Thank you George Michael.
When we lost Grace last summer, I remember Jason asking me if I was okay. He wasn't asking if I was physically or emotionally okay, but he was inquiring about my spirituality and my faith. He was worried about me. He was concerned that I was shaken and my beliefs were now compromised.
I have lost faith in many things. My body, myself, medical procedures, but I never have really lost my faith in the Lord and that He has a plan for me, for us and our eternal family.
He has one.
I know it, but I just don't know exactly what it is.
In the book I am reading, The Survivors Club, they talk about how people who have religion in their life, people of faith, ACTUALLY LIVE LONGER.
According to a study at the University of Texas (Austin), "people who go to church regularly live around 7 years longer than people who don't."
80% of the world's population is involved in organized religion. And it is believed that "religious attendance produces psychological, social and behavioral consequences that help you live longer."
"People with committed religious beliefs tend to have a stronger support systems and more solid relationships; they are more likely to follow teachings that reinforce a healthier lifestyle."
But when it comes to surviving different situations in life, does religious beliefs help?
"Faith gives you hope that no matter what you are going through, something good can come of it. It also gives you a sense of meaning and purpose that can help you overcome incredible adversity. When you believe that God loves you, that He has a plan for your life, that He will never leave you alone and that He will give you strength to handle your hardships. Faith and religion empower you with the kind of strength that nothing else can give."
MY POINT EXACTLY.
One thing I have struggled with as I have gone through my own trials and watched other suffer the similar, is HOW DO YOU LOSE YOUR FAITH? WHY WOULD YOU NOT BELIEVE? HOW COULD IT SHAKE YOU SO MUCH, THAT YOU WOULD QUESTION HIS PLAN (OR LOVE) FOR YOU?
Trials are hard. They hurt. They make you question everything around you. But letting go of your faith won't make them go away. It won't make them easier. It won't solve them or give you the happy ending you want. Something will always be missing.
Heavenly Father isn't testing you because He thinks it's fun or that you deserve it.
It took me a long time to really understand that.
I am not being tested because of things I am doing, did or haven't done.
I am not suffering because I don't pray enough, serve enough or sacrifice enough.
I am not suffering because I didn't serve a mission or go to BYU (yes, I have thought this).
I am not suffering because I broke the sabbath (it happens), missed a tithing date or didn't bear my testimony last month.
That is not how Heavenly Father works.
I understand the struggle and the hurt. I also understand that sometimes we need a "break" the religious monotony to clear our heads and regain peace. Sometimes this takes time, after all, we are only human.
But by not believing, the trials, the agony, the suffering don't get any easier. In fact, they are more confusing, consuming and down right heavy.
The world is dark.
And you don't know what to do, where to go or how to feel.
Your relationships, marriage, job, physical condition and emotional state suffer as well.
My Heavenly Father has surely tested me, but He has also never left my side. And I fully believe that in the life before this one, I signed up for these tests, because it is what the Lord needed me to do. He needed me to be strong enough to give my sweet spirits their bodies so that they could return to Him and do His work. He needed me to walk tall and be a constant example of hope and faith. He needed me to start this blog to share the gospel, reach out to other people and support them through their own trials.
He needs me to continue. To push forward. To accept, without understanding my own trials.
And He needs me to help others understand, that they too, can survive.