Life is about to change again... It has been so very wonderful to have my oldest son home these last two months. He has grown and changed so much in the two years that he has been gone. I honestly have just put everything on hold, and I have tried to suck the marrow out of every moment with him. He reminds me so much of his dad, that I can almost hear his voice through my son. On our nightly walks, I feel like I have a piece of my companion back, but sadly that is coming to an end.
Ironically, the lost of my husband and the two-year absence of my son has made his coming home all the more wonderful. There has been more gratitude, more love, more kindness in our relationship than ever before. I am grateful that this experience has taught me how to love and appreciate my family more.
I can honestly say, that sorrow and suffering does carve out a place in your heart to feel greater joy and love.
Today, I read my Sandbar post from a few years ago. Once again, I realized that God has provided me a place to rest and renew my strength for the upcoming swim. But as my oldest son's time to leave approaches, I have been feeling anxiety about getting back in the water. As wonderful as it has been to have him home, I think it may be all the more painful to have him leave.
If I am not careful, I can overly focus on the pain. I can begin to get swallowed up in the feeling that I have no choice but to be miserable and to resign myself to the suffering that is surely coming.
As I lay in bed the other night in the dark, a text message sounded on my phone. My son, knowing that I was struggling, had sent me an article that he was reading in the other room. I read it and found some counsel that helped me get my head around things again.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into many afflictions: Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1:2-4
My affliction isn't something that is going to go away. It's something that I have to live with the rest of my life. Good things happen, even joy at times, but my husband's absence is always a thought in the background that colors those experiences. This affliction definitely is trying my faith.
But this scripture reminded me that there is a purpose in all of this. It reminded me that this experience, hard as it is, is actually changing me for the better in a lot of ways.
I am learning patience... I am definitely not there yet, but I have seen progress. I see glimmers of the wanting nothing and feeling whole in moments when my patience is winning. That gives me hope in the process of change that I am going through.
God loves me enough to let me hurt sometimes because he know that the hurt will carve a place in my heart for something better... for me to be better. More than anything, my character refinement is what matters most to Him. He sees potential in me that I don't see. He know what he needs me to be and do in the future, and He is working me through the process that will get me prepared for that future roll.
When answers to our prayers are delayed, sometimes even to the end of our mortal lives, we need to choose to commit to patience and trust the Lord, His plan for us, and His timing.
Committing to patience allow patience to better
do her work with us.
It allows the change to happen easier and with less pain. Committing to patience isn't just resigning ourselves to be miserable and stuck. It isn't a passive action. It is demonstrating a inner strength, devotion and trust in God.
"Patience is not indifference. Actually, it means caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit to the Lord and to what the scriptures call 'the process of time.'"
- Neil A Maxwell
I have been feeling rather anxious about the up coming months without my son. My anxiety was a manifestation of my lack of confidence in God's plan. I guess I had resigned myself to the idea that God wanted me to suffer so I could learn, but I really didn't want to suffer. I think in all of my focus on the pain, I forgot the real reason for suffering.
Suffering humbles us so we remember to turn to God and get help.
God has promised that He will help us shoulder our burdens if we will but come to Him. He has promised to bring us the relief of His peace even in the middle of our affliction. But when I am fearing and feeling anxious, I am not coming to Him in faith.
"Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstances. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be."- Neil A Maxwell
I don't understand all of God's plan, but I do know that he loves me and wants my longterm happiness. As I learn to accept that plan with confidence then I will be in a better place to receive His peace through it all.
So I will be daily reminding myself to let patience do her perfect work on me. I will be reminding myself to ask God for help to shoulder my burdens. I will be reminding myself to trust and look for the blessings in my life.
"And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive...and may the peace of God rest upon you" - Alma 7:23, 27