Here's a story I didn't tell you when it happened, but I will now:) (I'm telling it now, because it has to do with trusting in the Lord.) A couple of weeks ago Sunday morning I woke up in the middle of the night not feeling super well, and slept sporadically for the rest of the morning until our alarm went off at 6:30 at which time I got up to get ready for the day and for church (since it was Sunday.) I was both hot and cold at the same time (which is a bizarre feeling) but felt well enough to go to church, especially knowing how important it was for us to go. Anyway, we got to church, at which point, I then have a headache. It got to the point where I started crying because I really don't like being sick on my mission, and I knew that I would have to go home soon because it wasn't getting any better. I actually ended up leaving halfway though sacrament to go lie down in one of the classrooms nearby to see if that helped at all before I really had to go home. Didn't really help. So I ended up getting a blessing from the Elders before heading home, because I really didn't want this to last super long since there was so much work that Sister Maher and I had to do, and anytime I get sick on my mission I feel bad taking a break because there are people we need to see and lives we need to touch and we only have a short amount of time to do so.
Let me pause the story here and tell you how much I love the Priesthood! It really is the power of God, and whether someone uses it for me to help me heal or for comfort or for all those sacred ordinances that I take part in, it always makes me happy, and it reminds me that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me individually and personally. Those blessing especially remind me that He is aware of all my needs, whether it is here in Georgia or home in California.
So back to the story, in the blessing I got, I was reminded that it is super important for me to not only take care of those around me, but that I need to remember to take care of myself too. I was kind of rebuked a bit just because so much of my focus in the last few months have been on other people, whether it was my companion, or those I teach or just those that I love in my life. Many a prayer has been said for all others in my life, and honestly I don't know if I ever prayed for myself. Heavenly Father told me in this blessing that I needed to take care of myself and get better before I could help other people. I thought it was strange for me to be told to focus on myself before I helped other people, because usually the Lord asks us to be unselfish, and this felt like He was telling me to be selfish for a moment. I ended up going home, and fell asleep for a total of 14 hours (I woke up a couple of times throughout the evening, but was still too tired to do anything so I had to go back to sleep).
That week, I was reading in the Ensign one of those short stories in the back about people's spiritual experiences, and I came across a story about this woman who suddenly had to start taking care of her aging mother in addition to all of her children and in addition to her already demanding calling in the church. In this story, this lady literally ran herself to exhaustion from doing so much for others and not doing much for herself, and had to spend a week in the hospital because it had gotten so bad. I was reminded of the blessing I had received and the Lord's counsel to me to make sure I was taking care of myself.
I realized that as much good that I had been doing, I was taking on myself more than I should have been, mainly because I felt like it all rested on me to do it. I was then repeatedly reminded to rely on the Lord. To trust Him to take care of the things that I can't. Like the scripture in Book of Mormon says "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order" (Mosiah 4:27).
This was a needed reminder to me that I can't do everything. There is a reason missionaries are not sent on missions one by one, but rather two by two, that my companion is there to help share the load. There is also a reason why we have District Leaders and Zone Leaders and Senior Couples and a Mission President (and his wife), who are all there to help if I need it. The Lord provides us with the strength we need (plus a little extra) to get through what He asks of us, but that doesn't mean we have unlimited strength. It is possible to overexert ourselves due to our pride in thinking we can do it all ourselves, or to put off the help He does provide for all of His children (whether its the priesthood, doctors, or self help books). What we have to remember is that as important as it is to help other people, we should not do it to the point where it is detrimental to our own selves. He loves us just as much as He loves them, and so He wants us to take care of us too.
That is honestly a hard lesson to learn as a missionary, but it all goes back to whether or not I trust the Lord. I will do all that I can, but then I have to let Him do the rest. I can't do everything. And that's ok.
I love my Savior! I love my Heavenly Father! And I love all the support I get from my family and those around me:) I wouldn't be here without any of that.
PS I was better by the next day and it didn't really affect anything else other than that Sister Maher had to stay in the apartment with me for all those hours I was sleeping.. haha
PPS So funny story I thought I'd share.. A few weeks ago the library was doing a contest for some drawing. Thinking it would be fun to enter, but not really thinking I'd win, Sister Maher and I put our names in. I had totally forgot I had even done this, and today (while I was in the library) I got a call from the library telling me I had won the drawing! They gave me a free book:) Because I said it was a book I wanted that I didn't own.. I guess I will read it when I get home in 8 months! Hahaha
This library is awesome!