The Book of Mormon starts off with Lehi and his family. The people of Jerusalem were upset with Lehi for having prophesied to them that they would be destroyed if they didn’t repent. God knew that the people of Jerusalem wanted to kill him, so God inspired Him to take his family and leave Jerusalem.
Not much is said about Lehi’s wife, Sariah, but from the story you can tell that she followed her husband who received counsel from the Lord. During their travels, she complained once because she worried about their safety and well-being of her sons who went back to Jerusalem to fulfill a commandment God had given them to get the plates of brass. When her sons returned, she rejoiced and testified that God truly had led her and her family out of Jerusalem.
The point is, Sariah followed the counsel of the Lord to leave Jerusalem. I’m pretty sure that it was hard for her to leave everything behind. After all, she and Lehi were well-to-do. She went from having the fine things of the world, food to eat, and a home to live in to having what was needed, living in tents, and relying on her sons and husbands to hunt for food. She went from living comfortably to living uncomfortably. Still, she followed the counsel and left Jerusalem.
If there is anything that I have gotten out of this journey with mental illness, it’s the importance of following the will of God.
After I had recognized that I suffered from anxiety and depression and struggled with remembering things that I had happened in my life, I had the strongest impression that if I wanted to start healing I would have to start remembering what had happened in my life. I was also prompted to move away from my family to a place where I would feel safe enough to remember and let the memories and feelings take their course. I hesitated.
Why? Because it would require me to find a different job and at the time, I didn’t have my own car. The prompting would not go away. Wanting to do the will of the Lord and determining to begin healing, I moved in with my brother who lived in Eagle Mountain, Utah.
I worried so much because I didn’t want to be a burden to him. No matter how much I searched for a job in Saratoga Springs and Lehi, nothing was coming at all. When I prayed about it, I felt that I needed to look for a job in Orem and Provo. I thought to myself, “No way! I don’t even have a car to take me out that far and that will only burden my brother.” The feeling kept coming that I needed to do it. So I did.
A month passed and still nothing was happening. I remember I was visiting my mom in Salt Lake. As I sat at the table, I applied for one more job and complained to my mom that nothing was happening. She responded, “Maybe you just need to have faith.” After saying that, she left and went to work.
Frustrated and feeling helpless, I got down on my knees and prayed. I told Heavenly Father that I knew what He wanted me to do and that I was doing what I could to follow His promptings. I remember that I said, “This is the faith that I have and this is what I can do. Please help me.” No kidding, right when I said “Amen” my phone started to ring. I answered it and it was a woman calling about the job that I had just applied for before complaining to my mom. She said that she wanted to set up and interview.
Three days later, I went in for the interview and was hired that very day. That woman is now my boss. Not only is she my boss, but it turned out that she went through similar things in her childhood that I have gone through. She has been very influential in helping me to seek healing and in being healed.
Before starting my new job, my mom felt prompted to take me to a car dealership the day before New Year’s Eve. I resisted going because I didn’t know if I would able to get a car. My mom reassured me by saying, “Sometimes you just have to go and try. When we try, God provides.” We went. Long story short, I had just enough money to make a down payment and my credit score plus the help of my faithful mother co-signing allowed me to get the car.
A month after getting my car, I felt really strongly that I needed to move to Provo, Utah. Provo of all places! I told myself throughout my life that I would never live there. There was no way I would go to the city where people date for a month or 2, maybe 3, and then get married.
As always, the prompting wouldn’t leave me alone. The week that I started to look for a place, I was led to a girl who had mutual friends with me. She was selling her contract and it had everything I needed. I was blessed to get the place and to have a very kind landlord. The next week, I moved in.
It’s interesting how things work out. I know that I was led to the place that I live in because of the ward that I attend. In this ward, I have met people who have been through what I have been through. The leaders in this ward have followed promptings to visit me and when they would visit, it would always be at times when I was struggling the most.
I also know that I was led to this new place that I live at because it’s 10 minutes away from where I work and allows me to continue to work at my job and not have to find a new one. My mom had felt so helpless because she didn’t know how to help me and didn’t really understand. She wanted to put me in counseling, but didn’t have the means to do so. All she could do was pray for me and hope that somehow I would be able to be helped. I was led to my boss who let me know that our job was associated with an organization that provided counseling for those who suffered with anxiety and depression. My boss also let me know that because I worked for the company, my counseling sessions would all be paid for. When my mom found out, she cried.
By taking the offer to go through counseling for free, I was led to a counselor/therapist that has been so influential in many changes that I have made in my life. She let me know that she was Mormon. Every session, she followed the Spirit of how to help me. She constantly reminded me of my worth and of Heavenly Father’s love for me. She helped me to sacrifice people and things that were causing my anxiety and depression to act up. She taught how to say no and to empower myself. The greatest thing she ever said was, “You will lose people as you start to heal. Just know that whatever happens, you will be okay.”
My counselor/therapist never gave up on me. She listened and shared the trials she had gone through in her own life. The thing that changed me the most was when she told me, “God knows your trials better than you do. He knows what you are and aren’t capable of. He sees that you are trying and that you are doing what you can. Cut yourself some slack.”
Sariah taught me this: Leaving doesn’t mean you will have a comfortable life, but you will have a better one.
Moving to Provo didn’t make my life easier. In fact, life became less comfortable and more difficult. Moving to Provo led me to a better life because it allowed me to be in a place where I was safe enough to start healing. Sariah also taught me that we may not understand why we are prompted to leave, but when we do we will be led to the very places and people that will help us to become who we need to be. I have felt that by moving I was led to the places and people that God knew I needed in order to heal and be able to cope with my mental illness.