Dating & Marriage (FAML 100 Topic #2)

For the topic this week I thought I would talk about the journey of dating, and the wonderful end result of marriage.

In Hawkins’ book, Successful Marriages and Families he talks about the different steps that lead to marriage: The Awareness and Acquaintance Phase, Transition from Acquaintance to Buildup, The Buildup Phase, and lastly, Commitment and Continuation. I want to use Ben and I’s relationship and love story as an example for transitions between these steps.

The Awareness and Acquaintance Phase
What is the first thing we look at when spotting a potential partner? Looks. I know that sounds shallow, but its true, and there isn’t anything wrong with looking for someone who is physically attractive. This is a necessary part of attraction, but not the most important part. When I first met Ben, we were in the same Family Home-evening Group at BYU-Idaho. He introduced himself, and I thought he was cute. He was shy and didn’t talk much so we didn’t get to know each other very well. It wasn’t until later in the semester when I really got to know Ben when I found him more attractive. When we date we are trying to find someone who we want to spend eternity with, that person needs to have a lot more qualities than being attractive, and there are many things that each of us desire in a eternal companion. One thing that was important to me, was humor. I wanted someone who was funny and could make me laugh. It is important for me to laugh especially in hard times, and that was one of the first things that attracted me to Ben, he was funny.

Transition from Acquaintance to Buildup
In Hawkins’ book be describes the difficulty many couples and individuals have when transitioning to a relationship from friends. Ben and I didn’t have a problem of moving our relationship forward, but I had many roommates and friends who did. Since so many are different in their own transitions the communication to wanting to move forward in a new relationship can be hard. The best way to go about this is to go on a date, in a group or by yourselves. This gives the couple a time to get to know each other, and doing something fun takes stress of the new potential relationship.

The Buildup Phase
There are two process that happen in this phase, as Hawkins’ suggests. Developing mature love, and seeking mutual influence. When people seek mutual influence they are seeking equality in their relationship in which both people contribute equally to the relationship, what was interesting to read about was that Hawkins found relationships that started out physical were less likely to have a mutual influence. The best equality in a relationship was when it started out as a friendship. Mature love is what leads to success in marriage and family life. Mature love can be seen as someone who allows room for growth, someone who is willing to commit, or sacrifice for the other person. While immature love is when someone is making excuses, not committing, and seeking lust rather than love.

Commitment and Continuation
For many, the decision of marriage is hard and a long process. As members of the church a really important part of deciding marriage is a spiritual confirmation. Since this decision is very important for members of the church, they take spiritual confirmation very seriously. When I prayed to know if Ben and I should get married, the answer came to me as a peaceful feeling. I didn’t get an overwhelming feeling, just a calm feeling, which is exactly what I needed. It was important to me that the man I married was dedicated to not just the gospel, but to God and Jesus Christ. However he chose to be committed was his choice, but I wanted to see that and the love he had for them. Many times in our relationship Ben and proven to me multiple times that he would commit to me and our family because of the commitment he had to the Lord. He looked for the same thing in me, and that is what gives out marriage mature love and commitment.

Getting Married
Ben and I were married for time and all eternity in the LDS Dallas, Texas temple. Our wedding was not fancy, not big, and not what I dreamed my wedding would be like. But I still loved it, because it was the start of all our adventures together with our new family. As I was dating I pictured my wedding in a certain way, I wanted my dress, the food, the reception to be a certain way. It wasn’t until after I was married, when Ben and I had our first trial when I knew that the wedding stuff didn’t matter, it was the stuff before that. The building a relationship, developing mature love and mutual influence that was what made our relationship strong and made us better and withstanding trials when they came our way.

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The Family: A Proclamation to The World. (FAML 100 Project Topic #1)

I will be posting blog posts about every week (on Fridays) to discuss different issues with the family. The main text I will be using is Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives by Alan J. Hawkins. I will also be using General Conference talks, personal experience and most importantly, scriptures! I hope you enjoy the next couple weeks as I discuss marriage and family!

My first topic I want to write about is The Family Proclamation. This was given at a General Women’s meeting in Salt Lake City by former President Gordon B. Hinckley in 1995. Although it was given at a General Women’s meeting, it is important to point out that this was titled “A Proclamation to The World“. Not just to active, LDS church members but to every single person in the world. I would also like to point out as well the most important principle in this Proclamation;

Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. (The Family: A Proclamation to the World, 1995)

We must understand the importance of each and every one of us, and how beloved we are to our Heavenly Father. Because we are beloved, we each have a purpose and destiny. When we understand that principle, of God’s love for ourselves, and those around us, I think we treat people a lot more differently.

With that truth; I want to quote from the book; Successful Marriages and Families: Proclamation Principles and Research Perspectives 

From the beginning, God organized the human family and reveled that marriage and family relationships are intended to be eternal.

The love that God has for us is eternal and never ending, he loves us and wants us to return to him, to help us continue on that path to return to him, he created families and intended them to be eternal. With eternal families we are able to learn, grow, and ultimately be sealed and return back to our Father in Heaven. The truth that Families are Forever is something that Ben and I needed to understand when we were told, William would not survive birth. In one of my past blog posts titled My Testimony I shared this;

I wanted to share William’s birth story not as a “look how everything turned out so great” thing, but to express how our faith in the Lord’s plan and in Jesus Christ is not because everything turns out great and wonderful, but because its true. No matter the outcome. We must have faith even when things are really bad, even when we may not see the end or understand whats happening. I don’t think I felt peaceful before William was born because the spirit was telling me he would live, it was because during my pregnancy Ben and I made a choice to rely on the Lord, to believe in His plan, and to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The family is so important, but it is not something that is intended to be easy. That is why our loving Heavenly Father blessed us with his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to help us along the way to eternal life. Our journey here on earth was intended for us to grow and learn, to experience life so that we can become more like our Savior, and Heavenly Father. The Proclamation to the World states;

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life.

The Proclamation to the Family gives us a lot of guidance in such a short message. One of the biggest messages, next to God’s love for us, is how families help us to “gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and eternal life.” I know that in my family, with my siblings and my mom, I have gained a lot of experience with them and they have helped me to progress. It has helped me to have my own family, as a wife and a mother. Family is so important in our lives, how we progress and develop. God intended families to help us and allow us to have support, love, and guidance during our lives. I believe the family to be ordained of God, and that Jesus Christ helps guide our families and helps support us through hard times.

My 3-Day Facebook Fast

Because of the negativity of politics on facebook, and my own weaknesses and addiction to facebook, I took a 3 day facebook fast, and learned so much in just 3 days. I hope to continue these little “facebook breaks” as I call them, to help me become less and less dependent on facebook. I seriously had a problem, and I took the initiative to fix it.

I noticed how angry, jealous, and upset I was getting and I noticed it happened every time I got off of facebook. Once I noticed that I started to keep track of how often I was on facebook, I checked facebook more than 50 times a day, isn’t that insane? I would spend hours on facebook scrolling. I would vent, fight with people, and be so obsessed with people “liking” my posts. I was obsessed and it was messing with my emotions.

At the beginning of the year, I decided I wanted change my habits about facebook. I made a goal to only check it once a day,  by day 2 it was already in the crapper. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy thing to do. I tried many different things to stay off of facebook, and to limit my facebook access, I deleted apps, shortcuts on my laptop, I tried picking up other habits, but nothing worked. I was addicted. It wasn’t until the Women’s March on Washington and Trump’s inauguration happened when I finally knew I had to tame my facebook addiction. My news feed was full of fighting, violence, people being mean to each other and I couldn’t handle it. I looked up on google anyone who has done a “facebook fast” and I read a lot of blog posts about people who have done 30 day facebook fast, I thought 30 days was a good goal to reach, but not something I would accomplish on the first try. I decided 3 days was perfect for me.

My 3 day fast started January 23 at midnight and ended January 25 at midnight. I had an exception to use the facebook messenger app because thats how some people need to get ahold of me, and to use Will’s facebook page in order to update on Will’s page. With only those exceptions, I made myself committed to not go on facebook. I wanted to help my addiction by making facebook less and less of a priority. I wanted to focus more on Will, Ben, school work, and myself. I wanted to really try reading more books, and doing things that benefit me, my family, and our time.

Overall I learned a lot, a lot more than what I expected. I learned about having real conversations with people. My volume of people I talked to was less, but the quality of conversation was simnifically better. I was more aware of what was happening around me, I met some new nurses and parents here at the hospital, I made conversation with people in the elevator, while waiting in line, and I started attending more activities that were held here at the hospital. My relationships got better, my social skills improved, and I felt more confident in myself.

I learned how to keep my personal life, personal. I used to put a lot of information on facebook in order to have justification, sympathy, or whatever it may be. I did get those things, but at a price. When I posted my opinions, life situations, anything personal people felt that because I put it on facebook that they had the right to tell me whatever they wanted. I didn’t like that. I had a lot of changes in my life during the last week or two, and it has stayed between Ben, me, and certain people I talked to face to face. It wasn’t public. Many decisions Ben and I needed to make were made through prayer, and talking with each other. I felt more confident in my decision making, and I felt better about myself. When you’re making decisions I would recommend seeking advice from those who you look up to, a mom or dad, spouse, close friend, religious leader, teacher, or whoever it may be, instead of posting it on facebook.

Positivity! I had so much positivity in my life when I wasn’t on facebook! I didn’t see a single thing about Trump, the Woman’s march, people shoving their opinions in your face. I simply had my own life, minded my own business and it was glorious. I was happier, I was able to get more things done, my life was over-all more positive. Being positive helped me to accomplish more useful things in my life, like my school work, my relationship with my husband, spending time with my son, and getting to know the people around me. I was able to take on my challenges better.

Overall, facebook is a wonderful thing. I think it can really help us stay in contact with people from all over the world. I love seeing wonderful updates from friends, birth announcements, engagements, weddings, gender revels, new jobs, graduating, promotions, and much more. But facebook, to me, is something we need to be smart about. When I posted my opinion on facebook, that meant someone else had the right to give me their opinion, which is fine, but, if you don’t want someone else’s opinions then you probably shouldn’t have posted in the first place. With facebook we are all up in each other’s business and it bugs the crap out of everyone but we continue to do it! Keep your personal life personal. Keep your big decisions to yourself and people you admire. Don’t use facebook as a way to only communicate with people, go out and enjoy life.

I plan on doing more facebook breaks, my next will be a week of no facebook, it has really benefitted me, and I hope some of you can try the same!

Lessons From Will: Service

Ben and I have learned a lot of lessons since we were told William had his birth defect. We learned more about each other and ourselves. But this one is one that has been a constant lesson, and one that has changed. Ben and I were good people, we served others, but it was the bare minimum. I didn’t think it was bad, I thought I was such an amazing person. It wasn’t until I was put in the place where others have served my family when I realized I wasn’t doing the absolute best I could.

Just a couple days ago Utah got a couple inches of snow, we woke up around 8 am and Ben needed to go out into the parking lot and shovel the ground to get his car our so he could get to work. I stayed inside and got William ready for the day. It was hard work, it was cold, but Ben was determined to get our car out of the snow so he wouldn’t get stuck, he also shoveled our second car so I would be able to take Will to his therapy appointments. Ben came inside after about an hour to take a break. we were upstairs I was getting Will’s food ready and our bedroom window was open. Behind our town home you see another apartment building. There was a girl, trying to shovel herself out with a broom and only getting more and more stuck in the snow. Ben, after shoveling two cars out of the snow by himself, stood up and said; “be right back, I’m going to let her borrow our shovel.” He went downstairs and handed her the shovel, then talked with her for a bit. She explained how she has never lived in snow before and really have to get to work because she missed work the day before and couldn’t afford to miss another day, or be late. After a little while I looked out the window again to see Ben deep in snow pushing this lady’s car by himself. It took almost an hour but someone else came by and helped them. Ben got that lady unstuck from the snow and then returned back to his own shoveling by himself.

I was very impressed and touched by this. Ben has always been a selfless person but it went to a new level since we had Will. Once, we were right down the street from our home, coming back from the hospital, when Ben got a message from a friend who needed someone to help with a blessing at the hospital which was 30 minutes away. Without saying anything, Ben turned around and headed back to the hospital. He never told his friend that we were close to home, but instead thanked his friend for allowing him to be apart of a wonderful blessing for his son, and thanked him for asking him to help with the blessing.

Ben and I were driving home from the hospital one night, it was when William had a 2 month hospital stay. Ben looked at me and said; “I want us to raise our kids to just serve. If they have a thought or a feeling to help someone that they will just do it and not think so much about it that they end up not doing anything. I want our kids to stop asking if someone needs something but to pray and let the spirit guide them in what they should do. And I want our kids to know that they should never post-pone a prompting.” I agreed, and we decided that later down the road we were going to do more service projects, visit hospitals, and do more good for people. Buying someone dinner out of the blue, giving someone a present, visiting someone in the hospital.

Many of our church leaders have addressed many times the importance of listing to the spirit and making sure we act on it. One of my favorite quotes is from Elder Rasband;

“Paxton’s family has learned they are surrounded by countless heavenly and earthly ministering angels. Some have quietly slipped in when needed and silently slipped out. Others have been at the door with food, doing the laundry, picking up the siblings, calling with encouragement, and especially praying for Paxton. Thus another special lesson learned: If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.”

Dallin H. Oaks talks about the concept of good, better, and best.

“We should begin by recognizing the reality that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives.”

It is good to pray for someone, it is good to let them know you are thinking of them, it is good to like a picture or comment on facebook. It is better to offer to help, it is better to ask if someone needs help, it is better to comment and call frequently. It is best to visit, it is best to listen to the spirit, it is better to act, it is better to do some service to help them without asking or without them expecting it.

In our lives, we focus on Will. So when someone says to is; “please let me know if you need anything.” Is wonderful, but since my attention is on my son and all that he is going through I don’t often think about asking people to do things for me. That is why praying and listening to the promptings of the spirit are so important. Heavenly Father knows everything we need, and because of that he is the best source to go it when asking what someone needs. Or, if you have a random impression don’t post-pone it or shrug it off. Pay attention to it.

During our adventure with Will, we have had people who we barely know give us presents, give Will blankets, bring us dinner, and just send uplifting and happy letters of encouragement. My family lives in Texas, so Ben and I don’t have family support near-by. Its hard on us, but to meet people who are like family is wonderful. The Lord has put certain people in our lives to help us when others have fallen through. He watches over us and helps us. Our ward, the PCH branch, and many friends have stepped in where we needed help. Doing out laundry, watching our dog, doing our dishes, visiting us, or checking on us every day. It have kept our spirits, and hopes up. We are grateful for the spirit that guides us and the people who are willing to listen.

The Worst and Best Year of My Life

In January of 2016, I posted this instagram photo welcoming the new year;

20 days later, we were told the worst news of our lives. Our baby wasn’t going to live past 30 weeks of my pregnancy, and if he did live full term he would die shortly after birth.

The next four months of my pregnancy Ben and I both attended school and BYU-Idaho, we both worked, and we visited Salt Lake City for specialists appointments I think 4 times… ?

We became dog parents to the best, cutest, and most supportive dog in the world! We love you Blue, you brought to much joy into our lives during a stressful and sad time.

We moved to a new apartment just across the street from our old one. We had the most supportive friends and ward we could have ever asked for. Many times we would have blissful moments where we would forget about our bad news and we would feel like a normal couple just waiting for their baby to arrive. But many times Ben and I had to comfort each other as we were reminded of the horrible reality of our child’s low chances of survival. During these four months I fell more and more in love with Ben. Often times Ben and I would walk to class together holding hands and talking about Will, there was one day in particular where I looked around at the other many married couples also pregnant. Many would smile at me, seeing my pregnant belly and most likely thinking; “She’s pregnant! I’m so happy for her!” But not knowing that we were actually discussing our child’s predicted death. Ben was talking about something I can’t remember and I began to feel extremely depressed at our situation. I then looked at Ben and after feeling incredibly depressed I felt a feeling of love and gratitude that I didn’t have to go through this alone, and someone else was going though the same thing I was. We were a great support to each other, Ben was a wonderful husband to me, and I feel eternally grateful he is my husband.

At this point 2016 was the worst year of both Ben and I’s lives, and we both anticipated it to continue to be the worst year, ever. As many of you know, I had a planned c-section on May 17th and William was born thriving. Against all odds he was surviving and didn’t need any life support, breathing tubes, or anything. We welcomed William to the world, and found out fast that, unlike what we were expecting, he was going to stay with us for a long time.

William stayed in the Primary Children’s NICU for 2 months (where we met wonderful NICU nurses who would become wonderful friends to Ben and I and Will) and then was transferred to the Infant Unit the last two weeks of his hospital stay before be came home for the first time. During this time he had 4 surguries, 2 PICC lines, and 1 EVD. He came home for the first time when he was almost 3 months old. Ben and I, during this time, had decided to move to Utah from Idaho when William had his emergency surgery. We came to the realization that although William was thriving, this defect was so rare and needed a lot of medical care. Rexburg, Idaho was unfortunately too far away for what we felt comfortable with. We moved to Bountiful, Utah in July. We found our new home after praying in the car, we were feeling helpless and were driving around Bountiful applying to anything we could find. We came across these cute town homes, and had a contract signed the next day. Ben found a job the same time and everything fell into place. We later met our wonderful ward family who would be one of the greatest supports for us during our roller coaster ride with our new special needs son, next to the many friends we met in the Primary Children’s Hospital Branch and friends we knew before hand.

William was home for a month and then was put back into the hospital for another 2 months. He stayed in the Infant Unit where we got to know even more wonderful nurses who treated William so well. During this time our ward family would take care of our home and Blue while Ben was at work and I was at the hospital with Will. Many prayers were answered through faithful friends and ward members, which Ben and I are eternally grateful for. William came home from this hospital visit and has had two more hospital stays that have lasted for 4 days which feeling like nothing to us haha. William has had a couple ER visits but nothing major.

William had his baby blessing on December 21, 2016. We always thought we would bless him in the hospital right before he passed,  but instead we were able to bless him in our home among family. It was a beautiful and spiritual experience. We are so happy we were able to have this experience with our baby.

William had his first Thanksgiving and Christmas with us at home, which is a miracle in itself thanks to dedication to William’s wonderful surgeons and prayers from many supporters, family, and friends.

Overall, this year is summed up as the worst and best of my life. I don’t know how that is possible, but that is the only way I can explain. I have experienced my biggest fear, and my happiest moment. Ben and I have expanded our medical education which we hope to continue to learn more, we have become fierce vaccine advocates, and have developed a greater desire to serve just as the Savior has. As nike would say; JUST DO IT, JUST SERVE! We have become more aware of others and less involved with ourselves. I have developed a deeper and more loving relationship with my husband, and I have grown my faith and love for my Savior and Jesus Christ. I don’t know what it is, but there is something about trials that can either bring out the best or the worst in us. If we choose to rely on the Lord, Jesus Christ, we choose to be happy, and we choose to stay positive, amazing things can happen. 2016 and I have a love-hate relationship, but I wouldn’t change a single thing! Here is to 2017 and all the amazing events we will experience, lessons we will learn, and people we will meet. Its going to be a great year!

My Testimony

William was born May 17th 2016 at the University of Utah Hospital. I had a planned c-section that morning at 9:30 am. The night before William’s birth Ben and I met with family for Will’s anticipated death the next morning. Ben and I had a mortuary picked out, a casket and a date. We met with many people to help us create a birth plan for Will. Because of the way Will developed in the womb, doctors anticipated that William would not breathe and would immediately have to be intubated and put on life support. Ben and I decided that we wanted all intervention in order to stabilize Will until I was ready to see him and hold him. We would give him a name and a blessing and then take him off life support and be with him until he passed.

On May 17th Ben and I woke early that morning and drove to the hospital by ourselves, we talked on the way there about how peaceful we felt. We didn’t feel like Will would live, we just felt like everything would be okay, as members of the LDS church we believe that even though Will would most likely pass away that he was still ours, and we would be able to be with him forever. That truth is what got us through the terrible months of my pregnancy, the eternal truth that families are forever no matter what happens.

In the U of U hospital there is a little window in the operating room where babies that immediately need to go to the NICU are passed through. I knew I wouldn’t get to hold Will for awhile after his birth and I knew he would be sent immediately through the window. During the c-section Ben occasionally glanced over the curtain to tell me what was happening, the moment finally came when Will was born, “there he is, definitely a boy.” Ben’s comment was immediately followed by a sweet, beautiful, baby’s first cry. This was a wonderful moment for us because we were expecting Will to come out not breathing, but he was. My doctor came around the curtain to show Will to me, and then show me his head and within seconds he was transferred to the NICU. We waited for the NICU nurses to come get Ben so that he could see Will and give him a father’s blessing right after birth. When the nurse finally came she said; “We are ready for dad.” and then she came into my view and said to me; “mom, he’s breathing on his own.”

The spirit was so strong in that moment I bursted into tears, the anesthesiologist probably felt super awkward but I didn’t care. From months of thinking and anticipating our baby would die, he was alive.

This picture is me in my recovery room at the U of U hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was the first time I was able to touch Will and meet him. He was transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital NICU shortly after we met.

I wanted to share William’s birth story not as a “look how everything turned out so great” thing, but to express how our faith in the Lord’s plan and in Jesus Christ is not because everything turns out great and wonderful, but because its true. No matter the outcome. We must have faith even when things are really bad, even when we may not see the end or understand whats happening. I don’t think I felt peaceful before William was born because the spirit was telling me he would live, it was because during my pregnancy Ben and I made a choice to rely on the Lord, to believe in His plan, and to rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Daniel 3:18

If you want to know more about God’s plan and what helped Ben and I through William’s diagnosis visit www.mormon.org or www.lds.org

“ye have done it unto me.”

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Tuesday, September 20 William’s plastic surgeon decided last minute that we wanted to operate and close Will’s head. This was a last minute operation and we were not prepared. We knew it had to happen, and we knew it was a good decision so we went forward with it anyway. Ben was nervous because he couldn’t take work off, he didn’t want me to be left alone as William’s surgery was taking place. I asked my visiting teacher that day if she would sit with me during Will’s surgery. She sat with me from 2:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Ben and I stayed the night at the hospital, and we were brought clean clothes the next morning by my visiting teacher’s husband on his way to work. Ben and I spend countless hours at the hospital with Will, and we are worried about who would take care of our dog; my visiting teacher said to me; “Take care of your baby, I can take care of your dog.” She has five children who all have medical needs and she has them come to our house and take blue on walks, they feed him and play with him so Ben and I can be at the hospital with our baby. In our ward there are people bringing us dinner while we are at the hospital, we always come home with food in our fridge. Some of them don’t even know us.

I cannot express the importance of service. Service is when we act as the Lord’s hands, when he is able to act through us to show someone how much they are loved and cared for. I have had the privilege my entire life to serve others and have others serve me. It is a witness of the love of Christ. I have had people sit with me during surgery, drive me to the hospital when I didn’t have a ride. Watch our dog while we were away, bring us food, do our dishes. The people that have made the most impact on Ben and I’s life through service were the people who didn’t think about what they were going to do, who didn’t say “you can always come over if you want.” or “let me know if I can help.” No, it was the people that did something. The people who did our dishes without us knowing, put food in our fridge when they didn’t know who we are. Who said; “go to the hospital and be with Will, I will take your dog.” Who offered to watch William so Ben and I could go to the temple. Just serve.

If you have the thought come into your head to do something, do it. Don’t make excuses because chances are its the spirit trying to have you act as the Lord’s hands. We find excuses for ourselves; “I live too far away.” or “I have children of my own,” or “well, they wouldn’t like that anyway.” The adversary will tempt us to not serve others, and we must not allow him to win. We need to act as the Lord’s hands, when we feel a prompting to call someone, bring someone flowers, watch someone’s baby, do someone’s dishes, clean someones house or whatever it may be you are doing it with the Lord right beside you. You serving someone is the Lord telling, and showing that person that he is aware of them, He loves them, and He is there. Many times I have had the opportunity to serve others and it is a blessing to see the spirit present, you realize pretty quickly while your serving that it’s not about you. When you see the gratitude and happiness in someone’s eyes when you give them a blessing, or your bring them lunch, or you sit and talk with them, that they feel the love that Christ has for them. Christ is saying; “I am here, I am aware of you, I love you.” through your acts of service.

After William’s first surgery on September 15, he had problems breathing. There were three times when William turned blue, and a nurse needed to put a breathing mask over his face and give him breaths. That night Ben and I stayed at the hospital because we were too stressed to leave, we were in the Pediatric ICU hoping that he would recover. A representative from the branch came late that night (around 11pm) to assist Ben in a blessing. In that moment I was overwhelmed with the love that my Savior not only felt for my son, but for me. I have always felt everything was about Will, and it always has been. Very little times have people asked me how I was doing, how Ben was doing, or given us a break and we didn’t think about it because we were so focused on Will. But that night, I felt a very personal love, a love for me. All because someone took 30 minutes away from their home to come bless my son. Someone took time away from their personal lives, their dinner, their family, and decided to help Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ show me how much I was loved, how much I was watched over, and how my family was watched over.

So, when you are sitting at 11pm at night with your family and you have the feeling to visit  sister in your ward, make a little extra dinner for a family member, or send a message to let someone know they are being thought of, know that the spirit is directing you and working through you. Jesus Christ loves each and every one of us more than we can comprehend. If we want to become like him, we must also live a life similar to the one he did, which was full of selfless service and sacrifice for others.

If you come upon a person who is drowning, would you ask if they need help—or would it be better to just jump in and save them from the deepening waters? The offer, while well meaning and often given, “Let me know if I can help” is really no help at all.

Elder Rasband