My heart ached. I had cried so much in the last week that tears would no longer come. The grief inside so prevalent and raw. The fact that the tears would not come anymore was so frustrating to me. I was angry at my body for not cooperating in showing my grief. It felt as if my body was not in alignment with what I felt on the inside.
I was 15 years old. My younger brother, Sam, had passed away. He had such a profound influence on my life, helping me to appreciate the simple joys that are all around us. I still miss him and I am deeply grateful for the life lessons that he taught me in his short time on earth. When he died, I made a choice to continue my daily scripture study that I had developed a few years earlier. Through the study of the scriptures, I found an immense peace that comforted me in the midst of my pain. I felt God’s love for me, I felt Him guiding me. I came to truly understand how families can be together forever. I found comfort and strength from Alma’s example in Alma 36:27 who said, “I have been supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions; yea, God has delivered me from prison, and from bonds, and from death; yea, and I do put my trust in him, and he will still deliver me.”
God was with me, comforting me and strengthening me. He continued to do so as one trial after another seemed to rain down on me for a time. I came to see that my trials were refining me and leading me onto the path that I am now on.
Years after Sam’s death, during the beginning years of my marriage, I experienced another form of grief. It was a trial where it was difficult to see God’s hand in my life. After a couple of years of trying to get pregnant, I was overjoyed to find out I was pregnant. However, a couple months later, the baby’s heart was no longer beating. My husband and I were devastated. The child that we already loved, would not be with us.
It was harder this time to see God in my life. However, I made a decision to keep believing in God and to keep seeking him, even though it was hard for me to see him through my pain and even though at times I was angry to be going through such a trial. It wasn’t until some time had passed, that I began to see how God had carried me through the darkest of these moments. He had placed certain people in my life to strengthen me in the exact moments that I needed them. He had shown me tender mercies and helped me to see glimpses of his light, hope and truth. Though my life seemed dark and I was feeling immense pain, God was there. His light penetrated through the darkness, sparking hope within me and carrying me in my deepest moments of grief. Though I did not always recognize Him or see Him with me, looking back I can see with great clarity that He was there all along.
A year or two ago, I heard a story about a young girl who passed away from cancer. As her parents were going through her things, they came across the phrase “The moon is round,” in her journal. Puzzled her parents kept searching their daughter’s journals until they came across where their daughter explained the phrase. She explained how the moon is still the same shape no matter what we see. The same is true with God. He is still there whether or not we see Him.
In the darker moments of my life, the Lord carried me. He was there. In the first chapter of the Book of Mormon, Nephi tells his purpose in writing the record stating, “I, Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen…” Nephi was someone who experienced hardship including leaving behind all he knew, experiencing abuse from his older brothers, extreme contention within his family, the death of his parents, and being asked to do some things that were extremely hard and incredible. Yet he says, “having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.”
Nephi knew the Lord was with him even in the dark moments of his life. He continued to seek the Lord and the Lord supported Nephi through each trial he faced. We too are promised in Matthew 7:7 that if we seek the Lord, we will find Him.
Life is hard. The truth is, it was meant to be. Yet, I know from experience, that it can be beautiful and that even in the dark times we can find strength and light from God. Even in those moments when it is hard to see, God is still there, watching over us, guiding us, and loving us.
Karen has grown from being a shy child who wouldn’t say a word to stepping outside her comfort zone each day to inspire others to see what they are capable of as they put their faith and trust in God. She loves the simple joys that life brings and has learned that they are ways that God shows his love for his children. You can find her free “Recognizing God’s Love” gratitude course on her blog.
Karen has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University Idaho and is a certified life coach where she is devoted to helping families realize their divine worth and potential. She has been passionately studying personal development since she was 15 and loves to share the things that she has learned. On Instagram each week she shares affirmation videos for recognizing your worth and potential as well as tips for deepening your connection with self, family, and God.
She and her husband, Jordan, are enjoying their life together with their 3 girls who give Karen much of her inspiration. She recently wrote the book, “Raising Super C Kids” where she shares the things that have helped her to teach her kids confidence, courage, compassion, and connection. Karen currentlay calls California, USA home.