Pictures and Thoughts on Suffering

So lately I have been taking pictures of our every day life (which isn’t terribly exciting to anyone else, I know) but lack the sufficient time to post anything on our blog these days.

Yesterday I took some pictures of our sweet baby Clara, my little moonbeam. She is about seven weeks and is getting really good at giving me really big smiles. I love it. I’d also love a clean house these days, but I’d much rather hold this little babe and revel in her sweetness and innocence. I know I won’t always have both.

But, do you blame me for choosing her over dishes or laundry?

I mean, how could I possibly walk away from this?

Also, these days I’ve been trying to remember to listen to the latest General Conference while I do whatever I’m doing. When I listen, my day runs a little smoother and my mothering skillz are much better (read: I have more patience with my children). From the most recent session, I love the talk entitled, “The Atonement Covers All Pain” by Elder Richards.

In particular, the story he relates of the 13 year-old girl just having gone through surgery and how she saw family members who had passed on makes me cry every time I hear it. He relates:

Thirteen-year-old Sherrie underwent a 14-hour operation for a tumor on her spinal cord. As she regained consciousness in the intensive care unit, she said: “Daddy, Aunt Cheryl is here, … and … Grandpa Norman … and Grandma Brown … are here. And Daddy, who is that standing beside you? … He looks like you, only taller. … He says he’s your brother, Jimmy.” Her uncle Jimmy had died at age 13 of cystic fibrosis. For nearly an hour, Sherrie … described her visitors, all deceased family members. Exhausted, she then fell asleep. Later she told her father, “Daddy, all of the children here in the intensive care unit have angels helping them.”

It makes me think of Clara’s days in the NICU. When she was in the NICU, another baby came in that had just been born 15 weeks early and only weighed 15 oz. The NICU has a special feeling. I believe it is partly from all the new little spirits that are starting their lives here on earth and struggling with their bodies they’ve been given. But I also know that there are angels, and other loved ones there with the babies.

It also makes me think of my Mom and her recent battle with cancer—of which she’s now in REMISSION! Whoo-hoo (fist pump)! I will never know the depth of her suffering, physical and spiritual. But I know that she really learned to lean on the Lord through it. That is why he suffered for all of us. Elder Richards said,

“Opposition is part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness. We all encounter enough to bring us to an awareness of our Father’s love and of our need for the Savior’s help.”

But, we don’t have to go through major surgery to suffer or experience pain, there are varying degrees. Every day I am acutely aware of my shortcomings. I know I can do better and be better. Each night my goal is to try and be better tomorrow than I was today. Some days I make decent progress in achieving that goal, and other days I take a million steps back. This thought of Elder Richards’ is particularly for me:

“Perhaps His most significant work is in the ongoing labor with each of us individually to lift, to bless, to strengthen, to sustain, to guide, and to forgive us.”

Oh, I am so grateful for Him.

So, give the talk a listen. It’s a good one.

  1. Heath

    This brought me to tears. I love you and I love the mother, wife, woman, sister, friend you have become and are continuing to become. Let’s do a conference talk discussion!!!

  2. Kalli

    Now I especially want to be your friend, what a great post. Clara is the picture of perfection. I love the Lonesome Dove series (hello farm girl upbringing) and Clara is one of the characters I most admire in that book. Moving on.

    I have had the most difficult time connecting with myself spiritually lately. Elder Richard’s talk was one I did manage to catch over conference and want to re-read or listen too. Lately I’ve been downloading conference sessions onto my iphone and listening to them when I take my boys for walks. My only beef with the podcast is that I can’t FF.

  3. Stephanie

    She’s beautiful!


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