he is using my life. To teach me. To help me see that he's always there. To help me feel his love. To help me stand in my Soulful Brilliance and be a light in the darkness for others.
Answers don't always come easily, but what ever path we are on, we are being led by a loving Father and Savior who want us to become the best person we can be. We just get to have faith in them and live in faith and love.
And that's the beginning of my new journey of remembering what I already know.