Occasionally I've had people say to me, "I could never go through what you have, I'm not strong enough!" Or, "You are one of the strongest people I know." I've never quite known how to respond to these types of comments, but I've usually tried some form of response that goes along the lines of a quote I once read, "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only option you have."
Though there is truth to the quote above, it's not all there is to finding one's strength. I have watched and learned from my mother, the strongest person I know, and after seeing her incredible strength through a trial I don't know that I could endure, I've come to the conclusion that being strong is not just an accident of genetics but a combination things. Being strong comes from the trials that have led up to where we are currently, and a blending of choices- choosing hope, optimism, and choosing to have faith in Jesus Christ and His ability to strengthen us. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." -Philippians 4:13
My mother is the strongest person I know. She has MS and faces trials on a daily basis that would make anyone want to give up in despair. I am impressed and strengthened to watch her determination each day, through every new trial she faces. I am inspired and motivated in my own life when I see her finding joy and choosing optimism in an incredibly difficult time. My mother is part of the combination of things that bolsters my strength and enables me to face this latest trial with a smile on my face, peace in my heart, and hope and optimism for the future.
"Hope... is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a brilliant dawn. It encourages and inspires us to place our trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father."
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Strength also comes from the goodness of others. I and my family have been the beneficiaries of countless good deeds from those around us. The generosity of friends and family through letters, emails, packages, texts, donations of food, babysitting, time, energy, and money have been overwhelming. My love and hope, my feelings of optimism are increased every time I receive a selfless offer of babysitting or someone dropping by to clean my bathroom or drop off dinner or getting a letter in the mail or a note on Facebook, the examples are endless. My husband once said that he can look back in our lives and see God moving in different events to get us through and to where we are now. He and I look at our lives today and see God moving through each person and each event that blesses our lives on a daily basis. We are very fortunate to have the network of friends and family supporting and strengthening us every day.
I write this post because I have felt deeply the need to thank those of you supporting us through this time in our lives. Though it is a difficult time, it is not an unhappy time. There is hope and joy surrounding us every day. I know we have a lot of friends and family out there helping us, I feel the prayers and fasting from people's efforts near and far, and am incredibly grateful. It's been a humbling experience to need the help of others and to have it given so willingly and in such abundance. These words don't seem to adequately represent how I feel, but they will have to suffice: Thank you, so very much, for all of the love and support sent our way.