Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Never. Alone.

Most days I am just muddling through. Doing my best to be and do all of the things that are expected of me. Some days are full of light. Many are stormy and ominous. And every now and then a day comes along when the sun forces its way through the clouds, reminding me that it is always there. Even when I can't see it. The quiet moments of inspiration that touch my heart and make me realize that it all matters. All of it. And that maybe I am not as alone and lost as I sometimes {most of the time} feel. Those are the best days.

I had the opportunity to attend a youth conference with the 14 to 18 year old guys and girls from church back at the beginning of June. The timing (the weekend before my daughter's wedding) was both insanely unfortunate and blessedly perfect. I thought for sure that I would need those days to take care of various last minute wedding details. But really what I needed was a little time away to heal. And that is exactly what I got. I had the chance to spend some time with the young men and women I adore, be surrounded by beautiful scenery I had never seen before, and receive (another) reminder that I am loved and remembered. (I also got to zip-line AND take a nap. Win.Win.Win.)

I arrived at youth conference a broken person. I am not proud of it. My life is not so hard and I hate nothing more than to feel sorry for myself. It's exhausting and it's pointless. However, somewhere along the way, I latched onto this notion that once I got through a specific set of challenges, things would be smooth sailing after that. Like a prison sentence, I figured that once I did my time, that was it. I would be free of struggles from then on. Or at least struggles of that caliber. I am not sure how I arrived at this theory. Probability formulas? Wishful thinking? I don't know.

Somehow I thought I was racking up persistence points at an early point in my life that I could use later, like a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. "Oh, yeah, you see...I've actually already been through a really crappy, hard time. Sorry. Can I get in that other line over there now? Yeah, the Life of Ease and Luxury line. That's where I'm supposed to be. Thanks." It is a deluded line of thinking, I'll admit, but there is a certain logic to it. Isn't there?

At any rate, for one of the only times in my life, and for no real reason, I had arrived at a place of no hope. The realization that there was nothing to prevent me from getting knocked down by storm, after storm, after raging storm. No matter how many times I successfully got through my challenges, there would just be more. Bigger. Worse. More. And I just did not feel up to it.

There were many moments during the three days of the conference that I felt the reassurance and confidence of someone greater than I, but a deciding moment came during a low-ropes challenge course Saturday morning. Those of us in my group were instructed to put on a blindfold and to sit quietly until one of the staff came to retrieve us individually. They were to lead us to a series of ropes and we had to find our way to the end with nothing to guide us except our grip on the rope. It is called a Faith Walk, and it is not the first time that I have participated in one. (Mormons love these things, ya know.)

But this time was different. This time, the Lord used a moment when I was blind and (miraculously) silent to not just teach me a lesson about reliance on Him, but to bring immeasurable comfort to my broken spirit.

The second I put the blindfold on, I felt a calm come over me. And almost immediately, the words to a song I had completely forgotten about that I had written years before when I was in a terribly dark time in my life came to my mind:

Lord if you can see every star that's in the sky
Every little fish that swims and every bird that flies
Well, I know then that you can see that I am not alright
And I need you, oh, I need you tonight

Dear Father, you created all the lands and the seas
You molded every mountain and you planted every tree
And I know that you can look down to me here as I weep
Oh please pick me up and hold me; rock me to sleep

Lord, I need you now more than ever before
How my soul is aching. I can't take it anymore
You command the winds. And Father, you control the rain
I know you can do something to help me through this pain.

Lord, I feel you now as though you were standing there
I hear you whisper to me, "Burden me with all your cares.
And I promise then that you will feel that all your fears are known
Oh please take my hand, dear child, and you will never walk alone."

I can't begin to tell you how much I needed this reminder. Not just that He was there and that He knew me, but that I had been through extremely difficult times before. That, with His help, I had somehow come through alive. And I would again. (And probably again after that.)

And that never. Not now. And not then. Never did I have to go through it alone.


  1. This is so sweet and tender and real. I am sorry that you have had such a hard time, but what a tender mercy for you. Love you so much.

  2. I wish we all how much individually the Lord loves and we never, never have to go it alone. Even parents need something greater than themselves to hang onto.