Gifts that Lift
By Christie Perkins
Today I’m joining the #ShareTheGift movement through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website. I want to share a message about how I know that through the gift of Jesus Christ one of my most difficult moments were made light. I want to bear my testimony of the atonement and it’s great power.
In Alma 7:12 it reads “…and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”
I felt as if I was carried in His hands through my cancer trial. I could not have done it without the Savior taking upon Him my infirmities.
His is the gift that lifts.
My Most Difficult Day
Early one morning, just before sunrise I sat at the kitchen table, eating oatmeal that I couldn’t taste. I didn’t feel well. Big warm tears dropped from my cheeks. It splashed on the table below me.
I couldn’t do this anymore. I had only done 4 of the 8 chemo treatments (which I refer to lovingly as 5 hours of nuclear waste dumping) but each one was progressively worse. And each treatment had a new complication I had to muddle through.
I was tired of feeling sick. Nights were restless and my anxiety was escalated so that I couldn’t even crawl into bed for a good rest. My legs were antsy. I buzzed around, wearing circles in my carpet, which alleviated my anxiety but complicated my need for rest.
My chemo fog was extreme. I couldn’t read or concentrate. I existed in a muffled brain state. It’s as if someone had shoved a blanket in my head cutting off all circulation, numbing my brain and it’s functions.
I was ugly, bald, and cold. My eyelashes and eyebrows were dropping. And I felt like I was dropping out of everyone’s life… circumstances made it so.
My fast track moment in life began with diagnosis, total mastectomy, painful reconstruction, and now chemo. My body had taken all it could. Mentally, physically, and emotionally I was exhausted.
I couldn’t fight any more.
Prayers are Heard
I said a prayer.
“I’m okay to go now,” silent tears flooded my face. My heart was wrenching but I truly meant what I said. I have always wanted to be 88 when I “grew up” but I was reconsidering. For a girl who loves life, I knew I had reached my breaking point. Not that I was giving up but I desired complete relief. I could not bear this alone any longer.
I wasn’t sure that I could even endure the day. Minutes were hours and my strength was wearing down fast.
I was laying down on the couch trying to get comfortable when my husband left for a meeting. The door clicked behind him and quickly opened up again.
“Whoa. I don’t know who this is from, there’s no name on it. But it was sitting on our front porch.”
I glanced up to see him carrying a large clear container with a blanket, paper plates, and chocolate. I popped the lid open and my eyes exploded into tears. The blanket was beautiful and my heart was touched.
And of all things it was a denim blanket. I have always wanted a denim blanket. For years I had saved worn out levis in a tub. I had good intentions to make one but my intentions always fell short. So, it never evolved into anything but a wish.
It was a perfect gift and a tender mercy I’ll never forget. A note was sitting on top: “Dear Perkins Family, We wanted to let you know we are thinking of you and love you! We hope you can use this blanket for picnics, to cuddle up and watch movies in, to lay out and watch for shooting stars and many other fun things!”
Star watching on the trampoline is one of my most favorite things to do with my family. You know how you all squish to the middle in forced, giggling, and cuddling time. I love it. Blankets overlap and are snatched away from you resulting in a bouncy wrestling match. Someone always ends up with flyaway hair. And since I have all boys my long hair is usually the most impressive.
I also love the quiet moments on the trampoline when we snuggle in blankets and wonder about heaven and watch for shooting stars (we see one about every 5 minutes by the way). But star watching was a family secret I never talked about.
It was a very personal message that only Heavenly Father knew I needed. He inspired someone else with what I needed.
It was my message of hope. And it was the catalyst that gave me the strength to go on. There were good days ahead. I needed to know that.
A Message of Hope
My day was still physically hard but my heart had taken on a new shape. It was full and spilling warm rays of hope all over into my body. I could do this.
It was just an anonymous blanket. But, it was a symbol of hope.
Whoever made this may not know that we like to watch stars but Heavenly Father did. They may not know I’ve always wanted a denim blanket (but would probably never make one) but Heavenly Father did.
That day there were so many timely gifts: a note from a friend (also going through cancer), a phone call from a friend in tune to my suffering, and a note and a sucker from an 8 year old neighbor girl who told me how much she admired me. She even called me beautiful- something I couldn’t see. And my mom and immediate family were always there lifting my burdens daily.
I cried all day. But this time these tears were loaded with strength and power. Heavenly Father was sending me a personal message that He knows I can get through this hard time. Each simple act of love was symbolic of hope and evidence of God’s love for me.
The Savior Bears Our Burdens Through Others
And somehow, the Savior was able to take away some of my suffering. It was a perfect and most timely gift. He bore my infirmities and knew exactly how to succor to me in my most difficult moment.
Then, Heavenly Father orchestrated things so perfectly that at the brink of my total discouragement he sends me earth angels to bear me up. I was right, I couldn’t bear this alone. I needed Him to lift and strengthen me through the hands of others. I’m grateful to all who heard the little whisperings and followed. And there were many throughout my difficult time in life.
Next time you get a thought to do something. Act. You just never know that you may be the catalyst that helps others to feel the gift of the Savior. And if you are going through a difficult moment right now I am here to tell you that He loves you and He will bear you up. See the goodness in your day and you will see evidence of Gods love for you.
When you feel a little hope realize that that is the Savior who is bearing your burden. He is succoring to your needs. Pray to feel it. He will blanket you with a love and strength to endure.
I wanted to share this gift with you because His love is truly a gift that lifts. And it its often through the hands of others that we feel His power.
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