Anxiety and the Atonement; from an early returned missionary.

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It was 7:25 pm at the Tuesday Devotional at the Missionary Training Center. I had just experienced my second panic attack while in the MTC and was alone in the bathroom trying to calm myself down. That was the first time I prayed out loud by myself while being there. I cried out to Heavenly Father and told Him I couldn’t do it anymore. I had spent a year getting healthy so I could serve a mission and here I was two and a half weeks into my mission and falling back in to my anxiety I had spent a year healing from. It was a hopeless feeling because I had given everything I could possibly give, but it wasn’t enough.
Two days later I was sitting alone in a small room making the phone call home to my parents. I cried from the shame I was feeling for even calling. I wasn’t supposed to be calling home except for on Mother’s Day and Christmas but this wasn’t that occasion. When I hung up the phone thirty minutes later, I laid my head on the desk and wept. I didn’t understand why God just wouldn’t take my anxiety away so that I could serve Him. People had  told me that they believed He would if I gave myself to Him. Did I not have enough faith in Him? Did I not trust that He would? I felt like I had suffered long enough from this cancer of the mind and that the least He could do is take it away so that I could “invite others to come unto Christ”.
It took me five months later to realize that I did invite someone unto Christ; it was me.

I have gained an undeniable testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Before my mission, I believed it was true. But after coming home early from my mission, I know it is true.
I was broken in so many different ways. I felt like a failure for coming home early, I felt guilty for asking God for help because of how much more suffering people are experiencing in this world, I felt like I was being judged, I felt I had let the people in Brazil down, I felt hopeless about a future filled with anxiety, I felt alone and forgotten by God, and I didn’t know how I could possibly be healed from this broken, dark place I was in. My heart and soul were hurting so deeply that it caused a physical pain.
I had to learn to give my whole soul to Jesus Christ because I couldn’t heal the pain on my own. I needed strength to keep going and He gave it to me.
I had to come unto Christ so that He could heal me. Not heal me from my anxiety, but from my broken heart.

No earthly mortal has the power to heal like the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The sister that was broken is made whole.
Sometimes I wonder why we have to go through trials. I have come to realize that through all my struggles and trials in life, my testimony has been strengthened only by enduring those struggles and the suffering. I know that when we are at our lowest point, that if we turn to Heavenly Father, He will help us. Maybe not in the way or timing we want, but as we endure, the blessings of heaven will be poured upon us.

The Atonement is real.
Jesus Christ has picked me up when I couldn’t stand on my own, He carried me when I couldn’t walk, and held out His hand when I called His name. The Atonement made that possible. Jesus Christ didn’t just suffer so that we would be forgiven. He suffered and atoned for our weaknesses and heartaches, too. When nobody is able to understand the depth of your dispair, He is able to because He felt that for you so you wouldn’t have to go through that alone. The Son of God did that for you because He loves you.
Never forget that you are not alone.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the most Supreme Beings in the universe, love you.
I know with everything inside of me that God lives. There have been events in my life that have occured that could not have happened without a God and I cannot deny that it was His loving hand. He will never leave us alone to endure our trials. They will never turn their backs on you even if you are the one to turn your back on them.

Even though I no longer physically wear Jesus Christ’s name, I will always have it over my heart because after all that He has done for me, that is the least I can do to repay Him.

Throughout this year, I have found one of the lessons I have been needing to learn from this experience- When we turn to God in our struggles, He gives us strength. I didn’t have the strength to continue on as a missionary, but I had the strength to continue on when I didn’t know how I could.

Turn to God in your struggles and trials, it will change your life- because it has changed mine.

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