Written by guest contributor Stephanie Alo. Read by Andrea Bowers.
I wasn’t always sure where the gospel fit into my life. As a rebellious teenager, I had all but written it off.
But, a mighty change of heart left me realizing that there was no better or happier way for me. Even though I served a mission and was committed to my testimony, it wasn’t until 8 years ago that I found my faith tried and conversion tested.
My husband and I had been married for just a few short months when my anxiety attacks began. While I had always been somewhat anxious in nature, nothing prepared me for the next few months. On Labor Day of 2011, I went in for a routine procedure—wisdom teeth removal.
For some reason, my body had an adverse reaction to the medication and anesthesia. It triggered an anxiety that I had never felt before.
Sounds crazy, right?
That’s how I felt, too.
I mean, something so normal couldn’t be the trigger for so much anguish.
But, it’s the truth. After my wisdom tooth removal, I spent numerous nights on my bathroom floor crying, shaking, and in full-blown panic mode.
The next six months were full of various doctor’s visits, medications, therapists, and finally—healing.
It took so much trial and error that there were many days where I didn’t know how to go on. I didn’t understand how to take one more step or deal with the obstacles that were in my path.
I truly believe that the Lord works in mysterious ways. When I look back on the situation, I can clearly see how and why I needed to experience the things that I did. I can see my entire life being intricately designed to allow me to be an instrument in the Lord’s hands.
See, if I hadn’t been a rebellious teenager, my mighty change of heart may not have been so mighty.
But, it was; and therefore led me to serve a mission.
My mission solidified my testimony in such a way that when the anxiety hit, I knew exactly where to turn.
No matter how severe my anxiety was or how powerful the panic, I somehow found my way to my knees.
I found solace in the scriptures and peace in the temple.
No matter how fleeting those feelings of peace were, they were enough to let me know that I wasn’t alone and that the Lord was with me. Some of the most beautifully sacred moments happened during those times when I was at my darkest.
Now, years later, after finding my way through the emotions and healing, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that the lord gave me such a hardship.
Not only did it result in some amazing spiritual experiences, but it also deepened my conversion.
Even now I can see that he is carefully weaving me into his grand design.
The trials that he’s given me allow me to be compassionate, understanding, and to lend a helping hand to those who are in similar situations.
While difficult at the time, I’m forever grateful for those anxious months.
They helped mold me into a better version of myself, one that the Lord can more fully utilize for his works.