Hi! My name is Abigail. I finished my mortal mission in a little spec of eternity you call July 2013.
Now I'm in the Spirit World and can help my family and friends (that's everyone) from this side of the veil. Some people get a little uneasy talking about "talking spirits" or "ghosts" but I'm here to tell you we're not scary. My body died, but I'm still alive. My body was destroyed and really needed a break, but I'll have it again soon. You'll have to trust me on the issue of timing. It won't be long, promise.
A month before I came here, my mommy was holding me and I told her "I will keep you forever." It took her by surprise that I came up with that on my own, but I knew what I was saying. I reinforced it later a few times by telling her, "I will keep you forever in my world, " and "I will keep you forever in my life". I meant exactly what I said.
This little piece of world wide web is a place my mom can continue to write and record her feelings--her progress, I like to call it. I know it's helping a few of you, too.
Remember who you are--really are--and that many of us are excited to see you all again, too. Eternity is a very long time and I have to keep reminding my mom "I will keep you forever".

Monday, March 24, 2014

My tutorial: Faith and Grief

(Originally Posted Oct 12, 2013) 
 
Thoughts have been tumbling around in my head for some time now. Even now, I still don't know how to put them into words very well. This may be a longer-than-normal post, but I will try to make it clear and concise.
I want to write my thoughts, to show to myself that what I am feeling is not only okay, but it is right. I also want to write them in hopes that it may help anyone else through whatever grief they are experiencing. And finally, I want to write them to help educate others who may think grief can and should be overcome by faith....like I used to think.

For me, the reason for my grief is obvious. My 4-year-old daughter was very sick and died. For others, it may not be so obvious. But I think---and I don't have anything to back this up---but I think that anyone who is going through adversity, or trials, or a "hardship" in life, is also going through grief. They are grieving, and I think when it's realized, there is more compassion for themselves and for others.

For "trials", we know we need to endure well and to keep forging ahead and to be positive, etc. etc. etc. And when it's obvious that someone like me is going through "grief", those same concepts apply, but with a heavy dose of 'walk softly, speak kindly, give extra love and compassion.' That is pretty-much universally recognized for grief, but not so much for trials. And since I think those who have trials are ALSO experiencing grief of some sort, those 'extra' concepts should also be applied.

On now to how faith plays into all of this, for ANYONE who is grieving. I won't write how I used to feel, because honestly I can't exactly remember. :)

But some of the questions I've had are "Why do I hurt so much, when I clearly know everything will be alright? Why doesn't my testimony and my faith overcome this sorrow?" Now I need to say right here, that I am not in continual hurt. We are very, very blessed in our lives. There is SO MUCH GOOD around us. Abigail's life and being our daughter is a blessing beyond measure. At this point, we have many good days. But it is on the days that seem unbearable that I search for answers, and sometimes I just need the same answer over and over. And so, if you are grieving--in any manner--, I hope the following will be of some help to you.

 Book Quotes
I highly recommend the book "The Birth We Call Death" for those grieving a death. But in order to keep this post on track, I will focus on the sorrow/faith aspect.

In the beginning of the book, a new widow says to the author, "Don't try to fight the sorrow you feel. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life." (I would even add, The only way to take sorrow out of LIFE, is to take love out of life.)

"Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die..." Doctrine and Covenants 42:45

This author, like myself, had thought to combat sorrow, to somehow overcome it with faith in God's wisdom and in the hereafter. But as he searched, and as I have searched, a great truth is found; "...that real comfort was in the combination of sorrow and faith; that these two qualities were not mutually exclusive but compatible."

Henry Ward Beecher said, "There are many trials in life which do not seem to come from unwisdom or folly; they are silver arrows shot from the bow of God, and fixed inextricably in the quivering heart--they are meant to be borne--they were not meant, like snow or water, to melt as soon as they strike; but the moment an ill can be patiently borne it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain."

President Monson's comments
As I sat in the Conference Center on Sunday, October 6, 2013, and listened to our prophet speak, my soul was touched again with the power of grief. Last May, his wife of almost 65 years passed away. He said, "To say that I miss her does not begin to convey the depth of my feelings." The prophet of God grieves. I cannot imagine anyone on earth who has more faith than does he, and yet he grieves. It is natural, it is right.

"From the bed of pain, from the pillow wet with tears, we are lifted heavenward by that divine assurance and precious promise: 'I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.' Such comfort is priceless." (Joshua 1:5)

I believe his talk will be a "classic" in my life and one I refer to often. I could cut and paste his entire talk right here, but I will only share one paragraph before moving on:

"Our Heavenly Father, who gives us so much to delight in, also knows that we learn and grow and become stronger as we face and survive the trials through which we must pass. We know that there are times when we will experience heartbreaking sorrow, when we will grieve, and when we may be tested to our limits. However, such difficulties allow us to change for the better, to rebuild our lives in the way our Heavenly Father teaches us, and to become something different from what we were—better than we were, more understanding than we were, more empathetic than we were, with stronger testimonies than we had before." President Thomas S. Monson

And that leads perfectly into my next aspect of the grief/faith concept:

Weakness turned to Strength
In the Book of Mormon, the Lord says, "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble, and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27

I'm not sure if I would classify grief as a weakness, but it can sure feel like it. I think it can be if we let it become so. But what I see here, is that it can become a strength! Notice: not taken away, not eliminated, but changed. My sorrow can be a strength to me to remind me to be merciful, compassionate, to rely heavily on God. Sorrow can be a strength to renew my dedication to live righteously, even as I cry in pain. Through humility and faith in Jesus Christ, my sorrow (just as love) won't be overcome, but it will become. Become a strength.

God recognizes heartache and grief
Finally, I'd like to share something that was powerful to me. In the book of Revelation, John had a vision. (Awesome, right?!) He saw a new heaven and a new earth! He saw the new Jerusalem, and he heard a great voice saying that God will dwell with them! And right here--look at it's placement---as soon as God is on this new earth and we are his people, what does he do? Does he preach new doctrine? Does he prophesy? Out of all the things God could do, this is what John sees:

3. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And here it is...4. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

And then the scriptures continue with more goodness. But there! God knows how much sorrow is on this earth--I never doubted that He knew, but I was surprised at how much our suffering means to Him. He knows what His children are experiencing. And it is for our good, so we can BECOME like Him.

And so, as I said at the beginning, why can't faith overcome grief? I think that is, as Abigail would say, "da wrong words." I think it is better worded 'faith enables grief to make our faith stronger.' Why should we shun that which will purify us? Grief is hard, it is oh, so hard, but it is necessary and good.

Having a daughter die at 4-years-old from a nasty cancer may not be universal (thankfully), but sorrow is universal. And thus, so is grief. So be kind, to others, and to myself. Watch, and pray always, so that Satan doesn't manipulate my grief and drag me down into misery from which I feel I can't escape. Look to Him, the giver of peace and hope, and give gratitude for the goodness which surely exists in my life. And when pain strikes with fierceness and feels to drown me, hold on. Hold on to those who love me, on both sides of the veil; hold on to the faith I do have; hold on to the sweet and tender promises from the Lord; hold on to hope.
There is always hope.

And faith.

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