Monday, September 8, 2014

Hard Things All Around Us

Every time I open the newspaper, watch or listen to the nightly news, or even glance at FaceTime 
I am bombarded with tragedies, heart wrenching stories 
and heroic acts of kindness during difficult times.
I am constantly amazed at the strength and resilience of so many people
 as they face disasters in their lives.
Maybe I'm more aware but it seems to me that these hard things seem to be happening more often.
Some people close to me have experienced some life changing events that I'm sure they would of never chosen, but they have truly risen to face and hopefully overcome these times in their lives.
I have a dear close cousin who found out that her husband and father of their nine children had a pornography and gambling addiction that was destroying their relationship together.
After spending many years trying to find answers to his unfaithfulness has divorced him
and gracefully moved on with her life.
She mentions that confiding in her Heavenly Father 
and letting the Savior heal her has been her lifeline.
She is happy, confident, beautiful and faithful as she is moving on as a single woman.
As she always has, she inspires me in her trials instead of me helping her.

My oldest niece has just recently been diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  
She went in for a routine mammogram and they found spots in her lymph nodes
 and after a biopsy was told they were malignant.
She started Chemo last week and is scheduled for 8 rounds of it.
They are being very aggressive in their treatment.  I know the side effects will be difficult,
but she is optimistic and upbeat about this unexpected bump in her life.  
She and her family are truly trusting in the Savior for strength to overcome this hurdle.
Just last week another cousin of mine just minutes after speaking to his wife 
found her dead on floor of their bathroom.
She was very close to my age.  She hadn't felt good the night before but there was no indication of anything seriously wrong with her.
I had prayed for my cousin all week to be comforted in his loss.
My sister, brother and I went to Egan Bench, Idaho to attend her funeral. 
(What a wonderful experience that was to spend time with them for a couple of days.  Of course I didn't take any pictures of the three of us which makes me sad but we had a marvelous time together.) 
My cousin was the strength of the funeral, he was the one that was comforting others.
He never wavered and mentioned to me after the funeral
that even as he found her he was perfectly calm and comforted.
His testimony of the Savior is profound.
They have six married children who were all able to gather together after their mother's passing.
Two days after she was gone they all attended the temple to show their gratitude to the Lord 
for blessing their lives with such a wonderful mom and wife.
The oldest two children spoke at the funeral sharing wonderful memories of their mom and most importantly they both bore incredible testimonies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I came away from this funeral a much better and inspired person.
I knew they had never had much money or worldly possessions, 
but I was astounded as we drove by their home as we were leaving.  
Their home was small, very small, especially for a family of eight.  
In the walls of that tiny home they raised an incredibly righteous family.  
They know what is most important. Their priorities are where they should be. 
What a wonderful example to all of us. 

As I ponder on these events of the past few weeks 
I am amazed at the strength of these dear family members.  
I will continue to pray for all of them, but I realize that I need to pray for me to be like them. 

At times like this I'm always drawn to the scripture in D&C 84:88
. . . I will go before your face, I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

I have felt those angels before, they are there waiting to help us 
if we will just open our hearts to the Lord.

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