“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

 

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My New Normal

When William was first born I remember visiting him in the NICU one morning. Ben pushed me into his room and I saw what I thought was a nurse but later learned was a phlebotomist poking Will’s heel to get some blood work done. William let out a cry of pain and I began to cry myself because I couldn’t imagine him in any pain at all. It was only about a couple weeks later when I found myself holding Will down to keep his brain from falling out of his head, the day of his emergency surgery. I have found myself many times thinking I wouldn’t be able to carry on, or handle the care of Will and I have surprised myself. 

Ben and I put feeding tubes through William’s nose and down his throat. It’s uncomfortable for him, he gags and sometimes will throw up. He cries wiggles to get away. I hold him down and pat his back while Ben tries to slip the feeding tube as fast as he can down his throat. Only 2 months before this I needed to leave the room while nurses would put his feeding tube down. As I see posts of my friends about how they couldn’t handle their babies vaccinations, I thought of all the things William has had to go through, and how Ben and I have to witness and even help for William’s own benefit. Vaccinations were a piece of cake. 

I will admit I became very sad at the fact that Ben and I had to witness William in so much pain, I guess what I am trying to say is that I wish I was upset my Will’s vaccines because that would mean he wouldn’t have to go through so much. As I thought about this and began to feel disappointed and sorry for our situation the thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus came to my mind. When we were told Will would die, my mom told me about Mary, how Mary carried Jesus and gave birth to him all while knowing that he would eventually have to Atone and die. 

25 ¶Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 

27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Mary must have had many attributes that made her strong and able to carry, raise, and watch her son die. When the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her what would happen that Christ was the Son of God, that he would Atone for the sins of the world, I think she knew exactly what was going to happen to Him. I think she knew that there was going to be a lot of pain, suffering, and danger if she were to be the mother of Jesus, and with that some great faith. Faith that the suffering will only be for a little while, faith that because of his suffering it will be for the good of others. Faith that this isn’t the end, but all will be made right. 

Before Will’s first surgery Ben and I were making a lot of very complicated, important, and big medical decisions in a short period of time with a lot of pressure on us from many doctors, friends, and family members. I was with my mom outside the NICU when I finally broke. I began to cry because I was so overwhelmed with the pressure put on me. My mom explained to me; “this is your new normal. This is how life is going to be. You are Will’s advocate.” She explained this from her own experience with my brother when he was diagnosed with Autism. It was true, this was our normal. But we don’t have faith in outcomes, we have faith in Jesus Christ. Just as Mary had faith even as she watched her son suffer I believe I can have faith as well. Everything will be alright in the end.

I still get upset that Will has to go through so much pain and that his life is a lot harder than many his age, I don’t understand why my neighbor or friend can have a completely healthy baby with no problems or health conditions but my baby had it. But I know Mary thought the same, why did her Son have to suffer and Atone for the very people that nailed Him to the cross? Why does William have to be fed through a tube when he wants so badly to eat by a bottle? Why do people get pregnant without trying but some people try their entire lives and never have children? I don’t know. Life is not fair, we can go to the temple, go to church, serve in our callings, keep our covenants and bad things will still happen to us, and good things will happen to other people that probably don’t deserve it. That’s a fact. But even though William’s deformity isn’t fair to him, and even though he has to go through more pain than other children do in their entire lives, even though Ben and I have gone sleepless nights, harder times than probably most of our friends and family, even with all of the misfortune, pain and suffering we can say with full confidence that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ all will be made right. Probably not in this life, but in the next. I know without a doubt in my mind that Christ and his many helpers on both sides of the veil have assisted us when we were in need. 

After a long week and a half of crying, being pressured to make certain decisions, and having our entire world change after Will was born, it was the day of William’s surgery. We had signed consent, we have said our prayers, and there was nothing left to do but trust. As we walked with Will down to the surgery room, peace overcame both Ben and I and when we kissed Will goodbye as they took him into the surgery room I knew it was going to be okay. This was our new normal, we won’t experience what others do with a new born baby. But that doesn’t make it bad. And there is help along the way. 

“That first Easter sequence of Atonement and Resurrection constitutes the most consequential moment, the most generous gift, the most excruciating pain, and the most majestic manifestation of pure love ever to be demonstrated in the history of this world. Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, suffered, died, and rose from death in order that He could, like lightning in a summer storm, grasp us as we fall, hold us with His might, and through our obedience to His commandments, lift us to eternal life.” -Jeffery R Holland.