Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Beautiful heartbreak

I love this song.
It speaks so powerfully (I feel) to all the many "beautiful" heartbreaks we as human beings experience in this life at one time or another. And how so often when we come out on the other side of tremendous heartbreak and pain--we can see more clearly how the Lord's hand has been in our lives the entire time.  Safely guiding us through the unchartered waters to a place of peace, refinement and understanding.
I know this principle to be true because I have felt it personally during our struggles with infertility and the many setbacks we faced while trying to adopt our children.  There was great pain, discouragement and heartache during this time in our marriage--but when we were finally able to adopt our beautiful son and then our daughter--it felt as if we had come full circle in our journey to become parents. And because of the hardships we faced along the way---we were better for it in the end.  Hands down...witnessing the adoptions of both of our children come to fruition (after a great trial of our faith) has truly been one of the greatest testimony building experiences of my life.
I've been humbled here recently by some loved ones in my life who are facing some pretty gut-wrenching trials of their own.  Divorce, serious health issues, loss of a child, wayward children, etc. And yet, despite these heartaches they are facing--they continue to have a deep sense of faith, courage and optimism about their situation and their life.  They have a deep sense of trust and faith in the Lord's plan for their life and this is what seems to be guiding them through their trials. 
What an awesome example this has been for me--no matter how painful our journey may feel at times---no matter how broken we may feel at times---no matter how ugly this world and the people in it may feel at times---the Lord is never far away from us---guiding, watching and protecting us--if we only let Him in.  In essence, our Father in Heaven is able to change our very nature through the refining process of heartache and pain.
I am reminded of this scripture in Joshua...
 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: 
for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
 {Joshua 1:9}

I feel great peace and comfort every time I read this scripture....knowing that even during our darkest moments, and when we feel the most alone--a loving God is always near---lovingly guiding us through the dark days of discouragement and despair.

The past few weeks I have also been reminded how often times our Father in Heaven cares for us through the help of His "earthly" angels.  Let me share my recent experience with "earthly" angels....

Without question, I have felt the adversary working on me super hard these past five weeks as I have been recovering from my surgery.  If you're not sure what I'm referring to when I mention my a nutshell--I had to have major abdominal surgery on Sept. 4th to remove a damaged ovary, a large endometriosis cyst and a fallopian tube. The surgery proved to be more challenging for my doctor than she anticipated.  I had a great deal of scar tissue from previous surgeries which made the cutting and removing much more aggressive than they had expected.  My recovery as a result has been so much harder than Jody and I expected.  I never expected to be in so much pain and discomfort for so long.  As I was confined to the bed the first two weeks and not able to care for my small children---I felt such depression and sadness wash over me.  I felt useless and guilty.   I was angry with my body and all the infertility/ endometriosis issues, procedures, surgeries, etc. that we've had to deal with over the years--and now this--having part of my reproductive organs removed.  It just felt like the icing on the cake for me emotionally with all that we've faced these past 12 years.

I had feelings that Jody would be better off if he had married someone else--someone that didn't have the health issues I have.  That my children would be better off if they had another mother.  Ugh...literally just awful---ickly feelings the adversary was throwing my way---I prayed a lot the first few weeks.  That my body would heal properly.  That I would have greater love and patience with myself.  That I would have faith that the Lord would watch over my family and take care of us in our time of need.

We were so thankful that my mom could be here to help out the first week after my surgery.  She tirelessly cared for our three children night and day.  What an angel she was and is to our family.  She also helped me feel better emotionally---I didn't feel as depressed about my situation having my mom here.  Boy I tell ya---I don't care how old you are---when you're sick and down in the dumps--mom always seems to make me feel better. :-)  But sadly--she couldn't stay here forever---on the morning she had to fly out---and after we said our tearful good-bye--I felt so helpless and alone.  I missed her so much.  We live 10 hours away from both mine and Jody's parents-- which makes times like this really challenging. I was still only one week out from my surgery and was looking at at the very least 4-5 weeks before I could lift and care for the babies (10 months and 22 months old).  I prayed for help---I really didn't know how we were going to make this work.  I was so worried about Jody and the toll this was going to take on him physically and emotionally these next few weeks.  He was already worn out before my surgery having just finished a stressful and long trial for one of his clients.  And now having to miss days at work and caring for the kids full-time---along with having a busy legal docket and still try to minister to our ward as the Bishop--oh gosh---my heart literally sank as the stress and worry about how I was going to take care of our three kiddos and try and fully recover weighed heavy on my mind. 

But then the day after mom left town-- and when I was feeling my lowest about our situation--- my prayers were answered.  A few sweet, "earthly" angels from our church came to the rescue of our family that Sunday afternoon when they heard about our situation.  They worked out a schedule between the four of them for picking up Taylor (our 10-month old) each morning and lovingly caring for her at each of their homes until Jody got home from work in the evening.  I was given the time I needed during the day to recover without worrying about taking care of the kids. They also worked out meals to be delivered to our family as I recovered.

And then my sweet friend at Noah's school---she runs the daycare at the school---she made room in one of her classrooms for our foster son (baby boy--22 months old) to begin attending full-time while I recovered for the next several weeks. Another dear sister came over in the evenings when Jody had to be out of town for work or at the church for appointments--she would lovingly bathe the babies for me--feed them and put them in their cribs for for the night for me.

I have felt much like the sweet soul in this poem during these past few weeks....

"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, 
you would walk with me all the way, 
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life 
there is only one set of footprints. 

 "I don't understand why in times when I needed you most, you should leave me." 

 The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you 
and I would never, never leave you during your times of trial and suffering. 
 "When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

("Footprints in the Sand", Mary Stevenson)

All of these dear sisters (I have no doubt) were inspired to come to our rescue by a loving Heavenly Father who knew of our needs.  I will forever be grateful to them for their love and service to my family during this very difficult time with my health.  They carried my tender heart through a very difficult time.  Yes, their tender and loving Christ-like service was the healing balm that my waning heart needed to be uplifted and reminded that the Lord knew me personally and loved me.

I have learned through this recent challenge with my health that the blessings that often await us in this life as we persevere through the hard times---as we climb over what feel like treacherous mountains in our path---the destination we eventually reach is what God intended for us.  And the faith that we feel as a result of our journey---and the grace that we experience along the way--truly do make for the "beautiful" heartbreaks in our lives.

Yes indeed--- life's "beautiful" heartbreaks afford us the opportunity to change for the better as sons and daughters of God and draw closer to Him in the process.

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