My Journey: Part I

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Life's Sweetness Lost

After all the joy and excitement of learning that I was expecting our second child I crashed into a a horribly dark place. I am filled with compassion even as I think of those still living “there”. Depression and anxiety became constant companions. It happened all so quickly, and was so deadening.  I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum after a trip to the hospital at 8 weeks gestation after keeping no food or water down for over 24 hours. The physical nausea was very difficult, but nothing compared to the emotional, spiritual, and mental upheaval that ensued. Words truly cannot describe that darkness. 

I felt utterly abandoned by God during those 9 months. This crushed my heart. Where was love? Why could I not be comforted? Many around me were serving me, caring for me and lifting my outward burdens, but on my internal landscape all I felt was sadness, sorrow, and bitterness that overcame me. I became lost in it.  Many a time I prayed and prayed that I could just feel God’s love. I had read in the scriptures where Christ promised peace to those who followed him, but where was he now? In my greatest time of need? I stopped praying to God because I felt so forsaken. Could He not offer just a tiny ray of his supposed light and love?

This was all very real. It scared me to see how critical and doubting I had become. Since my birth I was blessed with a believing, faithful, heart. I loved God and had learned about Him. But here I was doubting His very existence and love. It was difficult for those around me to see this. I tried to keep it to myself, but it wold overflow as I was pained with such confusion and loss. I had never experienced this magnitude of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional trauma in my life. It truly shook everything I thought I knew about God and life, and crumbled it to pieces. Strangely, this is right where God wanted me. 

As the physical pains subsided around 25 weeks in my pregnancy, I felt some relief, but there was a a searing sadness that came as I tried to understand why God, my God who I loved, had seemingly abandoned me in my moment of need. Other than my family around me, most everyone else had no idea what I was struggling with. 

I attempted to pray one night. I wanted so badly to pierce through the dense, ever present darkness and grief, to just have a glimpse of who God really was. I was not sure if I wanted to know Him, if all He wanted to offer me was this pain that was to given me for  ‘experience’. I recalled the prophet Joseph Smith in a living hell in Liberty Jail where God told him that all Joseph’s wretched pain was ‘for his good’. I could not see a loving God in this. Did not Christ say “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Where was this rest? I was somewhat hesitant to begin searching for it, because after my experiences, I was lacking trust in God. 

As I timidly began praying, it felt uncomfortable and stale. I had heard many times never to ask “Why me” or “why is this happening”, but that is what I wanted to know. Why did I feel abandoned? Why was I internally broken. Before the anxiety and depression came I had been at my all time harmony with God. I had many insightful studies and was learning about how God can heal anything. Why then did he not heal me? I no longer cared about being healed from my severe physical pains from my pregnancy, all I wanted was to feel peace inside. And it just didn't come. I more than ever needed healing. I recognized that the internal unrest made the physical challenges more challenging. 

And then, a simple answer came. No overwhelming love, or freedom from my pain, but just a steady, calm answer “This is right where I want you”. Although this appears as if it would make my bitterness at God increase, It didn’t. I laughed. Why would God want me in such a doubting, negative place? I am questioning His existence for goodness sake, and struggling to even pray! Yet, I felt a truthfulness to this, I was right where I needed to be. That is, right where I needed to be so that He could teach me who He really is, and What he really does for those who unyieldingly trust in him. My false beliefs and false foundations needed to come down before any healing.

And my journey began. I needed to know who God was, who He is, what He does, so that I could obtain salvation. Literally saved from the hellish state I was living. I had experienced in portion, the bitterness of hell. I knew in part what an absence of His spirit was like, and I knew that nothing could satisfy the pains of mind, body and spirit. I had tried finding satisfaction enough to heal my physical pains, it was nowhere to be found. I had tried finding satisfaction enough to comfort my broken, deeply bitter soul, and there was none to be found. I knew that if I wanted to rise above all the darkness, grief, sorrow, pain, sickness, anger, you name it, I needed a Savior. Someone who had the power, and desire to step in, remove the pain, and awaken within me what is needed to be like Him. And if He was going to save me in such a way, I needed to come to know him. How could I be like Him, if I do not know who He is, or what He is like. 

Read part II here.

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