I struggled as a young girl with severe breathing problems, and then with a life threatening kidney disease. I struggled when my mom learned that she had breast cancer that had metastasized & was into her lymphatic system. I struggled more when she went through chemo and radiation – then, in its relative infancy as treatment – and its devastating affects on her.
I struggled with miscarriages and with children who had devastating illnesses or who, I was pretty sure, might make me lose what was left of my mind with their shenanigans.
I struggled with a lung mass, and that’s a really long story – but the bottom line is that I’m still breathing and that’s wonderful. Then there was the flat lining at the hospital, and a pace maker to be put in or else “I would drop and never get up”… That was interesting and made for a struggle since my chest anatomy is, apparently, unique. It required three tries and a lot more time to get that sucker in. Then there was another heart device surgery. And so on and so forth.
I struggled when I learned I had glaucoma- already at an advanced stage. What??! I didn’t even know what glaucoma was. Yet, I began a path that has, thus far, included six eye surgeries and a daily routine of three medications to try and keep the sight that is still there.
I struggled when we learned my husband has MS. I have a laundry list of why this was hard, but suffice it to say that I would rather it be me than him, any day. I struggled when my oldest- my daughter- was found to have cervical cancer. When we almost lost her second daughter – my granddaughter – to the same kidney disease that almost took me.
The reason for sharing
I could go on and on….with really intensely difficult physical challenges and emotional ones regarding ones I love. You may be thinking, “What’s with all this ‘I struggle’ business?” Why air it here on Meridian?
I share because I have learned that we are greater than our struggles. That we can lean on the Savior and He will help us through them, and count them for our good. For whatever reason, I feel this needs writing because it just might help one soul. If so, it’s worth sharing here.
Struggles are part of life… They’ve strengthened me, humbled me, ‘trained’ me pretty well, better aligned me with the BEST principles and concepts. Here I am. Still.
After so many physical health challenges that ‘should have’ taken me out of here; hard, hurtful times at the hand (mouth) of others; times when I wondered if I could make it; times when I haven’t shone as brightly as I could have. When there just didn’t seem adequate shelter from the storm… but somehow knowing I was being watched over & better days would come. Somewhere along the way, I knew I needed to do all this differently – more simply.
I came to better understand loving myself, repenting daily and letting go of anger toward others.
I chose (that word is the operative one) to move forward with the ‘agenda’ of making a happier life. For myself and those who choose to be influenced by me. Period.
I realized that the harsh, dry ground – with seasons of only a little watering, can produce results that are surprising. Kind of like a flower that springs up through a tiny crack in the concrete or dry, brittle ground.
Elder Russell M. Nelson, during October 2005 General Conference shared such brilliant, loving counsel,
“I recognize that, on occasion, some of our most fervent prayers may seem to go unanswered. We wonder, ‘Why?’ I know that feeling! I know the fears and tears of such moments. But I also know that our prayers are never ignored. Our faith is never unappreciated. I know that an all-wise Heavenly Father’s perspective is much broader than is ours. While we know of our mortal problems and pain, He knows of our immortal progress and potential. If we pray to know His will and submit ourselves to it with patience and courage, heavenly healing can take place in His own way and time.”
We can choose to dig in and wait more patiently. We find that answers to prayers may come quickly or after many years. They may come just as we asked, or in a completely- and astonishingly- different way than we expected. I love that we are counseled to have courage. President Howard W. Hunter said that courage is acting in spite of fear.
Who among us doesn’t, at some point, have fears? Concerns? Worries? Struggles?
Yet if we keep acting on what we know to be right, and hanging in there with baby steps forward… or maybe, sometimes, needing to sit perfectly still for a moment or two, we learn lots of wonderful things. About ourselves, our God, our purpose, our loved ones, the larger picture. We may gain perspective. We may find the sweetness of life comes along with the struggles and the pain. And it brings us closer to our Savior, who knows every single feeling we experience.
The Greater the Trust, the Better the Healing
Job said it beautifully. I hope to be as faithful as he. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” (Job 13:15)
So – as long as we are here in mortality, we may continue to have a struggle or two. Perhaps the formula is so simple that we can’t see the forest for the trees: Trust Him! Rely on Him! Be firm and resolute in righteous principles, whether life is handing out sweet simplicity or rugged reproof. The struggle is over when we let it all go, and lean in on Jesus Christ. He loves us and can tend us as much as we will allow.
Life goes on. Hope may genuinely spring eternal. Maybe- just maybe- a joyful, stellar flower is only a quarter inch from bursting out of that hard ground! Perhaps the ailment won’t go away or the difficulty won’t completely disappear, but the ability to deal with the duress will grow. The healing may be in us – in our minds and hearts. We may or may not feel the problem lifted. We may or may not see things settle as we desire. But we will feel and see things more clearly. And the struggles will dissipate.
Vickey is a wife, mom, grandmother, author, and songwriter. Her undergraduate study was musical theater. She has a Masters degree in communications & has taught CES programs for more than 25 years.
A Billboard award winning songwriter, her favorite use of music is as a tool to teach. In addition to three solo albums in the LDS market, she co-wrote Women at the Well with Kenneth Cope and My Beloved Christ with Randy Kartchner. Her websitewww.goodnessmatters.com is her way of continuing to grow goodness in the world, & point people gently toward Christ.
She & her husband Dean have eight children & eight grandchildren. She serves as Gospel Doctrine teacher in her ward, and Dean serves in their ward bishopric. Vickey, from Virginia, believes the adage ‘You can take the girl out of the South, but not the South out of the girl.” She loves flowers, brownies, the ocean, and laughing every chance she gets. Oh…and the Hallmark Channel