This was originally published on my personal blog in November.
In my religion class, we have lengthy responses to the topic for the class period. One I was working on this week really hit home to me.
To understand, we’re going to need some backstory!!!
I got a phone call on July 4th, 2013 asking me to call my mission president’s wife. I remember the date because we didn’t get great phone reception where we lived (except for one spot in the living room we marked with tape so we could remember where to make our phone calls) so we made the call from an area a little ways up the road and fireworks were going on while we were talking. She asked me to consider going home. So I did. Sort of. I didn’t want to make a decision so I tried not to think about it too often. After a month or so, I told her that I wanted to stay because the Lord takes care of his missionaries and I knew that I would be okay. The next two weeks were weird. I felt like something was off. Like I didn’t belong. I assumed it was just because I was going to transfer because I had felt the same way before the last time I’d moved. One Sunday I got a call from my mission president asking if they could come see us. To make a long story a little bit shorter, at the end of the visit I knew I was going home.
The next day I went to check my email and let my family and friends know that I was coming home. I found out that my family and certain close family friends and ward members had fasted for me on Sunday because they knew that I would be approached about going home that day. I was on the prayer roll of the temple. Oh, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir prayed for me. My dad knows people. Most of my emails that day said something to the effect of, “If you have enough faith, you can be healed and you’ll be able to stay.” That would have been encouraging on another day. That day, when I had to tell everyone I was coming home, it was heartbreaking. I sat in the library and cried.
That day, and many days after that, I wondered why I wasn’t healed. Why didn’t I experience a miracle? Why hadn’t I been healed? Did I not have enough faith? Did my family and friends praying for me not have enough faith? Then, when I came home and things were so hard for so long I didn’t understand. Why were things so hard when I’d tried to do the right thing?
In my class assignment, all the readings were about miracles. As I was working on the assignment, I started to wonder again why I had not experienced a miracle. Why hadn’t I been healed? Why hadn’t I been able to stay? Why did I have to experience so much pain with coming home? If I had ever deserved a miracle (not that you ever deserve a miracle), it was when I was a missionary. So why not? I’m still often struggling with the same health challenges and the emotional challenges of coming home. Why hadn’t there been a miracle?
I thought over the past year of my life. For months, my life was dark. It was October and November last year that things were starting to get bad. I was feeling lost and abandoned. Soon I would start to feel hopeless. I would be sobbing on the kitchen floor uncontrollably. I would be spending my nights pleading with Heavenly Father to help me. And I would feel like He wasn’t listening. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to be okay again. Everyone thought I was okay. I did everything I could to make sure that no one knew I wasn’t okay. I didn’t even know what feeling okay would be like.
How has this October been? I’m loving school. I’m not getting 100% on every assignment, but I’m doing well. I have a job that is like a magical playground with unicorns and friendly dragons bringing me cheesecake (no, really, it is that wonderful). I have amazing roommates. I’m happy. Does that mean things are perfect? No. Of course not. Sometimes I get stressed out. Sometimes I just want to sleep for hours and hours. I still struggle sometimes. But, overall, I’m happy. I’m trying to do good things with my life. One of my roommates has this joke that I’m Heavenly Father’s favorite child because of how many things I have been blessed with lately. I just think that I’m much better at recognizing those blessings than before.
The difference in my life is like night and day… if the night was in a giant snowstorm with seven feet of snow and 100 mph winds, and the day was like the perfect summer day where there is a gentle breeze and it’s not too hot or too cold. I went from not even being sure what okay was to being happy, something that I wasn’t actually that great at before my mission either.
So, for the second time in my life, I sat in a library and cried. Because, as I was reading about miracles, I realized the miracle that has happened in my life in the past year. I didn’t get the physical healing that I wanted. But I did get spiritual and emotional healing that I did not know I needed. Taking the angry, heartbroken me from last October and somehow turning her into the happy me from this October is as just as much of a miracle–if not more of a miracle–that having my physical problems fixed would be.
I can’t explain how it happened. But do you know what I do know?
I know that heartbreak can be replaced with joy. It doesn’t matter what kind of heartbreak. I’m sure what I went through is mild compared to the sufferings of others. But it doesn’t matter. I know that it can be healed through the Atonement.
I know that Heavenly Father listens to prayers. I know that He hears the anguished cries of His children who are in pain. I know that because He heard mine, even when I wasn’t sure that He was listening. I know that even though we don’t always get the answer that we want, they do come. They can come in ways we don’t expect, and maybe in ways that we might not be able to see clearly.
I know that Heavenly Father loves me personally. He loves me enough to put me in a place where I would allow myself to heal. He loves me enough to give me difficult experiences so that I can learn about how much He loves me. And because I know that He loves me, I know that He loves the people around me.
I know that miracles are very real. They might not always be huge. I may never see anyone be raised from the dead or bread and fishes feed thousands of people. But I know that they are happening in my life.
On one of the darkest days, I went and talked to a friend I knew years ago. I remember that it was dark and pouring. It felt very appropriate. My friend pointed me to the song Blessings by Laura Story. It talks about what if our blessings come through pain. To be honest, I didn’t believe him or this song when he told me about it. But I do now.
So, readers of this blog, I want you to know that I believe in miracles. I know they are happening. I know that our healing can come through tears. This was the miracle of healing I had been praying for. I just didn’t know what kind of healing I really needed.