Have you ever had a really hard week, one when the Adversary was at your ear and wouldn’t let up?
I’ve recently had a few of those. I’m certain that most of us have over these past few months.
In and amongst all of the worries, anxiety and feelings of wanting to give up, I kept feeling a reminder nagging at me.
A reminder of answered prayers.
Last year in December, I wrote a short piece for Exponent II, “Getting to Where I am Called,” about the trials of being a disabled member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It wasn’t only my own illnesses that were the issue; when other members come to services sick, it made my attendance at services extremely difficult.
This year, life looks much different not only for me.
When I concluded that essay with these words, “I do my best to get to church on Sunday. I don’t go often due to illnesses. I spend my Sundays with my ancestors on FamilySearch,” I had no idea that the majority of The Church could be recognizing Sabbath also without church for several months in 2020.
This year has been a fascinating evolution in my relationship with God. I have felt more connected to my Savior, Jesus Christ, than I have since my Baptismal year of 2013. Personal revelation has come through stronger than I have heard in years, probably (no doubt!) because I poured myself into my studies of Come Follow Me and The Book of Mormon in absence of regular church attendance.
Before the virus became the topic of every conversation, back in late Febuary, my Ministering Sister, Sandi and I were trying to coordinate our schedules to finally get to the Temple together. On March 5th, we finally made it.
Then, President Nelson announced the Seattle Temple and all of the other temples in the world were closing. It was just days after I had finally made it back to the place of my calling. An answered prayer I thank Sandi and my Savior for.
Church services were cancelled that same week.
For weeks I lamented about the lack of ability to take Sacrament as a single sister. I posted in a few Latter-day Saint groups on social media where others might commiserate.
Then, I deleted my posts, not wanting to sow discontentment.
When a young man who saw the post before it was deleted and I met, my spring and summer were distracted by a romance that started as a way for him to serve me Sacrament.
He had such grand intentions.
I learned a lot about myself during that romance. However, I was left feeling almost like I had flirted my way into receiving Sacrament. With the tears of rejection still damp on my face in late August, I pleaded with my Mininstering Brother by email to provide Sacrament. I needed to feel clean again.
He declined, but sent a message to the First Counselor of the Bishopric. Brother Engan would come by with his son and provide not only the blessing of the missing Ordinance, but a few days later also dropped off a gift of freshly-picked blackberries which I mentioned I couldn’t reach from my power chair.
Miracles. Unprecedented mini-miracles and answered prayers.
When my Stake President came by to sign my Temple Recommend, after having performed my interview by video, I shared with him the broken engagement. The blessing he provided is guiding my future.
My Testimony journal has been full this year. Yes, in 2020!!
I have been impressed to record and upload my Testimony in video form. Another confirmation of answered prayers came for me when I watched General Conference and heard so many references to Prophet Joseph Smith Jr’s time in Liberty Jail.
When you learn you’ve been studying the same thing as our Prophets, that helps to confirm we are on the right path.
The most significant answered prayers, were answered with the institution of Church Broadcasts in my home Ward. Although I had joined my ex-fiancé with his family for “Zoom church,” I missed my neighborhood congregation and Bishop terribly.
On the 11th of October, one week after General Conference, “The Spirit of God” was the melody, but it was absent of lyrics until, frustrated at my continual lack of knowledge, I looked up the lyrics on my phone and began singing along.
Albeit with the wrong verse.
The Spirit was felt and my dogs, the only ones here with me in my apartment, did not complain.
Bishop Loose began the meeting welcoming all behind the masks and the screens. He reminded us there had been several items business and many changes in callings. He stated there would be another time to deal with the business of the Ward.
My mind instantly went to the several death notices we had received by email during the isolation. But, my brain nagged, had there been any births?
Then, Bishop introduced the only speaker, Sister Cornelison. She was my specialist’s wife. The only medical practitioner that I had seen this spring. (I fell on my right shoulder and arm and required a consultation from the Orthopedics group).
Sister Cornelison spoke about our personal relationship with our Savior and mercy. It was so good to hear and see her.
Services were concluded by Bishop Loose who introduced a closing hymn and the video ended. We were told the videoed service was followed by a Sacrament service for those at the building.
For me, I was watching from bed with a stomach that had gone sideways that morning. If it had been 2019, I would have cancelled my ride to church and been in bed feeling like I was missing out on everything.
Not in 2020.
In 2020, as a disabled member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I feel more included.
By opening up services to a video message delivered with two instrumental hymns, I felt edified and included.
My lamp was full again. Even without Sacrament.
In 2020, God has answered so many of my prayers. I’m sorry if you feel inconvenienced, but for many of us who have been praying to have more access, these are answered prayers. Unprecedented answers.