Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's been a long time, I know. And if anyone is even reading this, this post does not mean that I am back full time. I have missed writing. I have REALLY missed writing. But life is crazy and I have an addictive personality...

Anyway, I felt like I should share a talk I gave in church this last December. It was the Sunday before Christmas. I was just a few days shy of giving birth to my sweet rainbow baby {aka... chubby chubberoo} . And the bishop {aka: hubby}, or rather the Lord requested I speak on this specific, tender subject. If anyone tells you it pays to have connections in the bishopbric they lied to you my friend... I'm just sayin...

Anyway, here it is.

2 ½ years ago my husband came to me and said, “I think we need to have another baby.” I just laughed at him. Why is that so funny? My baby, Samantha, was only 5 months old and Hunter had just turned 2. He insisted, “I know it seems crazy but I really feel strongly about this. Will you at least pray about it?” I said no. I didn’t need to. I knew what my answer would be… I also didn’t necessarily want the answer that I would receive… not just yet. But, when the Lord calls you answer and within weeks we were expecting our 3rd child. We found out a couple months later that another little girl was going to join our family and we decided to name her Savannah. A lot of people made sure tell us how crazy we were to have another child so soon... and I agreed. We would have 3 children under 3 all in diapers for several months. But I also knew that this was not just a spur of the moment decision we had made, we had been inspired that this was the right path for our little family. Or, rather, my husband had been inspired and I reluctantly agreed! The pregnancy went great, and I felt as good as a pregnant mother chasing two little rugrats around can feel. We looked forward to our due date of March 20 with excitement, but also a bit of anxiety. I knew that I had no idea what I was in for, and it scared me to death at times. But I always referred back to 1 Nephi 3:7 “I know that the Lord giveth no commandment to the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them to accomplish the thing which he has commanded them.” I knew it was true, and I knew that the Lord would provide a way for us to make it over the challenges that raising 3 tiny children would bring. On February 8, 2008 I was 8 1/2 months pregnant and we went in for a routine dr. appointment. We were hoping to be in and out quickly so that my husband could get on the road to a stake scout camp that had been planned for that weekend. Our world was rocked as the dr. told us, “I can’t find a heartbeat I’m so sorry, she’s not alive anymore.”

My husband didn’t go to scout camp that weekend.

The rest of that night was a bit of a whirlwind. Brett’s parents picked up our kids and we headed to the hospital to deliver our little girl. I actually felt really strong throughout the night. The spirit was very strong and confirmed to us that this was the Lords will and that everything would be okay. The nurses dressed her in a beautiful white dress and a tiny little bracelet and brought her to us to spend a little time with her. I felt okay. Then the moment came to hand her over for the last time. It was really hard to hand my baby off to a total stranger that wasn’t going to bring her back. For the first time that night I felt hopelessness. The man holding her looked into my eyes and told me, “I promise we’ll take good care of her.” And at that moment I heard another voice. Not with my ears, but deep within my heart. A voice that chased away all hopelessness and filled my entire body with warmth it said, “So will I.” The spirit spoke to me and I knew it was the words of our Savior talking directly to me.

I’m not an “important person”. I’m not an incredible above average person… although I allow and often ENCOURAGE my husband to tell me so anytime he feels so inclined…. BUT the Savior of the world spoke to me. He didn’t appear to me as he did to Joseph Smith. He didn’t raise my little girl from the dead as He did Lazarus. But he spoke peace to me. He knows me so well that he knew the 3 little words that would take away the pain that no one else in this world could. And He took time out of His busy schedule for one insignificant sheep.

Can any of us deny that being a mother involves sacrifice? The greatest story ever told begins with a humble 16 year old girl facing explaining to her fiancĂ© that she has not committed adultery, but that the child she carries is the child of God conceived by the spirit. She travels a long distance “great with child", gives birth in filthy stable, and spends the next several years in hiding from people that want to kill her beloved child. Ultimately, she helplessly stands by her sons side as he suffers an unimaginable death.

Just like each of us, Mary faced many defining moments in her life. Moments when she could choose to go one way or another. She could choose to let events taking place make her bitter, or to make her stronger and bring her one step closer to the Lord. Losing a child was something I never imagined I could handle or bear, and it was certainly never something I thought the Lord would ask of me. But the moment came. And my husband and I had a decision to make. We could choose the path that this would set us on.

Joseph Smith taught the law of sacrifice in these words: “For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor, and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children and even his own life- counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ- requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that, when these sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest; and be a partaker of the glory of God.”

Bruce R. McConkie said, “Sacrifice pertains to mortality; in the eternal sense there is none. Sacrifice involves giving up the things of this world because of the promises of blessings to be gained in a better world. In the eternal perspective there is no sacrifice in giving up all things- even including the laying down of ones life- if eternal life is gained through such a course.”

Did things go the way I wanted them for my daughter? No. Just as I was accepting the call to add her to our family and getting excited about it she was “taken”. But I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I know she’s mine eternally and I just have to wait. And when making the decision to add another child to our family I resolved that I would not do it until I could honestly tell the Lord that I would accept whatever plan he has for her as well. So far so good as far as getting “my way” with this new baby. However, being a mom sometimes means taking on the challenges without the guarantee of earthly rewards. But we all know the eternal rewards far outweigh the earthly ones.

I know that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is a personal one. I know that He didn’t just take on the sins and sufferings of the world… but for each individual person that has ever and will ever live in this world. I know that He speaks the truth when he promises us all that He has. That everything we experience in this life, the sacrifices and the joys, are leading up to something infinitely bigger.