On Monday night, the missionaries came over for dinner. As is custom, they gathered our family together afterwards to share a message. They shared with us a video from the Mormon Channel. It was about Stephanie Nielson...the woman that survived a plane crash but is left with horrible scarring.
Here is the video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHDvxPjsm8E
Anyway, I had heard her story before but I hadn't paid much attention to it...until now. I realized something as I was watching her talk. Her whole body is covered with horrific scars..the scars that will forever remind her of her accident and the trial and trauma she has experienced.
Despite the scars, she is a bright, vibrant, beautiful woman who has learned so much from her trial and I bet, given the chance to have it erased and to never have had it happen would probably say "no." She paid a heavy price to become acquainted with God...a price that in hindsight, she is probably glad of!
As I looked at her, I at first thought, "Well, at least THAT is not your trial! At least you don't have to walk around with scars and be self conscious of them all the time. She is certainly made of tougher stuff than you." But, as I watched the video and thought about how I would handle being a plane crash survivor, I realized that I am no different from Sister Nielson.
You see, I have survived my own plane crash of sorts. I have been burned, wounded, ejected from the safety of the plane and left with an incredible amount of scars. The only difference for me is that my scars are on the inside. No one can see them. Only those that know of our situation even know that they are there. These scars I carry cause me no less distress than hers do. They are a constant reminder of my trauma and of the greatest trial to come into my life.
There are days when I am hurting so badly and I just want to scream to others..."Can't you see my scars? Can't you see how much I hurt?" But they can't. Those scars are on the inside and most days I do a pretty good job of hiding them.
Here is what I took away from her story. Her scars and the damage that was done to her have become a conduit for a better relationship with her Heavenly Father, an increase of testimony, a source of strength and an opportunity to help others. I WANT THAT! I hope I am acheiving that. I am trying to acheive that. So far, my relationship with my Father in Heaven and my Savior is stronger. There have been undeniable times when I have felt them physically step in and lift my weight. I have an increased testimony of the healing power of the Atonement to rescue not only the sinner but the sinned against. I feel stronger for my scars though I know there is a lot of strengthening that needs to be done as more time passes. Finally, we have been able to reach out to members of our ward and have come across five other couples going through the same addiction. (Only one has led to adultery like my husband's addiction did...thank goodness.) We drive all of these couples to our 12 step meeting an hour away once a week. So, I do feel like we are using our trial to help others. I hope when my husband's priesthood is restored, we can do more.
The final thought that I had when I watched her amazing story was wondering what she would think of the trial that I am going through. Would she read through my story of heartache and betrayal and think "I'll keep my own trial. I would never want to go through that!" I fully believe that our trials are not random. I think the Lord knows what kind of adversity we need to endure in order for us to become who we need to become. For her, it was a plane crash. For me it was adultery and excommunication. Would we want to trade trials, assuming that the other's trial would be easier? Probably not.