One of the things I’ve had to keep reminding myself the last few months is that I can do hard things with the help of the Lord. For the most part, my life since retirement is pretty calm and peaceful. However, there have been some periods of time occasionally when a cog slips a gear and messes up the works.
Even though children grow up and move away, a mother is still a mother. Mothers serve their families long after their children have families of their own. Recently, our youngest daughter broke her ankle in three places. Her husband is in his last semester of college and is struggling to take care of her, work, and keep up with his classes. As I write this, I’m with my daughter, helping to take care of her needs. Last October, and again last December, I traveled to another daughter’s home to help while her husband was in the hospital.
Each of these three trips has presented different challenges to me, but all have been worth the effort. Leaving my husband alone for an extended period of time is never easy. I worry about his health and well-being. I miss him while I am away. Yet, I know that he understands and wouldn’t have it any other way.
With each of these trips, I’ve had to remind myself that with God’s help, I can do hard things. This time, the challenges have been physical and mental exhaustion as I have cared for my daughter. As I have lifted and moved my daughter from chair to bed to wheelchair to walker, etc., I have relied on strength from the Lord. I have marveled at the tender mercies provided to me. I have a bad back and my weak ankles, having broken both my ankles a few years ago—one mended with a metal plate and six screws. Yet, my back and ankles have given me almost no trouble from the strain of the lifting, pulling, tugging, shifting, and moving. This is nothing less than miraculous, as my back and ankles are regularly troublesome with physical activity.
Over and over again, the scripture has come to mind, “And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.” (Mosiah 2:17) Heavenly Father has blessed me beyond measure as I have labored to serve my family. I have felt the Savior’s arms around me holding me upright when I’ve been so tired I thought I would collapse. When I have needed to pull my daughter from a chair to a walker by myself, I have marveled at the power in my arms and legs that is not normally there. While I have not seen angels, I know that I have had help from beyond the veil. I have also felt the prayers of family and friends as I have struggled to pull myself out of bed in the middle of the night to adjust pillows, ice packs, and other things.
“I testify that angels are still sent to help us, even as they were sent to help Adam and Eve, to help the prophets, and indeed to help the Savior of the world Himself. … I testify of angels, both the heavenly and the mortal kind. In doing so I am testifying that God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face. … On occasions, global or personal, we may feel we are distanced from God, shut out from heaven, lost, alone in dark and dreary places. Often enough that distress can be of our own making, but even then the Father of us all is watching and assisting. And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Ministry of Angels” (Oct 2008 General Conference).
My faith has been strengthened as I have worked to serve my family. I have seen the tender mercies of the Lord in everything that I do. I have felt the love of my Savior and the love of my Heavenly Father. How can I possibly deny the things I have felt in my heart? How can I deny the power I have felt in my arms and legs? How can I question the fact that my back has held up under the stress and strain of the work? There is no earthly explanation for the sudden surge of strength in my back and ankles. It wasn’t there three weeks ago. As I have prayed for strength of mind and body, my prayers have been answered tenfold.
As my physical body has been strengthened, so has my faith. I know that there is no way I could have done this alone.
Tudie Rose is a mother of four and grandmother of ten in Sacramento, California. You can find her on Twitter as @TudieRose. She blogs as Tudie Rose at http://potrackrose.wordpress.com. She has written articles for Familius. You will find a Tudie Rose essay in Lessons from My Parents, Michele Robbins, Familius 2013, at http://www.familius.com/lessons-from-my-parents.