Shortly after we were married, my health began to deteriorate and so did my self esteem. I had grown up being taught that my value was dependent on making others happy and now here I was barely able to move. I felt like a failure as a wife, mother, and Church member. Though I had joined the Church a few years before and been taught that I was a daughter of God, I didn’t feel that anyone could love me – even God.
At first I desperately plead with the Lord to heal me. I even tried to bargain with the Him, promising all the things I would do, if He would only heal me. I felt I couldn’t be happy and be a worthwhile person unless I had the health to enable me to do things for others.
I read the scriptures and prayed alot. As I read scriptures, I came to see the Lord’s love for His people and His patience with their weaknesses. In story after story I saw the Lord guiding his people’s progress by allowing them to have difficult experiences. As I prayed about this, I began to understand that Heavenly Father’s love was always there– I was just shutting it out.
I started to look at my experiences from another point of view. I related my feelings as a mother to helping me understand Heavenly Father’s love. Often I had to tell my children that they couldn’t do something or have something and they would reply, “You don’t love me!” The Spirit helped me to see that this is what I had been doing. I had felt that God loved me only if he gave me what I wanted–NOW! Like a young child, I had been demanding, sulking, and feeling unloved when I didn’t get what I wanted.
As I began to trust in Heavenly Father’s love for me, my heart began to soften and I began to feel His love for me. I started to see my illness as an opportunity to learn and began to ask what I was to learn from this experience. As I began to have faith in Heavenly Father’s wisdom, I saw that being ill was helping me to overcome the incorrect traditions I had been raised with. It was giving me and my family a chance for a new start living by gospel principles. I was having to face that worth was not dependent on what I could do for others, but on who I was– a daughter of God. I began to feel grateful that Heavenly Father loved me enough to not to give me what I wanted, but what I needed.
I can now see that my health problems as manifestations of His love. I also realize that He loves me– not for what I do, but for who I am– his daughter. I learned that happiness isn’t dependent on getting what I want, but on living the commandments. Now, forty years later, I feel His love like the sun warming my heart. His love was always there. Slowly, as my trust and gratitude grew, so did my ability to feel His light and love.
Finally I gave up expecting the Lord to make me better and instead I prayed for help in accepting His will for me and for learning from this experience. I came to realize that being loved by Heavenly Father didn’t mean that He would give me all I wanted, but what I needed. As I came to accept this, He was giving me the experiences to overcome incorrect traditions from my childhood. As I began to see this, I felt more loved. If my health had always been good then I would have continued thinking that my worth was dependent on what I could do to please others instead of basing it on being a daughter of God.
As my gratitude increased so did my feeling of being loved.
do feel loved, but it didn’t just suddenly happen. Do I feel loved because Heavenly Father give me what I asked for? No. My health is worse now than it was when I was younger, but I am happier. The difference is that now I know He loves me.