When enduring the trials of life, some may wonder, “Why me?” But a better question to ask Heavenly Father is, “What do you want me to learn from this?”
Speaking at an LDS Business College devotional in the Conference Center Theater on Tuesday, Feb. 19, Sister Sue Clark shared what she learned about staying on the “strait and narrow path” while working through trials.
Sister Clark is the wife of Elder Kim B. Clark, a General Authority Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education.
During the time that she was serving with her husband as he presided over BYU-Idaho, she learned that many students were concerned about how to make wise life choices.
She recounted that when she married Elder Clark, they faced some life choices right away, but they didn’t start out knowing every choice they would need to make.
“In making our life decisions … seeking to know the will of the Lord, for us, was paramount,” Sister Clark said.
She shared two things that they have learned about doing what the Lord wants.
First, “He never says, ‘Just as long as you follow me, doing what I direct you to do, everything will be smooth.’”
Second, “We can never say, ‘Oh, we must have made the wrong decision,’ just because life gets hard.”
One trial the Clarks both encounter is Sister Clark’s struggle with depression. “Every test and trial we experience is complicated by the fact that I can easily get discouraged, fearful and negative,” she explained.
Despite dealing with these symptoms since she was a child — noting she earned the nickname “Blue Sue” — she didn’t seek help for her depression for a long time. It wasn’t until a particularly rough patch in her life, when Elder Clark was serving as a bishop of an urban ward and was away from home frequently, that she read a magazine article about depression and began to think that she might need help.
During one sleepless night, Sister Clark went to Heavenly Father in prayer. With a list of reasons why she might need medical help, as well as challenges she and her family had been facing, she cried and prayed to God for help to know whether she should look for help or get better on her own.
But the harder and longer she prayed, “I didn’t feel that I was being heard,” she said.
When no prompting or answer came, Sister Clark stood and began walking up the stairs to go back to sleep. Then on the third or fourth stair, she heard in her mind these words: “Help someone else.”
Not long after that night, she received a distinct impression to call the mother of a new family in her ward. This mother had been dealing with sick and sleepless children that night, and when Sister Clark asked if she could come by for a short visit, she welcomed her in.
When this woman answered the door, she tearfully told her, “Thank you so much for coming. I prayed hard last night for help, not knowing how I could face another night with my sick child. But the Lord said to me, ‘Don’t worry. Sue Clark will call in the morning.’”
“When I heard that, I knew the Lord had sent me on His errand,” Sister Clark said. “He needed me to help this family.”
As the Clark family adopted this new family into their lives to help them with their challenges, Sister Clark found that it was just what they needed. “I was able to mend, and so did our whole family,” she said.
In stepping outside of her own circle of struggles to serve this family, Sister Clark found that her own family was blessed. And, she added, “in helping this young mother to find professional help to get medication for her stress-related depression, I was able to find the courage to get help for myself.”
Sister Clark then shared a quote from her oldest son, Bryce, who has struggled with bipolar disorder since his late teens.
He wrote to her: “The Lord gives us weaknesses to help us to remember to rely on Him — it doesn’t really matter what your weakness is or how ‘bad’ it is — everyone who suffers can find deliverance in the Savior. … The Lord blesses us with medications, counselors, spiritual healing and His Atonement. In my worst times is when I’m most acutely aware of how much I need Jesus Christ, and for that I am thankful.”
In addition to seeking for all the medical help they can find, Sister Clark and her family “press forward with more love in our hearts for our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ,” she said.
“We just keep going. Keep trying. Keep loving and serving, moving forward — pressing forward — guided by the word of the Lord through feasting every day on His words, especially in the Book of Mormon, no matter what comes.”