By Maxine T.
I am English and my husband is American. We have lived in America all of our married life. I left my family to move to a country that, while similar in a lot of ways to my country of birth, is still very different. Needless to say, particularly in the early years of our marriage, there was a lot of adjusting. I not only had the learning curve of living with someone new, I also had a new culture to figure out.
As newlyweds, my husband was in his last year at university and held several part time jobs. Being students, we did not have a lot of disposable income and phone calls to England were a luxury. I was, therefore, not able to call my parents whenever I had the desire. I had grown up in a loving home and I knew that my family and small circle of very close friends supported me. Now I was pregnant with our first child and I was not able to call my mum to share with her all the tiny changes. I was not able to call my friends and share their life milestones. I missed their weddings and baby births. This was the most difficult time in my life to that date. I was often alone and felt very isolated.
As someone who had always lived at home, being away from such a large support system, especially at such a momentous moment in my life, was hard. I had no regular contact with family or friends. I was in a strange country with many unfamiliar customs. I was adjusting to life as a wife and I was preparing for a baby with no idea how we’d survive financially. I felt very discouraged and, at times, very low. I was blessed to never feel severe depression but there were times I felt close. I cried a lot. I know now that these challenges are tiny in comparison to those I could have had but, at the time, they were huge.
I remember one day feeling particularly alone. I was on a walk with my new baby and witnessed a grandmother playing with her granddaughter. Tears came to my eyes as I realized that my own children would not have my parents in their lives in the same way as would their cousins. Never had the distance seemed so far. I continued on my walk feeling low and then I heard music being played through a neighbor’s open window. It was a song I knew well, as it was one I’d sung in church as a young woman.
“You’re not alone, even though right now you’re on your own. You are loved in ways that can’t be shown. Your needs are known, you’re not alone.”
I knew this wasn’t coincidence. I knew, oh so strongly, that my Father in Heaven was aware of me and that He knew how I was feeling.
That Sunday I went to church with a prayer in my heart. I wasn’t asking for a miracle. I simply wanted to feel peace. That day was the turning point. We sang songs that I needed to hear. We read scriptures that were oh so relevant. Someone shared a personal experience that touched me deeply. There was not just one miracle that day, there were many. With so many people calling out to Him for help, it was humbling to know that I was loved so much that He would answer my prayer in so many different ways.
I look back at that time and realize it was a time of great growth for my testimony of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. I learned to rely on my Father in Heaven in a way that I had not previously needed to do so. I learned that He is a prayer away. He is there for comfort. He is there for peace. He is there for love. While I would not want to feel those feeling of isolation and loneliness again, I feel grateful that I had them if only for the knowledge I was able to gain. I am now able to understand the words I’d recited weekly as a young woman – “I am a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me and I love Him.” He loves each of us in ways we simply cannot comprehend. He loves me. He loves you.