It is all contained in this letter I sent to Iver today.
My Precious Iver:
I am quite dismayed right now, knowing that you did not receive the package we sent with your sweaters, and knowing that there is a very real probability that you won't receive your Christmas package in time for Christmas. I have shed many tears over this, and pray that somehow these things will find their way to you. In the meantime, I know that you are receiving the pouch mail, so I wanted to send this to you, my testimony of the Savior, which I pray will be a gift in itself.
I love our Savior. I feel His love and influence in my life everyday. I know that He lives and that He is aware of me. I have had a lot of sin in my life. I have called on the Savior and His atonement to lift me and save me from those sins and He has. I have seen that same atonement and love from the Savior in your behalf, as well as in dad's and Shakira's. I am eternally grateful for Jesus Christ.
The experience I want to share with you is the most precious gift of all for me. It's a story I know you have heard, but I will share it again, because of my love and appreciation for Christ.
When you were quite young, early grade school age, I was very, very sick with my bipolar disorder. I spent time locked up in a hospital. I was medicated to the point where I existed in a fog. Those medications caused extreme side effects that caused me to be very physically ill as well. I could not go into public at all, because of extreme anxiety and fear. Most days I could not even get out of bed, or if I did, I quickly got back in. I could not function. And each day I would weep. Weep because I wasn't able to take care of my beautiful children and husband. Weep because I wasn't able to even participate in being part of our family. I would weep for you, and Shakira, and dad because I imagined how hard life was for you living with me. I would desperately pray to Heavenly Father while I wept, to understand what I needed to learn so I could move on. I would pray for Him to take the illness away. And some days, everything was so dark and black, that I would pray that Heavenly Father would spare you and Shakira and dad by just taking me home to Him. I hated myself for putting you all through such agony and pain.
One day, when my illness was at it's height, my mom went to the temple, specifically searching for the Lord's help in helping me. She purposely arrived early, so she could sit reverently in the chapel before her session began and pray for me. As she prayed, she cried. I am her baby, after all, and she felt so helpless. She prayed to know what to do, prayed for healing for me, and prayed for peace for her mourning soul. She paused and looked up to the front of the chapel. At the front of our temple's chapel is a large painting of Jesus, setting apart and blessing His twelve diciples. He is standing in the center of the painting, with eleven of the diciples surrounding Him, and one of them kneeling in front of Him. Christ's hands are on the head of the one kneeling. As my mom looked at the painting, the kneeling diciple faded away, and she saw ME in his place, being personally blessed by the Savior. Amazing peace came to her as the spirit whispered to her that I would be okay, that I wasn't done on this earth, that the Savior needed me and would bless me.
As soon as her temple session ended, she drove up the mountain, and sat down on the edge of my futon. She pulled the covers from my head and, with tears streaming down her face, told me what had happened in the temple that day. I, too was filled with peace. And I was filled with LIGHT that I hadn't felt in a very long time. I sat up and my mother held me in her arms and we cried. When she left, I was able to get out of bed. I felt hope. I couldn't explain it at all, and still can't. But I knew the Savior loved me and had suffered this for me. He knew. He knew.
Within the week, Julie Bellum called dad to tell him about an acquaintance of hers, who was part of a Johns Hopkins study of a controversial new treatment for bipolar disorder, and having incredible success. We went to her home and visited with her. Dad and I prayed together and decided that, although my doctor counseled against it, Empower and Truehope was the direction we should go. As you know, it wasn't an easy transition, but within three months, I was off of the terrible anti-psychotic drugs and doing very, very well on my supplement. And I haven't looked back. Sure, I struggle from time to time. I always will. But I am WELL.
Jesus Christ is my Savior, Iver. He truly SAVED me. He knows me. He wants me. He loves me. He needed me to be your mom, your dad's wife. He needed me to serve the youth of His church. He needed me to teach Olive and Jade and Vivian the gospel. He still needs me.
I cannot deny His love and His power. I cannot deny that He lives and loves us.
I know this. KNOW it.
Precious son of mine, how blessed I am to be alive and part of your life. How blessed I am to witness your complete love and devotion to the Lord. I love you more than I could ever possibly say.
For a beautiful December, to devote my thoughts to Jesus Christ, I am crazy-thankful.