Saturday, March 5, 2011

remembering and surrendering

Going through all of the health issues I've dealt with recently has actually had its good parts.  It's forced me, amongst all the busy craziness of life, to stop dead in my tracks and take a good hard look at myself.

When Wes and I first got married, I was very young....barely 20.  I'd never had a full-time job, lived away from home, sacrificed my needs for something or someone else.  I didn't know how to cook or take care of a home.  I didn't really learn to balance my needs, someone else's, and our needs as a family, amongst other things such as jobs, homemaking, etc.

It was not easy, wait, it was hard for me to move so far away from home when Wes whisked me away on our wedding day.  I was so happy to be married to him, and excited for the adventures that lay ahead, but I had a lot of growing up to do.

And grow up I did.  I think I got a little too grown-up in some regards.  I delved right in to 70-80 hour work weeks, coming home to cook dinner and take care of our home, being in the Young Womens' presidency in our ward, trying to find the connections between the family I just left and my new family that had already begun to grow.  I am proud of myself for the way I really stepped up and did everything I needed to do - full out - with a really good attitude.  I did it all blindly and in good faith.  And we were blessed for both mine and Wes' efforts.

But I also kind of lost myself in the midst of it all.  Unknowingly.  I didn't ever really stop and think about things I wasn't doing to take care of my needs, or things I felt like fed my spirit.  I just joyfully jumped into this new life and left parts of myself behind.  And life kept on going.  And everyone knows that the older you get, the faster life passes right on by.

Until something like this trial comes along.  Every part of my soul has been tested...pushed to the very limit and even beyond.  It's been ugly and really scary at times.  And challenging.  But also good in ways I never would have known.

One of the blessings that has come from all of this is that I started to remember, little by little, who I really was, and be that person again.  For example, putting Wes through school forced me to become a hyperactive, workaholic person, although by nature, I am pretty mellow and easygoing.  I didn't used to be so focused on "getting things done" and out of the way, but better at relaxing and really stopping and smelling the roses (and quite possibly a little more than I needed to).  I'm glad that doing what I needed to do when Wes and I started our lives' together taught me a balance, and it reaffirmed to me that there is a place for work, and that working hard feels SO good and fulfilling.  But I am equally grateful for the Lord recognizing that I'd learned this lesson and then nudging me back to where I am comfortable, although in a little more responsible than I used to be.

I really love sitting at my piano and letting time pass by, or taking pictures and suddenly noticing and appreciating the overwhelming beauty of the earth and everything in it.  I love going to the temple and basking in the beauty and the peace that's there as often as I can.  I love doing yoga every morning, or curling up on the couch with a good book and a little treat, or snuggling the boys in my bed at naptime and napping with them.  I love getting all muddy in the garden or making a mess inside with a sewing project or some other home improvements.  I love exploring the world, finding the good in others, doing service, and making memories.

When I brought my new camera home, my younger brother, Jesse (who is 14), asked why I bought I camera.  He didn't even remember how I used to go everywhere with a camera around my neck, or stay up way to late playing my guitar and singing in my room, or all the amazing tricks I had taught our childhood dog, Sam.  Thinking about all of that really hit me and made me stop and think about a lot of things, including who I am and who I used to be and how they needed to blend a little better.

Amazingly, once I recognized how I had kind of gotten stuck in "survival mode" and forgotten to shift down from it a little, it's been an almost effortless mesh of the way I was before and the positive ways I have grown and changed for the better, and I'm finally starting to feel like me again.

Don't get me wrong, it has been a heck of an emotional ride, and I have a feeling it's not over, but I am starting to see why this all had to happen and what is so amazing and good about it.  It has been incredible to really have my faith tested past what I felt was my limit and somehow reach even farther and become stronger and more enduring than I had ever realized.  What a humbling experience. 

There is so much richness and sweetness in life.  There is so much adventure to be had and memories to be made.  So many kind words to say and thoughtful things to do.  There is beauty to soak in and enjoy and relax in and there is renewal in the dawn of every new day.  There is love all around us, all the time, more than I had ever realized before.

I am so grateful for the way challenges force me to open my heart and mind in ways I can't when things are all well in my life.  I am amazed at how receptive my mind and spirit is and how quickly I can learn when I am forced to stop and become more humble.  Humility is such an incredible's so important but so hard to keep in our lives.  But I find when I am humble there is a quiet contentment in my life that is just there no matter what is going on.  And a quiet strength that goes right along with it.

I've reached the point where I am realizing that this is all a process, and that I know I have done and will continue to do everything I can to get well, but ultimately, the Lord has something so beautiful and incredible in store for me, and I have to be patient and know that He knows me and loves me and recognizes what I need....even when it takes me awhile to figure it out.  Patience is truly a virtue and one that I am finally just surrendering to.  My faith and testimony of the gospel has been strengthened and renewed, and with that comes a humility and willingness to just surrender and submit to the will of the Lord.  He has brought me so much joy, and countless blessings, and it's okay sometimes to reach the end of my rope and to rely on him to help me through.  He will lift my burdens, like he always has, and I just need to trust that he's there to do it.

I feel good about the decisions we have made regarding my health, and Wes has told me that he does too.  I think it has been a real test of our faith, since we have had to really go against the "norm" and put our faith in the Lord and listen to and obey his promptings.  I feel like learning this together is going to help us so much in our lives together....especially while raising children.  There is nothing I want more than to have that close connection with my Heavenly Father and to be able to bravely and instinctively know, He's showing me, what my children need and how to raise them and teach them what's right, what brings them joy and fulfillment in their lives, and how to love.

Things in our home right now are quietly becoming very peaceful amidst the chaos that is everyday life and its challenges.  I can't even describe the feelings of peace and contentment and love that I feel just radiating around me from all over right now....I hope I can keep it with me when all is said and done.

Life is such a treasure, and so are the many lessons I am learning while I am experiencing it.  I feel so blessed to be where I am now, with the people I love, striving to be the best I can be.

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