Thursday, December 1, 2016

#LIGHTtheWORLD: Prayer Lifted My Burden

It's December 1st!  Hooray!  I am so thrilled about the Christmas campaign for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, #LIGHTtheWORLD.  Today kicks off with a Worldwide Day of Service. How beautiful to all serve each other to unite in the cause of Christ.  I also want to do something every day to take one of the other challenges suggested by the campaign.  Today is "Jesus lifted others' burdens and so can I."  Today I share a simple story of how God answered my prayers and lifted one of my most difficult burdens.  It's personal, so please be kind.

I was a young mother of two children, a boy and a girl.  My husband and I had hoped for a large family.  But it didn't happen for us.  It was hard to understand why we could have two children, but not a third.  There were no discernible answers from the many doctors we sought help from.  We prayed and prayed, fasted and fasted.  Adoption was not the answer for us.  Another child of our own was also not what Heavenly Father blessed us with.

It was difficult to manage all the comments.  People suggested we were selfish to stop having children after being blessed with "one of each."  Others questioned our worthiness.  Still others pried into personal matters.  It was a difficult time.  I kept thinking that it was still going to happen, but it never did.  Every month I received the sad news that the answer to our pleadings was a "no."

One day I was so disturbed by the onslaught of comments at church that I got a babysitter and went to the temple.  There in the temple I felt so much peace.  The Spirit was so strong that I was covered in it from head to toe.  I still remember it like it was yesterday.  On the way home, I was so happy because I just knew that the peace I felt meant I was going to have another baby.  That had to be what it meant, right?

I kept my maternity clothes.  I bought dresses with pregnancy in mind, hoping I could wear the new dress even when pregnant.  But no baby came.  Our children got older.  The distance grew between our second child and a new possible baby.  Always on my mind was how far apart would they be if I got pregnant then?  I never did have another baby.

A few years later I was blessed to understand that the peace I felt in the temple that day was real.  I just misunderstood.  God truly had blessed me to have two beautiful and healthy, smart and talented children and we were immensely grateful.  I realized that the peace came because God was trying to tell me that everything was as it should be---not that I would get my way.

My children grew up and we got older.  My oldest child, a son, was on his mission when I required a hysterectomy.  It was a difficult operation and I stayed in the hospital for a while.  A few weeks later when at the doctor for a follow-up visit, he remarked to me that he'd never seen such a misshapen, malformed, ill-functioning uterus.  He couldn't believe that I had ever been pregnant once, not to mention twice.  He was nearing retirement and yet he told me he'd never seen anything like it.  Everything else was healthy, but not that.  He told me my children were medical miracles, in the truest sense of the word.

After all that time, so many years later, answers to the questions finally came.  It didn't answer the eternal question, but rather the physical one.  I felt so overwhelmed again with gratitude.  Gratitude for our two beautiful children and so much love for my Father in Heaven who knew I needed to learn some lessons.  My prayers had indeed been heard, my burdens lifted, and testimony strengthened.  I knew God didn't love me any less because I had two children instead of six.  My family was exactly as my all-knowing Father had intended it to be.  Who could complain about that?  Certainly I wasn't going to.

At this beautiful time of year, I testify that Jesus is the Christ, God's Only Begotten Son in the flesh, who willingly came to earth as a baby boy and grew to be our Lord and Savior.  In Gethsemane that day, He knew exactly how my husband and I felt.  He even knew how my children felt when they longed for a brother or sister.  He knew my infirmities.  He felt my sorrow.  He also felt my joy at being blessed to realize the miracle of being a mother, the experience so many of my sisters in Christ have not known.  He knows their pain, too.  He knows yours, whatever it may be.  How grateful I am to know that Heavenly Father loved me, and loved you, and all of us so much that He gave us the most important gift ever given, His Son, to help us return to Him if we choose to do so, because indeed it is a choice to be obedient, to follow Christ, and to love God.

I love Jesus.  He is my Lord.  I love Heavenly Father for He is my true Father.  I love my husband, my knight in shining armor.  And I love my two beloved children.  I am immensely blessed.  I am thankful for the power of prayer and for the distilling peace of the Comforter, even the Holy Ghost. May this little story mean something to someone out there who might be struggling.  God does hear our prayers and He does answer them; we just might need time to understand the answers.  Let's #LIGHTtheWORLD with faith and goodness!

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