ONE || When my oldest son was born, I experienced severe postpartum depression. Despite struggles with depression and anxiety at other times in my life, I expected to feel joy with the birth of my first child. Instead, following a traumatic labor and subsequent C-section, feeding difficulties, and hospitalization of my son due to a respiratory illness, I found myself struggling to cope and worrying that, as a self-averred horrible mother, I had damaged my son. In the years since, I’ve read studies and articles saying that a mother’s postpartum mood disorder can have a lasting effect on her child. While I’ve found treatment for my brain and healing for my soul, these words always sting. Despite his many strengths, my oldest child has had more emotional and behavioral struggles than my other children, and sometimes I wonder if I’m to blame due to those rocky early months of his life. Elder James R. Rasband’s encouraging reminders that the Savior can heal all wounds bring peace to my heart. It may be true that my struggles may have translated to struggles for my son, but any unfairness, any brokenness that stems from my imperfections and trials will not be held against my little boy. The Savior understands and offers healing.
TWO || When I was in nursing school, we received a brief tutorial on how to perform an infant baptism. In the Catholic Church, this is typically performed by a priest or deacon, but if there isn’t time for them to arrive and a child’s death is imminent, a healthcare provider is authorized to perform this rite. Isn’t it a comfort to know those who are unable to understand and accept the doctrine of Christ are automatically protected by His atoning sacrifice? We don’t have to rush our little babies to a baptismal font or fear for their souls. Our Savior knows their capabilities and makes judgments in perfect understanding--there is no fear of losing a beloved child in the eternities if they haven’t reached the age of accountability.
THREE || C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity about the Final Judgment, “All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.” Isn’t this an incredible thing to imagine? Some day, the trappings of mortality will fall from our eyes. Those of us who were given many blessings will be judged with that in mind. Others whose lives were filled with suffering and struggle every step of the way will be judged with those added weights in the balance. Our brother Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father know us. They know what we have to contend with, and we are promised perfect healing because of their love and our Redeemer’s atoning sacrifice.
"Although we do not fully understand the sacred mechanics by which the Savior’s atoning sacrifice heals and restores, we do know that to ensure a righteous judgment, the Savior will clear away the underbrush of ignorance and the painful thorns of hurt caused by others. By this He ensures that all God’s children will be given the opportunity, with unobscured vision, to choose to follow Him and accept the great plan of happiness."
"As any parent can testify, the pain associated with our mistakes is not simply the fear of our own punishment but the fear that we may have limited our children’s joy or in some way hindered them from seeing and understanding the truth. The glorious promise of the Savior’s atoning sacrifice is that as far as our mistakes as parents are concerned, He holds our children blameless and promises healing for them."
THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE
Is there anything you’re holding onto, a broken thing you cannot mend? Let go and release it to the Savior. If you are able, go on a hike or short walk. Carry a large rock with you as long as you can. Once you reach the destination, let it go (or (safely!) hurl that thing over the edge!). Imagine yourself releasing the heaviness to the One who can carry it all. If you aren’t able to go on a hike, find a place where you can be still and alone for a few minutes. Close your eyes and imagine your Savior holding your burdens for you. You might visualize a bag of stones and picture Him lifting them one by one, or taking one end of the sack and supporting you as you carry it. Sit in stillness and let Him help you with your load, because He is able to mend every broken thing.