Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Migraine Musings, Part 2

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

"Let it wash over you"

(This is an old post from a previous blog that has come back to my memory as of late.)


Life is very interesting, and quite challenging for me right now. I have already written much about my health struggles. They are my resistance training, which is why I write so often about them. (When we build muscles, we have to break them down to build them. I feel like I'm in the spiritual gym a lot these days!)

Recently, things have been worse, as I have had migraines that keep coming (or maybe A migraine that has never left). I have already written a little about that, too.

This last weekend, I got another one. I wasn't as angry as I was before, but I was deeply discouraged. And afraid. And feeling lost as to what to do. I was trying not to feel hopeless, but I did.

Once again, as the week before, I found myself in my bed, crying and praying. I needed help and guidance. I didn't even know where to start. I wasn't even sure what to ask (a favorite scripture comes to mind). I shared all of this with Heavenly Father.

My dear husband came up and listened for a while. He counseled with me, and I with him.

"I feel like everything I do is wrong!" (Migraines had hit after doing good things...like going to a family Easter dinner, serving my family. One even hit after lying in bed reading my scriptures, even before I had done anything else.)

"Is that really what you are feeling?" hubby asked.

No. I knew that the Spirit wasn't saying I was doing everything wrong. But I felt within myself that I was. (Hence, my hopeless feelings.)

But my husband kept listening while I sorted things out, out loud. (I am a very verbal sorter-outer, as those who know me know.)

After a while, I started to talk about things I could do to make some changes. A peace settled over the conversation, and my husband identified it. He could sense the change in my demeanor, my voice, my emotion level.

And he helped me realize I was getting answers. I was getting answers!

I called a friend, and the conversation I had solidified that I was heading in the right direction. I cannot thank my friend enough, and I cannot possibly capture it all here, but I will say this:

God heard, and answered. Again. I was in the dark, and He gave me some light.

I recalled a conversation I had last week with a friend. I had shared my many mini miracles experience, where I received a clear message about God's love.

She wisely noted, "But you don't fully believe it, do you?"

And then she said something that has stuck with me.

"Let it wash over you, Michelle."

I know intellectually that God loves me, loves us, loves His children. But for so much of my life, when things have gone wrong, when I have goofed, I have gone to a place in my mind, a dark place of shame and personal criticism. I am coming to recognize more fully and quickly that this isn't truth, but I know I need the Lord's help to change my mind and heart, to let the truth of His love and mercy wash over me.

Of course, the truth of His love and mercy doesn't absolve me of responsibility, doesn't give me permission to slack off and sin. But I think I am at the extreme end, trying still to earn my salvation alone, on my own merits, with my own spiritual résumé (which, of course, is pretty thin -- after all, I am mortal!)

The scripture that has come to mind today is Alma 42:30:

Do not endeavor to excuse yourself in the least point because of your sins, by denying the justice of God [after all, I shouldn't justify sins; that said, I'm still mulling over the difference between sins and mistakes]; but do you let the justice of God, and his mercy, and his long-suffering have full sway in your heart; and let it bring you down to the dust in humility.

I felt like I was face-down in the dust for a while there on Sunday, gritty teeth and all, struggling for breath. That's not it, though. He doesn't want me choking on the dust! I realized that as I started to feel the power of humility as answers and TRUTH started distilling about why I need to be humble: because God loves me and wants to help me. And I need to let those truths wash over me. I need to figure out better how to let Him. To make space for Him and His love in my life. To not be afraid of not being able to do it all on my own, because that isn't the plan. Or that isn't how to access the power of God's perfect justice and mercy -- the power of the plan.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Migraine Musings, Part 1

Monday, April 13, 2009

From Migraine, to Mad-ness, to Many Mini-Miracles

(This is an old post from a previous blog that has come back to my memory as of late.)

I haven't been in blogging mode much lately for a couple of reasons. One is that I am trying to do less on the 'puter when my almost-edible chillens are home and awake, and another is that I have had some monster headaches the past few weeks. But most of the time, I sorta just do my best to do what I have to do. Unless I get the classic migraine aura thing going on, then I stop.

I had grand plans of spending some good time with my aforementioned precious ones this week, since it's spring break. I was up for a whole two minutes when I got an aura today. And I was mad. Hopping mad. Like the kind of mad-that-is-bad-for-your-spirit mad. I had even just prayed specifically to avoid *that* kind of migraine so I could take my kids to see their out-of-town cousins, whom we didn't get to see Saturday because of their dad's headache (yeah, we are quite a pair, I know).

I got my meds in me and went promptly to my bed, where I pouted, and vented (I really am trying to do less of this -- it's often that same kind of not-good-for-my-spirit kind of thing), and prayed, and sobbed until perhaps I could sob no more. (That probably isn't the best thing to do with a migraine, but it did provide its own kind of relief.)

And, did I mention that I prayed? A lot...in that kind of way where I am stumped and feeling stuck and feeling hopeless and afraid and wanting to quit.

And as my day comes to a close, I look back and I can see the miracles.

-Hubby was home, and was well enough to help a little. He also did a lot of listening while I vented. Even though my venting probably gives him a headache.

-So did a dear, dear friend, who not only listened, but sobbed with me, and told me she wished she could take it away, and wished she could fix it, but knew she couldn't, and because she knew that, she was a great sounding board in thinking through what I might need to be learning through all of this. (If you are reading, thank you. I love you, friend. So much. You are such a blessing in my life.)

-My kids, as usual, were amazing and kind and compassionate and caring. But they also had friends to play with all day. So mom being in bed all day wasn't so bad.

-And then I got a message from a friend from whom I haven't heard for quite a while. And her love and concern, even without knowing what kind of day (month) I was (am) having, was so evident, and so needed today.

-And then my sis called, and we talked for quite a while in a way-that-is-really-good-for-my-spirit kind of way, and she reminded me why I don't quit, and why I never will -- because the Savior is there, and because I want to be there with Him.

-And then I found a message from a Relief Society president who said she just kept thinking about me today. And I haven't seen her for weeks.

-And to finish the day, another friend posted one of my fave quotes ever:

"Each of us will have our own Fridays - those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

"But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death - Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

"No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, Sunday will come. In this life or in the next, Sunday will come." (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Sunday Will Come," Ensign, Nov. 2006, page 30 )

And then, as I mulled over all of this, the thought came loud and clear: God wasn't mad at me, even though I got mad, and even though I pouted, and even though I doubted, and even though I vented. He sent many miracles today, through the love and simple efforts of numerous people, and by so doing, reminded me of this pure and perfect and powerful truth: He loves me.
As Elder Holland and Pres. Eyring recently testified, I realized that I was not alone, even though I felt alone.

I know answers to prayers sent to heaven from our times of deep pain are not always answered as quickly as mine were today. I have many, many of those prayers, too. They also aren't always answered as we want them to be (my head still really hurts, and probably will for days, even weeks to come, and that is hard). But I have had enough experiences like this, where I have cried out in my extremity, and I have seen His loving hand enter my life in ways that continue to amaze me. In His own way and time, He lets me know time and time again that He Is There.

I go to bed still with a headache, but with a full and grateful heart.