Sunday, December 2, 2012

Finding Joy - Gratitude

dancing3One of the first days in the NICU in St. George, I opened my scriptures, praying for help & guidance to get me through these difficult days. It opened to Mosiah 24. Here are the verses that caught my eye & my heart:

And it acame to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying: Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.
And I will also ease the aburdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand asbwitnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their cafflictions.

 15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord didastrengthen them that they could bear up their bburdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with cpatience to all the will of the Lord.
 16 And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage.
After reading these verses, I truly felt like I needed to learn how to "submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

But HOW???

Truly, I was puzzled. Every time Link's blood sugars were high, I got hopeful, I was happy. And every time they plummeted, so did my spirits. This obviously was NOT finding joy in the journey. My happiness was contingent on his blood sugars being good, not on my faith in the Lord. I felt like I HAD to figure this out. And just so you know - I'm still figuring it out - but in my frustration, I turned to a dear friend. This friend (I went to high school with her) lost her husband to brain cancer. I didn't know her well at the time, but she lived near me and I saw her at church sometimes. The thing that struck me was that even during this trial of hers - in the midst of her knowing her husband wasn't going to make it - and having to take care of him and her 2 young sons - whenever I saw her, she had a genuinely loving, happy smile on her face. Even after his death, her smile remained.  HOW did she do that? I always wondered, but now I really needed to know, so I sent her a message & she responded in her wonderful, loving way. She gave me scriptures to read & talks to read & offered her personal experiences. She is an a m a z i n g person. Truly, amazing. I feel like she is light-years ahead of me spiritually, but she is such a loving person, too. Truly Christlike.

Yesterday Jason & I read one of the talks she suggested. It's called Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray to. By S. Michael Wilcox 
It's a great talk. And something familiar came up that I wanted to share: 

Now God tends to do everything backwards; we worship a backwards God, in a sense. I say, “Lord, help me understand and then I can believe.” But in the scriptures, the Lord says, “No, believe and then you will understand.” I say that’s backwards, and He says, “No, you have it backwards.” So here the Lord says, “Be comforted, rejoice, give thanks, then I’ll answer your prayers.” And I say, “Lord, answer my prayers, and then I’ll be comforted, rejoice, and give thanks.” That is backwards.

AGAIN! Again there's the message that I need to LEARN how to find joy in this journey, even when I don't have my prayers answered yet. Even when I'm still here - and going through this trial. And so I am learning this & growing in ways I never wanted to grow. But I am seeing the need for it, too, because what if I'm constantly focusing on just the destination? Well... I will wake up one day when we're home & I will be so happy that we're home, but I will look at my baby & realize that he's already 2 months old & I will have missed all those precious newborn moments!! I will have missed the joy! And I won't be able to get that back! 

I still have a long way to go, but I am learning to smile. I'm learning to reach out to others even when I'm feeling like curling in a ball and wanting the world to go away. I'm learning that my pain & my hurt & my grief  is so small compared to so very many. I've met people that haven't been here for weeks, they've been here for months & months. I've met people who have come back for the fourth or fifth time. I am trying to smile, enjoy THIS journey I'm on, "submit cheerfully to the Lord", and "Be comforted, rejoice, and give thanks" so I can get my prayers answered! :) 

Speaking of giving thanks, I feel like I need to give thanks today for a couple of things especially:

1. YOU. You people out there. You people praying - and even FASTING today for my son and our family. It's an overwhelming feeling, knowing so many people are offering prayers and sacrificing for us. It's humbling. And I want you to know that we feel your love and concern. This next week is going to be a busy one for our son with the PET scan on Tuesday & the surgery on Friday, so this fasting & prayer could not have come at a better time. THANK YOU. 

2. We made it in the Ronald McDonald House. Seriously, SUCH a blessing! Sleeping on the couch or in a cot in Link's room was getting to be difficult. Sleep was so minimal. Being here in the Ronald McDonald House is also a humbling experience. Getting fed. Having a comfortable bed to sleep in. So many things I take for granted every day. Also - these amazing people I'm getting to know. Each one has a story. Each one is amazing. My heart fills with gratitude for the sacrifice of SO many people that made and make this house possible. Did you know we are staying in the FIRST Ronald McDonald House? Very, very neat. so thankful. 

Link is doing well. They are changing his PICC line again today to ready for his scan & surgery next week. They are also consolidating his NG tube feedings so his body can get used to regular feeds after the surgery. And they are letting us try a bottle of breastmilk when he's hungry. So far, he hasn't really been ready to eat from the bottle, but we are hopeful that soon he will! He's really starting to watch things & track things with his eyes. They got him a mobile & he's starting to really pay attention to it. We got some books, so we're reading to him. And he went for his first stroller ride a couple days ago! :)  And here's a cute video of Link's silly sleepy smiles. He does these a lot when he's in that stage of sleeping when he's trying to wake up or just going to sleep. It's so cute. The smiles start at about 30 seconds. Love this baby boy. 


Diane said...

So CUTE! We love you and pray this week goes well! You are all amazing. What a courageous Family! Love you!

Diane said...

I love those verses too. I came across them when I was serving my mission out there. I still struggle to "be of good comfort" in trials. Our prayers are with you. Hope this week goes well. I love that Ronald McDonald House. We walked by there all the time and played b-ball at that church, ten years ago. Lots of memories. It's a beatiful area. Hope you get to get out and see some of the history. We love you. Adam

Rose said...

I am Trisha's friend, I want you to know that I am praying for Link every day and am glad to hear you finally got into the Ronald Mcdonald House. I hope he feels better soon.

Lisa-Lou-Who said...

I love this post Heidi! Thanks for being such a good example of faith through all of this!

Patricia Potts said...

I relate to the DELIVERANCE ON THE MORROW quote.
When I went through the time when I was in the hospital for unknown causes (when I was suffering from conversion reaction) I had a difficult, lonely night when I too felt led to that scripture. Although my "morrow" turned out to me about 18 months I held to the promise of deliverance. I know you can too. I love you, I miss you, we all continue to pray for you. Love, mom/sis

Britany said...

Oh Heidi! I had not been to your blog until now and can't believe all that you have gone through. Prayers coming your way! I need to fb friend request you too so we can keep updated.


Marianne said...

Heidi.....I'm not the best at reading anyone's blog but I'm trying to look back on all you've been through the past few months and tears are falling freely. Bless your heart! You truly are light years ahead of me spiritually. I am being pushed to be better by reading about your insights and experiences with little link. Hope you are managing everything and can get through the next week of formalities okay. You are such an inspiration and if anyone can get through this you can.