The past few days have been extremely difficult for our family. It has been trying my faith more than I think I can bear. I have to remind myself that Heavenly Father won't give us more than we can bear. Sometimes I feel like the burdens that we have are too much for me to handle with a smile. They cloud my ability to see my blessings clearly. I have so many blessings, but it is so hard to feel gratitude in my heart when these burdens seem too heavy for me to carry. I love feeling thankful! I love having gratitude in my heart! Sometimes life just gets really hard.
I started to be very negative about these things that were going on in our family, and that bugs my husband. Sometimes he just needs to set me straight with a good dose of common sense. When I start saying things like, "I have no faith! I don't know if there is a God anymore. I can't do this. I have no testimony! I have doubts," my husband feels compelled to help me get my mind right. I am thankful that he knows how to bring me back down to Earth when the occasion arises.
His common sense approach is so, well, common sense. He asked me, "Do you know that Jesus Christ is your Savior? Yes or no?" Well, yes, I know that. That's an easy one. And you know what? I don't really remember any of the other questions he asked me because that one seemed to sum it up pretty well, don't you think? If I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, isn't that pretty much the best thing ever?
He started talking about how Nephi was commanded to build a ship. We started to think about what it must have been like to be asked to build a boat. How in the world are we supposed to be able to do that? I've never built a boat before! Where in the world did Nephi learn how to build a boat? From the Lord.
"And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry they people across these waters." 1 Nephi 17: 8
Being the awesome person that Nephi was, he immediately asked the Lord where he could find the materials to successfully build this boat. If it were me, I would have at least taken a moment to ask, "Huh?"
During his task, the Lord made him a promise: "I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." 1 Nephi 17:13
The Lord keeps His promises if we keep His commandments. I like the part "ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led." Sometimes I don't know which was is up or down or who is leading whom.
Then Robbie told me that he was sure that things got hard while Nephi was trying to build this boat. Things may have gotten so hard that he didn't think he could handle it, and he probably had to pray for strength along the way. His brothers started to give him a hard time and he became really discouraged, especially since they were all happy that he was discouraged. Jerks.
"And now it came to pass that I, Nephi, was exceedingly sorrowful because of the hardness of their hearts; and now when they saw that I began to be sorrowful they were glad in their hearts, insomuch that they did rejoice over me, saying: We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgement; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work." 1 Nephi 17:19
Sigh. Ever feel like people are rejoicing in your failures? I do. Even though no one has actually said it to my face, I worry that people say the exact same thing about what we are trying to do. All we're really trying to do is be grown ups and be independent, but it seems like we are always asking for help from others. I worry that they think, "They should just give up. They shouldn't even be trying. I knew they couldn't make it."
Of course, Robbie said other great things to me to help me remember that, yes, I do have a testimony, and yes I do know that Heavenly Father loves me. Even if I don't want to admit it to myself, this funny thing happens to me when I hear something I know is true. I start to giggle and smile really big. I couldn't hide it if I tried.
I called my mom the day after my good dose of common sense because it seemed like other things happened that were worse than the day before. She gave me a couple of scriptures to read as well. One of those was the awesome reminder that, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
I really need to remember that. It's so difficult when Robbie and I go back and forth on which one of us is the discouraged one. Sometimes he has bursts of confidence and strength, and every now and then I have bursts of confidence and strength. I think we are both looking for strength from the other one, but it's just not happening. I feel like I withdraw into myself more and more as things keep getting harder and harder. It's hard for me to give any strength to him when I can't even make myself feel better. I'm not sure how he feels, and I am not sure if he is looking for strength from me. I wish I knew how to be strong.
How can I do it? How can I be strong for him when I feel like I have no more strength left to give? I feel like I do not have any smiles in me right now. How can I smile when I really don't feel like I can? What do you do to get through your tough times?