Editor's note: This post by Amos Sharp-Nelson originally appeared on her blog, My Journey Back to God's Love. It has been shared here with the author's permission.
There is a sliver of light that resides between the depths of sadness we feel at times and an ultimate indifference to life when things grow difficult and dark. Sometimes it's hard to believe that this light is there, as it can become clouded and faded over time. I can't promise you that you will trust in this light's presence, but what I can promise you is that if you search for it, you will find it.
That glimmer of light is a gift from our Heavenly Father, a way for us to wade through all that binds our growth and suffocates our spirit during those trials each and every one of us has been promised. That particle of light, the one we oftentimes forget is there when life lacks buoyancy, is the strengthening gift of hope.
I'd like to share with you how I discovered, and ultimately clung to, that sliver of light when my world unexpectedly became blanketed in darkness.
Recently, in mapping out the next chapter of my life, I never thought I would be taken down a road leading to such a heavy, heart-wrenching loss — a loss I never envisioned as part of my story, or better yet, our story.
At 34 years old, my dreams had finally become my reality when I met the man I had always hoped for and we were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. Life as a single mother from that point forward would be a distant memory. When that transition in life happened, it was yet another reminder that Heavenly Father was very much aware of the desires of my heart. Because of this, my faith grew exponentially.
Trusting in faith hasn't always been my strong suit. During the 15 years I spent away from the gospel, faith became a burden — something that required vulnerability and humility. Faith meant relying on something, someone, other than myself. I didn't want to believe that my weaknesses served a greater purpose or that my potential was stunted due to my own stubbornness and pride. I wanted full control of my own life, and having faith meant I needed God's help. I didn't want to believe that.
Thankfully the tides of my life and mindset changed over time as I began to recognize the importance of having a foundation of faith and an unfaltering testimony. I accepted the fact that I didn't want to go through this life without his love and guidance. I drew closer to him over time, and slowly but surely, all of the pieces of my life started falling into place. Faith was the answer.
For the last few years since returning to the gospel, I have lived on what I like to call a "daily spiritual high." My testimony has continued to strengthen, as well as my desire to seek consistent spiritual growth. I can recall multiple occasions having difficult discussions concerning the gospel with nonmembers or other members who had fallen away. Those types of conversations often stir up uneasy feelings, feelings that could possibly distract one's testimony if his or her faith isn't fully anchored in personal belief. I am grateful that my trust and confidence in our Savior never faltered during those testing experiences. Once again, faith was the answer.
Unfortunately, tests of faith sometimes come packaged in grievous heartache and loss. Shortly after getting married, my husband and I experienced the loss of two much anticipated pregnancies. This type of sorrow was a new emotion for me, one I wasn't prepared for. Of course, I was no stranger to witnessing others experience it, but never could I have imagined the depth of sadness you are introduced to when you feel this loss firsthand. My heart broke all over again for those I know and love who had gone through this, as I now understood exactly what it meant in so many different ways.
For the first time since returning to the gospel, I felt my heart grow hardened and calloused. Nothing felt "fair" anymore, as I questioned why I had to feel this type of physical and emotional pain not once but twice. Nothing made sense anymore, which was a very dark place to find myself in once again. It was during this time that the silver of light I speak of became dim and forgotten. All hope felt lost.
When my heart finally softened after the second loss, I remember humbling myself through endless tears, praying for God's much-needed comfort and forgiveness. This test of faith was not meant to harden my heart or to push me away from his love. This test of faith was given as a way to strengthen my testimony and marriage through binding our love together and overcoming an obstacle we didn't expect. I remember the very moment during that prayer that the burden of sadness was literally lifted off my shoulders. An understanding came upon me that, I didn't need to understand why. It was in that moment that I was able to let go and trust that everything was going to be OK.
Loss is never easy, no matter what package it arrives in. In going through this trial, I have met with and talked to so many other women who have felt this same heartbreak. A lot of them have suffered in silence, never sharing their grief or pain with anyone other than their spouse. Knowing firsthand how difficult this trial is emotionally, physically and also spiritually, I want to remind you all that you are not alone. It's OK if your testimony or faith was tried as you learned how to wake up the next day believing that things would get better. It's OK if during that time of healing, fear took over because the future became unpredictable and not what you were planning or expecting. It's OK if you felt like no one understood or understands the depth of your sorrow because know this: He understands.
If there is one thing I have learned through this experience, it is that I am loved — as we all are. We are given a choice when life becomes turbulent and full of opposition. We can choose to bury our faith and belief underneath the heavy rubble of sadness. Or, we can choose to trust in our faith, allowing it to carry us through those times.
We are never alone, ever. Especially when things are difficult. Remember that.
"But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words" (Alma 32:27).
Amos Sharp-Nelson is a Utah native who loves to share her passion for fly-fishing and the mountains. She's an advocate for nature therapy and the beneficial role being outdoors plays in mental health and happiness. She is pursuing a degree is psychology and agriculture/fisheries and wildlife as an avenue to bring more people into the wilderness and to teach them how to use nature as a source of addiction recovery. She is also a skateboarder, snowboarder, beekeeper, artist, singer, Army wife and proud mom.