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I felt trapped by spiritual blindness. These are the 3 steps I took to see light again

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After almost two years of fumbling through my spiritual darkness, I felt a pull to find the light again.

A few months ago, I followed my kids into a strange, serpentine cave in Southern Utah. The sudden darkness was staggering. It seemed to cling to the damp walls and pool at my feet. The rocky path that had been manageable moments before now felt loose and unforgiving. Without sight, I was forced to crawl along the jagged rocks, feeling my way toward my family until we were finally reunited.

I’ve only felt that kind of thick, sudden blindness one other time in my life, but that time, it was spiritual. Thankfully, I was able to find my way through it. The lessons I learned from making it out of my cave of spiritual blindness still bless me today. When we feel like we’re unable to find God’s light, three simple steps can help us find hope, healing, and connection to Him again: 1) working within our spiritual limitations, 2) trusting the words of the prophets, and 3) letting go of what stagnates our spiritual progression. 

Facing Unexpected Spiritual Darkness

Eighteen months after our third child arrived, I felt the pull to expand our family again. Initially, my heart was a bit resistant to the prompting because our second and third children were only 13 months apart. However, after some solid spiritual nudges, we took the leap and got pregnant. 

We told our families about the happy news and looked forward to baby number four with nervous excitement. Right around this time, I spoke at a girls’ camp about trusting the Lord’s plan and then drove home on a spiritual high. Early the following day, I miscarried. In the painful days that followed, my heart veered into unfamiliar places. The abrupt shift from bright, sunny faith into dark, disorienting doubt caught me entirely off guard. 

I wrestled with two kinds of grief over the next several months. The first was the natural, hollow grief of losing a blessing you had just begun to love. The second was the lingering fear of losing my trust in God. The God who always seemed watchful and warm now felt dismissive. It was as if He had invited me to yoke together with Him and then stepped away, leaving me to struggle against the unbalanced weight on my own.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi explained how Laman and Lemuel struggled with obedience because “they knew not the dealings of God” (1 Nephi 2:12). For a season, that was my issue, too. My darkened view of God’s “dealings” colored my perceptions of everything else. I discounted others’ testimonies because their shiny certainty made me uneasy. My prayers became rote, and my discipleship felt heavier. 

After almost two years of fumbling through my spiritual darkness, I felt a pull to find the light again. I missed the connection I once felt with my Savior, and I wanted to find renewed comfort in the idea of expanding our family. I was tired of scraping my hands against the dark walls of doubt and wanted to find a way back to the light. 

In his April 2024 general conference address, Elder Massimo De Feo taught about emerging from spiritual blindness. He told the story of a blind man named Bartimaeus, who longed for healing and called out to Jesus for a miracle. The steps Bartimaeus took that Elder De Feo articulated felt familiar because they were similar to what helped me find hope, healing, and connection to my Savior after my miscarriage. 

Step 1: Work within My Limitations

Bartimaeus’s damaged eyes limited his ability to find the Savior, so he called out instead. Similarly, before I could make any headway in my faith, I needed to use the limited strength still available to me. I didn’t feel strong in my ability to receive revelation, but I still felt at home in the scriptures. 

I increased my time reading the word of God and looked for stories of hope. As I found them, I searched out the source of this hope—Jesus Christ—and focused on accessing His power in my life.

Step 2: Trust in the Words of His Servants

When the Savior heard Bartimaeus’s plea, Mark’s account says He “stood still, and commanded him to be called.” Christ’s disciples then called Bartimaeus, “saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee” (see Mark 10:49). I didn’t feel like I could hear the Savior’s voice, but I could still hear His prophets’ call to find Him. 

As a teenager, I had always loved President Gordon B. Hinckley’s warmth and humor. My own connection to heaven was shaky, but I somehow knew I could trust his. Remembering this, I listened to his talks and then stretched into other familiar favorites. Their steady invitations felt like those of the Savior’s servants who called Bartimaeus, helping me to find comfort and “rise” from my circumstances to get closer to Christ.

Step 3: Set Down My Beggar’s Coat  

Bartimaeus believed in the Savior’s healing power. He had not seen it for himself, but he believed in others’ words. On his way toward Christ’s healing hands, Bartimaeus set down his beggar’s coat. 

This step was the most difficult for me. To be honest, I felt entitled to my grief and justified in my disillusionment. My beggar’s coat felt safe despite being threadbare. However, I knew I needed to let it go to move forward in my path toward spiritual sight. 

As Elder De Feo put it, Bartimaeus may have thought, “I don’t need this anymore, now that Jesus has come into my life. This is a new day. I’m done with this life of misery. With Jesus, I can start a new life of happiness and joy in Him, with Him, and through Him. And I don’t care what the world thinks of me. Jesus is calling me, and He will help me live a new life.”

I found the strength to set down my coat of grief through prayer and focused effort to understand the nature of God’s love. The Spirit helped me see connections between God’s loving tutoring and my own mothering. Over time, bright bursts of light broke into my view and cut through the darkness.

I’ve experienced many hard seasons in the intervening 18 years since my miscarriage, but the darkness has never swallowed me in quite the same way. Perhaps it’s because I took another page from Bartimaeus’s book. His story ends with a powerful line, “he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way” (see Mark 10:52) Bartimaeus wasn’t interested in a momentary miracle. He wanted to see every day, so he stayed close to the source and followed His ways. 

The same guidance works for me. When my cave of circumstance darkens, I can choose to lean into cynicism or follow the steps that illuminated my path all those years ago. 

My experience exiting that clammy cave was vastly different from my path going in. As soon as we decided to leave the cave, it seemed as if the sunlight was searching for us. Little shafts of light sliced through holes in the rock, and the wet walls glistened. The jagged rocks that felt so ominous on the way in now caught the light and guided us toward the exit. My spiritual exit from confusion was similar. As soon as I decided to turn to my Savior with real intent, His light drew me forward.

Like Bartimaeus, I learned the Savior doesn’t withhold His light until the end of our journey. He offers it freely to illuminate our next gutsy steps forward. That brightening continues until that “perfect day” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:24) when we are back at the place where we began but not the same—for we will be filled with His light (Doctrine and Covenants 88:67).

Enduring in the Savior’s way isn’t a long, white-knuckle push through the darkness. It is a steady, relief-filled brightening of sight. 

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