This post is 10 min read.
Hey, everyone! I apologize for not posting for the past two weeks. It’s been a strange 2 weeks, filled with unexpected turns of events. It began with confusion and doubts about future. Then health declined little by little and it threw me completely off-kilter. *I know now what is causing my health issues, so it’s not a problem and definitely not COVID19.
Even so, I’ve felt like I’ve been stuck. Stuck and just not strong enough to get out. I realized that many of you may also have similar feelings that I have had recently, so I hope you can read this with a similar understanding as to what I’m speaking of and find more clarity.
When I was 6 I began taking karate lessons with my two older sisters. I was negligent to do so since I wanted to be a dancer and was very vocal about it but under the insistence of my parents, I accepted. I soon realized that I loved karate and that I had a knack for it. I won competitions, I fought against skilled martial artists, and I learned a lot about self-protection. I improved daily through hours of practice at my studio and even sparred at home to improve.
When I became skilled enough, I began to grapple- or, wrestle. I was a good fighter. When I would fight, I learned from mistakes quickly and kept improving.
One day I was fighting against a boy who was pretty strong. I didn’t know how the fight would go since he was known for being very good, but I was determined to win. We started on our feet and quickly got to the ground, trying to ‘tap’ the other opponent out.
He moved like lightning and hooked his arm around my neck, pulling me into a tight chokehold. I could usually find a little room to breath (if my opponent was careless) but this guy had the right idea and left me barely any room to breath. It wasn’t even a minute and I was in danger of tapping out.
I struggled and tried to pull his arm away. No luck. I even tried twisting in his grip to face him and create more room. No luck. I twisted back into place and racked my brain on how to get out.
This thought ran in my head over and over again:
In that moment I felt stuck. Utterly and completely stuck. No kicking, punching, pulling or twisting was going to get this kid to let go of his grip. And even worse? He was strong enough to still tighten his chokehold.
To be honest, I don’t remember how the fight ended that day. But the point is, I felt in-between the place I wanted to be (winning) and the place I was (losing).
Have you ever felt stuck? In-between? Maybe not physically like I was, but perhaps you felt In-between unresolved situations or problems. Emotional, mental, and social interactions can leave us feeling very stuck.
Some feel stuck in-between happiness and sadness. Or maybe in-between clarity and confusion, security and scarcity, hurting and healing. Life is complex; these complex feelings we have as a result can be really hard to cope with.
I wasn’t quite sure (and still am not quite sure) what to think about all of these incomplete feelings that I have. However, trusting in God has been a great help. He’s always consistent when my life is tossing and turning like a colossal tidal wave.
Several people, along with Elder Gong, shared their advice for getting through hard times by focusing on Jesus Christ.
One man said,
And something clicked! 💡*Tada*💡 How had such simple words not struck me sooner?
It was SO simple, and yet so easy to look over. This man’s testimony of Jesus Christ struck me to the core. I sat on my couch, pondering for maybe 8 minutes.
My thought process was something a little like this:
- Because of His Atonement, Jesus Christ knows everything I’m feeling, have felt, and will feel.
- Because of His Atonement, Jesus Christ knows everything I’m thinking, have thought, and will think.
- If He really knows me that well (better than I know myself) then He also knows the things I can’t even describe. The things I can’t identify myself.
- If this is true, then that means Jesus Christ can bring me peace even if I’m not sure what I need peace for- at the time I need it & how it needs to be delivered to me.
- Then this means, He is the Master Physician! He can diagnose any mysterious infirmity that comes my way. He knows how to succor his people and He knows how to succor me.
So the question is, how do you find answers in Christ?
Not knowing how to read yourself is tough. Like, really tough. How are you supposed to ask for help or express yourself if you can’t even decide what you think?
How are you going to heal if you don’t even know the illness?
In the Book of Mormon one of my favorite scriptures answers this question of the soul very well:
11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; 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.ALMA 7: 11-12 [emphasis added]
There are a few keywords I want to point out here:
- Pains, afflictions, temptations: These words illustrate very well exactly what Jesus Christ felt while in the Garden of Gethsemane. He felt the pain of heartbreak, a broken bone or body deformity; He felt the pains of a drug addict. He knows these feelings very well.
- Succor: Oxford Dictionary describes ‘succor’ as “assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.” Isaiah taught what the Lord’s extent of assistance and support was in the Old Testament: “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” [Isaiah 49:15-16]
- Infirmities: These are the mental and physical weaknesses we may have in life, according to Oxford Dictionary. Synonyms include weakness, hesitation, uncertainty, inconstancy, indecision, and irresolution.
Infirmities are what I want to focus on. Infirmities are what make us feel like we’re in limbo. Feeling in-between feels like limbo.
However, friends, I want you to consider what the scripture in Alma means when it said, “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 didn’t have a deep understanding of how much Jesus Christ went through in Gethsemane until I had this epiphany and wrote this article. He knows the details of the human condition in and out. And as sad as this makes me feel, it also brings me SO much peace and joy.
Someone actually knows how I’m feeling! And don’t get me wrong, I’ve known that Jesus Christ felt my sins and burdens for my whole life- my eyes just weren’t open to the infinite capacity of that Atonement.
I want to illustrate an idea from the great Michelangelo. For several years Michelangelo’s inspired way of completing his sculpture, ‘Angel’ sat at the forefront of my creative pursuits:
“He saw the angel in the marble and carved until he set him free.”
Angel by Michelangelo (1494–1495); The Basilica, San Domenico, Bologna.
This beautiful example can be applied to most anything and I think, especially to life’s challenges.
The Beginning and the Ending
When I realized that Jesus Christ knew how to help me in my clueless state, a flood of enlightenment rushed across my tired mind. I began to imagine all the times I realized that the Lord knew how I felt; I imagined situations like a breakup, disappointment in my actions, and the pain from someone else’s poor actions.
I was so happy and even felt emotional to remember these things.
I know that Jesus Christ’s Atonement has helped me in the past. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers. And I know They will continue to help me.
In scripture, Jesus Christ has been called:
- “The Beginning and the Ending” [Revelation 1:8; 3 Nephi 9:18],
- “The Alpha and Omega” [Revelation 1:8; 3 Nephi 9:18],
- “The First and the Last” [Revelation 22:13; 1 Nephi 20:12]
- “Author and Finisher” of our faith. [Hebrews 12:2; Moroni 6:4]
Don’t these names of Christ give you the idea that He may just be involved in every detail? Not just the ones we know of?
I know I do.
He caused every tree to grow. He filled the oceans with life and beauty. He created the most beautiful arrangement of astronomy I have ever seen.
If He did all of these, then the Beginning and the Ending must know my in-between. Even if I don’t.
I always find peace when I turn to Him, even if I can’t hear Him at the moment or don’t know how to talk to Him. He gives me the strength to push through even when it seems like it may not amount to anything. I’ve learned to Give God the credit He deserves.
As I close out this article, I invite you all to read through the names that I shared and to study them, ponder them, and apply them to your daily life.
And just remember, the Beginning and the Ending knows your in-betweens.
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How have you navigated your difficult in-betweens? How has this post helped you? Comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts and feature them on my social media pages!