I have Lyme. I’d like to not have it anymore. I also just want cake.
As I begin to stir and wake each morning, aside from immediately feeling pain, nausea, jitters, or internal tremor like thingies that have me reaching for my morning pills (set on my nightstand the night before because I wake up each day so messed up I need them to even get out of my room) I lay in bed and let the meds kick in and just think about where ever my mind wanders. Several times for years I’ve always felt this is the stuff I need to start recording, and now I’m doing it. It’s 7:59 am right now and this is the stuff that came to my mind this morning.
I have been told or warned about each major life event of mine since I was 19, before it happened. Boldly, plainly, unmistakably told. By the Spirit. Today I am grateful for these moments, and to confess, I frequently wonder why I was given them. I don’t know if knowing about them prior really affected the outcome of each event (that’s not true, most did). But came they did.
There was the one time when I was 19 driving home from class on a busy freeway and a voice told me three times to pass a large, speeding, flatbed truck. After the third time I finally complied, just in time to see him in my rear-view mirror veer off the left lane into a concrete overhead sign post. I can still see his face and hands fly towards the windshield in slow motion. I can still see the flatbed part of his truck swing out in to the freeway and every vehicle behind him disappearing into a plume of dust, metal, and glass – and not coming out on the other side. I was so affected I had to immediately pull over to the shoulder and sob. Then I drove home and sobbed some more. Only later it hit me that my life was saved that day.
Then there was that time I was 21 and sitting in church on a Sunday morning. A voice spoke clearly to me saying “You will get married soon, prepare”. Prepare? How? I had no idea. But sure enough, my first husband returned home from his LDS mission in Rome a few months later. We began dating and we married in the San Diego LDS temple 7 months after that voice. This marriage lasted four and a half years. Despite his soft and kind demeanor, his willingness to give to others, and his sincere desires to live the gospel, addiction is a cancer that we could not save our marriage from. I learned to forgive. A lot. I learned volumes. When I think of this marriage I see images of spiritual and emotional suffering on both of our parts. I see me kneeling in front of his weeping and regretful self, telling him with every strength I could muster, “I forgive you”. I see him forcing his head up high, brow furrowed in determination to beat his demons. I see us both striving and grasping and struggling to recover from blow after blow after blow. This is when I truly cultivated my relationship with the Savior. I regret none of it. I feel I was meant to go through it, to give it a shot, to develop myself through it, and thus it was revealed.
Later I would move to Arizona and begin dating again. One, in particular. We began to make plans to marry. I had occasional misgivings about this one, but continued. Perhaps my self-esteem had taken a hit over the previous years (not perhaps, but let’s go with “definitely”). One week before our wedding I was plainly told while sitting on my bed “This is not right, you will regret this”. It tortured me. People had spent a lot of time making wedding preparations. My family had paid for plane tickets to Arizona. And… well, I loved him. I wasn’t strong enough to obey this one and I went through with it. Within hours after the ceremony his charm melted into disrespect and the following two years that I hung on to that marriage were some of the darkest of my life thus far. I have never mentioned this prompting nor my disobedience before to anyone but I want to now. I want my future children to know that disobedience never brings happiness. I want them to know of my experience and hopefully, learn from it. In some ways, almost six years later, I am still recovering my personal feelings of self-worth damaged during that marriage.
During this time in Arizona in the spring of 2009 I was chatting online with my brother Justin. He was excitedly telling me about his dangerous antics he played with his new motorcycle. I jokingly told him to be careful, that I didn’t want to have to attend his funeral. He laughed and said everything would be fine. After logging off that voice came back again. “Your brother will die on that motorcycle”. This one turned my face white. I was so disturbed by it that I immediately composed an email to my father telling him to beg my brother to be careful. A month or two later in June, I lost my brother Justin while he was on that motorcycle. He had not been speeding. No dangerous antics were to blame. He was meant to go. He was carefully taken. He was needed elsewhere. Yet this event was still a severe blow to me who was already battling the darkness of an abusive marriage, far from the support system of my family. However, God does not take without also giving. It was a time of great spiritual blessings amidst the darkness for me and for my family. Beautiful things happened. Grief was replaced with peace every moment that I would need it. I would not ask for him back.
Then there was that one time two and a half years later as I am sitting in a black Tacoma pick-up truck. I had been on a first date and he was driving me back to Orem, Utah where I was staying with my friend Christie. The date went well. He was quiet. It was dark out. I suddenly felt a moment of peace and quickly glanced at him. Then something caught my attention in my peripheral. I briefly saw two children in the back who were vaguely outlined. My date suddenly looked like a father, and I felt like a mother. Then it was gone. Despite all my deep-seated fears of marriage that had developed from my past, despite the two years it took the Spirit to work upon me to soften my heart again to the idea of marriage (and the whole two years this man patiently, patiently waited for me), I knew the whole time that he would be the one. This time it wasn’t a voice. It was an image. And without it, I wouldn’t have been able to take that leap again. This revelation, above all the others, I am most grateful for. It gave me D.
We married in the Salt Lake temple. We honeymooned in Costa Rica. It was wonderful. I had a best friend. I felt whole. Life felt happy. Life felt healed. Shortly after returning from Costa Rica I was driving to work one day and the voice returned. “You will soon have problems with your health”. This one felt ominous. I didn’t like this one. It saddened me. I was really enjoying my new life. But by now I had figured out the drill with this voice, and I immediately accepted it. I had struggled with little mystery health issues here and there for over a decade. It seemed obvious they would come to a head. A few months later we decided to sell the house. We were praying for weeks if we should immediately buy a new house or get an apartment and take our time. We decided to sleep on it one night, tell each other what we thought the next morning, and then just go with that answer. Again, I was reminded of an impending health issue. I felt strongly we should go the apartment route. We woke up the next morning and both said the same thing – the apartment. One month after we moved into our apartment in downtown Salt Lake I suddenly became very sick. Over the next few months we spent thousands on ER visits, different doctor visits and their different medical tests. When nothing turned up wrong we stopped seeing doctors and instead bought a house, despite my continuing illness. God knew that naturally, we would furiously seek answers to my health problem and that it would cost money. Staying in a cheap apartment for a few months freed up our expenses to undergo the many expensive medical tests. With a binder full of normal test results, a new comfortable home, but yet a continuing illness, I turned inward for a source of direction to my health. I received a referral to a doctor who treated chronic illnesses, including Lyme Disease. Two months later we drove to Denver and paid this doctor a mere $200 for a simple blood test that finally diagnosed me with Lyme disease. My fight with Lyme obviously continues, almost a year and a half later.
For some reason the Spirit has been close to me, even during times I wasn’t necessarily trying to be close to Him, and even when I was out-right disobeying Him. I frequently think of these events and others I have experienced, and my testimony of the Holy Ghost is renewed and strengthened each time. Today, I woke up feeling incredibly grateful that we have a guide on this earth to not just lead us through correct paths, but to warn us, foretell us, and prepare us for joys, sorrows, bumps, hiccups, and trials. Nothing feels better than to know that I, that you, are not alone on this planet, that there is a specific path for you, that there is a guide who will see you through it. You may not be guided in the same ways I am, and I may not be guided in the same ways you will be, but we are both watched over and gently pushed in the right directions as long as we’ll allow it. I felt I needed to write this today.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for blessing little me with your Spirit.