Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Grace and Cement Walls

When My Darling David and I moved from Tucson to Mesa, we were excited for our next great adventure. Promises of great wealth from the new company kept us motivated and we knew the many hours that each week demanded would be worth it. After three years of researching antidepressants, I finally decided it was time to start. Too many nights of unsolicited tears soon came to an end and a new journey began. I had joined weight watchers and lost 40 pounds, being thinner than my high school days. I felt great.  As we started looking we had a house that found and claimed us. We knew it was our home. We also knew it would take a lot of work to restore it. Our home needed a lot to be practical for living. When we got ready to move in, and much to our surprise, the bank had painted the inside and the outside of the home. One financial burden lifted from our very limited budget was pure grace. We were offered something we could not provide for ourselves at that moment. 

Seven months after promises of great wealth David’s company unexpectedly let him go. The next morning David was at the temple and by the end of the week he had applied for 35 jobs. Four months into the year we still had no job and things looked bleak. We never lost faith and we felt like we would be taken care of, though the stress of looking forward was sometimes quite overwhelming at times. Here you must note the faith of my Darling David. He is perfect for me. In 11 years of knowing him he has never once spoken an unkind word to me. I do not say that because this a beautiful moment to make extreme comments. The man I married is everything and more that he promised to be. I often wonder how I got so lucky to be his wife.  Through the kindness, compassion, and generosity of unknown givers during this year we survived a year making a grand total of $18, 000. We truly came to understand the things that you really needed to keep on going. 

We kept going. As I look back I see the way that depression crept in. Weight gain was slowly creeping up on me. Exhaustion hit and my life felt out of control. I felt completely unable to help. I know my husband felt the pressure of providing. Our Bishop at the time looked at me in an interview and said “Sister Johnson, you are not going to get a job. You need to be in your home.” He had no idea that I even considered that, but he loved the Lord and he counseled so clearly from above. There were many tears on my side.  But we kept on going. In August of 2013, my in laws came to visit. They are magical. They love to serve and my kitchen was transformed into happy colors. My freezer was filled with freezer meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was ready and clothes were ironed by the dozens.  Often I sit at the table and think about the time and energy they spend loving others. We stayed up late and I was able to talk freely and listen. I came away that night realizing I was conflicted. Not eternally. Not in my faith. Just conflicted in how to fight an internal battle. David’s dad gave him a father’s blessing. Father's blessings are one of the most sacred tender mercies.

2014 was better and after 15 months of being self employed David’s client base continued to grow. Lincoln got baptized and family came to support us. I went through some experiences that were personally devastating. My husband knew. My mom and dad knew. I knew. I read my scriptures, said my prayers, and went to the temple. This is when I realized that depression cannot always be cured with just a little more faith and prayer. Last July, my Dad sent me and my mom on a trip. They knew I was struggling. One day, I remember my sweetheart being in court and so I called my dad. I told him I was sad. I told him I didn’t want to do anything except sleep. He talked to me with the Spirit and guided me. MY dad has a way to cross states with his priesthood power and touch my life.
 My trip with my mom was great. I believe this is a time that mothers wait for throughout the lives of their kids; the time you can be friends; the time you can just be together without any expectation other than you are here for me and I am here for you. I was once again reminded that there are angels all around us all the time. Sometimes, for the lucky ones, they come in the form of our mothers. No judgements. Just sincere concern and love.

 In September 2014, Ana and Bobby Ray came into our family. Two young kids raised in the foster care system. They had both found themselves homeless. They both individually investigated the church and were baptized. Heavenly Father taught me how to reach outside myself and love others how He loves me. The only thing is, is that He is perfect, and I am not. But I am learning. 

 The internal war still and often continues in my mind. I feel sometimes like I am standing in front of a large cement wall with only two picks to use to climb. In my mind they seem like plastic picks that really won’t get me anywhere, but in my mind the logic outweighs this because I have to be able climb using those picks so I know they are sturdier than I think. Some days I feel like I grab those picks and start climbing the large cement mountain. I feel like I make great progress and then I look up only to feel like the little mouse in Cinderella where looking up makes you realize how much farther you actually have to go. To hold on and to keep going is always an option, but so is climbing back down and sitting for a minute. That’s the beautiful thing about minutes. I have sat for many minutes. Sometimes I only make it back to the last place I climbed and then jump down (I haven’t made it far enough where danger follows the jump) and rest (to clarify rest: plead, cry, sleep, don't sleep,) again. Digging in cement with a pick is hard. Making a big enough hole for one foothold; continuous footholds sometimes seems impossible. I have those days; the days where the footholds are not strong enough to get me any higher on my own. The atonement has strengthened me through countless nights of crying and pleading with the Lord to help me. Sometimes He eases my burden by calming my body with sleep before I can even finish asking. Sometimes He keeps me awake and communicates with me when my spirit has reached the point of submission and I have no other choice but to listen to Him.  

Sometimes I stick one more pick in the wall. Sometimes I hold the picks and ask why? Sometimes I cry and tell Him how frustrated I am that I don’t have a demolition machine to just knock down the cement wall where I am sure the blessings I seek are waiting.
 He reminds me to look in the rear view mirror just long enough to see how many other cement walls I have climbed and conquered with His help.

He lets me climb. 
Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it makes me angry. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes it seems it might break me. Sometimes I am certain the climb will never end.
He lets me climb. 

and when I allow my spirit to communicate with Him
He climbs with me.

 I love the Lord. I love Him. I know He loves me. 


Music that has lifted me during the darkness of cement walls:

3 years

I have kind of dropped off the blogging world for a long time. Here's what has been happening.


Lincoln turned 9 on Sunday February 8.. He is in third grade and his teacher adores him. I am forever grateful that Heavenly Father gave us this handsome boy. He made me a mother, a mom, a mama. He is funny and has a quick wit. He is a good boy. He is starting to skateboard and he is pretty awesome.


Henry is almost 7. He is in kindergarten.  Henry is brilliant at math. He is learning to say his "L"s because of two darling twins in his kindergarten class. He LOVES swimming; even in April. He is very interested in his beautiful birth mother. we are grateful he loves and adores her.

 Jacob: Jakey Snakey; Jake is 4. I can't believe my baby is four. He is in the very top percentile for height and weight. He is speaking fluently and we are so grateful for the people that have been placed in his life to help him achieve the goal of speaking.

This is Ana Gonzalez. She has lived with us since September 2014. In November 2014 she decided on her own that she wanted to get baptized. She will graduate from Westwood in December of 2015. She has had a rough life and seeing her now compared to September is just beautiful.

This is Bobby Ray Johnson. He moved in with us in October, and got baptized in January 2015. He got married on February 15th and he has made great strides in his desire to be a good husband and father.