I took a Family Stress and Coping class a couple semesters ago. It is a required class for my major, in this class we discuss coping strategies for families who go through hard times, or events in their lives. Something we learned in that class that was very valuable to me was the importance of taking it one day at a time.
In Genesis it says; “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” When God created the earth he created day and night, where each day ends with night, but then starts again. This to me is a powerful truth that every day must end, and sleep must come where we take a break and worry about the next day when it comes.
Ever since Will was diagnosed with encephalocele I will sometimes get caught up in the future. I picture how Will’s death will happen, how his funeral will happen, how i will react, how he will look. Some nights I don’t fall asleep for hours. When my mind gets caught up in these made up scenarios of William’s death I feel hopeless, depressed, and exhausted. During these times I have had to work hard to only take as much as I can handle, take breaks, and embrace the moment rather than the future. My best friend Claire said to me when we first found out about Will; “You can’t mourn someone who isn’t gone.” When she told me this, that was when I decided that William was still here, still with us, and we needed to embrace the time we have with him. When I changed my mindset to focus more on the present, I found that the future wasn’t so scary. I found that I had time to plan.
The hardest thing Ben and I have had to do is plan for William’s funeral. I hope none of you ever have to discuss with your spouse which casket to pick out, where to bury your child, what to dress him in before he is buried. Looking at funeral homes, picking out possible locations of where you want to bury your child is exhausting and depressing. What has been getting us through it is the support of friends, family, and the Lord. When Ben and I can’t handle plans of Will’s birth and possible death, we take a break and give it to the Lord.
Although we sometimes feel we can do it all, we are all mortal, we need help, and we need rest. Along with taking a break, we find strength in the Lord each day. In D. Todd Christofferson’s BYU devotional talk; “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” he says;
“Included in the Lord’s Prayer is the petition “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11) or “Give us day by day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3). I believe that we would all readily acknowledge that we have needs each day that we want our Heavenly Father’s help in dealing with. For some, on some days, it is quite literally bread—that is, the food needed to sustain life that day. It could also be spiritual and physical strength to deal with one more day of chronic illness or a painfully slow rehabilitation. In other cases it may be less tangible needs, such as things related to one’s obligations or activities in that day—teaching a lesson or taking a test, for example. Jesus is teaching us, His disciples, that we should look to God each day for the bread—the help and sustenance—we require in that particular day. This is consistent with the counsel to pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul. [2 Nephi 32:9]”
I have a testimony of the Atonement, that Christ not only repented of our sins but has felt exactly what we felt in order to help lift us and sustain us in time of need, when we can no longer carry ourselves. It is always okay to ask for help and to admit that we cannot do it ourselves. Prayer is much needed when asking for daily help. I pray constantly for the smallest things to the biggest things. I even find myself praying to God to allow me to sleep when my mind gets the better of me. So please, when you feel overwhelmed with the great tasks that God has asked you to do, or with the situations that have been given you by others, turn off your phone and go for a walk. Make some lemonade and sit on the porch with your dog. Make dinner with your husband, watch a funny movie. Pray for the daily bread that is needed for your tasks, but understand that not only did God create night and day, but he also rested. Rest, pray, read, and take time to take care of your body. You can do it, with help and strength from the Lord.