In our women's meeting today, we had a special lesson. The final two were about rescuing spiritually and emotionally.
In one of my earliest entries, I spoke of the shepherd coming out to the wilderness to find me and bring me back home; however I realized today that my "rescue" did not stop there.
For the first two weeks of returning to the church, I had not met the wife of the home teacher who was taking me to church because she had a calling that was taking her to visit other wards at the time.
I finally met her the week after General Conference. It was fast Sunday so there were no special meetings she needed to attend. The week before General Conference, I had the ugliest, longest and worst panic attack I've ever had. I kept trying to fight through it but in the end I was exhausted and felt like an idiot for having such a harsh response to finally trying to attend all 3 meetings. Because of that I was unable to stay in the meeting during the third hour (when the women meet) on this Fast Sunday. I had planned to sit in the lobby and just read my scriptures during the time.
My home teacher's wife - who had not been able to attend the women's meeting for several weeks because of her calling - came out with me. She stayed with me and talked to me. She understood what I was going through. She was also able to remind me that the things I was saying about me because of this situation were Satan's way of trying to keep me from returning to activity. I felt so bad though, that she didn't stay for a meeting she hadn't attended for so long, but she wanted to be with me. She wanted to be there for me.
From that day was born a friendship or more of a sister-ship stronger and more supportive than I ever remember having. How fortunate I was that 2 weeks later she was release from her calling and given one that meant she could come to church every week.
She was therefore me as I continued to struggle with anxiety and panic attacks. She was there for me whenever I needed her. It was with her love and support and help and understanding that helped me keep moving forward as I strove to return to the fold and stay there.
I am so thankful for my Heavenly Father for putting such a wonderful and dear person into my life right when I needed her the most.
This is yet another thing that, only in retrospect and pondering, showed me that my Heavenly Father loved me and wanted me back in the fold.
I've been active for a year plus a few weeks now. In that time I've come so far.
Last year at this special meeting (an annual event), I had a panic attack just as the final speaker, the president of our stake (the head of several congregations whose bishops report to). I didn't feel it was good form to get up and leave at that moment, so I soldiered through - barely. As soon as the closing prayer was finished I fled.
This year, not only did I stay without any panic or even anxiety, I participated in the discussion the stake president was leading. It was, in essence, about going to the rescue. Not only did I participate. I gave the closing prayer.
I almost do not recognized the person I am now because she is so different from the person who was making her first tentative baby steps back to the fold a year ago.
How wonderful it is for my Heavenly Father to continually remind me that He loves me. He knows me. He knows the desired of my hearts. His love is perfect and it encompasses all.