One of the suggestions in the Light the World calendar is to “Share an experience on social media when prayer helped you carry a burden.” This is perfect, actually, because I have an experience that I hold close to my heart.
Perhaps you’ve read my depression story. If not, here’s a quick quote to give you an idea of what prayer means to me:
I was 12 and deeply depressed. I was anxious. I had OCD. These ailments were tearing up my soul. Tearing up my heart. But then a miracle happened…
I don’t want you to think I’m tooting my own horn. I didn’t turn to prayer because I’m so spiritually awesome or anything. I did it because I was taught to do it. My entire life up to that point was filled with family prayer (morning and night, kneeling), scripture study, personal prayer, Church, and Church prayer. Talking to Heavenly Father has always been important, so when mental and emotional pain enfolded me, prayer was my first line of defense (and this is why teaching your children these things in the home is so important; I’d be a different person if my parents hadn’t faithfully followed the commandments). I prayed for hours to have strength, to be forgiven, to get better. I poured out my soul to my God.
My prayers were answered. Oh, not in the way I wanted them to be answered and not right away. I wasn’t magically cured. But I did find strength. My burden was lightened. The Atonement of Jesus Christ isn’t just about sins. I found that out then; it’s about all pains and sicknesses. Sin is a sickness, but so is depression. It’s just one that I had no choice about.
And that’s okay.
The Savior took my burden upon himself so that 2,000 years later, I wouldn’t have to. Prayer lightened my burden, made it bearable.
I know now that, although the Lord could have taken away the depression, he didn’t for a very good reason: to teach me spiritual strength, greater emotional and mental capacity, and compassion. If given the choice now to go back in time and undo the depression, I wouldn’t. It would be tempting, but I wouldn’t, because it was crucial to my spiritual growth.
I haven’t been on a mission, but this was my mission. And now I have this blog, my life’s ministry, to help those who are struggling as I have. If one person is touched or helped because of the journey and struggles I’ve been through, then that pain was well-served.
And pray always.