Monday, November 21, 2011

Nie Nie Dialogues - Stephanie Nielson

Last night Stephanie Nielson of Nie Nie Dialogues spoke at our Stake Youth Fireside.  It was BEAUTIFUL!  - In 2008 she and her husband were involved in a small-plane crash (filled with fuel) and she was trapped in her seat.  She was burned over 80% of her body and then, with 4 small children at home, was in a coma for 3 months.  Her story is one of faith, courage, prayer, and....the hope that comes only through Jesus Christ and his teachings.

Since the crash she's had many surgeries and told us that she'll have many more.  The pain is still there.  The emotional trauma and grief still come and go.  People in the grocery store still stare.  Yet, through it all, her spirit shines though; with light and faith.  She says "I am not my body" and... that is what helps her see beyond mortality and thank the Lord for the blessings which have come from her trials.

I understood what she was talking about.  Some of you will also be able to relate.  Often, our trials are also our greatest blessings.  They can be excruciating and more than we think we can bear, we endure (often very prayerfully and with all the energy we can muster) we are 'enlightened' and...often our loads are 'lifted' by increased understanding and....comfort from the Lord.

During the most difficult time of my life as a single mother of 3 young children, living on very little income, homeschooling because it was the right thing for us and for a son with special needs, caring for my mother who had recent back surgery and long-term diabetes, and...feeling emotionally and spiritually and physically more exhausted than I could almost endure,  I was reminded of the statement by early pioneers who said "We came to know Him in our extremities.   That was true and...I learned it for myself.  It came one day as an answer to sincere prayer and as an inspiration that I needed to keep going.

Life didn't get easier.  Times were still very tough, and often continue to be, but, as Stephanie Nelson reminded us, they serve a purpose and we wouldn't trade the learning and growth and love we feel from the Lord, for anything.  All the suffering is 'worth it' if it brings us closer to our Savior.  He endured more than any of us can even begin to fathom.  He endured all of Stephanie's pain and suffering and that of her husband and children and all that cared about them.  He endured all my pain and suffering, sorrows and heartaches and those of my children and all who love us.  He also endured all of your pain, suffering, sorrow, grief, heartache, trauma and abuse.  He knows how to 'succor' us because he endured it.  In fact, he took it upon himself 'willingly' 'for our sake'.  Can we even begin to fathom the LOVE that would have to be there for Him to do that for US?

We are here to learn, grow, overcome and...all that is possible ONLY through the Atonement.  There is NO other way.  He has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows, and ....with his stripes WE ARE HEALED. 

In this same spirit of 'rescuing' us - may we reach out to others' in need.  It if often through US that the Lord answers' prayers of our brothers and sisters across the globe.

In their time of need - single-parents are reaching out for help.  Each of us can do something - small or large.  If you feel to do so - please consider donating funds to help provide education for these moms who are really struggling.  Education and skills will help them to be able to provide better for their children and lift them up and strengthen them.  This would be a blessing to all involved and a way to live 'true religion'.

Thank you, Stephanie Nielson, for your continued faith and example (and....powerful testimony of motherhood) and the way in which you continue to live your life.  You've blessed more lives than you may ever know.

May we all do the best we can in our given circumstances.  May we reach across the isles and lend a hand when others' need our help.  May we let the light of the Savior shine in our countenances as we strive to do whatever He would have us do in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.  "It will all be worth it in the end."