For as long as I can remember, I have been accident-prone. If there is a sickness going around, I will catch it. If someone accidentally drops a staple or sewing needle on the floor, I will step on it. My friends can testify to the countless times I've spilled water or walked into walls. What can I say? I'm a magnet for disaster. :)
So when I traveled to Disneyland for an orchestra competition, (plus some fun on the rides) and came home with a headache, I wasn't surprised. I had never experienced this type of pain before, but I figured I had slept wrong on the bus; so I took an Advil and tried to sleep it off. When I woke up, the pain was still there. A couple of days went by, with no relief. Finally, my mom decided to take me to our family doctor to see if something was seriously wrong. That one doctor soon turned into ten; all of them giving different diagnoses, doing different tests, and trying different forms of treatment. (Needles? No sweat!) We are now coming up on the one-year mark of the day I came home from California. There still isn't a definite diagnosis, and I am still working toward one hundred percent relief. But if I could go back and change what happened, I wouldn't. The knowledge I have gained is worth all the pain I've been through.
My purpose is not to gain sympathy or sound "preach-y", because I know that we all have trials and discouragements in this life, and I certainly know that there are people out there suffering far beyond what I ever have. I also know that each affliction is different for every person's needs. However, I feel like I do need to share a few things I've come to understand through my experience; maybe someone can benefit or relate to my feelings and thoughts.
I've heard the phrase "we must pass through the refiner's fire to learn life's greatest truths" many times, but I never understood what it truly meant until I was able to experience it myself. When it first happened, I was stunned. My thoughts went something like this: "I'm doing everything right! What did I ever do to deserve this? I'm supposed to be invincible, why is God doing this to me?" It was the first time I had ever questioned God's plan for me. I was reading scriptures, praying, and trying to serve others. Why would He put my life on hold have me miss school, church, mutual, and lessons? I was doing these things to better myself, so why would He stop those? I was so focused on myself and my own problems that I was missing the big picture. I was so sick, and sick of being sick, and I truly wondered if Heavenly Father loved me. I figured if He loved me, He wouldn't be making me go through such a hard time. Never before have I felt so unsure of myself. But even with my doubts, I never stopped praying. I did come close, though. At my darkest hour, (with tears streaming down my face) when I couldn't handle the pain and crushing doubts that Satan was putting into my mind, I just reached out on the last ounce of faith I had left. I said, "Heavenly Father, I can't do it anymore. I can't fight for myself anymore. I have no strength left. Do what Thou wilt, my life is in Thy hands now." At that very moment, I heard the Spirit say, "Lisa, ask for a priesthood blessing. Don't be afraid." It was then I knew the Lord was watching out for me. He did care, and He had heard my prayers.
After that night, when I was finally able to put aside my pride and lean on my Savior for help, I realized that no matter what the Lord had in store for me, I would be able to make it. As a wise friend once told me, "With God, all things are possible." I believe that principle with all my heart. I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that there is Someone who knows what I'm going through, because He felt it all. I know that prayer is the greatest tool I have, and I believe in what great power prayer has in my life. I know that whatever I face, I can make it, because I have God on my side. My favorite scripture comes from Paul's letter to the Romans, chapter eight. It reads, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are [abundantly victorious] through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
If nothing else, I hope you take this one principle with you. No matter what you go through in life's journey, please know that God loves you and wants the best for you! Let the Lord carry your burden, and you will find joy and happiness in even the hardest of times.