We are pleased to have Liz Johnson join us as a guest contributor.
On an otherwise ordinary night in the middle of November, I woke up to the sound of a small pop and a gush of fluid. Startled and groggy, I heaved my pregnant self out of my bed and into the bathroom. When I sat down, I felt my body push, and I promptly delivered a tiny baby girl into my own hands. She was absolutely perfect in every way, except for being completely still. And except for the fact that I was only 16 weeks pregnant.
I wish I could put the exact feeling of the experience into words. I know for sure that I felt my heart literally break, almost as if a piece of it had fallen off, never to be retrieved. I was brutally shaken, unable to logically figure out why this had happened – I had felt tiny flutters just hours before. But included in the shock and the grief was an overwhelming presence of something absolutely holy. It was simultaneously the most horrific and spiritual event of my life.
In the days (and weeks… and months… and years…) following, I found myself praying more sincerely and openly than ever. I offered some of the most raw & angry prayers ever, and I still sometimes wonder if the obscenities I screamed at God will be read back to me at the pearly gates. And beautifully, and mercifully, I got answers to some of my deepest questions, and I felt an enveloping sense of peace and reassurance that my Heavenly Father loved me.
But despite these heart-wrenching communions with Deity, I found myself desperately grasping for something more. I have grown up hearing that my Heavenly Father knows me and loves me infinitely, and that Jesus Christ knows my pain. And I believed that, and to an extent, I still believe that. But when you experience something like this, something so uniquely female, it leaves you grasping for somebody who really knows you, and who really knows your pain. I believe that Christ suffered for the pains and the sins of the world, but could He really, truly understand the visceral pain that comes from delivering your partially-formed daughter into the palms of your own hands? I mean, really?! I had always believed in Eternal Parents – it’s such a beautiful and, in my opinion, foundational piece of the gospel. But I’d never really thought about a Heavenly Mother more than simply reiterating what I’d always been taught – that “we just don’t know much about it, so we don’t talk about it, either.”
But after that otherwise ordinary night in November, those platitudes were not only insufficient, they were borderline offensive. And so, since then, I’ve found myself reaching for Her. I listen to Eliza R. Snow’s powerful words over and over, telling me that “I’ve a Mother there.” I pray to feel Her presence and Her comfort and Her reassurance that I am loved and understood. I am desperate to know Her, to crawl up on her lap and cry, like I would with my own Mother. And while I wouldn’t say that I’ve reached the place I would like to be, I have briefly felt small whispers, like those a child would hear from their mother while laying on her lap, letting me know that everything will be ok, and that She does, indeed, understand.
Truly, I’ve a Mother there.