Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am not alone

This is a poem I wrote in March of 2012. It took me a bit of searching to find it again, but it's another one that I wrote when I was struggling with depression. I am not alone Thoughts begin to barrage me, I can feel myself slipping; Fighting back seems so futile, And my tears begin dripping. I hug myself close and pray; I can't fight this pain and fear. I feel scared and so alone. Please Father, I need Thee here. I'm surrounded by silence. Why do my prayers go unheard?! Why don't I feel the Spirit? Do I lack faith in Thy word? Thy words hold so much comfort: "Fear not," Thou commandest me. I need to trust Thy promise that I'll be upheld by Thee. As I ponder these scriptures the seed so long ago sown at last takes root in my heart. I know I am not alone. At times though strength will fail me, I have faith in Thy commands. "Be still and know...I am God," "for all flesh is in mine hands." My faith becomes unshaken; The Spirit makes my heart full. "There's no doubt He hears your prayers," It now whispers to my soul. I know now Thou art near me. Thy words whisper from above, "[For] I will encircle thee [child], in the arms of my love." Thou shalt "wipe away all tears." Come, fight my battles for me. With Thy strength I stand again. My heart reposes in Thee. Quoted (and other related) scriptures- Joshua 1:5, 9 Isaiah 41:10, 13 Rev. 7:17 Rev. 21:4 D&C 6:20, 34, 36-37 D&C 84:88 D&C 88:63 D&C 101:16 D&C 105:14 The reason I like this poem so much is because when I wrote it I wanted to make it a chiasmus. It's not perfect (like...REALLY not perfect), but it was meant so that you could "fold it in half", leaving the middle paragraph as the main point of the poem. It's kinda like the first half of each line is me struggling, and the second half is either me not struggling, or the Lord talking to me. Here's how it reads - Thoughts begin to barrage me, My heart reposes in Thee. I can feel myself slipping; With Thy strength I stand again. Fighting back seems so futile. Come, fight my battles for me. And my tears begin dripping. Thou shalt "wipe away all tears." I hug myself close and pray; "[rest] in the arms of my love." I can't fight this pain and fear."I will encircle thee." I feel scared and so alone. Thy words whisper from above. Please Father, I need Thee here. I know now Thou art near me. I'm surrounded by silence. It now whispers to my soul. Why do my prayers go unheard?! "There's no doubt He hears your prayers," Why don't I feel the Spirit? The Spirit makes my heart full. Do I lack faith in Thy word? My faith becomes unshaken; Thy words hold so much comfort: "for all flesh is in mine hands." "Fear not," Thou commandest me. "Be still and know...I am God," I need to trust Thy promise. I have faith in Thy commands. that I'll be upheld by Thee, at times though strength will fail me, As I ponder these scriptures the seed so long ago sown at last takes root in my heart. I know I am not alone. In a chiasmus the center is the most important point. For me, the most important thing is holding onto my testimony of the Gospel. It's what allows me to keep going.


I can feel the darkness trying to take hold. Just shake it off and smile, or so I am told. But I'm so tired. It feels like the battle will never end. It drags me down, tells me I'm alone with no friend. But maybe the lie is that I need to feel loved to feel peace; That if I have a best friend or a spouse, then the pain will somehow cease. But believing that means I won't be happy until my course has been run, Every battle has ended and the war has been won. Though the darkness may be the thorn in my side, Knowing in Whom I trust can help me stem the tide. The darkness will still come, but I don't have to let it take hold. I can feel peace here and now, because I'm part of Thy fold. I wrote that today during church when I was having a hard time focusing. These last few weeks (and months) have been rougher for me in regards to depression then I've experienced for awhile now. Elder Neal A Maxwell said, "By pressing forward hopefully, we can, repeatedly and joyfully, stand on what was yesterday's distant horizon, thereby drawing even further hope from our very own experiences. Hence Paul described how "tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope" (Rom. 5:3-4). Therefore, we rightly sing of God, "We've proved him in days that are past". A few weeks ago I wrote the following about that quote - For whatever reason this makes me think of my experience with depression. Sometimes the future feels impossibly or unbearable. But when I break out of that cycle I find new strength. Ad as that cycle comes back time and time again I learn to be patient with (and to love) myself in those dark moments. Now when I'm down, sometimes the only thing I can hold onto is the knowledge that I will break through the darkness again, however long that may take. Experience tells me that the darkness won't hold me down forever. And that experience allows me to feel hope even in my darkest moments.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The One who Understands

There is something I learned as a youth that I’ve always liked. Ready for this profound truth?! Here it is-

“You can be an egg, or a carrot.”

Yep. That’s it. And I love it!

What it means is simply that when trials beset us, we can become hardened or softened. Like an egg or a carrot in boiling water, we won’t remain the same after trials come. Yet whether or not our hearts are hardened or softened depends on us.

I was sitting in church today thinking that it is so easy to feel angry, alone, and overwhelmed when I focus on trials I am facing. I don’t see people around me struggling with their own trials. I am so zoomed in on my own problems that I lose sight of the path I want to be on and the people around me who need help. Everything I’ve ever done right in my life seems like wasted efforts, and all I see are my faults and weaknesses.

I see a mountain ahead of me, and all I’m holding is a small garden shovel.

Then I remember the story of a young man whom the Lord instructs to push against a large rock. He pushes and pushes for years, but the rock never budges.

Finally, dejectedly he says, “Lord, I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all my strength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I have not even been able to budge that rock. What is wrong? Why am I failing?”

The Lord responded compassionately, “My friend, when I asked you to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to push against the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me with your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But, is that really so?”

“Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, your back sinewy and brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass that which you used to have. Yet you haven’t moved the rock. But your calling was to be obedient and to push and to exercise your faith and trust in my wisdom. This you have done. I, my friend, will now move the rock.”

Some trials the Lord doesn’t give us because we need to overcome them, but because through them, our hearts can become softened and our testimonies strengthened.

Though at times we will feel so powerless and frustrated when we face seemingly insurmountable challenges, we need to remember that we don’t face them alone. There is One who understands.

Our Savior has conquered every mountain that we have to climb.

He has weathered every storm that will beset us.

He understands us.

Never feel alone. Never feel like your efforts are wasted. Keep climbing the mountain. You will reach the top one day. Don’t lose hope during the storm. It will end. Remember that it is not always about conquering your trials, but about who you are becoming because of them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Best Friend

There are so many things we want at different points in our lives: that awesome nerf gun the kid down the street got for Christmas, a new basketball, a puppy dog, money for tuition, a significant other, a new car, cheaper insurance, more grandchildren, etc....Of all the things I've ever wanted, the most consistent was my desire for a best friend. I just wanted someone who I could tell EVERYTHING to; someone who understood me perfectly and accepted me, faults and all; someone who would be there to share the good times and the bad times with me; someone to hug me when I was scared and to hold me tight when I cried. I use to pray and cry, pleading with the Lord to simply give me a best friend.

I have been blessed with amazing friends throughout my life. I know that the Lord placed many of them in my life for specific reasons. Many of them have been there to comfort me through hard times, to offer much needed counsel, to help me to laugh, and to give me that much needed hug. We have had crazy adventures together, made unforgettable memories, and laughed so hard together that we cried. Lessons my friends have taught me over the years have melded together with the lessons learned from my family, all of which have shaped me into who I am today. I am sooooooo grateful for those friends, and will never forget them nor the things they have taught me and the service they've rendered.

Yet, none of them can be there for me always. I find myself crying alone sometimes. I need a hug, and no one is there. Or when something wonderful happens, I can't share with them what happened because they live far away or are busy. I love my friends with my whole heart, but they can't be there for me always, and as much as I wish I could be there for them always, I know that I can't. I don't always have the right words to say to comfort them, the advice they need, or the means to solve their problems. Part of me wishes that I did, but the other part knows that I can't take the place of the One who is truly meant to be our Best Friend.

Our Savior is the only person who has lived on this earth who perfectly understands us. He is the only one who knows our every thought and desire. He knows the darkest parts of us, the things we hide even from ourselves. He knows the immense potential we have, potential that we can't even comprehend. He knows the fruits of our labors, the lives we have touched that we aren't even aware of. He loves us perhaps more than we will ever understand. We know that He shall "wipe away all tears from [our] eyes," and was sent to "bind up the brokenhearted" (Rev. 7:17, Isa. 61:1). He loves us each so incredibly much that He gave His life for us. I am so grateful for Him and for all He has done for me, and I am soooooo grateful that He can be there for my friends and comfort them if they let Him, because only He can heal their wounds. I stopped praying for a best friend a few years ago. Now I pray that I might always be an instrument in the Lord's hands, that I might help other people come unto my Best Friend and find their best friend in Him as well.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


There are a few quotes in the scriptures about friends that I really like. The first is in Proverbs 27:17-

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.”

The first time I read that quote I didn’t really know what to think of it, but the more I pondered it the more I liked it. Iron is sharpened by “slow, measured strokes until a rough, sharp edge has been revealed” ( You don’t sharpen iron with one hard, swift stroke. It takes patience, time, and care. Likewise, friends don’t change you overnight. Slowly, over time, their influence transforms you. Their slow and measured strokes help you to reach a higher potential. I am so grateful for each and every friend I’ve had, especially those who over the years have continued to help me become a better person.

Proverbs 27:6-

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend….”

This one stumped me at first too! Why would a friend ever want to wound another friend? Then I remembered a few examples from my own life of friends who hurt me when they were being honest and open with me. Corrections hurt, but when given by a loving friend who truly has our best interest at heart, those wounds are faithful. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the correction my true friends have given me, and I’m grateful for the courage they had to wound me on occasion when I needed that correction.

John 15:13-

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Apparently another way to translate 'lay down' from Greek is ‘set aside'. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man set aside his life for his friends.” What a beautiful thing it is to have friends who are willing to set aside their lives and serve you when you truly need them. Wow….I hope I can be a friend like that to others.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about friends because of my amazing roommates. I started trying to blog more last semester in an attempt to record my experiences in our ASL apartment. At the end of that first post I talked about how I knew that the “frustrations of not being able to fully express ourselves or completely understand each other as roommates will be far outweighed by…the experiences that we will have, and the love that we are developing for each other through this experience. Already I feel like we are a family.”

Wow. I had no idea how right I would be when I wrote that. Last semester I gained some of my very best friends and a handful of new sisters. What an amazing experience to learn from their examples, their patience, and their love. I will be eternally grateful for the four months I had the privilege of living with Destiny, Rebekah, Alex, Darci, and Aubry. What a blessing they are in my life.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prince of Peace

Today my friend was struggling with a lot of hard things. After accompanying a friend on the piano she told me, "Liz, that was my miracle. I feel so much better." As I walked home I thought, "If I were to ask for a miracle right now, what would it even be, with all of the different challenges I feel weighing down on me?" In the end, the only miracle I felt to ask for was the strength to go on.

That's one of the miracles I've seen time and time again in my life. No matter how overwhelming life feels at times, I know that if I keep moving forward peace will come, peace that only the Prince of Peace can give.

When I stop now and think about what my friend said, I realize that her miracle did not suddenly take away all of her trials and struggles, but it brought her peace.

My life is still crazier now than possibly ever before, but that sense of peace has returned. God cannot take away our trials without taking away the right we have to grow and learn from this earthly experience. What He can do, if we ask Him and allow Him to, is let the peace that only His Son can offer come into our lives; the peace that comes through the miracle of the Atonement, that knowledge and reassurance that all wrongs will be made right.

When I feel so weighed down and alone, that peace is what gives me strength to lift my eyes and stand up straight again. Peace seems to be such a gentle thing, but for me, it goes hand-in-hand with strength. With the peace my Savior gives to me, I know I can find the strength to do all things required of me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Angels like you

Sometimes God sends angels that are on this side of the veil
To support and encourage me when I feel I will fail;
When everything before me is more than I can bear on my own,
Almost always you appear and I’m grateful I’m not alone.

A hug or a smile, a kind word or gentle touch,
Are so easy to give, and yet they mean so much.
The sacrifices you make give me strength to continue,
For despite your struggles I can see a light within you.

Life is a test given to help us to grow,
And through all of the struggles there is one thing I know:
Sometimes trials are to be faced alone, it is true,
But for now God has surrounded me by angels like you.