Likely my longest post ever. I rarely do religious posts, but in a time of such uncertaintly, feel it might be appropriate. If religion is not your thing, feel free to move on. My faith is such a part of who I am there is no avoiding it…..
In November my ex-daughter-in-law was charged with felony child abandonment. See that story here:
We have been navigating the child protective services for over 8 years. It has not been pretty! The state of Utah worries more about parental right than what is best for a child. In light of our previous experience and the past 12-18 months of worsening conditions while at mom’s house, we were gravely concerned about the outcome.
Just before Christmas, we were scheduled to return to court on the 23rd of December, to see if we could obtain an extension on our Child Protective Order. The guardian ad litem had met with my son and his daughters early in December and Jonathon had been told we would likely NOT receive an extension. This was a terrifying outcome to consider.
On Tuesday, prior to the Monday of our court appearance, I became completely paralyzed with fear. Fear that we would not be able to continue to keep the girls safe. I spent the entire day crying off and on. I prayed for peace, for the ability to have the faith that God was in control and that He would bless us in our efforts to protect the girls. I even reminded myself of all of the miracles we have experienced in the lives of Izze and Madde. It was not enough. I felt like I was drowning. I literally felt I could not even breathe.
Wednesday morning, I did something I had never done before. My husband had been gone for nearly 2 weeks for work, and so I called my older brother. I asked him if he could give me a priesthood blessing. (For those not of my faith, the priesthood is given to worthy males, and is the power to act for God in providing blessings, both for healing and peace of mind). I knew from my previous experience with an ocassional blessing, that there is great comfort and peace that comes from these blessings.
We met at my dad’s home. Both my brother and my dad participated in the blessing. The minute their hands were placed on my head, I felt the literal power of God. My brother was slow to pronounce the blessing, listening for the things God would have him say. I immediately began to feel the peace and love from my Heavenly Father. I didn’t understand the how, but I knew without a doubt, that everything would be okay. That was critical for me. The peace continued to settle my heart and I slept well that night for the first time in weeks. This experience also allowed me to provide comfort for my son when he had a similar “fear” experience the night before court.
As you may know, from this post:
We did get our miracle and Jonathon was awarded full- custody of the girls.
|Sorry not everyone has a cute little man to put a smile on their face|
I share this today, because I think there are many who are drowning in fear at this unprecedented time in our history. The virus threatens everything we hold dear. There are many lessons I am learning during this time that build on my previous experience with fear.
First, I believe that fear is one of Satan’s greatest tools, When he can create an atmosphere of fear, we become vulnerable to our very core. We might begin to doubt all that we believe to be true. I know that we are all chidren of God, and as such have faith that He has this. One of the things that I do that creates fear for myself, is I try to figure out HOW God will “fix” situations beyond my control. The trouble with that is that we can’t begin to think like Him and understand that His ways are not our ways. He is God and is capable of the very miracles we need.
Second, I believe that sometimes He allows things to happen with the hope that we will turn to Him. That we will understand that we are not in control, that we are dependent on Him for the very breath that we breathe.
Third, life has taught me that when we constantly strive to come from a place of gratitude, we will see more fully how Heavenly Father is blessing us, even in times that the specific answer we are seeking is not yet coming. Coming from a place of gratitude allows us to feel at peace in turbulent times. For over a year, I used a gratitude journal that I kept by my bed and wrote three things I was grateful for before going to bed each night. It was wonderfully therapeutic and now I automatically think of my day with gratitude each night.
Fourth, I have found that in times of crisis, we often re-evaluate what is most important to us. I am using this time of isloation to reflect on many things, including what is most important, how can I improve my family relationships, how can I be even better prepared in the future, and making lots of phone calls to check on how my amazing clients are holding up.
|Built a fort – great stress reliever!|
Fifth, I am having to think outside the box. I am a believer in hugs and the ability of a hug to heal our hearts in times of trouble. Obviously with social distancing in place we cannot do that. I have been baking and leaving little bags of cookies on my neighbor’s steps, heart attacking doors with messages of hope (if you are not familiar with this, it is simply taping hearts on someone’s door expressing your love for them), texting, phone calling, and sending hand-written cards. There are many things we can do to lift those around us. The best part of this “service” to our neighbors is that it lifts us too!
Sixth, always look for the silver lining. In the midst of any trial, there is always a blessing. Something we learn that helps us to handle life’s experiences in the future and sometimes we are blessed to see the silver lining in the very moment we are hit with turbulence. The faster we can get our mind to look for the good, the sooner we will be able to manage our mood and our response to our troubles.
Seventh, I personally find it helpful to stay with my daily routines as much as possible. I still get up every morning at 6 and sauna (I have one in my garage, so I am still social distancing), I shower and do my hair and make-up because it makes me feel better, I make my bed every day, and make sure the house is picked up: I find it impossible to work in chaos. I listen to uplifting music to help offset the possiblity of a negative mind set each day. I promise, it works wonderfully!
Eighth, I schedule something productive every single day! Accomplishing something is always a mood lifter for me. I have been organizing/cleaning out drawers and closets. Sometimes I work on something for my clients, collectively or individually. Sometimes, it is spending quality time with my grandkids. Sometimes it is experimenting with a new recipe.
Ninth, I pray. I can’t think of anything better to do in a time of crisis than pour my heart out to my Heavenly Father, who knows me better than I know myself, and who has all power to save us. I have been doing fairly well throughout isolation, but was totally alone yesterday with my husband working out of town and my grandkids spending the day with the nanny, and have to confess that I was a bit fearful when going to bed. Being able to express my feelings to God allowed me to sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed and in a much better head space. It’s not a hard thing to do, and let’s face it, He already knows how you are feeling anyone. Pray for yourself, for our leaders, for our medical staff, for your neighbors, for those suffering from the effects of the virus, for those who continue to work, putting themselves at risk for you, for the elderly, for our country…..the list is endless.
Tenth, I am reminded that we are all equal. The virus is affecting everyone regardless of social status, acquired wealth, sexuality – the list goes on and on. We are all at risk. We are all in this together. The way I use my agency to respond affects those around me. I am reminded that my actions have consequences. We must think of the greater good above our own needs and desires at this critical time. I want to do my part.
“Faith does not mean trusting God to stop the storm, but trusting Him to strengthen us as we walk through the storm.”
I had a sign made for my office that says, “Fear is a liar” to remind me that there is always hope. Satan strips us of hope so he can have us doubt God’s plan for us. The absence of hope is paralyzing. It is darkness. It is a time of deep despair. When we can exercise our faith in a higher power, God, we can overcome that darkness. God is light. He is hope. He is peace. He is perfect. He understands where we are and what we can become. He will teach us things through our trials we would not be able to learn any other way. Trials make many of us humble. Being humble makes us teachable. God is the maker and giver of miracles. He knows all things. He will conquer all in His time. We must have faith to survive the coming days. Do NOT let despair last when it comes – and it likely will touch all of us in some way. It is okay to acknowledge that this is frightening, but don’t drown in it, don’t dwell in the fear. Look to Him and the promise that all will be well.
We don’t always get to control what is happening around us, but we ALWAYS get to control how we respond to our situation. Think on that! Figure out how to keep your light on. How to keep a cheerful disposition. How to lift those around you. We are in this together and together we will get though this!
May love and kindness abound everywhere! And may God bless us all!
|My favorite picture of Christ with arms outstretched.|