Last October, as I listened to the spiritual messages shared during my church’s semi-annual worldwide conference, one theme repeatedly pressed itself upon my heart and mind: God keeps His promises. It felt as though God was speaking directly to my heart, saying, “I haven’t forgotten the promises I made to you. Don’t you dare give up on those promises.” The truth was that I had pretty much given up on them. I guess I had just resigned myself to waiting until the next life to receive them. But it felt like God was saying to me: Get ready… they’re coming.
Let me back up a bit and give some context.
In March of 2014, I wrote these words:
It has been nearly two years since I experienced what I can only describe as a “nervous breakdown.” . . . After several months of struggling to breathe, struggling to eat, struggling to keep the panic and despair from crushing me, God sent a friend to my home. She said, “I think maybe it’s time for you to try medication.” I had resisted medicine for a long time, trying countless natural remedies for anxiety and depression to no avail. But my friend had been where I was before, and she could see that I needed more help. She went with me to the doctor. I got my prescription. I held the bottle in my hands, but I was terrified to take it.
So I did the one thing that I always do when I don’t know what to do: I asked my husband for a blessing. In the blessing, God told me that “the medication would be of benefit to me” and that I would “be healed.” With that promise to give me courage, I took my first dose the next day, August 1, 2012. Adjusting to the medication took many weeks, but I clung to that promise despite horrific medication-induced insomnia, emotional ups and downs, and an even-more-horrific spiritual numbness that came over me. . . .
The next question that filled my heart and mind was: “How long?” I wondered, “Will I need to take this medicine for the rest of my life?” I was willing to accept whatever I needed to do to stay stable so that I could take care of my family, but I also hoped that I would find a way to heal whatever needed to be healed so that I could move forward without medical assistance.
In another priesthood blessing, God answered my question: “You will be able to be happy without medication.” He didn’t tell me how long it would take, but I was satisfied with just knowing that someday I’d get there.
In March of 2014, I felt a strong spiritual impression that I should stop taking my medication. (This was after slowly weaning down to a negligible dose over the course of a year.) Unfortunately, after about a month without my medication, I plunged into an abyss of darkness more potent than the first. In October of that year, I wrote the following:
It has been seven months. Five of those were excruciating on many levels. Once again I’m taking medication… the same medication God prompted me to stop taking in March. Once again I’m depending upon a pill to remain calm and happy. Needless to say this has been a confusing year.
Confusing indeed. So, here I am now at the tail end of 2018, trying to figure out what to do with the strong spiritual impressions I was given just a couple of months ago reminding me of the promises God made to me. In a family council, I shared those impressions with my husband and children. With tears streaming down my face I told them how torn I felt… wanting to believe that God really would give me the blessing I had been promised but so deeply afraid to get my hopes up. Could I even allow myself to consider it?
A few days ago, while I was pondering all of this in the shower, I realized another reason my Choosing to Stay book project has taken a back seat for the past couple of years (besides the obvious fact that I have been occupied with growing, raising, and homeschooling my six kids). I realized that my own story isn’t over yet. My book won’t be complete until the next phase of my healing has been lived and written down.
While I pondered these things in the shower, the question came to my mind… How long did Abraham have to wait for the Lord’s promise to him? I wasn’t sure then, but I have since looked it up:
Simple answer: 25 years. . . .
Abram left Haran for the “Promised Land” when he was 75 years old, full of faith and the zeal of a new recruit into God’s kingdom.
Only at the seasoned age of 100 did God decide it was time to make good on His original promise to Abraham and give him a son through his wife Sarah, which by that time, Abraham had all but given up on. . . . How many times was Abraham tempted to think: “Did I not hear God? Did I take a wrong turn?” “Did I believe in vain?” “Where is this dynasty I was promised!?” “I’m not getting any younger over here!” (Source)
I don’t want to wait 25 years, but I will. I have already accepted the possibility of waiting until death. Somehow I don’t think that’s the path God is leading me down. Waiting 25 years would not be an Abrahamic test for me. The greater test for me would be the one that stands before me right now. Can I trust Him again? Can I believe that I am worthy of the promises God has made to me? Can I believe that He really will grant me this desire of my heart?
A friend shared this graphic on FB a few days ago, and it felt like a Christmas gift just for me.
Where will I go from here? I’m not really sure. I lost a lot of faith in my spiritual impressions in 2014. How could I continue to trust myself when my intuition had told me to do something that hurt myself and everyone who loved me so very deeply? So it has been a long journey of gradually re-learning how to listen to my spiritual intuition and how to trust it. I am still trying to trust.