My Burden Made Light

By Jennie Nunes Dredge


At an early age I learned a lesson that would sustain me as my husband and I struggled to adopt a child. Years earlier, when I was 12 years old, I had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was devastating and scary. A nurse taught me to give injections to oranges before I had to give injections to myself. Nurses talked to me about diet and exercise and testing my blood sugar. It was a lot of change for a 12-year-old girl to take in.

One day I was sitting on my hospital bed crying. The shots hurt. Poking my finger to test my blood hurt. I was scared. And I didn’t want to do this. My burden felt heavy.

My dad came to visit me by himself that day. Seeing my grief, he sat next to my bed and taught me what would be valuable lesson. “Jennie,” he said, “I wish I could take this from you and do it myself. If I could do it for you, I would. But Heavenly Father knows you can do this. He knows you will be a stronger person because of it. He knows you will grow and be able to help others because of this experience. I love you. You can do this.”

It’s been 28 years since my hospital stay. And through the years I have had trials and burdens. But it wasn’t until recently, as my husband, Daniel, and I have been struggling to know Heavenly Father’s will as we have waited to adopt, that I remembered that little talk in the hospital.

One day I found my burden heavier than usual. Women in the ward and others I knew were pregnant and had a due date for their babies. But I didn’t. I didn’t know when—or even if—our child was coming, and not having a clear end in sight felt like a tremendous load. As I sat on my bed crying, I remembered what my dad had said to me so many years ago. Only this time I felt my loving Heavenly Father saying it. “Jennie, I wish I could take this from you and do it myself. If I could do it for you, I would. But I know that through the Atonement of my Son, you can do this. I know you will be a stronger person because of it. I know you will grow and be able to help others because of this experience. I love you. I know you can do this.”

Heavenly Father doesn’t necessarily want us to experience pain, but He knows that in order to experience peace and joy and growth in this life, we must experience trials and pain. (See 2 Nephi 2:11, 15.) That’s why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. Through His Atonement I have found what it means to “cast [my] burden upon the Lord” and to rest assured in the promise that “he shall sustain [me]” (Psalm 55:22). Rather than take our heavy burden from us, our Savior will help us carry it. And we will grow from the experience. In casting my burden on the Lord, I have found peace. I have learned that the Savior’s promise is true: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).