Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fresh Courage Take

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I want to share something that happened to me at church a couple of days ago.
I have been really struggling lately. These past couple of weeks have been a really dark time for me and no matter how hard I have tried each day, I have not been able pull myself out of it. I have felt like I have been in despair and I have felt like everything was closing in on me and like there was no hope and no light at the end of this long and dark tunnel. I just have felt like it is all way too hard. The house has suffered, the laundry has gone undone. The only thing I focused any real attention on lately is Aaron Jr. Serving him and finding things to do together has kept me going.

Well, at church on Sunday, I kept hoping to hear some things that would inspire me and help me to be strengthened... our Sacrament Meeting is last and the Stake Patriarch and his wife spoke. They spoke about the talk by Elder Wirthlin "Come What May and Love It" and also about the atonement and the love of our Father in Heaven. They were both very good talks and got my mind going and I was trying to internalize their words so that I knew I could walk out of church feeling stronger and ready to face the world better, but I was still struggling to feel renewed.

Then came the closing song. It was a song that I have heard a thousand times, a song that I have always really loved. The first and last verses have always struck me and have always made me feel something. As I sang the first verse, the words did touch my heart, but it was the second verse that got me really emotional and I felt like I was reading and singing those words today for the first time.

It is a song that I am sure most people have heard loads of times like I have, but the words touched my heart and made me feel something real. These words inspired me to try harder and gave me some much needed strength.
The song is:

Come Come Ye Saints

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear,
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
’Tis better far for us to strive,
Our useless cares from us to drive,
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell—
All is well! all is well!

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
’Tis not so; all is right!
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins, fresh courage take,
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! all is well!

We’ll find the place which God for us prepared
Far away in the West;
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the Saints will be blest.
We’ll make the air with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we’ll tell—
All is well! All is well! 

And should we die before our journey’s through,
Happy day! all is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow too;
With the just we shall dwell.
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain
O how we’ll make this chorus swell—
All is well, all is well!

The second verse pierced my heart. As I sang the words, I got emotional and knew that those words were the answer to the prayer I have been carrying around in my heart. I needed help, I needed something to touch me, to inspire me, to strengthen me... And that is what happened on Sunday through those words.

In the second verse, it says:
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right!
Why should we think to earn a great reward,
if we now shun the fight?

I have been shunning the fight. These past couple of weeks, I have been allowing my pain to take over and it has been paralyzing me, suffocating me. In a sense, I guess I have been giving up. I guess I didn't completely give up, at least I had the desire to pull myself out of it... and at least I was not in bed all day every day. I guess I should give myself a little credit... right? Maybe?
I knew at some point I would snap out of it if I just kept getting out of bed each day, enjoying my time with Aaron Jr, and getting out of the house often. But I have still felt paralyzed and have been feeling panicked about life.

But the phrase "Why should we think to earn a great reward, if we now shun the fight?"
Those words hit me hard. If I just going along surviving and just existing, how can I expect great rewards here or there? Really... how can I expect anything great at all if I shun the fight?

Gird up your loins, fresh courage take,
Our God will never us forsake; 

Fresh Courage Take.
Fresh Courage Take.

I love those words. Fresh Courage Take. Fresh = newly obtained. Since Sunday, I have been feeling a little stronger, a little more courage, a little more hope.

God will never us forsake.
I know that is true. I know He is aware of me and that he is aware of my worries and pains.
He is on my side, which helps to give me courage. It is BECAUSE He is on my side that I try so hard to make sure these discouraging times don't last too long. Why should I fear if God is on my side? Why should any of us fear if God is on our side?

And soon we’ll have this tale to tell—
All is well! all is well!
Soon. Soon. Soon.
Not necessarily NOW, but SOON. I love how it says that SOON we'll have this take to tell... that all is well.
It doesn't say that I have to act as though all is well right now. I don't have to pretend... I just need to be trying.

But with fresh courage and the strength to move forward in the fight, then SOON I will have the tale to tell that All is well!

I have always loved this song, but the second verse hit me harder than it ever has before. I got emotional and then I left that meeting feeling a little more courageous than when I got to church. These past couple of weeks, I have been 'shunning the fight'. I have just been so tired. Not necessarily physically, but just so tired from the emotional difficulties of life. Tired from spending my energy on worrying about my hopes and dreams that have not yet come to pass. Tired from worrying about things that I have no control over.

It is time to stop shunning the fight so that I can expect a great reward.
I feel like I have 'fresh courage'. I know I don't have complete hope yet and I am not as strong as I could be, but that will come in time if I am having the courage to move forward. And if I do this, then I will someday be able to say "All is well!"... hopefully sooner than later.

It is difficult to share things sometimes that show my weaknesses and troubles, but these words hit me so profoundly, I just needed to share them. Maybe??? that song's words will help someone else??

After this experience on Sunday, I am proud to say that the house is somewhat tidy, and my laundry is now completely done. And yes, after these past couple of weeks, this DID take courage. Baby steps. :)

I am so grateful for Jesus Christ. When I am going through times like this, He is my strength when I have none. He is my courage when I feel helpless. He helps to carry my burdens when I cannot possibly bear them any longer. I love Him.

What a blessing this experience was.

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Mandy said...

I love this! Timely in so many ways. I love you, my widow friend! ;)

Adam and Sherry said...

You are an amazing woman. You always give me the strength to move forward. I have commented to you before. When my daughter left this life 8 months ago I thought my life was over. Now her husband is getting married and taking away my three grandsons. I can not even explain the pain that I am feeling. I needed your strength. Thank you for sharing your highs and lows. I too have sung this song many times but never for me. I will from now on. Thank you Leslie!!! Though I have never met you I know that someday we will meet, probably in the next life, and I will be able to personally say Thank you for strengthing me.

Adam and Sherry said...

Sorry Leslie. I don't know how I am coming up under my daughters account. The last comment is not from adam and sherry but The Walkers. However I am sure if my daughter read this she would feel the same way. Thank you again!!!!

Tiffany said...

That phrase has gotten me through a lot. Here's to courage :)

Brittney said...

That was beautiful Leslie. I really needed that. Thank you so much. I am so blessed to have you in my life. Thank you, thank you!

Tracie said...

I needed it, thank you for sharing.....

Tawnie said...

Love you Leslie. Still praying.

Mindy said...

I love that song. I think it means something different to me every time I hear it.

Karen Jensen said...

Dear Leslie, This extremely difficult experience you find yourself in the midst of is going to be your greatest overcoming triumph! You are doing it, right on schedule, and I am so grateful for the songs, books, talks, family, friends and heavenly support you receive daily in your personal fighting, understanding,accepting journey. Even more peace is just around the corner-- as it always arrives just after a particularly low time.

The words in this song helped me accept and see a deeper perspective as well:

Stones in the River
by Doug Walker

Like stones in the river
we are tossed and turned
when the current moves so strong
but stones in living waters over time
are shaped until the edges are gone
polished and smooth, that's what we will be
if we put ourselves in god's hands
each day of our lives is a gift from the giver
to smooth all the edges
like stones in the river

I am sure you already feel smooth and refined enough, but having faith in something we can't see ourselves is the real test. We can prevail if we just keep putting our lives in His hands as you are so courageously doing.

Onward and upward fellow fighter,


Leslie said...

thank you, karen.
thank you.