When I was a teenager, I faced a hard and painful trial. A long and traumatic trial that left me with some deep emotional wounds. It took over a decade of hurt, confusion, and fear before I was able to get the help I needed to heal those wounds. One of the deepest wounds (and one of the hardest to recognize) was this deep-seated belief I’d gained that I didn’t matter and that I wasn’t worthy of connection. I know, it sounds harsh. But, while I knew cognitively that on a general level everyone matters, so I must matter somehow… deep inside, I didn’t believe that at all. For years this faulty belief clouded my actions and reactions without me even realizing it.
A few years ago, I faced another hard trial in my life. Again, I felt completely alone as I sat in a heap on my bathroom floor miscarrying my baby. This time, however, as I sat there, in tears of pain and sorrow, feeling alone and unimportant, I remembered a line from a blessing I’d received in which I’d been told to “remember you are never alone”. Almost instantly after those words came into my head I felt surrounded by what I can only describe as angels. My pain was not removed. The deep hurt in my heart over losing my baby remained. But I was no longer alone, and I knew it. I knew that I was deeply connected to and loved by the angels that surrounded me that day. I knew that I mattered to them.
As I pondered that experience afterward, I felt the strong impression that there were some specific women from my family history who were there that day. Women from my family who, like me, had also lost babies while on this earth. Women who I had loved and who had loved me. Women I’d never met but loved just the same. Later, I read this quote from Joseph F. Smith and that impression I’d had was confirmed to me:
When messengers are sent to minister to the inhabitants of this earth, they are not strangers, but from the ranks of our kindred, friends, and fellow-beings and fellow-servants. Our fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters and friends who have passed away from this earth, having been faithful, and worthy to enjoy these rights and privileges, may have a mission given them to visit their relatives and friends upon the earth again, bringing from the divine Presence messages of love…to those whom they had learned to love in the flesh.
Joseph F. Smith
Since that day, those acutely embedded beliefs that I don’t matter and am not worthy of connection have started to erode. Now, I am not going to say that doing my family history and having this experience is all I needed to heal. Therapy, connecting with my Savior and feeling His atoning power, and learning how to forgive have been vital pieces of that healing, a process that is ongoing and continues today. However, feeling the connection to and love of my family members on the other side of the veil has been an integral part of changing my mindset and feeling differently about myself. This experience and the ongoing connection I have felt to them since that time have strengthened me and have helped me hold firm to the truth that I do matter, that I am loved, that I am worthy of connection.
I know this to be true not only for myself but for you as well. As we reach out to our ancestors, they will be there. They will reach back to us, connect with us, love us, comfort us in our pain, guide us through our sorrows and help us heal our pain.
xo – Sarah
God never leaves us alone, never leaves us unaided in the challenges that we face…Usually, such beings are not seen. Sometimes they are. But seen or unseen they are always near…. most often [the angelic purpose] is to comfort, to provide some form of merciful attention, guidance in difficult times.
Jeffery R. Holland