Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Amazing Grace. . .

I suffer from the occasional migraine. When I was pregnant with my second daughter, I suffered from them almost daily. I hate them. And I woke up with one this morning. 

When I get a migraine, besides being in terrible pain where even standing is hurtful, I am almost always nauseous. When I do have a migraine, if I do not take medication to be rid of the demon soon enough, I usually end up vomiting violently, even if I have nothing in my stomach, which ends up being more painful to my migraine and I end up shaking uncontrollably and retire to my bed to die. 

When I do get a migraine, it is almost always caused by something I did. Either lack of sleep (which was the case this morning), a drop in my blood sugar (because of my hypoglycemia), dehydration, or even too much adrenaline from a panic attack or bout of anxiety (which is very common in me). So for me, I am usually the culprit for why I have a migraine. Ultimately, I cause it. (Which is not the case in all migraines, just in mine.)

So this morning, amid my need to get the kids off the school, feed the baby, and my deep desire to bow down to my water saver porcelain throne, I muster up enough self control to swallow two Excedrine. My challenge then was to keep them down while I drive the kiddos to school, wait in line at the bank, and then zip on over to my local McDonald's to suck down a Diet Coke by 8:30 am. (The pair of Excedrine and Diet Coke is necessary to cure me of my morning plague. Trust me, try it.) 

I then make it home, tuck my youngest in for his morning nap and suddenly realize my migraine is gone. HALLELUJA!!

If you have never had a migraine, or even a terrible headache, let me describe this turn of events for you: When I suffer from a migraine, I almost always cry. It hurts so bad, I plead with God to make it go away. I am usually prohibited from being able to do pretty much anything I need/want to while I am suffering from it. I curl up on my bed crying in pain, pleading with God, begging, UTTERLY BEGGING, for it to go away. I throw up gall and other acidic digestive fluids, sometimes even unable to keep down the medicine my body so desperately needs. Then, because of the vomiting, the pain in my head increases to the point that my body shakes, I cannot keep my eyes open, my stomach muscles now ache from the seizing, and I am exhausted. I usually lie down and pray for a coma to take over. I think of nothing but relief. 

I usually drift off to sleep, and then if I'm lucky, wake to full relief of my migraine. And if you have never had a migraine, then you do not know what it is like to wake to the sudden absence of one. When I realize that I am free of my once burdening pain, I could dance. Dance for blissful joy! I feel like I could conquer the world!! I want to immediately hug my family, share love with those around me, smile, sing, go out and do something fun! It is one of the most joyful experience I encounter. I grasp life with both hands, holding on tight, grinning from ear to ear, and shouting for joy about how wonderful life is.

So after reading all that, I'm sure you are wondering why I am even writing this. It's because every time I experience a migraine and the miraculous recovery from it, I reflect upon one other time when I felt such joy. 

It was after my divorce, and I was at my lowest of lows. I questioned everything I had ever believed in. I defied counsel, became oppositional, and chose to "try" life without my faith to see if I really even needed it. And because of those choices, I put myself in a very dangerous situation. There are things that I chose to do that I regret daily, and am still very sorrowful for. When I realized my missteps and wanted to return to the life I once had,  I remember being pained to where I was sick. I remember being unable to function and even wishing my life were over. I remember pleading with my Father in Heaven to take away my pain, take away my sorrow, and to please forgive me. I hurt beyond explanation, because it wasn't just a physical pain, but an spiritual one. However, I remember so clearly the moment I was forgiven. It was instantaneous. I no longer felt the weight of what I was previously suffering from. I was no longer hurting, I was free. 

I do not know how else to relate this miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in any other fashion than that of the sudden relief from a migraine, or taxing pain. Through this post, I wanted to share how wonderful the power of the Atonement is. That because I have felt the relief of being freed from sin, I wish to share that truth with others in hopes that they will take part in that joy. I believe it is the most amazing joy one can feel on this earth. I am a firm believer that the Atonement is real. I cleave to the knowledge that Eve shares with us that when we experience pain or sorrow, we know what joy truly is. I also testify to the truthfulness of Enoch's words of forgiveness and how because of that forgiveness, he wanted to go out and share that truth with his family and friends. 

I know that my Savior is real. I know He lives. I know he died for me so that I can return to my Father in Heaven. And that is the greatest joy I have ever felt!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It Passes All My Understanding. . . .

"The Word of Wisdom is a law of health revealed by the Lord for the physical and spiritual benefit of His children. On February 27, 1833, as recorded in the section 89 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord revealed which foods are good for us to eat and which substances are not good for the human body. He also promised health, protection, knowledge, and wisdom to those who obey the Word of Wisdom."

I have major addictive tendencies. If any of you know me personally, you will know my vice with Diet Coke. Honestly, if the world didn't invent Diet Coke, I would be addicted to something else. It's just my personality. And it is a part of me that I battle with daily. I do not want to be an addictive person. I don't like that label as much as I choose to not make it my excuse. Being rid of Diet Coke is an on the wagon, off the wagon battle. And it is something I ultimately desire to overcome. 

I say all of this because of a topic of conversation during a meeting conducted by my stake president during ward conference. The question was asked about a specific definition in the Word of Wisdom - mainly the term, "hot drink". It has been defined through our prophets as coffee and tea, as apposed to hot chocolate or an herbal tea which are not included. But ultimately the definition is between you and the Lord when it comes to any grey or questionable areas because the church is not going to come out with a check list of the do's and don'ts to the Word of Wisdom, any further than it already has.

Back to the meeting. When I thought the conversation was going to move on to other topics, someone pointed out that in recent years (though I do not fully know how recent) it has come to the knowledge of researchers that coffee and tea specifically contain carcinogens, or cancer causing agents, and that this new research supports the belief we have had that the Word of Wisdom helps keep us from ingesting anything that is harmful to our bodies. WELL, this just about blew my mind! Being the addictive person I am, I have battled with desires to break the Word of Wisdom in my lifetime. And a simple fact like this really put me in my place and testified to me that the Lord knows more than I. 

So I decided to invite my three kids in on the conversation. I pointed out to them when in time the Word of Wisdom was given to the members of the church, which is almost 200 years ago. And that back then, because of water issues, and social expectations, many of the substances depicted in the Word of Wisdom were common place in the world (focusing mainly on coffee and tea). I then told them that in modern times it has been discovered that these two specific items contain carcinogenics that can and may cause cancer if ingested. I asked them if they thought any of this information was available to the saints almost 200 years ago, in which they all said, "no". I then asked if they thought the Lord knew this information almost 200 years ago, in which they all said, "yes". So I then pointed out that the Lord sometimes asks us to do or obey things that we do not yet understand. And that He has promised us He will reveal all to us, but in His own time. And that all that God asks of us, is for our own good, even if at the time we do not see it that way or understand why.

It wasn't just an eye opening moment for me, but a testimony building experience for my family. Especially during a time when the world poses a really good argument on many things and it may seem difficult to stand for what you believe in. I only write this blog in hopes that it will add some revelation to your life, and possibly explain more to you than just the Word of Wisdom as it has done for me and my family. (As well as a reminder to me of what I have learned.)

I do know that putting your faith in something that is difficult to understand or see is a plaguing experience. I have struggled with many aspects of my faith for years upon years, testing the Lord, praying and putting trust in the Lord, little by little, as I try to understand things that are beyond my understanding. I do not expect others to see or believe what has taken me years to achieve. It would be as if I were to speak to them in a language they do not understand in hopes that they would. However, because of the time and energy I have put in following the Lord, I have been blessed and am thankful for the understandings the Lord has given to me. I find no greater peace or joy than that which is on the right hand of God. My only hope is that others one day feel that too.