I’ll admit I’ve flip-flopped between anxiety and peace as I’ve thought of writing this and I still don’t know if I’ll hit the “publish” button. My peace comes from knowing that this may bring hope and healing to someone else. My anxiety comes from the risk in telling something very personal and the resulting judgment. I move forward because I’ve learned the importance of acting instead of waiting and wondering, “Was I supposed to do that?” So here is goes.
and not because of eggs and bunnies. I love the message of hope and healing. I love knowing that because our Savior overcame death so can we.
If is wasn’t for the first Easter how would I have comforted my children when their uncle passed away and again when one cousin and then another cousin left this earth too early? “They are with their Heavenly Father and we will be with them again. We will all be resurrected and live together someday.”
If it wasn’t for Easter what would I tell my children or myself when a seemingly unforgivable mistake is made or a weakness seems impossible to overcome? “There is nothing you can do that would turn the Savior from you. He forgives, heals, and changes us.”
If it wasn’t for Easter where would we turn for peace and healing when we are hurt from the injustices of the world? “The Savior has felt every pain and can comfort and heal us like no one else. All will be made right.”
It is almost to big to comprehend the love of our Savior and what He did for us. It may take a lifetime and beyond to completely understand the sacrifice that was made and what that means for each of us. I could read every doctrinal book out there to gain more understanding but I don’t know that it would work. Somehow, I think the only way to learn is through experience. Another reason to appreciate trials… an opportunity to receive greater understanding of the Savior’s Atonement.
I was on my way to church. It was Easter Sunday. I was filled with joy as I contemplated my Savior’s love for me. As I thought about what He did so all our sins could be forgiven and we could live with Him again, I felt a pang of disappointment. I had heard people talk about how their lives were completely off track and they were able to change, be forgiven, and experience the healing power of the Savior. That wasn’t my experience. I knew of Gospel of Jesus Christ as early as I could learn. I always believed. I had to repent of little things on a daily basis, but I always tried to do what was right. I certainly wasn’t perfect but there was never a big life-changing “come to Jesus” event. In my barely sprouting comprehension of what our Savior can do for us I guessed that I would never really understand or have a profound testimony of His Atonement. Only people who committed a “big” sin or overcame a “huge” weakness had the privilege of that experience. That didn’t make sense. You shouldn’t be required to make mistakes to gain a testimony. That would be a contradiction. “Don’t sin, but in order to come closer to the Savior you need to sin so you can experience His healing.”
Just as I was pondering these thoughts and wishing I had my own powerful testimony and experience with the Atonement, I received my answer. It is hard to explain how the Spirit works sometimes but I’ll try. In just a moment I was filled with knowledge, love, peace and understanding. The words that came to my mind in this same instant were,
It was brief but it’s impact was huge. My mind was flooded with memories of pain I had experienced in the past. The memory of lying on the floor and crying in anger and frustration, wishing that I was not so broken. I believed I would never overcome the effects of being the subject of another’s evil actions. It caused pain beyond comprehension.
How could I have forgotten this pain? How did I not recognize this healing before? Perhaps it was because my Savior healed me so completely. I didn’t have frequent reminders anymore. Even the memories of the pain had left me. How is it possible that I can write this without any feelings of anger, hurt, sorrow? Years ago just thinking of my past would leave me physically ill; a pain I could feel so strongly it was as if it was something tangible that I could somehow grab and tear from my body. Now, I feel nothing but love. Just… love.
That wasn’t the end of the understanding that was given me. I knew in that second that if I had not chosen to turn to the Savior in my pain; my life would be very different. I KNEW it. “You let me heal you.” There were many different things I could have done to push down, hide from, or numb what was inside me. I was even reminded of someone I loved who chose a different path to find relief from her hurt. It only caused more hurt. How my heart ached for her. “You let me heal you.” Those words held so much power. It is amazing how much light can come into your mind in just one moment. I understood that I had my agency. Healing couldn’t be forced upon me. I had to do my part. I had to want it, I had to face it, I had to feel the pain and the anger and make the choice turn to my Savior over and over again. It wasn’t easy. There were many times I felt that life had given me an unfair deal and I had a darn good excuse to hold on to my suffering. How grateful I am that I was given the strength to hand it to my Savior. How blessed I am that the Savior helped me recognize the magnitude of His healing so I could show gratitude to Him and know of His infinite power.
Though this could apply to many situations; I know I am not the only one that has experienced this particular kind of hurt. Unfortunately, it is all too common. Unfortunately still, it is all to common to keep quiet, to feel shame, to feel helpless. It feels like it would just be easier to pretend the pain isn’t there. But we’d be lying to ourselves and the anguish would manifest itself in unintended ways that would just cause more pain.
So what now? I remember telling someone when I was only 8 that I wanted to do something to help others that had also been hurt. I’ve never done anything, and the memory of that promise never came to my mind until recently. As I wrote this story about reading “The Hiding Place,” I felt gratitude that someone was brave enough to share their experience in healing so that I could learn from it. It gave me courage share this with you. The fact the I can write this without feeling shame proves the healing I’ve experienced. I’ve reflected on the process I was guided through to rebuild and repair what had been damaged and I’d like to share just 3 steps with you to start.
We must have even the smallest belief in our Savior’s power to heal and heal without a scar. This can be the hardest part. We might say we believe but do we really? When we are in the thick of our pain do we still believe? The good news is that we only need a shred of belief to start. But, somewhere in us, we must believe that healing and change is possible. Years ago I think about 1% of me believed complete healing was achievable. After all, the only way the effects of my past could be erased is if my past was erased right? Since there wasn’t such thing as a time machine, changing my past wasn’t possible. If you get nothing else from my story just take this: the Savior healed me and He can and will heal you. Let it strengthen your faith that WHATEVER it is you are suffering from is not too big for our Savior Jesus Christ to overcome.
“Ask and ye shall receive.” The Lord wants us to ask for what we need. Sometimes it is the most obvious things we need that we forget to pray about. We think it is a no brainer. Surely the Lord knows we need healing so why ask for it? When we ask we show that we believe, or want to believe that the Lord can heal us. It shows that we have faith, no matter how small. It is an essential step in the process. We may even need to ask for belief in the first place. We can also ask loved ones to pray for us. Prayer is a powerful thing so why not have as many prayers as possible in our behalf. Ask for healing but more importantly ask to know what you specifically need to do for healing because that is the next step… take action.
Sometimes the despair can be so deep that even the smallest tasks feel insurmountable. Asking and receiving what we need requires something in between and if we miss it we may find ourselves in deeper despair wondering why our prayers have gone unanswered. We must ACT. Even if we don’t know exactly what it is we are supposed to do; as we take any step the Lord will put things in our paths that will lead us in the right direction. But, He can only put something in our path if we are first on a path.
If you are wondering what some good actions steps are to move you along the way you’ll want to read my post on 10 Steps to overcome hurt and depression. I’ve identified the things that have been the most helpful (some essential) to me in the healing process and I will lay them all out for you.
Please know, whatever the hurt, whoever is hurt, healing will come. Have faith in the process. It isn’t a wake up one morning and presto, all is well (though maybe it has happened that way for some). It is step by step, gradual and sometimes subtle; maybe that’s why I didn’t recognize an exact moment I felt whole. Like when you see someone every day as opposed to seeing them every few years. You aren’t as likely to notice the changes unless you look back to where you started from. Wherever you are today though, if you start the pattern of belief, asking, and action I promise you will be able to look back someday and see the miraculous healing that has occurred!
Category #1, You know someone who needs hope and healing.
Category #2, You need hope and healing.
My prayer is that this will be helpful to you in aiding someone else or in becoming whole again yourself. This can only help if people read it. If you find yourself in either group I ask that you click on one of the buttons below share this with others.
I love and welcome your comments!