Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Boys

My boys. Oh how I love them.

From a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a mom and stay at home and raise my 8 (or so) fantastic kids. I wanted babies-lots of them. So when I found out I was having twins my first time being pregnant I was so excited. Ecstatic even.

And so clueless about what the future held.

I knew that I would have 2 beautiful boys and that I would raise them in the Gospel and teach them about the Atonement, faith and prayer, and about the importance of serving others. I knew that I would make family and individual prayer and FHE and scripture study a priority. I knew I would always love them and always be there for them and continue to teach them and guide them and nurture them every single day.

What I didn’t know was that these 2 very precious sons would both be sent to this earth with disorders that would affect their feelings, moods, thoughts, and ability to relate to others. That they would struggle with low frustration tolerance, anxiety, anger and severe rages. And that my little boys would cry and wonder why Heavenly Father gave them a brain that didn’t work the same as everyone else’s.

What I didn’t know is that they would both have several mental illness disorders.

Disorders that would affect every aspect of their lives every single day.

In the recent General Conference Elder Holland gave a talk about mental illness stating “these afflictions are some of the realities of mortal life, and there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor.”

I loved that he said this because there is still such a stigma attached to mental illness. There is a great need for advocacy, education, and support for those affected by mental illness and their families.
Because of this and in honor of my boys and the many others affected by mental illness I am participating in the NAMI Walk again this year.

The NAMI Walk celebrates recovery and raises awareness about mental health, in hopes to erase the stigma associated with mental illness. I have seen firsthand what NAMI has done to help to improve the lives of those living with mental illness and their families. I have seen hope come to those who so desperately needed it as well as understanding and resources and support.

So I am asking you, my friends to PLEASE donate to support my participation in this great event. You can visit my personal walker page to donate directly to me online. ANY amount helps!!!

It is a heart breaking thing to see someone you love (and in my case 2 someone’s) struggle so much with something that is not their fault. Each day is a challenge but I know that they are strong spirits, housed in imperfect bodies.

Elder Holland also said: “I bear witness of that day when loved ones whom we knew to have disabilities in mortality will stand before us glorified and grand, breathtakingly perfect in body and mind. What a thrilling moment that will be! I do not know whether we will be happier for ourselves that we have witnessed such a miracle or happier for them that they are fully perfect and finally “free at last.” Until that hour when Christ’s consummate gift is evident to us all, may we live by faith, hold fast to hope, and show “compassion one of another,”

I look forward to that day when my boys will truly be "free at last." But for now I will keep praying, keeping seeking help and resources for my boys, continue in patience and above all trust in God. I will never stop fighting for them, never stop loving them, and never stop trying to help them and teach them.  And above all I will never lose HOPE.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Bitter and the Sweet

Oh what a week it has been! This past Wednesday I woke up a little sad and disappointed about a conversation I had had the night before with someone I care about deeply. As I was praying that morning and asking Heavenly Father again for guidance and peace, World War 3 was breaking out in my living room. The kids were being terrible (and I don't use those words lightly) fighting with each other and yelling at me too. Not only yelling but calling me hateful names and telling me how everything is always my fault. A couple of hours later, after they were off at school, I had a very unpleasant phone call with my ex husband so by noon I was feeling overwhelmed and so so tired.

The storms were raging all around me (as they have been for what feels like a very long time now) and I just sat and cried and prayed again for peace and for guidance in helping me to know what to do.

This was the bitter part of my day.

The sweet came as I talked with my best friend about how hard it has been and how she listened and offered advice. It also came as I picked up my daughter from school that day and she shared with me how she knows I have been having a lot of hard trials in my life but that I have lots of blessings too. And that even greater blessings are coming right? (I love her! Things I have taught her from the time she was very young and here she was bearing testimony to me of these things) The sweet was also present when I picked up my boys and they apologized for their behavior and said they were sorry for having such a hard morning. And later that night another one of my BFF's invited me over and cooked some of the most delicious food for me and we talked and my spirits were once again lifted.

As the day progressed I felt myself getting sick and as I prayed that evening I laughed a little with Heavenly Father saying "of course now I'm getting sick too!" As I was praying  I remembered a line form a blessing that I had received in January that said I was blessed 'with the patience that Job had'.

Clearly my trials are no where near what Job had to endure, but for me they are still very real.

10 years as a single mom to 3 of the most loving as well as challenging kids I have been blessed to know.
(2 of them being my 12 year old twin boys who already live with mental illness and now have hormones that are raging too. With these added challenges it has become a whole new kind of hard)

Doing it without a husband and companion by my side, or a father for my kids.

I have had health challenges, financial difficulties, and trials that have truly been a test of my faith and trust in the promises the Lord has made to me personally.

But every time I have another heart breaking experience or am going through another really challenging time in my life I think about how grateful I am to know that the Lord trusts me, that He is allowing me to have these experiences and to progress at this pace.

I have learned so much these past 10 years about what it really means to go forward with faith and optimism, about the importance of serving others and always reaching outward, and most importantly about the Atonement of my Savior and what that means for me personally.

He has taught me, over and over again about what it truly  means to be patient...including being patient in HIS timing.

I know that He has a plan for me, that I am never alone and that great and marvelous blessings are in store for me.

Blessings that will be that much sweeter because I have also experienced the bitter.

For had I not experienced the bitter, I would never really know the sweet.