“It is extremely important for you to believe in yourselves
not only for what you are now but for what you have the power to become.
Trust in the Lord as He leads you along.
He has things for you to do that you won't know about now but that will unfold later.
If you stay close to Him, You will have some great adventures.
You will live in a time where instead of sometimes being fulfilled, many of them will actually be fulfilled. The Lord will unfold your future bit by bit.”
-Elder Neal A. Maxwell
This last summer Preston ran the Teton Dam Marathon as a fundraiser for his internship with the Borgen Project. He performed incredibly, though he did not have adequate training to complete such a race, was not receiving near enough sleep and had a good ole' case of the shin splints the power of his mind helped is what got him to the finish line. Or maybe it was the endless supplies of chocolate milk ??
Both my mom and his parents came up to watch him. While together, my sweet father-in-law shared some neat insights and personal experiences with us. At one point he got really tender and said "I never expected to see my grandchildren, I'm not even supposed to be alive."
Up to this point I was still so unbelievably cranky and crabby about this whole pregnancy thing! Because (selfishly) it was taking time of my schooling, my summer and my sanity!!
In this moment it hit me that this pregnancy is no accident- it's not even a 'whoops!'
Somehow this was all meant to happen. Sure this whole time it didn't seem conducive to our schedule and future plans. But there was a much bigger picture that I wasn't able to see if I just kept feeling so bad for myself. Why is it so easy to feel that way? I needed to look up and outward to understand God's purpose in this.
There was a moment right in the beginning of my pregnancy when I was in my state of tears and despair while Preston didn't even seem phased or upset.
I cried "it's your internship that is ruined because of all of this!"
He calmly looked at me with the deepest love. He wouldn't even agree that it was ruined, he just said "Things are just happening sooner than expected, but this was part of the plan and the most important thing to us all along. We will just adjust and Let it Happen"
*Just as a side note: The time while I was on my mission, Preston was working so hard at school (working, 18 credits, starving college student) and on the roof (15 hour days rain, shine sleet, anything in between). At one point I asked why he was driving himself in the ground to work so hard! He stated simply that everything that he is doing is ultimately to prepare for our eternal family. So while this was inconvenient it was the master plan.
The experiences that I've had have created a deeper sympathy in my heart for those dealing with chronic illness and pain. Those 9 months seemed like they'd never end but that is nothing compared to the relentless pain that others have had to feel when faced with sometimes undiagnosed ailments and illnesses. My heart goes out to all of you who keep those brilliant smiles on your faces despite the pain and the unknown.
It has made me ponder the significance of each of our trials and heartaches and why they are a part of our mortal existence.
The following poem is from the book Charlie's Monument by Blaine M. Yorgason,
before He sent his children to earth
gave each of them
a very carefully selected package
He promised, smiling,
are yours alone. No one
else may have the blessings
these problems will bring you.
And only you
have the special talents and abilities
that will be needed
to make these problems
Now go down to your birth
and to your forgetfulness, know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
are a symbol of that love.
The monuments you make of your life,
with the help of your problems,
will be a symbol of your
love for me.
Elder Kim B. Clark spoke to us in a stake conference in Rexburg and shared these thoughts
"When the Savior was in the Garden of Gethsemane taking upon him all our infirmities the Savior saw us, personally, every single one. He experienced everything that stands in between us and eternal life. Eternal life is within reach for all of us. We can ALL feel his redeeming power in our lives. He went before us. Even with all the pain this the world. He can make everything right. There is nothing that can happen to us that He has not already overcome."
In the weeks following this journal account I had numerous other experiences that taught this principle further. The loss of a dear friend and fellow missionary, seeing how a mother's love is represented through taking her child to the doctor to get shots and attending a temple session. I felt and learned that in the beginning we developed a deep love and gratitude for our Savior as we learned everything that He would suffer for us so we could return home. We probably looked at Him with longing and sadness thinking of the pain that He would go through for us. He did it so that we wouldn't have to suffer our pains alone.
His love is so pure, enabling and redemptive.
We may not always understand God's ways but we can trust that He does love us and that He knows what is best.
"If we approach life's adversities wisely, our hardest times can be times of greatest growth, which in turn can lead to times of greatest happiness."
-Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin