When the Mormon Pioneers were crossing the plains, there were some companies that left late in the infamous exodus. These companies had to push and pull handcarts because resources were limited by that time and they did not have access to wagons and oxen like the previous companies. Several of these pioneers, if not all of them, came to a point in their journey where they couldn't take another step. They were physically spent and could not push or pull anymore even though their journey was not complete. Some of these pioneers recorded experiences in their journals where their handcart started pushing them, and they received strength from some Heavenly source to continue pressing forward. I call those experiences "handcart moments."
We all have handcart moments in our lives when we've been strengthened with strength beyond our own. Throughout this past week of great physical trial I have had several of those moments. I have been reflecting on those mighty blessings, those handcart moments, in gratitude. I would like to share one of those moments with you, but before I do, a little back story is pertinent.
Since my pregnancy with Rae, who is now 5, I have had problems with my kidneys. They backup from time to time creating a condition called hydronephrosis. It causes fluid retention in the kidneys which makes them painful and swollen. I also will have a sudden weight gain of 5-10 lbs of general water retention in my body, fatigue and headaches from the changing water balance. The doctor's have had several different theories as to why the retention and hydro occurs, but the underlying reason is still unknown. I've even had an unconventional reconstructive surgery on my kidney and ureter that was risky, but promised relief from my symptoms. It was unsuccessful and quite traumatic. Also, unrelated to the hydro, I produce very large, impassible stones, which have had to be removed by surgery. All in all, my kidneys have been a source of much pain and trial in my life over the past 5 years.
Fortunately, I have had relief from time to time, but the symptoms always seem to reoccur at the most inopportune times. This past week has been one of those times. As most of you know, I have just began feeling better after my hysterectomy until my health took a turn for the worse. I started feeling off about 9 days ago from the time of writing this. I gained 8 pounds of water weight overnight. My kidneys became swollen and painful and I came down with a fever which I still have. I thought maybe the pain and retention I've been having was from another impassible stone, but sadly, it wasn't. My CT scan showed the fluid backup, but strangely there was nothing blocking the ureter. Because of this, there is nothing the doctor's can do for me. Also, in explanation of the fever, I came down with the flu, which poor Lily also got. We've both been fighting fevers, cough and congestion as I write this.
This has been a great time of reflection for me. I have seen the Lord's hand in my life as a real force. Which brings me to my handcart moment I wanted to share. My son, Kyler was scheduled to have his special spotlight day at school where I would go and spotlight him and tell his class all about him. The night before I was so ill that I didn't think I could make it, so we made backup plans for Tim to go instead.
The next day was no better. I still had a fever and could barely get out of bed, I was so exhausted I felt like my body was made out of lead and I had a migraine. I decided to take a nap, hoping that when I woke up I would be well enough to go. I set my alarm for 30 minutes before the presentation. When I woke up, I didn't feel any better. I checked my phone and I had a text from Tim saying that he would not be able to make it on time to do the presentation. I was crushed. I could not let Kyler down. I had no other choice but to get on my knees and plead with Heavenly Father to give me the strength to go. As tears flowed, I poured my heart out to God.
I got up and began to dress and get the girls ready to go. I slowly began to feel energy beyond my own. I felt Heavenly help as my symptoms began to fade and my spirits were lifted. We made it just in time for the spotlight. My hopeless countenance was replaced with a quiet peace and happiness that the Lord was with me. Kyler had a wonderful spotlight. He was beaming and smiling from ear to ear. I am sure he had no idea how hard it was for me to be there, but I am grateful that he doesn't have to know.
It may seem like such a small thing, in such a small moment of my life, but I knew at that moment I had Heavenly help pushing my handcart, as I have had on so many other occasions as well. I am grateful that even though sometimes Heavenly Father cannot remove a trial from our lives, He strengthens us and blesses us through that trial. Sometimes the push comes from a from a loved one or a complete stranger. Sometimes it comes from unseen powers. Most often it comes when we think we cannot possibly take another step. No matter how that help comes, you can be sure that as you seek the Lord, He stands ready to bless you. I know that someday soon I will reach the end of this trial and be lead to the green pastures of the valley. And until then, and as different challenges await me in the future, I will be grateful for the strength that comes beyond my own and for the angels that help to push my handcart.