Sunday, March 29, 2015

Grace & Refinement

Have you ever had a day that goes like this?

Wake up.
Think about what you can expect from the day.
Wish it was bedtime already.
Get out of bed.

I had a day like that this week. It didn't look like it was going to be a very good one... I knew I would have my usual post-prednisone fibromyalgia pain for at least another 24 hours, and hadn't slept well the night before. So I prayed for grace and got up anyway. That morning, one of my best Boston friends sent me an encouraging text. Later another Boston friend and I had a text conversation that really cheered me up. At lunch time, a local friend and I went for a walk. By late afternoon, I realized that the day hadn't been so bad after all, and I felt grateful for inspired friends (thanks, CC, KB, and SR!).

Grace works. Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, every one of us, by virtue of our status as children of God, has access to a divine source of strength and help that can enable us to get through the tricky, seemingly impossible thing we have looming in front of us. For me, sometimes that thing is just getting through the next 5 minutes. But I am learning that if I pray for help to get through that 5 minutes, I can do it; then I discover I can do another hour or two, and (sometimes with the help of a few more prayers) pretty soon I have made it through the hardest part of the challenge, and things get better.

I saw an old friend in the temple yesterday and gave him an update on my life. When he heard I have cancer, he told me he was sorry I had to go through such a trial. I don't remember what I said in response, but I have been thinking about it a lot since: I'm not sorry for this trial... it's as much a blessing as it is a trial. Because of my experience with cancer, I am learning. I am having sacred experiences. I am closer to my God. And I am becoming so much more than I imagined I could be.

The refining trials of our lives change us. I don't think anyone can go through a challenge that takes them to their very limits and not come away changed. For me right now, it's lymphoma. I have met a lot of women, even strangers who approach me in the store, who tell me it's been breast cancer. But the trial you face could just as easily be anything else: infertility, wayward children, being single, a troubled marriage, chronic health problems, unemployment, the death of a loved one, not knowing what to believe in, the list goes on. The details don't matter. How you respond to it does. Let it take you to your knees (or if you can't kneel, then sit to pray), to your Father in Heaven. Let Him teach you about His Son, about grace, mercy, prayer, love, empathy, and compassion.

I don't know why I feel compelled to share these thoughts with you, but I know God wants me to do more than just tolerate cancer until it's gone and then move on. He wants me to share what I learn, and not just with my closest friends, either. It's true that writing is therapeutic, and it's also true that I write more on my blog than in my journal... but I'm pretty sure this is not just for me (if it were, it wouldn't be on a public forum). So I just trust Him and do it.

It's nearly Easter. What a great time to ponder His grace. #BecauseHeLives

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