in brightest day or darkest night.

this weekend our church held a little women’s conference. the topic, “getting past ‘if only'” seemed applicable and i thought that maybe some solace might be hidden in what the speaker had to say. he started by discussing happiness and its opposite hopelessness but then his remarks quickly veered towards a very specific group in attendance. a group that i am not a member of yet and that lack of membership was the whole reason i had come seeking succor.

i realize when faced with an obstacle you begin to see reminders of that very thing everywhere. i admit my sensitivity to all things related to motherhood has been heightened. but with that awareness comes the realization that sometimes we gloss over what it means to live these lives we are living.

despite the speaker’s intro, nothing really resonated with me. at one point he off-handedly mentioned his childhood rearing which included a zealously religious lds mother and a world war II veteran, drunkard of a father. i thought, that, that is what he should have discussed. how he came out of that non-traditional beginning and thrived. how at times he probably felt unlucky, or hopeless, or sad about his lot but how he was sustained and helped through the hard times.

that is the sermon i think we all need to hear preached. i heard it this morning.

last night i went to bed not wanting to face this particular sunday. when i awoke my feelings hadn’t changed. but the final speaker spoke of working through the loss of his mother and the years of trying to have children. he spoke of courageous women like clara barton and dolley madison. he spoke to me.

we know our standard sunday school answers for fixing a problem or accessing jesus more fully: pray, serve others, read the scriptures, attend our church meetings. we have that formula memorized. what we don’t have access to are the living examples amongst us. how each of us have faced our dark nights and turned that darkness into bright day (hymn 188; thy will, o lord, be done).

i have been reading about hope, waiting, happiness, and the atonement.

i have been listening to how to endure it well and live the gospel.

i have been searching for what others have found.

recently our sunday school class was in charge of teaching a lesson to a larger group of children. we talked about how we feel our savior’s love when we are trying to be like jesus. i made them heart cookies as a reminder of that very real love. and yes, our obedience yields an outpouring of good feelings, but our father’s love is not conditional.

and so, now i am asking, how are you tangibly conquering your darkness?

thy will, o lord, be done, lds hymn


7 thoughts on “in brightest day or darkest night.

  1. It’s strong women like you that have helped me get through the hardest times. Thanks for being my listening ear when I want to be open and honest and want no judgment in return. Love you, Robin.

    And P.S.: You are Martha Stewart.

  2. Hard, hard work. Pushing back feelings of guilt. Education. Support from people I love. And reading things like Mosiah 10: 11 “Now, the Lamanites knew nothing concerning the Lord, nor the strength of the Lord, therefore they depended upon their own strength.” and learning that in the end- I cannot depend on my own strength.

    1. i like that you mentioned pushing back guilt. i talked to someone the other day who talked about recognizing triggers that make her feel sad and avoiding those and sometimes for me that’s facebook!

      that scripture is such a good point. i love it.

  3. I’m glad I started following along with your blog because I really want to hear others’ (and your) answers to this question. I like that you said “tangibly” — I’m thinking about what I physically, concretely, tangibly do. And I’m thinking about things that work and other things I’ve tried that didn’t work. My first answer is that I talk/blog. I try to force myself to write about and share while I’m in the midst of the darkness, rather than just when I’m coming out of it. It’s therapeutic for me to express, but also to read/hear others’ responses and thoughts. When someone says that something I said has helped them, i try to hang on to that as a small purpose in my suffering. Besides this therapeutic writing, I also go to therapy. I’ve been 5 or 6 times now. My counselors don’t give me magical answers, but they give me little insights and just devoting the time and energy makes me feel like I am taking myself, my life, and my trials seriously (maybe too seriously at times). I honestly think I do these things more than I do the “Sunday School answers,” so I could probably benefit from those still.

    1. i like that you mentioned allowing others to help support you and vice versa through talking about it when you’re in the midst of it. i feel like that is the “tangible” application of mourning with those who mourn. we can’t help those who are suffering silently. i think counseling/therapy is good advice as well – i find it is tricky to find a good fit, but for my friends who have found a good therapist it has been wonderful!

  4. “He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair…” – Crystal Lewis, adapted from Isaiah 61:3:

    “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

    There is a powerful surrender we experience when we lay ourselves on the altar of trial. It is this moment of greatest vulnerability that is the very portal to the relief we crave. The bitterness of disappointment, grief or betrayal is deep and brutal; but is ultimately impotent if we can intentionally surrender our burden to someone who can carry it for us.

    Heaven touches us generously through other people who mercifully nurture us in our distress. If we are observant in the midst of our distress, we will recognize this ministering gift even in complete strangers (or things) who may comfort us in the most unlikely circumstances.

    Patiently, faithfully, heaven waits at our fitful bedside. The fever of our deepest sorrow is eventually cooled and soothed (it is a solemn promise that this will be so) ~ but it must run its course before healing can begin.

    Our patience in suffering is actually our strength. Each day is another day of little miracles that almost temper the pain. Each day is another opportunity for us to step forward into the void of the unknown believing and hoping that He will catch us.

    The real beauty is when we discover we were never falling after all, but only leaning on His arm.

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