I just got back late last night from a spectacular Time Out for Women in Verybigtown. Joss and I headed over on Thursday, and stayed with one of Paul's sisters. She attended with us, and we had a great time staying up late talking about everything and nothing.
This year's theme is "Sweet Assurance", and the speakers covered everything from depression to children, to testimony, loneliness, temporary loss of faith in a loving heavenly father, and the sweet victory that can come as we persevere in righteous endevours and continue to pray. The musical presenters were Jenny Oaks Baker, a violinist and the daughter of Dallan H. Oaks who is one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ on the earth; the other musician was Hillary Weeks, an extremely talented singer/songwrite.
One speaker in particular touched my heart as she related the story of her young son's diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, and the first time she had to test his blood and give him his insulin. She said that her son pinched her cheeks so hard and told her that if she could hurt him, he could hurt her.He ran to his room screaming that he hated her as he slammed his door. She crumpled to the floor of her kitchen sobbing; it took her over a year to "come back" to her Heavenly Father, not that she apostatized or anything, she was just so full of anger and sorrow that she went into an emotional shutdown. When her hubby asked her when she was coming back, her answer was that she might never.
I sat there listening, and all the emotions that I felt after our children were diagnosed with their illness rolled back over me. The tears wouldn't stop, and soon the snots were becoming a problem. All the anger, fear, grief, lost dreams, despair, and other emotions with their variations overwhelmed me. I remember wanting to "curse God and die" as Job's friends urged him to. I remember trying to envision a future that would not look like the one we had dreamed of, wondering how the kids would ever function independantly, would the boys no longer be able to serve missions? How would they ever be able to have families? Were grandchildren no longer a possibility? Trying to achieve a level of stability with the right combination of medication that would not gork the personality of each child into oblivion became an ongoing nightmare. Weeks of not allowing ourselves to sleep deeply. For months someone was awake all night. It got to be a normality for either Paul or I to stay awake. I remember how surprised I was that other families slept at night.
Then this sweet woman described the miracle that occurred that brought her back to life emotionally and spiritually. And again I remembered the sensation of literally waking up to the sun again, and being able to smile and laugh again. I still don't know what the future holds for us, but there are things that I do know. I know that my children will only struggle with their illness in this life, that one day they will be free. I know that Heavenly Father is very aware of their pain, and that he cries with them. I know that He gives them new strength every day to fight on. Most of all, I know how much he must love them and each of us, because I know how much I love them and an eternal, perfect, heavenly Parent loves them much much more than I am able to. These are things I know, and it gives me the sweet assurance to go on, and that all will be well. Eventually.