Remember that game from elementary school, when you would hold hands with another person, and they would try to twist your wrists until you called "Mercy"?
I didn't like that game.
I always lost. I always called "Mercy" too quickly. And the boys in third grade thought it was hilarious.
Well, last week, I was sick for a full week--feeling totally overwhelmed, trying to keep up with emails and deadlines, and keeping the children happy, fed, clean, and loved.
Eric saved me that whole week--making mean batches of pancakes or frozen pizzas for dinner and sending me to bed as often as he could. And my children were incredibly sweet and helpful, for which I'm very grateful.
But Tuesday night, we were out of groceries, and Eric was driving the children around on some other errands, so I took about an hour to buy food and return library books by myself.
While I was out, the weight of the world started descending upon my shoulders. I know I worry too much and feel obligated to do too many projects, and I know I take my concerns too seriously sometimes. But in this case, all of my worries felt totally justified.
Thinking of all the things I wanted and needed to get done--and comparing those aspirations with my then-current state of health left me deep in discouragement.
As I drove down the street toward the library, feeling "life" twisting me in too many uncomfortable directions, I thought back to those days in third grade. And I quietly whispered, "Mercy, Lord. I'm calling for Mercy."
And something amazing happened that night. While I shopped at the grocery store and drove around our little community, I felt an outpouring of love.
Answers to my problems didn't come right away. And nothing changed in my health, but I felt God there with me. I felt Him telling me that He was watching out for me, and that He knew I was being stretched. I felt His power lift me and fill me and pour out of me.
The other shoppers might have wondered what was wrong with me--as I wiped my eyes and smiled at them in the bakery section, and the produce section, and the check-out area.
But that feeling was so real. That power was so real. And so beautiful.
This morning I was reading from Isaiah 49 (quoted in 1 Nephi 21 in The Book of Mormon), and these words echoed my feelings from that night at the grocery store:
" . . . the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. . . . But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me--but he will show that he hath not."
This is a lesson I keep learning over and over again. Whenever life feels hard, and God seems silent, I simply need to call for His mercy. He has the power to comfort us, to remind us that we are never forgotten, and to fill us with the power to do mighty, wonderful things.
Just thought I'd share . . . in case you needed this reminder, too.