Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Where Can I Turn For Peace?

During pregnancy and after the birth of a child, a woman's body goes through lots of changes. We all know that, yet somehow, we find a way to work through the challenges. Mentally, we prepare ourselves for those physical challenges, but what I never realized was that the toll on my mind could (and likely would) be much more devastating than the toll on my body.

After James was born, I had a pretty tough time. Emotionally, I fell apart. The combination of adjusting hormone levels, lack of sleep, and some of what I felt were my own personal failures left me feeling oftentimes empty and alone. As things in our lives began to improve, I started to feel better. James started sleeping more, I started getting more and more productive, Chris got a job, we moved to Louisville, things were really looking up. Then I got pregnant again.

The first time I was pregnant, my mood was great most of the time, especially at the beginning. It was hard on me physically, but I was so thrilled to be pregnant after being told that it would be hard to do that the sickness was just a part of the blessing and nothing more. This time, things haven't been so simple. I can't sleep through the sickness. My hormones hadn't finished adjusting before they took off again. In short, I have been a wreck.

A couple of nights ago, I was feeding James in his darkened bedroom and thinking about my emotional state. No matter how I wracked my brain, I couldn't figure out why nothing was working. No sleep recharged me. No time watching TV or reading a book let me disconnect. Nothing was helping. Why wasn't anything working? Why was I falling apart? Why couldn't I find any answers? Then, without any prompting or warning, a song came to my mind:

1. Where can I turn for peace?
Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,
I draw myself apart,
Searching my soul?

2. Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.

3. He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end.

I mulled over these lyrics for a day or so, and realized that I hadn't given any thought to my spiritual well-being in quite some time. I made a decision that I was going to make an effort to take the Savior up on His promise, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." I mean honestly, who needs rest more than I do? (Probably most of you, actually.) From this point, I was unsure where I was going to go, so I made the decision to spend at least 10 quiet (alone) minutes reading or listening to scripture or the words of the apostles and prophets each day. Last night, I watched a video of Jeffrey R. Holland's talk from April 2009 called "None Were With Him."

The whole talk is really too incredible to pick and choose which parts to share, but here's one of (many of) my favorite parts.

(The whole talk can be found here.)

"Brothers and sisters, one of the great consolations of this Easter season is that because Jesus walked such a long, lonely path utterly alone, we do not have to do so. His solitary journey brought great company for our little version of that path—the merciful care of our Father in Heaven, the unfailing companionship of this Beloved Son, the consummate gift of the Holy Ghost, angels in heaven, family members on both sides of the veil, prophets and apostles, teachers, leaders, friends. All of these and more have been given as companions for our mortal journey because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Restoration of His gospel. Trumpeted from the summit of Calvary is the truth that we will never be left alone nor unaided, even if sometimes we may feel that we are. Truly the Redeemer of us all said: 'I will not leave you comfortless: [My Father and] I will come to you [and abide with you].'"

Through all of my reading and prayer in the last few days, I've come to the conclusion (clearly with a great deal of help from Heaven) that the answer to my woes is to come unto Christ, and the way to do so is by learning of Him. By recognizing the remarkable power of His Atonement, by reading about who He is and the life He lived. By trying each day to be just a little bit more like Him.

If you've made it this far and haven't already read the talk, (and maybe even if you have) take a few moments to watch this video. It shares excerpts from what Elder Holland said interwoven with depictions of Christ's atonement and crucifixion. I promise it's worth it.


Laura Jansson said...

Love this post! It's always nice to recharge spiritually & to remind ourselves we are not alone. You are an amazing woman, I know that even in the short time I've known you. You are a wonderful mother. James & the baby you carry are lucky to have you. I pray you continue to feel strengthened :)

Jake and Mari said...

I really enjoyed your thoughts here. I have been feeling really drained lately - emotionally, physically, and spiritually. This helped to put it in a good perspective. Good luck on getting back to "normal", whatever that is!

SARIE said...

I listened to that talk Tuesday morning on the airplane. It's so amazing. I had my ipod on shuffle, and I'm thrilled at what came of it. It's my new favorite Easter message. And I decided to take the challenge he issued.