May 17, 2009

Why Me?

I received these flowers this week from a close friend. They meant a lot to me after suffering from a personal tragedy. They helped me to realize that I was loved and cared about and the note included told me of Heavenly Father's love and concern for me as well. The circumstance I found myself in caused me to reflect on many things--the power of the atonement, the Savior's love for me, my own personal testimony, and the feelings associated with heartbreak.

My first reaction was, why me? I felt the trial was being forced upon me and I had no choice. I was devastated and didn't understand how the world could go on and the lives of those around me seemed unchanged. Didn't they realize what had happened? Couldn't they see how much I was hurting?

After a full day and night of tears, I felt empty--I didn't know how I could go on. Through much personal reflection, I realized I was more than hurt. I was angry. Following sincere prayer, imploring the Lord to take away the anger, I began to feel a small measure of peace. Although still on the edge of tears the next day, I stayed close to the Lord and focused on being positive and started to feel a little better.

When difficulties arise, it is normal to go through many stages of emotion. In the field of psychology these have been titled, "The Stages of Grief." They are often divided into five stages:

1. Denial -- this stage is a temporary defense to protect you from hurting.

2. Anger-- this stage begins when you realize denial can't continue. Because of anger, you may be difficult to talk to or reason with. It is not uncommon to wonder how life can go on around you as if nothing happened.

3. Bargaining-- this stage includes desperately trying to delay or change the circumstance by imploring to a higher power.

4. Depression-- this stage sets in when you realize the circumstances cannot be changed. Because of this you may become silent, want to be alone, and spend time crying and grieving. This is an important stage of grief that must be processed.

5. Acceptance-- this stage is accompanied by peace and understanding and a desire to make the best of a difficult situation.

These stages apply to anyone suffering from many types of personal loss. All of the steps are not necessarily experienced, nor do they always come in the order listed. It is common to switch back and forth between the steps--returning to one or more of them before working through it. People experiencing grief should not force the process. Grief is highly personal and you should allow yourself the time to feel and then healing will ultimately follow as the stage of "acceptance" is reached.

Everything we experience in this life is for our learning and growth. When tragedy comes our way, we need to ask the question, what would the Lord have me learn?

This life is meant to be a time of careful preparation. We should welcome trials and challenges that humble us and turn our hearts to the Savior. Sustain hope through tragedy and stand firm in difficult times. The things we learn through our trials will help build a foundation of faith that will benefit us in perilous times ahead. Remember the source of power is God, and turn to him.

I feel like I'm at a point in life where a strong wind will blow me over. My initial reaction of "why me," did nothing but make me wallow in my suffering. By changing that question to, "what does the Lord want me to learn" and staying positive, my perspective has been altered. I can see the benefits of the trial I've been forced to bear and I'm determined that at the end of the day, I'll still be standing.
For more ideas on dealing with grief in your own life, view the following articles from

May 13, 2009

Launch Party - Agent in Old Lace

My amazing critique buddy, Tristi Pinkston, has a new book coming out. Please come celebrate with us at her launch party!

Date: Saturday, May 16th

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Place: Provident Book - 661 West State Street, Pleasant Grove

There will be refreshments, prizes, and lots of sales. Bring a friend!

If you're not able to come, and would still like to purchase a copy of the book, you can do so here.

May 5, 2009

The Journey of Motherhood

While sitting at the cemetery a few days ago, I saw a scene that touched me deeply. A young couple sat alone, next to an open grave by a tiny casket which was covered with a delicate spray of flowers. From their reaction, it was evident the couple was grieving. The young father sweetly comforted his wife as her body shook with tears. They sat that way for a long while, then stood and shared an embrace. The man lifted his hand to the woman’s face and wiped away her tears. They clasped hands, then turned and walked to a car parked nearby. He opened her car door and she turned around, taking one last glance over her shoulder at the small casket.

As an outsider looking in, I don’t know their story—if they were husband and wife, if the casket held their newborn baby, or if it was something entirely different. But my heartstrings were pulled. I pictured myself in that situation and imagined how I would feel. Thoughts of the young couple stayed with me through the next couple days. I even drove back by the cemetery and saw the spray of flowers on top of the freshly cut earth, and I felt a deep sense of gratitude for the gospel and the understanding it gives us of life and death. It also caused me to reflect on the privilege it is to be a mother.

Nothing in my life has caused more intense feelings than motherhood. I’ve felt more joy, more sorrow, more laughter, and more tears during my time as a mother than in any other endeavor throughout my life. I laugh when my children laugh, and cry when they cry. I think sometimes I feel their emotions even more intensely than they do. I learn from them each day, and although it is easy to get overwhelmed, it is so important to find joy in the journey.

Motherhood is not easy; it’s an immense responsibility. I remember the awe-inspiring feeling of love I felt when my first baby was born and lay in my arms. As I looked down into her sweet face, I felt an overwhelming sense of responsibility wash over me. It was hard to fathom that this baby had just come from Heaven. She left a Heavenly Father who had high expectations for her, and unbelievably, even more love for her than I felt at that moment. Her presence in my life that day and every day since has made me realize my own potential. It is a privilege to be entrusted with this child. Heavenly Father knew I could love her, teach her, and help her learn and grow so she could return to live with him someday.

Keep in mind there is no perfect way to be a mother. I think we all look around us and see amazing traits in others and wish we were more like them. We usually do this in areas where we're personally lacking. Anytime you compare one of your own weaknesses with someone else’s strength, you are sure to come up short. Don’t do it! Don’t try to mother the perfect way, just do it your way. As mothers, we have to be task-oriented or nothing ever gets done, but it’s okay to lighten up occasionally and take the time to listen, laugh, and play. Never forget that life is meant to be enjoyed. One of my favorite quotes is by the author, Anna Quindlen. She says, “Treasure the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.”

While motherhood is overwhelming, remember that a caring Father in Heaven loves your children too. He entrusted them to your care because he knew you could do it. He will not leave you alone. If you ask, you will receive inspiration, your burdens will be lighter and you will be able to find joy. So, on this overwhelming journey we call motherhood, don’t forget to include Him in your travels.
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