During a recent conversation with one of my children, I recalled a vivid memory from 25 years ago. As I recall this memory, it feels as if I am watching myself in slow motion. I am in church, sitting quietly with my children. I can still see the pew where we usually sat. I see myself, looking over at my children, and my heart is breaking. Tears are streaming down my cheeks. We sing hymns, we pray, we partake of the sacrament, and we worship. We listen as the gospel is taught, as scriptures are read, and testimonies are shared.
As I watched over my three young children that day, I also felt the discomfort of my pregnancy, as I was expecting my fourth child. The gravity of my situation was overwhelming. It was the first church meeting we attended after the stormy events of the preceding several days, which resulted in a traumatic separation between me and my husband.
I take a step back in my mind, and the tears flowed freely as I remembered that just a few weeks earlier, we had been sitting on that same pew, parents of three young children, eagerly expecting our fourth child.
As I recall that vivid memory, I can see myself sitting alone with my children, listening to messages of hope, but not feeling much hope, listening to declarations of truth, and wondering where the truth is, questioning what it all meant for me, and what it meant for my little family.
With my heart broken open, I looked over at my young children on that painful day, and wondered, “How am I going to do this? How can I go on?” I had no idea of the path that was before me. I did not know that I would weep for the entire three hours of church meetings for six weeks. I did not know that, miraculously, on the seventh week, though the tears still flowed freely, I would finally experience a few moments of relief. I did not know that the feeling of comfort and peace would come from my Savior. I did not know that with each subsequent week, the Savior would be there beside me with arms outstretched, helping me to endure.
During those many weeks, while attending church was one of the most difficult things I have done in my life, it was the very love of the Savior that brought peace to my heart, and comfort to my soul. Though my spiritual wounds were many, and came from the deepest recesses of my soul, I learned to hide myself in the arms of my Savior.
And now, as I recall that memory of looking over at my children, I remember the distinct impression which I believe was from my Savior, encouraging me to hang on. To hold on to my children. To love them. To teach them. To cherish them. And to be with them.