Sunday, April 6, 2014

Faith, Hope, and Love

I remember clearly watching General Conference in Texas. It was the October 2012 session. This was right after Conner had been hit HARD with things that brought him into a deep and dark depression. He was definitely not the Conner I knew. I remember watching conference and being so so mad and upset that he was not even attempting to listen and to watch. I remember there being several talks that I felt would be good for him to hear...but it never happened. Someone who was in our ward and was aware of Conner's condition brought over a talk for Conner to read a few weeks later. He didn't even pick it up off the counter. My mom and sister would email me talks that they thought would be good for Conner and I as well. Those were not read by him either. A couple of weeks ago, my mom sent me an article of things NOT to say to someone with depression. Well, giving them scripture references or talks was one of those.
This weekend was the 4th General Conference since Conner has been hit with depression, and unfortunately things have not changed. In fact, I sat in my closet a lone watching conference with tears in my eyes wishing I was curled up on the couch watching conference with my husband. I posted a picture on Instagram with me on the closet floor watching a session. At first, I thought it was kind of silly, which is why I posted it. My sister commented back with 3 pictures of hearts. I don't think she was necessarily meaning it the way that I took it, but I took it as her showing her love towards me and giving me a hug! I immediately broke down crying. I also saw several photos posted on social media of couples attending or watching conference together. I liked them all, but also it hurt inside. I get the same feeling when I take my kids to church each weekend, alone. It hurts sitting in Sacrament alone. It hurts sitting in Sunday School alone. It is all just hard. I love to hear stories of peoples parents or spouses who were inactive and later became active. One lady in relief society talked about her mom who took all the kids to church every weekend alone for many many years. She talked about how hard it was on her mom not to have her husband an active member of the church. Today, her dad is now a Bishop. I LOVE hearing stories like that because it definitely strengthens my hope and faith, that someday I can say the same thing. I know that there are TONS of people who have experienced and who are experiencing the same thing, so I am not trying to make this a pity party for myself. I have found that talking about it and hearing other situations such as mine helps me in so many ways, so maybe I can help someone else too.
I know it is not the end of the world to have my husband be inactive, but the church is such a HUGE part of my life and a huge part of what our lives are centered around. I want it to be a huge part of my children's lives as well, and it is sad to have to do it alone. In fact, there was a week I was just not feeling up to going to church. I was down and upset about things, so I didn't go. The next week, Nixon told me he didn't want to go to church. That is when I realized I need to make sure to be there every week in order to be an example to my kids. Plus, I am sure it is times when I don't feel like going when I need it the very most.
In October 2009 my little family was sealed in the SLC temple. I remember that day pretty clearly and how special it was. I mostly remember when Nixon came into the room in his little white clothes. I remember all kneeling at the alter and being sealed together. Conner felt the spirit strongly that day, I know he did. I could see it in his face and in his eyes as tears were streaming down. I KNOW it is in there somewhere, it is just hidden underneath a lot of hurt and sadness. When things started going bad for him in Texas, we had a good friend give him a blessing. He told us that he felt a very different feeling from that blessing. He said he felt like we were going to face hard times, but it was a test to turn to the Lord through prayer and scripture study and to put our faith and trust in Him. Unfortunately, one of us went one way while the other went a different way. I remember Conner standing in the kitchen while I was in the family room and that was the first time he told me he was done with the church. It was SO heartbreaking. I couldn't help but burst into tears. Every time I would go to church alone and see husbands and wives, or even just any males in the hall, I would tear up. I talked to my bishop about it, and he made me feel a lot better. Still to this day I strongly believe that this is just a yucky trial that he/I/we are being faced with. It is no reason to love Conner any less, but to continue to have faith and be strong.
This all leads me to the things that I have learned today in Conference. I prayed that I would hear messages that would make me feel the strength I need and the faith I need to continue to trust in the Lord. I am pretty certain I got just that, and I am so thankful! :)

I learned that we shouldn't only be grateful for the times that we have overcome our trials and we are filled with happiness and joy, but we should be grateful ALWAYS. Gratitude will help us to overcome hardships, to strengthen us which will in turn bring us the joy and happiness that we are longing for. Even though Nephi, Job, or the Mormon Pioneers faced such hard and difficult times they ALL continuously showed gratitude unto the Lord. Even though I have feel like we have hit rock bottom a time or two, it is still easy to look at the big picture and be grateful for so many wonderful things, ESPECIALLY my children! I really hope I can continue to see life that way, and show gratitude even more so!

President Uchtdorf also said, we may not always understand the trials of life, but one day we will. That is honestly one of the biggest things that have kept me going these past couple of years. I have a lot of hope and faith that God knows what he is doing, he has a plan for us, and part of that plan is to go down this road. It is so hard to understand why right NOW, but I know that we will know why. It may not be in the near future, but I know it will happen. If we keep our faith and trust in the Lord, GOOD things will come! :)

Sister Jean A Stevens taught me:
You can feel peace in the midst of turmoil, if you trust in The Lord truly, you can overcome any of lives circumstances. The Gospel is not weight, it is wings. It carries us. We are not a lone, we are not forgotten. Face our challenges with prayer and trust in the Lord, and n the process we can become more like Him. Through Jesus Christ, we can overcome the challenges of this world.

Elder Bednar taught me:
As we trust in God and pull our load with Him, our burden will become light. The Lord may not completely take our burdens away, but he will strengthen us which will ease the burdens and make them lighter IF we turn to him.

Lastly, President Monson talked a lot about LOVE. I couldn't help but thinking of loving my husband. Although things are tough and they are definitely not ideal, I DO love him. I have stood by his side through thick and thin, and although things have been so unbelievably hard, I have loved him and will continue to do so. It is sad and hard to see him pull away from the church, BUT there is still so much good to him and I love him for so many reasons.

I am SO SO SO thankful for the Gospel. I have so much work to do to continue to strengthen my testimony and my faith in the Lord. But, I am very thankful that I have been able to trust in the Lord and turn to him through hard times. I know that someday, happiness will fill my heart always. I wish that day was tomorrow, but I know it is not that easy. This is a learning experience for me which I need to return to my Father in Heaven. I really hope that I can continue this outlook and continue believing that things will turn out for the good. I love my family so much. Things definitely aren't ever how I pictured them to be, but I think we can all say that about situations in our lives. We just need to learn to take them the right way, and to truly trust in the Lord. :)

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