Throughout my life, I have dealt with a myriad of physical problems which have overwhelmed and taxed me to my very limit. However, nothing I have experienced can compare to the life threatening situation I found myself engulfed in five years ago.
My vision had begun to fade, and I searched for the reason why. To my horror, it was cancer. This was not the reason I had expected, and it definitely wasn’t what I wanted. This deadly disease had scarred my past, and now it was consuming my present. Because of a tumor on my optic nerve, my world was growing darker and darker, and I feared my eyesight would fail completely. Still, I hoped; I hoped that, through surgery and the power of God, my life would be spared and that my sight would be restored.
The hunt began to eradicate this horrible disease. Five major surgeries within the space of five months left me physically and emotionally devastated. I had never experienced something this tragic. It seemed the misery and trauma would never have an end. Finally, the team of surgeons pronounced that, as far as they knew, they had removed all the cancer. My life had been saved. However, my vision had not. I was completely blind. I would have to live the rest of my life in total darkness.
The months following the surgeries and my subsequent blindness were horrendous. I had fought to save my life, yet I didn’t want to live like this – but, there I was. Slowly, with the help of a loving family, friends and my Heavenly Father, I made my way through the horrible recovery and difficult adjustment to my new way of living.
Now that I am five years removed from the initial trauma, I am able to look back, and see, so to speak, the Lord’s loving hand throughout the whole experience. I see that he heard my literal cries for help, courage and comfort. I see that he guided me in the many difficult decisions I had to make. I can see that he sent me to a loving family who cared and served unceasingly for me. I can see that he sent members of my ward to me who served as angels with true charity. I see that I grew closer to my husband and that together we grew closer to Christ and to the Father.
This was a horrible and devastating time in my life, yet, it was also spotted with times of holiness and spiritual strengthening. I do not wish to go through the entire trauma and pain again; however, I am grateful to have had those times of holiness. I now think of those moments as my “holy places.”
I am coming to realize, that everyday life offers many opportunities for me to “stand in holy places” even when I’m not in places I typically think of as holy. Trials and difficulties can, if we let them, become holy places; places where we can commune with the Father through the Spirit; places where we can feel the power of the Atonement in our lives. Our personal hard times can become our personal holy places. Such holy places will, through the power of Christ, provide purifying and refining for our souls. Our struggles can be consecrated to our good and growth, and you and I can become more like Christ.
In my book, “Hard Times and Holy Places”, I share many of the agonizing struggles I have experienced, and the earthly and heavenly help I have received. Now, I invite you to share your story. How have you seen your hard times become holy places in your life? Please do not share personal sin or that of others, but relate those sweet experiences which helped you endure adversity or tragedy. How have difficulties and trials made you stronger? How have you seen the hand of Christ in your life?
Please email me with your experiences, and I will share as many of them on this site as possible. In this way, I hope we can all be lifted by one another and, together create many more holy places.