Thursday night I stood in the bathroom listening to the sound of the fan whirring above me and staring at my pale face in the mirror. Andrea was sick again for what felt like the thousandth time this season. And there I was, hiding in the bathroom, drowning out the potential sounds of the baby monitor with the ventilation fan so I could pray for help with out being interrupted by her cries or coughs. My arms shook and my legs tremored under the weight of motherhood and loneliness. Please help me, I cried out to my father in heaven. Please help me to find comfort so I can give her comfort.
Throughout this winter, as Andrea has battled nearly ever virus and bug circulating around, I have often found myself overwhelmed by physical and emotional fatigue. The pressure of school and the discomfort of pregnancy make her illnesses not only heart-wrenching to watch, but completely overwhelming to handle as they make it nearly impossible for me to take care of any other aspect of life. When my body finds itself so overwhelmed it manifests in tremoring chills that are difficult to overcome. I have often turned to prayer and have felt immediate comfort sweep over me or found that singing hymns in my head bring stability back into my nervous body.
Thursday night was different. Thursday night I was not given immediate peace, no did a song still my arms. Instead a little voice whispered into my mind, turn to your husband. I thought it was a strange and somewhat cruel prompting since he was out late helping on old classmate with his taxes, so I turned off the fan in the bathroom and listened again for a more timely message. Turn to your husband, I heard again. With the fan off I recognized the sound of my phone vibrating in the other room. It was Paul calling to tell me he was on his way home. I turned my thoughts toward heaven again. Fine, I'll do it Your way, I conceded.
Leaning on my husband for support is not an easy thing for me. I like to be his support, talk tough, and let out enough vulnerability to seem normal. Once I've had my fill of complaining, I tighten my bootstraps and take care of things myself. I've always been this way. But last May when I found myself bleeding away a pregnancy I called my mother and asked her to take me to the doctor while Paul stayed home with sleeping Andrea. "No!" She insisted. "You need to be with your husband." I still think it's sad that after three years of marriage I found it more natural to turn to my mom for strength during that trail than the father of the baby I was losing. However, her insistence that I take Paul turned into a blessing in our marriage. For the first time, I let myself really turn to him and discover the true strength of his soul, and things have never been the same.
Yet, in many ways, I am still the same. Still hesitant to open myself to the power of vulnerability. So on Thursday night, the Lord, in his omniscient wisdom, thought He'd help answer another of my most common prayers: Please continue to help Paul and I grow closer in our marriage. When Paul got home I told him I needed a moment of connection, so we knelt across from each other on our bed. He took my hands in his and we both closed our eyes and allowed the circuit of energy to flow between us. Tears streamed down my cheeks and I wordlessly unloaded my burden. He silently absorbed it and pulsed calm into my veins. When peace returned to our sphere, I opened my eyes and stared at his face. He smiled at me, cracked a joke about parking tickets and tucked me in with a blanket of lighthearted humor. The Lord was right. I needed to turn to my husband.
Minutes later I was reading in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17) where Nephi was asked to build a ship. Nephi turned to God and said, "Um. . . I actually don't know how to do that. . ." The Lord didn't poof a ready-to-assemble ship in front of him stacked neatly in Ikea boxes. He didn't wash an unused vessel up onto the shore. He said, "Don't worry. I will tell you where to go to find ore." I was reminded that night that sometimes miracles like peace are dropped upon us like manna from heaven, and sometimes we're told where to go to find it.