0

Faith

I have teamed up with some other bloggers to do a serious called, “Testimony Tuesdays”. The first Tuesday of each month we are given a topic to discuss and bear our testimony on. I thought this would be perfect for me to add a little variety to the blog and to gain confidence in discussing my faith, which is the most important thing in my life. Note: I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. You can learn more about the church here

This months topic is: FAITH

Coincidentally we discussed this very topic in Relief Society last Sunday. Even more amazing is the fact that I even know that. Having a 4 month old baby can be a little distracting. She happened to sleep through the whole thing so I had a rare opportunity to pay attention and be edified by the Lord’s spirit and the testimonies of others. A very interesting discussion broke out about whether or not faith can waiver, or if we simply stop believing. While there were many opinions, I will only share my own. Throughout my life my faith has waivered. There have been times of trial, and more significantly fear, when I have felt my testimony start to suffer. I have asked those questions of Why? However each and every one of those experiences has strengthened my testimony and given new life to the the way I see faith.

My two favorite quotes concerning faith are “Faith is not simply believing, its acting” and “Faith is the opposite of fear”.

Quick background, I was baptized at the age of 8 but my family was never active for very long growing up. At the age of 15 we moved to Utah and through the amazing friendships I made, and one life changing experience at EFY I developed my own testimony and became active in the church. I attended Brigham Young University. I was called to be the Relief Society President in my very first ward and was at a complete loss of what this even meant.  I was unsure of my abilities to take on such a roll. I was talking to my great grandmother, a spiritual giant, and who has since passed away. She told me some things that have stuck with me. First she said “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies those he calls,” and then asked me if I have faith in my Father in Heaven to mold me into the woman he needs me to be. I of course responded yes, and she said, “well then get to work! Faith isn’t simply believing, its acting.” (I am not sure who the original quote is by. I remember her saying something about that but I couldn’t find it online) That year was seriously a whirlwind. I was taking a full load of classes, working, and having a ton of fun. I grew to love the church in a whole new way. Serving my sisters and learning from them gave me a steadfast testimony in the work behind faith. We cant expect our faith be unwavering if we are unwilling to reach deep inside ourselves, serve others, and push to gain greater knowledge of our Father in Heaven and Savior Jesus Christ. I go back to these scriptures all of the time, mainly when I am needing that motivation to push forward: James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, and Alma 32:27 Awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith.

The second quote has helped me rise out of the most trying experience of my life. In December of 2012 we lost our first pregnancy to miscarriage at 10 weeks. Prior to this loss we had prayed fervently on whether or not it was the right time to bring children into our eternal family. With a resounding answer of peace we found out we were pregnant that first month. In my heart it felt so right. We had waited for the right time and once that came things happened quickly. I was already so in love with this tiny life and my future as a mother. The moment they told us there wasn’t a heart beat my world came crashing down. I tried so desperately to not let those questions and fears enter my heart, but they did. I became fearful that my righteous desire and dream to be a mother would never happen here. That I may never carry a baby to full term. So many women go through infertility (something I feel so blessed to not have had to experience), and one out of every four women will experience a miscarriage in their life time. Regardless I felt alone. Garren was a wonderful support, but it didn’t effect him the way it effected me. One night, while Garren was back east at a PT School interview I broke down and let my heart out to the Lord. I told him how mad I was, how sad I felt, and how truly fearful I was of the future. I knew I had two choices. I could let this experience ruin my testimony or I could find the light of Christ in this moment, allow myself to learn from this small tragedy and push forward in faith. I told my Father in Heaven that I refused to give into the fear the advesary would have me fall into and that I knew the Lord’s plan for me truly was perfect. That night I felt more peace than I had ever felt. My Father in Heaven comforted me and gave me the answers my heart yearned for. I knew from that moment on we would conceive again, I would hold this next baby in my arms, and I even told Garren I knew with a surety we would get pregnant that following May. The next 5 months, any time I felt the fear creep in, I did something about it. I knelt down to prayer, asked for a priesthood blessing or read the words of God through our prophets in the scriptures. I will tell you I failed many times, but I didn’t let the failure consume me and pressed forward.

Faith is the most important attribute we can hold while here on earth. I testify that we do have the choice to serve our fellow man and to believe the words of our Father in Heaven. We are so very loved by Him and because of our Savior Jesus Christ we will return to him. The life we lead is up to us. A life in faith will bring about so much happiness, a happiness that has no place for fear.

Read More Testimony Tuesday Entries here:

 

Advertisements
0

2nd Anniversary!

On May 6th we celebrated our 2nd anniversary. We went camping the weekend before to celebrate, but not celebrating the day of would just be madness :)

We kept it pretty low key and just went to dinner at Wingers and had the cutest little bottles of Martinellis sparkling cider ever.

The second year of marriage was much harder than the first. We went through some pretty “Adult” trials and had to make “Adult” decisions. That may seem really weird. I mean we are married and have been “Adults” for a while but we would some times laugh at how we felt like kids trying to make it through the grown-up world. The day we lost our baby made us grow up pretty fast. Life took a new perspective and our goals were re-focused. I always knew I was blessed to have Garren as a husband but through the last year I realized we are an incredibly strong unit. We don’t get to pick the trials we have but we did get to chose each other to face them together. I am so excited to start this new adventure. Garren has been working so hard to get to physical therapy school and it is so comforting to know that he will always do his best to take care of me and our family.

Best Parts of our 2 year of marriage:

A very rainy but perfect camping trip

Going to Montana to see Kyle, Heather, and the Kids

Garren getting in to Franklin Pierce University’s DPT Program

Finding out we were going to be parents

 

So since the 2nd anniversary is the “Cotton” anniversary we tie dyed shirts for each other! Here are pictures of that and the whole anniversary day :)

IMG_20130512_152528

This isn’t from our actual anniversary… but it makes me happy that we still hold hands in the car :)

IMG_20130506_201038

He got me my favorite flowers for our anniversary! Gorgeous.

IMG_20130506_181344

He was a little hungry

IMG_20130506_181326

I guess after months of eating recipes from Skinnytaste.com he wanted a little bit of fat…. :P

IMG_20130506_203628

Gross picture, cute bottles!

IMG_20130506_172822

:)

IMG_20130506_172731

Ready to Celebrate :)

IMG_0915

Notice the 2’s

IMG_0912

He did a good job

IMG_0911

I like to think I did too!

Bring on year number 3!

1

Finding Happiness

The past 5 months have been a complete roller coaster.

In that time we:

  • Found out we were expecting our first baby.
  • We lost our baby
  • we applied to grad school
  • We were denied or put on a lot of wait lists and realized we needed a plan B
  • My hours were cut at work
  • We devised a plan B and became excited about it
  • We found out Garren was accepted into Franklin Pierce’s DPT progam
  • My Grandpa died

It’s been really crazy and to be honest I thought I could never handle some of the trials that had been thrown at us. However we have made our way through it together and have learned so much in the process.

I am a planner. A crazy planner. I have to plan every detail of every event well before it’s going to take place. Clearly most of the things that have transpired in the last 5 months can’t be ‘planned for’. This is when I realized I have to relinquish my control. I don’t get to decide if Garren gets into grad school, I don’t get to decide if I will have the opportunity of caring my next baby to full term. All I get to decide is how I react to the life I lead. I can wallow in self misery and pity, or I can find happiness. I am so very blessed. I have a husband who would do anything for me, a family who loves and supports us, and a Father in Heaven who is so aware Me.

My grandma just lost the love of her life. She is the epitome of strength, virtue and happiness. She has been through so many hardships in her life, but upon meeting her you would never know. She literally glows. I pray one day to be a tenth of the woman she is. For now I will take the lessons of patience, forgiveness,  and submission to heart and challenge myself to let go of how I think my life should play out. The Lord knows what I am capable of, he knows the path my life will lead. I just need to hold on and make the most of it, cherishing all the good that is in store for us.

If nothing else, we get to wake up in the morning and decide, will this be a good day, or will I let it be a bad day. Happiness is a choice, some days it’s harder to make that decision, but it is there waiting for us to grasp it.

I am so excited for the next chapter in our lives. I am so proud of my husband for his hard work and determination. He is going to make an amazing Physical Therapist.

New Hampshire here we come :)

The day we found out he got into Franklin Pierce!

The day we found out he got into Franklin Pierce!

 

P.S. We got to go visit Garren’s brother/sister in law and our nieces and nephews in Montana a few weeks ago. It was so fun! WE WILL live in Montana one day.

SO EXCITED AND READY FOR CONFERENCE THIS WEEKEND.

1

A Test in Empathy and Faith

The last two months have been some of the most trying months of our lives. However they have also been filled with so much love and enlightenment. While I pray I never need to go through this trial again, I am so grateful for the amazing people in my life, mostly my best friend/husband and the lessons I have learned about empathy, faith and myself.

In the past whenever I heard someone had miscarried I instantly felt sad for them. However, I also, naively, thought to myself “at least they can try again, they must be so strong to have been given this trial, and that will never happen to me” .

When people heard we had lost our baby they were automatically there to comfort us and give us advice as to why this happened. We got a lot of “This is God’s plan for you, every thing happens for a reason, and that I will have a baby one day very soon and to not lose hope.” Now let me be clear, these are the same things I would have said had I been the one offering comfort and they are 100% true. I am so aware and in awe of the fact that my Father in Heaven knows who I am and loves me so very much. Unfortunately I found myself struggling with these comforting words. It just wasn’t something I needed nor wanted to hear while going through this.

I hated myself for this. I know that everyone was coming from a very loving and optimistic place. Well I was reading in the bible one night and I came to John 11. If you are unfamiliar, this is the story of Lazarus. I was stuck straight to my core as I read verse 35 that reads ” Jesus wept.” These two words have taught me so much about empathy. As I looked back I realized the most comforting words people said to me were “I am so sorry”. Jesus didn’t try to give them a lesson about God’s plan, or life after death to his sisters. He knew they not only knew but also believed those sweet principles of the gospel. He simply wept and shared their grief with them.

Some times life is really hard, and we are tested past the limits we once thought we could handle. Grief is such an important step to recovering from these trials. Please understand that I am not mad or ungrateful for the beautiful words every one has said to me, as I know we are so very loved. I have just realized in my own life how to approach those who are grieving and when is the right time to offer advice and when it is simply necessary to grieve with some one.

I am so happy to say that I am doing much better. I still have moments, even days when I am consumed by the sadness and desire to have my baby, however most days I am just so grateful to have a loving husband and the knowledge of  a Father in Heaven and an Elder brother who has given his life for me.

We are currently waiting to hear back from grad schools, and to hopefully be accepted off the wait list for Shenandoah University. This is definitely a test of my patience but I do believe I am getting much better at doing my best and handing the rest over to the Lord. I can’t control everything, much to my dismay, and sometimes faith is all we truly need.

Garren and I are also doing FABULOUS at going to the gym and eating healthy. Thanks to skinnytaste.com and myfitnesspal.com I have lost 7lbs so far. HECK YES :)

0

Separation Anxiety

So ever since we got married the most amount of time we have spent apart is one night. Yes I have been very spoiled. I am now on night number two (out of three) of our current separation. Garren is in Virginia to interview for Shenandoah University’s Physical Therapy program. It’s an amazing program and we are so blessed to have this opportunity.

Garren is one of the hardest workers I have ever met and his optimistic spirit is exactly why I needed to marry him. I am a worrier. I get migraines from stress and tend to freak out. A lot. With every thing that has happened in our lives the past month or so I have been slowly unraveling. To be honest it’s frightening. I have been ‘depressed’ before and have always suffered from anxiety, however, this has been different. I haven’t known how to cope with losing something so precious and real. I’ve read so many amazing talks from General Authorities, spent hours on my knee’s talking to my Father in Heaven, and obviously spent a good amount of time crying. This has all helped tremendously but some where along the way I forgot to hope.

I spent so much time grieving this definite separation from our child that I forgot to look forward. This is why the man I married has literally saved me. He never loses that eternal perspective and when he tells me that we are not far away from holding our baby in our arms I can’t not believe him. He has taught me that this is not something I have to get over, it’s something that will help me move forward and bring me closer to obtaining Christ-like attributes. The moment I was told I lost my baby I gained empathy for 25% of the female population. Can you believe that? 25% of women will miscarry. I can’t tell you how many times I have registered women at work who were going through this exact thing. Yes, I have always felt bad for them, but my heart never truly understood.

I know everything happens for a reason, and while I still have moments when I ask why me? Why our first baby? I will never doubt that I am very loved by both people here on earth and beyond the veil.

Any way, Garren’s travels didn’t go as planned today but he never got stressed or sounded upset. He just kept telling me not to worry; he was sure it would all work out. He was right. He is now sleeping soundly at a very kind Bishop’s house in Virginia. He will wake up and rock his interview tomorrow and Wednesday he is coming home to me! I will finally have my husband back for three precious weeks before his next (and final undergrad) semester begins :)

 

I love technology, even from thousands of miles away I get to see and talk to this cute face.

Google Hangout :)

Google Hangout :)

 

P.S Garren was offered another interview in New Jersey AND he gets to do it on the phone. Blessings.

10

Angel Baby

I have dreaded writing this but I feel strongly that I need to. I know so many people have gone through this and their stories and words of comfort helped me. I am grateful for the love and support of our family at this hard time in our lives and I find peace and comfort in the gospel of Jesus Christ. On October 26th we found out we were pregnant. The joy we felt was completing. Our family was growing, we were going to be parents. On November 20th we had our first and only ultra sound. There was no heart beat, and the baby had stopped growing at 4 weeks. The pain and anguish we felt is not something I can describe and I would never wish it upon any one. I feel grateful to have a husband who holds me when I cry and who will always be there for me. I felt like I had so much to say to my baby that would never come so I wrote my angel a letter.

Dear Angel Baby,

The moment I saw those two pink lines I fell hard and fast. I loved you more than I will ever be able to put down into words. My entire life has been about getting to that moment. The point when I could say “I am a mother.” I cherished ever bout of nausea, stab of heart burn and every single trip to the bathroom to once again pee. It just meant you were growing big and strong with in me. I dreamed of the day I would hold you in my arms, kiss your sweet face and tell you I love you.

Your dad and I stayed up late many nights talking about how excited we were to be your parents. We spent countless hours trying to find you a perfect name and thought of all the things we would teach you as you grew up. When we went to the doctor I was so excited to see your tiny heart beating. The silence and empty hole on the ultra sound screen was the worst 5 minutes of my life. You were ripped away from us. How do we say goodbye before having a chance to properly say hello?

My heart aches knowing your sweet spirit and laughter will never brighten our home here on earth. I yearn to know if you would have had your daddy’s dimple and my blue eyes; what your voice would have sounded like, what it would have felt like to hold you against my chest. I grieve for our loss, the what-ifs and the what-could-have-beens. I know this is not something a person gets over and forgets. Please know you have a safe place in my heart, where I will always cherish you, and the joy you have brought me these past 7 weeks. I may never hold you in my arms but I have carried you, and will continue to do so always.

I take solace knowing you are among angels and with a Father in Heaven who loves you so completely. Please know there are many people here who love you  and you will never be forgotten. The day we found out we were going to be parents will forever be one of the greatest days of my life, and the day we lost you: the worst. I love you Angel Baby.

Love forever and always,

Your mom

We are healing and every day gets better. It’s crazy to think this all took place less than two weeks ago. It honestly feels like months have occurred. While I wish we never had to go through this, I do know it will make me stronger and hopefully more empathetic with the trials others have gone through. I hope to grow and become a better wife, daughter, mother, sister, and friend. I am sorry this isn’t the happiest of posts but I know experiences liken these are what help us truly treasure then good moments in life. I know that when I do hold my precious baby for the first time it will be that much sweeter.