We’ve covered a lot of ground this first week for 31 Days of Spina Bifida Awareness. Next week I will begin talking about hearing the diagnosis and getting through pregnancy. For today I just want to share some hope for those who are struggling. You may not be facing Spina Bifida but I am almost certain you are facing something.
As I have come face to face with the life-changing circumstances Mason brought I have had days and weeks feeling overwhelmed. I have been sad, frustrated, angry, hurt, terrified, and helpless. I can’t even say I’m beyond all that. There are still moments that catch me by surprise. Would you care to hear a few?
- Moments when I see a baby wiggling it’s toes, kicking tiny feet, or taking tentative steps and I grieve that Mason is paralyzed.
- I look at my six older children and worry about how Mason’s daily care and medical appointments and interruptions are affecting their homeschool education.
- Anger when I hear insensitive comments from others about disabilities, special needs, or the worth of children who are deemed ‘less than perfectly normal’.
- Helpless wonderings – will he be made fun of or excluded from activities because he can’t walk, run, or stand?
- Overwhelmed by the thought of lifelong medical needs.
- Anger that money and insurance bureaucracy is often the driving force behind the medical care offered to my son instead of what is best for him.
As I have struggled through these emotions the atonement has become very real in my life. I used to think the main focus of the Savior’s atonement was sin and repentance. I was grateful for that power in my life because heaven knows I sin on a daily basis. Looking back I can see how limited my view was. It is not just for washing away sin.
The atonement of Jesus Christ reaches us in our hurts, our disappointments, our heartaches, and our anger.
Jesus Christ did not just take our sins upon him. He took our pains, afflictions, temptations, and grief. He is the one who truly understands how we feel. I love these scriptures in the Book of Mormon:
“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.” (Alma 7:11-12)
There are so many times when life seems to be harder than I can handle. I am lost and hurting and crying out for relief to make it through one more day or even one more hour. In those moments I can hold on to my misery or I can give it to my Savior, who said:
For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
If you have been through this surrendering process you know that sometimes laying our burdens down is not a one-time event. I have laid down my burden, felt the peace of the atonement, and then foolishly picked up that burden again. I forget that I don’t have to carry those feelings any more, that I don’t have to walk that path alone. Through the atonement Jesus has already felt those feelings and carried those burdens for me. I just have to trust enough to lay them down.
Whatever circumstances you are struggling with I know that the atonement of Jesus Christ can help ease your burden. You can find peace in the midst of affliction. Just give those problems and emotions to the Savior. Lay that burden down and then lay it down again and again. His yoke is easy.