Sunday, June 14, 2009

Be Still, My Soul

Today I taught the Laurels (the 16-17 year old girls) in my ward. Not my usual gig. I was filling in for their regular teacher who is out of town. The lesson was on Personal Records. Great lesson. It was probably more for my benefit that I was asked to give this lesson than it was for the girls. How is it that that always seems to happen?

I told the girls I have not been a very good journal writer. I look back now and feel pretty bad because I did not write about my wedding day, nor the days that any of my children were born. How sad is that?

There is one short entry noting that my husband asked me to marry him but nothing about our courtship (look at me all 1800's) or anything. Just that short note. And again nothing about our wedding day.

Basically I suck at writing things down. Which is part of the reason I started this blog. In hopes that I would become better at documenting my life.

And I have found that many, nay, most of the time when I write in my "paper" journal that it's to get things off of my chest or complain, when I am struggling. That's not great. Because then whoever does read my journals (like I have more than one) will think that I led a hard life full of sorrow.

Which I haven't. My life has been one of relative ease. Not to say that I haven't had my struggles. Obviously I have because that's what I've written about, privately.

I try to keep things here on the blog upbeat. Because, you know, trials? They can be such downers. And yet we all need to know that everyone struggles and has trials. In fact the past few months have been really, really difficult for me.

I would go so far as to say that I've been dealing with depression. Okay, not really dealing with it, more like not dealing with it. Most days I did just what was necessary to get the kids dressed, fed and out the door to school. And did just the bare minimum around the house so as not to worry my husband.

I am starting to come up for air. And actually this wasn't what my post was supposed to be about but I'll leave it out there. It does tie in with what I wanted to write about. An experience that I had in Sacrament meeting during our rest hymn. I'm writing it down because of the lesson I gave. I want to have this down somewhere. For me.

The theme for this month is dealing with adversity. How about that?

The rest hymn? Be Still, My soul.

Here are the words.

1. Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In evry change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: Thy best, thy heavnly Friend
Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

3. Be still, my soul: The hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: When change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

I have always loved the scripture in Psalms 46:10 and in Doctrine and Covenants 101:16 "Be still and and know that I am God." And we actually read Doc. and Cov. 101:16 today in Sunday School and then to have this song as the rest hymn....

As we were singing this hymn the part that stood out to me the most was the first part of the second verse.

Be still, my soul: Thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;

Oh how my confidence and my hope have been shaken! Shaken to the core. And that, I believe is where the depression has snaked it's way into my life. I needed to hear that my future will be guided by my God. As my past has been. Oh how He has guided me in the past! How I needed that reminder. That gentle nudge to remind me that He is still there. Guiding my life, leading me if I will let Him.

I need to let Him.

Be still, my soul. Everything will be as it should.

Here is a version of the song that I like. It's done by a group from BYU called Vocal Point.


Kristina P. said...

I am thinking of you, Shanna!

Lara said...

A couple things about this amazing post:

1. I am so thankful for blogging because, although at one time in my life I was an obsessive journal keeper, once I had my first baby I started writing only once a year or so. Blogging has really made me keep a record of my life. I'm very glad that it has done the same for you. Make sure to make it into a book eventually so that your kids and grandkids can have a hard copy to read.

2. Thanks for your honesty about the things you've been dealing with. I appreciate hearing that others go through similar trials...even if they are vastly different. I can certainly relate to all you said about what you're going through right now.

3. My calling is to choose the hymns each week. Not even lead them, just choose them. So, thanks for sharing your experience with this because sometimes I feel like it isn't a very important calling. I'm sure whoever chose the hymns in your ward that day was trying to follow inspiration so that you could be touched.

I'm thinking of you and hope that you continue to break through the tough times.

Barbaloot said...

My first thought was I'm sorry you had to teach the Laurels---but maybe you liked it? Teaching is SO hard for me, and teaching young girls? Yikes!

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings--I think it's helpful for the writer and the reader.

And also, I LOVE Vocal Point! I maybe used to have a monster crush on one of their singers---and then he married someone else. Bummer.

Erin said...

I miss being in the Young Women (as a teacher, I mean, not as a young woman).

I'm glad you were able to have this aha moment - the Spirit teach you something. I love it when we have breakthroughs like this.

I am so impressed that you talked about difficult stuff on your blog. Good for you!

Emmy said...

Thank you for sharing this. That is one of my favorite hymns too.
You should go to; and awesome online journal that I know is the only reason I actually am good at writing a journal now.. cause well there are something things that I just don't want to write on my blog :)

Melissa said...

Wow.... needed your post today. For lot's of reasons. Mostly for the reminder that many of us struggle with depression and that there is strength and hope in numbers. And for the beautiful hymn.
Dig in your heels and hang on, things work out. Sending good, positive thoughts your way!

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

Trials can be such downers! ;o) I'm glad to hear you're coming up for air, though. I guess that's all we can do sometimes...just keep breathing.

Debbie said...

Up until a few months after I married I kept a good journal, however I realize now it's quite sad because most of it is all about how boy crazy I was. It seems so pointless I didnt write other thoughts/issues.

Now, like you, my blog is my journal. I have a family blog specifically I try to post on 3-4 times a week and have gotten a program and started putting it to book. (plus now i can print it and give it to the grandparents)

Good to hear things are going better for you--or at least you're coming up for air. Good luck with it all.

muggins mahooney said...

Oh Shanna I'm so sorry that you have not been feeling well. Depression is such a hard thing to say out loud, but thank you for letting all of us know how you feel. It can be very hard at times to tell what people are really feeling because they can hide it so well.
You have always been a great example to me. I have always admired your ability to 'say it like it is' but remain positive, focused and forgiving. I hope you get feeling better soon.

Wendyburd1 said...

I LOVE Ginny Owens version of this song. I am sorry you are dealing with depression. I hate that I have to so I don't like it when anyone else is struggling with it! (HUGS)

Tammy said...

Shanna, I'm sorry you have been having a tough time. Isn't it wonderful that the Lord knows what we need, and is there to help us through the tough times? I hope you feel better soon.

Jillene said...

WOW--what an amamzing post Shanna!! I love how honest you were and how you poured out your heart. I will be thinking of you and praying that you feel better soon!!

Mina said...

One of my favorite hymns. I am sorry you've been going through a rough time. It's not fun to deal with. And it's not easy to pull out of, either. I hope you find success in doing so.

Madalyn :) said...

You are so strong Shanna! I loved this post and I love that Hymn!

Kate said...

Isn't it amazing what we learn when we teach others? What a great post? I love music and I am so thankful for how it helps me. Hang in there. I hope that you can find peace through hymns and other things. Have a great week.

Honey and Hotstuff said...

It takes so much courage to admit. I know... I have been there before and admitting is the first step in healing. Thanks for sharing... let me know if you need anything.

Anonymous said...

Amazing...thinking about you...thanks for your words! :)

LaurieJ said...

We read a scripture today that ended with 'Be still and know that I am God'.
It struck me hard. It must have been that kind-of a day over here to.
And depression is such a real thing. Don't let anyone make you feel like it is something you should snap out of! Take caer of yourself so you can help those around you

Rachel Sue said...

Oh, how I loved this post! Partly because my journal probably looks a whole lot like your-full of my trials and struggles and not much else. Partly because I love, love, love Be Still My Soul. I had an experience with the song long ago and ever since whenever I hear it it brings me so much joy.

I'm glad you got some reassurance. I hope things continue to look up for you.

tammy said...

We sang that song for the first time in along time just the other week. I hadn't really noticed the words until then.

I've dealt with depression before. It's not fun. Make sure you get the help you need for it. There's no shame in being medicated if that's what it takes.

springrose said...

This song has brought me much peace! In January when I had my miscariage it ran thru my head constantly! In fact I went and got some vinyl lettering and a picture frame. I then put the words peace in it and hung it in my kitchen. That way I can see it several times a day. When my Grandfather was dying it also brought me peace. It is amazing how music can help us feel the spirit and know what Heavenly Father is trying to tell us. You are loved! He is with you always! Good luck to you my friend, you are in my prayers! You can make it thru this time, just have faith!!

FlowingWithTheTide said...

Thank you for this. Beautiful song. My prayers are with you Shanna.

Becca said...

Thank you for sharing. Sometimes it's so hard to put your "real" self and emotions out there on your blog for the world to read. But the truth is that there are so many people who relate to you and what you are going through..myself included. And when you put the truth down for us to read, it's a beacon of hope and light. Thanks for sharing, I definitely needed that today!

Jessica G. said...

I love that hymn, too. It makes me get all teary and self-reflective. Thanks for reminding me.

Kim said...

My favorite blogs and favorite people are those that/who are real about themselves and about life. Thanks for being real and not just sunshiney. Too much sunshine is scary.

~ Festi/Neurotic Chic