What Easter Means to Me

My whole life has been filled with experiences that have brought me closer to my savior, even the smallest experiences I don’t even remember. Even the times where I feel the Savior extremely close, I am surprised by how much closer I can get to him, and how much more I need to progress in my life.

“My beloved brothers and sisters, today is Easter Sunday. Although we should always remember (we promise in our weekly sacramental prayers that we will), nevertheless this is the most sacred day of the year for special remembrance of brotherly hands and determined arms that reached into the abyss of death to save us from our fallings and our failings, from our sorrows and our sins.” Jeffery R. Holland, Where Justice, Love, and Mercy Meet.

I am eternally grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, for all that he does for me and my family. There has not been a day that goes by without me thinking to myself; “I am so grateful that I can be with Ben and Will forever.” And all of that is to be thanked to our Heavenly Father for him sending his Son to us, and for Jesus Christ for him performing the most important event in eternity, the Atonement.

There are many events that we experience in our lives that bring us closer to God, and where we feel extremely close to the spirit. Many of them include temple work, where we either go through the temple for ourselves or others. When we are sealed to our eternal companions. In a hospital room where a new child is brought into the world, or even something as simple as family prayer, or a lesson in Sunday school. For me I have felt so close to the spirit during my pregnancy, even before we found out about Will’s problems. It is obvious to both Ben and I that this sweet little baby that has come into our lives is a special spirit that is constantly bearing witness of Christ to us, our families, and many friends.

Will’s purpose from the moment he became our son was to testify of Christ, and his atonement, and of his Resurrection. As J.R.R Tolken says in Will’s favorite movie; “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” Will’s body is not a perfect body, his head is deformed, and his brain has not developed properly. None of which could have been prevented. As Ben and I talked with the neurologist, she said to us; “Usually, fetuses with severe deformities such as these pass away early in development, and are mostly miscarriages, but this fetus has survived.” When she told us this, I thought of how much Will has brought Ben and I closer together, and both of our families closer together. He truly is a witness and disciple of Christ, and for that, I feel must testify of the truth of Jesus Christ and his Atonement.

“As one of His ordained witnesses, I declare this Easter morning that Jesus of Nazareth was and is that Savior of the world, the “last Adam,”6 the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega of eternal life. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” -Jeffery R. Holland.

The Resurrection of Christ is so extremely important to me, because I know that William will also be resurrected, and have a perfect body with a perfect head and brain unlike the one he has now that is deformed, underdeveloped, and misshapen. Just has Christ overcame death, so will each of us. Because Christ performed the eternal and wonderful Atonement, we are able to be made alive again and reunited with our loved ones once again. Because of Jesus Christ, this is not the end, and that gives me so much joy.
When I was about 5 to 6 weeks pregnant Ben and I decided to tell our parents. Around this time, my grandpa in Brazil was in the hospital and suffered a severe car crash that led to his death. Before he passed away, my mother asked my uncle to tell my grandpa that I was pregnant. When my grandpa was told this, he began to cry, and said to us; “it is a boy.” he soon passed away after that. When Ben and I found out Will was a boy, we felt impressed to name him after my grandpa, William Adroaldo Reidhead.

lalalala
Here is a picture of my Grandma, Maria, who I was named after and who passed away years before my grandpa. And my grandpa, Adroaldo.

I wanted to share this story because ever since my grandpa and grandma passed away I have felt their spirits very close to my family. And I know that because of Christ’s atonement they will too be made alive just as Christ was on Easter morning. Feeling them close to Ben and I as we go through this hard trial with Will, has been a huge blessing to us, and only possible through Christ. Family is important to me, and I know that my family can be together forever, all of us, because of Christ’s selfless Atonement.

The fact that I can sleep well at night next to my eternal companion and know that everything is going to be made right as long as I endure to the end gives me purpose, it gives me hope, and it gives me happiness. The fact that I can break down some days and fall to my knees in prayer and be immediately comforted by the spirit gives me strength to keep moving, and accomplish those things in my life that I need to accomplish. One Sunday, Ben and I sat in sacrament meeting, and during the intermediate song we all stood to sing “How Great Thou Art” I felt the spirit extremely strong and would like to share this hymn to you because it explains how I feel this Easter.

“And when I think that God, His Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art.
Then Sings my soul, my Savior, God to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!”

May I close with a cheesy quote again from Lord of The Rings? Doesn’t matter, I’m going to do it anyway.

“Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. There are other forces at work in this world, Frodo, besides the will of evil. Bilbo was meant to find the Ring. In which case, you were also meant to have it. And that is an encouraging thought.”

This quote has been a help for me, Ben and I wish all the time that our baby was normal just like our many friend’s babies. We wish this burden had never come upon us. But we were meant to have sweet William in our lives, and there are other people on both sides of the veil helping us along the way, and the fact that we have such a sweet, and special spirit as ours gives us a lot of encouragement. So Easter is a testimony that there is more than this life, and there is more than death. We will all overcome death just as Christ did that Easter morning when the tomb was empty.

Here are also some pictures because Easter is meant to be fun too!

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Ben, Alyssa, William, and Blue!

Just wanted to update everyone on our lives so far! It’s has been (excuse my language) one hell of a ride!

Ben and Alyssa
Might I say that I have been blessed with the best husband ever? Seriously, he has been my support through these extremely hard times, and he has impressed me so much with his strength and dedication to our family. We have been going to classes, and work and I feel like we haven’t been able to sleep a full night for the past three months! We both have been supported tremendously by our Heavenly Father and Savior through these trying times. Our friends definitely have been a huge support to us too, the night we came back from our doctor appointments we felt extremely heartbroken and hopeless. We had dear friends at our door ready to give Ben and blessing, and Claire staying with us was a huge support as well, we are extremely blessed.

Blue
Blue is about 10 weeks now, we got him registered in the city of Rexburg, and we also registered him as an emotional support animal! Ben and I are looking into training him to be a therapy dog and take him to hospitals, nursing homes, and other places so he can help others as much as he has helped us. Because of Blue, Ben and I have gone walking and running every day since we got him. Our moods have been lifted, and we have the best outlet to help us forget about the worries and stressed of life and take time to go to the park and run around with our puppy. I advise those of you who feel sad, upset, or sometimes depressed to take time to go outside and enjoy being outside. It really does help!

 

Will
Now that I’ve lightened your spirits, its time for some sad new about Will. When Ben and I found out about Will’s diagnosis we thought it couldn’t get much worse than this, and folks, it certainly can. I had an MRI to look at Will’s brain, and the results were discouraging. His brain is not only not growing inside of his skull, but his brain development is extremely off. This development of his brain was worse than what they suspected before. Ben and I saw Will in the MRI pictures and it was extremely detailed so we could see his growth abnormalities, this was shocking and extremely surreal to me. It was the first time I actually saw how different he looked. Because of this, Ben and I have officially decided to deliver Will at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. We chose this because Ben’s family would be able to be there for support through this trying time, and also Idaho is extremely limited in care of our little baby we want to be in a place where we have nurses and doctors who are experienced, where there is a large NICU and where we have all the resources we can in order to give the best care to little Will. My mom would also have better access to Salt Lake so she can be there when Will is born. We have been taken care of so well by Primary Children’s and U of U hospital, they have set up us with programs where pictures can be taken and keepsakes can be made when Will is born so we can remember him if he does pass away. We have many different doctors and specialists taking care of Will, who have been such a big support to us.

I want to close with a scripture that has been in my mind since we found out more about Will;

O God, where art thou? And where is the pavilion that covereth thy hiding place?  How long shall thy hand be stayed, and thine eye, yea thy pure eye, behold from the eternal heavens the wrongs of thy people and of thy servants, and thine ear be penetrated with their cries? My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands.Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job. Doctrine and Covenants Section 121: 1-10 The Lord speaking to Joseph Smith while he was a prisoner at Liberty Jail.

 

 

Happy and Hopeful

Today was a rainy gloomy day, which set the scene for being sad and depressing. I was full of so many emotions today, and I was overwhelmed with the unknown of Will’s birth as it quickly approaches. It was one of those days where you sit in bed, curl up in your blanket, and cry. But Ben and I were recently called to be nursery leaders and we already made the commitment to teach nursery today. Throughout the day we had more and more temptations to back out and not go, to sit in our rooms and comfort each other. As we debated with each other we finally decided to go to church.

During church I felt extremely overwhelmed, there were many new babies in the ward and it made me sad thinking about my own baby and all his problems as I was surrounded by perfect normal babies. I could barely sing the hymns because I was so sad and depressed sitting in my own bitterness. I couldn’t even allow myself to feel the spirit, I was sulking, and it was awful. It wasn’t until a young woman from our ward stood up and bore her testimony in sacrament, I don’t remember what she said but right after she was done, I immediately stood up to bare my own testimony. If it didn’t help anyone else in the congregation is helped me. After I explained my love for the savior and his atonement, i immediately felt myself become happier.

I saw this quote this morning, and I wish I would have changed my mindset earlier from it.

work

After sacrament meeting, Ben and I had a wonderful time in nursery. It was a big blessing to us to have that calling. We were able to have fun, and focus on playing and enjoying ourselves. I forgot all about my worries, my fears, and I allowed myself to feel the spirit instead of feeling bad for myself, and it made me so incredibly happy and hopeful.

Looking outside yourself, past all the things that make you angry or upset and look towards others, and how to help others can lead us out of our misery and towards happiness. Get up! Get out of the house, take a walk, serve someone. There truly is power in work and looking outside of yourself. It is truly a blessing to have school, work, church callings, temples work, and other things that allow you to get out of the house and enjoy the moment. Although the future in unsure, and everything seems really scary right now, I know that the moment I have with Will is important and I need to embrace it.

I don’t think it’s bad to sometimes feel sad, and allow yourself to cry and be upset with the cards we’ve been dealt. But I also think those shouldn’t last days on end. When we understand that this life is not the end, and there is more awaiting us, we can also understand the importance of work, and helping others rather than being sad, or bitter about our circumstances, I know for myself, I am a lot more happy and hopeful.