A Letter to Myself

When I was in high school, I was very concerned with having a boyfriend. Which is something every girl worries about as a teenager. All of my friends had boyfriends, or guys that liked them. I felt jealous, insecure, and self-conscious of the fact that guys wouldn’t ask me out on dates, or to dances, or for anything romantic. During this time in my life I felt like I was ugly, dumb, all the negative things that would make boys not like me. As I watched all of my many friends have boys falling all over them, going on dates, having their first unforgettable kisses, I realize now how shallow I was.

Now flash forward like 3 years later. Yesterday at our doctors appointment we met with many different wonderful people that were helping us make a birth plan when William is born. Because of his deformities he will immediately need to be in he NICU and Ben and I need to be prepared for all outcomes of his birth. We sat with some people to discuss William and how he would be taken care of, how much we wanted to do to. One of the people talking with us asked us how Ben and I’s relationship has been during this time in our lives. We both looked at each other, and Ben replied; “honestly we have definitely gotten a lot closer to each other since we found out about our son.” I didn’t say this to anyone, but I thought to myself about how obsessed I was for someone to notice me in high school, for someone to be my knight in shining armor and to show everyone else that guys actually liked me. And in that moment I realized a profound truth that I hope will help someone else and also help me to never forget.

If you have someone in your life, and you don’t picture them going through the hardest thing you can ever imagine with you, they probably are not someone you should be with, OR there is something that needs to be fixed. I say this because as much as we all wish and dream (both guys and girls) about ‘the one’ or the person you want to spend the rest of eternity with. We all watch and read Nicholas Sparks’ books and movies and think about how perfect your lives would be if we had a good person to spend life with. But I’m telling you right now, that Ben and I have only been married a year and a half and we are already having to face loosing our first child. This to me puts into perspective how at first I wanted that perfect Nicholas Sparks boy, but I didn’t realize as I dated and wished for that perfect guy that yeah he might be good looking, funny, sweet, nice, and might think I’m the greatest thing n the world. But if we were to loose our house, loose money, get in an accident, loose a child, go through the many hardships that life beings you, would he be strong? Would he say to you;”Lets get through this together,” Would he cry with you? Would he make a joke about how you never seem to catch a break to lighten the load on you a little bit? To me that is what should be written about in books, in tv shows, and that’s the kind of people we should be looking for.

As I looked at Ben during our appointments yesterday, as we planned the sad event of our son passing away I was overcome with love toward him. More love than I felt even on our wedding day. Because in marriage, you carry each other, you lift each other. When one person has given up the other says; “No, lets keep going!” When someone says something offensive your spouse knows what you’re going through. You express your feelings toward each other, you learn how the other person copes. And you grow. On our wedding day as we looked at each other and made covenants with each other and God, I never thought that a year and a half later we would be facing this trial, if I did I don’t know if I would have even gone through the marriage in the first place. And I am so glad I did.

“Marriage is the most trusting step in any human relationship. It’s a real act of faith. The very nature of the endeavor requires that you hold onto each other as tightly as you can and jump.” -Jeffery R. Holland

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“But If Not…”

I have written about this simple but profound truth that I feel we all will have to face in this life if we haven’t already. Bad things happen, you fail the test, your parking spot gets taken, ice cream melts, it’s the way mortality is. Sometimes people let it get to them, sometimes people can stay positive and some people, probably most, are somewhere in between.

In the move “He’s Just Not That Into You” there is a quote that stuck out to me and has been something that I really needed to realize for myself.

“I think I’ve figured it out. Remember when I went out with that notary public and he cheated on me and then Anastasia from upstairs told me about how her boyfriend cheated on her in the beginning then he totally changed and now they’re married and crazy in love…Anyway my point is, Anastasia is the exception, not the rule. We have to stop listening to these stories because the rule is most guys who cheat on you up front don’t really care about you very much…all my friends used to tell me about how things might work out with these jerks because they knew someone, who knew someone, who dated a jerk just like mine. That girl ended up getting married and living happily ever after. That’s the exception and we’re not the exception we’re the rule.”

I love this movie, even though it is about dating I think it applies to my situation just as much. I have had so many people say to me; “Oh well I have a friend who had a friend who’s baby as born without a heart and she is 5 years old now!” and so much along those lines. But, the rule is if your baby is without a heart, she can’t survive. There are some exceptions, but we can’t expect to be the exception.

Now that we’ve had some real talk, I want to discuss something further about life and how hard it can be. I want to discuss the people who don’t get what they want or deserve. The people who try and try for a baby but never have one. The ones who apply and apply for jobs but are never hired. The ones who practice and practice but never win. The ones who pray and pray but don’t get what they pray for. We see the people and we hear the people who tell the world about how great life is to them, but we never hear about those who try and try but can’t seem to catch a break. Bottom line, you don’t always get what you want.

In October, Ben and I visited my family in Dallas. While we were there we heard on the news about a girl in Dallas who went missing and then her body was found in a creek the next day. My sister was very upset by this because the most disturbing thing about this was that the girl was Mormon and she went missing while she was on her way to a church class, which was mission prep. “She was on her way to mission prep! Why does God allow these things to happen?” My sister explained. At the time, my words were inexperienced and I said the most generic thing that I can’t even remember. At that time was about 10 weeks pregnant with a baby that wasn’t developing properly, and I would soon know that he would most likely not stay with me after birth. I had no idea what this family was feeling, but I soon would feel similar emotions.

Going through this trial has brought me to understand that we must always have faith in Jesus Christ and God even if we don’t get what we want. Easier said than done, my friends. In Dennis E. Simmons talk But If Not…he explains;

“As a young man, I returned home from an eighth-grade basketball tournament dejected, disappointed, and confused. I blurted out to my mother, “I don’t know why we lost—I had faith we’d win!” I now realize that I did not then know what faith is. Faith is not bravado, not just a wish, not just a hope. True faith is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—confidence and trust in Jesus Christ that leads a person to follow Him.

A couple semesters ago I took the second half of the New Testament and learned a lot about the apostle Paul. His dedication to the Lord was incredible to me, and I couldn’t imagine being that committed and have that much faith, until I faced the worst possible thing I could think of. Paul says;

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Paul says he takes pleasure in infirmities because he understands and knows that full and real faith in Jesus Christ can bring out the best in us.

Joseph and Emma Smith have inspired me the most by their dedication to each other, the church, and God. Joseph Smith was probably one of the most faithful men to ever walk the earth. He was persecuted, thrown into jail, separated from his family, humiliated, betrayed, and was a faithful servant to the Lord and without his dedication none of us would be blessed with the Gospel we have today. His faithful and strong wife, Emma stood by him the whole time. The thing that I find the most incredible and the thing I can relate to the most is the story of their first born son Alvin. He passed away shortly after he was born, after him they had a total of eleven children, and six of them passed away either in infancy or childhood. Here is a painting of them grieving the death of their first born son.

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We cannot fully understand what faith is, until we understand the atonement, and gain an eternal perspective. This life is hard, we grieve, we cry, we loose people we love, we continue to be knocked down over and over again. But this is not the end, this mortal life is not all that we are, we are much more than this life. God is with us, He is for us. I know this, because He wouldn’t have sent His Son if He didn’t care what happens to us. The people we look up to, the people we admire went through great adversity, and never lost their faith, but embraced their trials. I know my life, and I know my situation. I can’t change it, I can’t change the fact that others have it better than me. But I know for myself, I want to be like the people I look up to and allow my trails to mold me into a faithful, righteous person that will be worthy of my family and especially my son, William, who has done something so remarkable that he doesn’t need the trials or tests of this life to grow like I do.

“The Lord has given us agency, the right and the responsibility to decide. He tests us by allowing us to be challenged. He assures us that He will not suffer us to be tempted beyond our ability to withstand. But we must understand that great challenges make great men. We don’t seek tribulation, but if we respond in faith, the Lord strengthens us. The but if nots can become remarkable blessings.” But If Not by Dennis E. Simmons.