Oh how I wish this picture did justice to the beauty of these flowers that are turquoise and a brilliant blue. Each time I look at them, I am reminded of the love that they each hold for me. The time that was spent is a treasure for me. I will look at these flowers each and every day of my illness and treatment and use them to find strength and hope in which to fight to regain my strength.
Thomas, Hayden and I had the best talk with Bishop, Ann and Toni. We discussed the doctor's appointments, treatment options chosen, the diagnosis, what this means going forward, our fears, our answers, our blessings, our trials of faith and the love for and from our Savior. Tears were shed, testimonies were born, gratitude was expressed and love within the room and beyond the veil was felt and expressed. It was an amazing couple of hours that will carry me far into these upcoming treatments and will stand as a beacon of hope, reassurance and the path that needs to be walked.
Toni, Bishop and Ann's daughter, is in her 20's and has walked a similar health path with me over the past couple of years. Through this, we have gained a friendship, a mutual understanding of one another and an empathy that runs very deep. I have so much respect and admiration for Toni. She is in her 20's and already learning and experiencing what I am in my 40's. I cannot wait to see what incredible plans the Lord has in store for her in her life. She has an amazing spirit and carries the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost with her wherever she goes. I love, respect and absolutely adore her.
As we talked last night, I expressed to Bishop that when I look back on this year and the testimony that I have gained, the closeness I have achieved with my Savior and the reliance that I have learned to give to Him, I wouldn't change this year. The blessings have far outweighed the challenges and trials.
Bishop asked if I would elaborate on the blessings...what specifically have I gained or been given. With tears in my eyes, I tried to explain some of my most precious gifts that I have received over the past year.
I explained using the movie, 17 Miracles. (If you haven't seen it, rent it today... amazing). As I watched this movie, I had tears streaming down my face. At one point, the pioneers can walk no further, they are worn out, completely exhausted, famined and have nothing left to give, they are completely out of strength. In that moment, angels from the other side of the veil and help push the handcarts. They are not seen, yet the people could feel their burden being taken, the handcart seemed to push itself with ease and the burden was taken from the people.
I have experienced that. I have walked and endured until I had nothing left in me. I literally could not take one more step, lift anything else or feel like I could survive for another 5 minutes. In those moments, I have felt angels, family members that have gone before me to the next life and even moments where the Savior himself, has picked me up, carried me and physically taken over the strength required to walk or preform physical duties here in this life. I can testify that it was power and strength that I did not have that carried me through any particular task I was doing. I have not felt this just once or twice as I have endured the last year of health issues. I have felt it many times. I am always humbled and in awe of the situation when it happens, who am I to receive such divine intervention? Who am I that Christ would extend His love and helping hands unto me? I am a daughter of God and therefore, I am important to Him. He loves me, He knows me, He cares about me and He wants to help me.
I have come to learn so much more about the Atonement. I laugh somedays that I brought this on myself because of a conversation that Jodi and I had 3 years ago at Time Out for Women. In short, I was trying to "DO" enough to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. I have since learned that I cannot merely "do" enough to get there, I must BECOME His in my heart. This doesn't require doing but becoming. Funny, He had to take away all of my ability to do in order for me to clearly understand this concept. But, I do know what is required of us, is that our hearts are turned over to Him. When our hearts are His, we no longer desire to sin, but desire to do all in our power to do what is right and follow our Savior.
I have learned for a certainty that I am a daughter of God. I new this... but I have experienced it on an entire different level. What an amazing journey this has been. I am so grateful for the knowledge and understanding that I am indeed a daughter of my Heavenly Father and He knows me as well... even better than I know and love Hayden.
I have been blessed each and every day... not most... but every day to see the hand of my Savior in our lives. Each night as we kneel down for prayers we express gratitude for the blessings of that day. No matter how hard the day was, no matter the trials or disappointments that came, there are always blessings from the Father. Since we have chosen to look for the blessings as a family, they have each and every day been there. What an amazing eye-opening experience to understand and appreciate that the Father blesses us in some way each and every day of our lives. My gratitude to Him has increased so much this year. I am so grateful for the blessings that our family has been given. We indeed have been truly blessed.
Testimonies have been strengthened.... mine, Thomas' and Hayden's. We have a knowledge that our Savior lives, He knows each of us personally, He knows our strengths, our likes, our dislikes, our shortcomings, our talents and our love for Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves, yet He loves us with a perfect love. He desires for us to find joy in this life.... to find joy in Him... to find joy in service to our fellow man and to find joy in the journey.
All in all, what has definitely been a couple of the hardest years of our lives have also been the best. They have been excruciatingly hard and difficult, they have taken us to the brink and forced us to really look at everything we believe and actions because of those beliefs.
However, the blessings that we have received, the closeness that we have achieved as a couple and a family, the cherished relationship that we each personally have with our Savior and Father in Heaven are far beyond any trial. The things we have gained.... absolutely priceless. We will take these relationships beyond the grave. We will hold the relationships with our Savior, Father in Heaven and each other has been worth every heartache.
This song sums up my feelings of the past year of my life. Somedays I am convinced that Hilary Weeks wrote this song for me personally. It really has been a Beautiful Heartbreak.