Helaman teaches, “There [is] a just God and whosoever [does] not doubt [will] be preserved by His marvelous power” (Alma 57:26; italics added). Everyone in every era has endured trials. All of us face challenges unique to who we are and who we can become. How we as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints respond to our challenges affects our connection to God and to His Spirit. I sincerely believe that the Lord hears the humble pleas of our hearts.
As the one of the “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” in the August 10-16 Book of Mormon 2020 Come, Follow Me lesson states, “when we have faith, God can work miracles in our lives.” Even when trials burden our journey, we can choose to think the best of our situations and do what good we can. There is allowance for grief and other emotions in tough times, but if we allow those emotions to overwhelm us, they can destroy us.
Pleading for Comfort to Carry On
One of the trials that came into my life several years ago occurred when I received a medical diagnosis of endometriosis: a condition that can affect fertility and cripple a healthy body. I lost much of the physical strength that I had, and I ended up in a world of pain, fatigue, and other struggles related to the condition. I also felt sorrow about the possibility of not having children naturally and I worried if I would even have the opportunity for marriage.
Exercising faith that God will hear and answer the pleas of my heart, I followed the example of Enos: “my soul hungered; and I kneeled down before my Maker, and I cried unto him in mighty prayer and supplication” (Enos 1:4).
After much “prayer and supplication,” I felt impressed to visit the Calgary Temple in October 2018. I decided to make a weekend out of it. During my time at the Calgary Temple, I participated in temple ordinances for others and visited with various people who offered me listening ears and comfort.
As I was departing the temple, I engaged in conversation with a temple worker who listened to me bare my soul in tears. He kindly counselled me that women often bear guilt for a lot that isn't their fault, and I needed to let go of those feelings. That trip to the temple did not cure my afflictions, but it increased my faith to carry on and accept my health struggles.
My mother has asked me, 'Do you have the faith not to be healed?' I have had numerous priesthood blessings, but I have never been promised healing. I have been promised that I would have the ability to do what I needed to get done and receive the blessings God has in store for me. I have not been cured from this affliction, but I have been given assurances and comfort that the Lord's Spirit will help, comfort, and guide me. My hope is that as I am patient and compassionate to myself and accept what is, I can be of good cheer and do what good I can to and for others.
Redefining Christ’s Purposes for Me
The loss of a perfectly functioning body is a loss that does not have to define who we are and who we can become. During a general conference talk, Sheri Dew repeated this counsel from Elder John A. Widtsoe : “Women who through no fault of their own cannot exercise the gift of motherhood directly, may do so vicariously” (Priesthood and Church Government, comp. John A. Widtsoe (1939), 85; quoted in “Are We Not All Mothers?”, Ensign, Nov. 2001).
Sister Dew went on to explain: “Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women an unparalleled role in helping His children keep their second estate … Every one of us can mother someone—beginning, of course, with the children in our own families but extending far beyond. Every one of us can show by word and by deed that the work of women in the Lord’s kingdom is magnificent and holy. I repeat: We are all mothers in Israel, and our calling is to love and help lead the rising generation through the dangerous streets of mortality” (“Are We Not All Mothers?”, Ensign, Nov. 2001). I find Sister Dew’s words very inspirational and transformative.
I continue to hope for the opportunity of marriage and family. The goal of being sealed for time and all eternity in the temple is planted firmly in my heart. As for motherhood, I have already had experiences similar to those of mothers in that I have served as a teacher in both Primary and Nursery. I have been a mother to many children, and I hope I continue to be blessed with profound mothering opportunities. I take full advantage of righteous opportunities placed before me.