Category: Relationship with God

My First Miscarriage – Overcoming and Empathy

I know that talking about a miscarriage is a little taboo. It’s hard to talk about. People don’t know what to say and they are afraid they will say the wrong thing to those suffering. So, I wanted to share my first miscarriage with you. If you have had one, maybe you can relate and find peace that you are not alone. If you have not, maybe you can begin to comprehend what it might be like.

Those who have experienced a miscarriage may be worried about what people will say to them, or they may be terrified that they will burst into tears and may never be able to stop crying. After all, it took plenty of hours to get the tears to stop the last time they started.

At least, that’s how it was for me when I had my first miscarriage.

Before My First Miscarriage

I never really expected to experience my first miscarriage. I didn’t ever think I would have one. That may sound arrogant or oblivious, but my mom had never mentioned having one and while I saw them happening to my friends all around me, I just didn’t think I would ever understand what that was like.

A Little Background

We have two beautiful children. We are really fortunate and are usually able to conceive fairly quickly. Our daughter was conceived at the first opportunity and we had her 9 months later. The same thing happened with our son.

We had always planned on having four children. And for some reason, baby number 3 always had me a little nervous. In the back of my head, I worried that it would be hard to bring baby number 3 into the world.

My two beautiful children before my first miscarriage.

Trying for Number 3

As we neared my son’s first birthday, we were getting excited to try for our third child. Because I had always conceived so easily, I just assumed that this time it would be the same. The first month we tried but after 28 days I still had a negative pregnancy test and evidence that we had not been successful.

I tried not to let it get me down. After all, most women didn’t get pregnant as quickly as I had in the past. This was normal. It wasn’t ideal, but we could wait another month, or two… hopefully it wouldn’t go longer than that… I was nervous.

The Positive Pregnancy Test

The second month of trying, 11 days post ovulation, I stared at that stick and stared until I saw a faint line on the positive side. At this point, I had to ask my husband to verify that there was actually a line and I wasn’t just seeing things because I was hoping SO HARD to see a line.

“I think I can see what you mean,” he said. That whole day, I was on Cloud 9. I couldn’t believe it. We were pregnant! WE WERE PREGNANT!!! I wanted to shout it to everyone. We were going to have a baby. It took me about two minutes to calculate the due date, July 1st, and I was ecstatic.

But at the same time, it felt too good to be true.

It was my mom’s 50th birthday the day we found out, and I thought how fun it would be to tell her on her birthday. But Austin wanted to wait until we got a darker line, just to make sure.

More Positive Tests

The next couple of days I took two more pregnancy tests. Each time, the line got darker. It was real, we were really pregnant. But for some reason, we didn’t tell anyone. Usually we told our parents right away, but this time we didn’t. I don’t know why.

Same and Different

I suspected I was pregnant before I actually got the positive test because I was starving ALL the time. I was eating so much food and still felt hungry. That is always my first clue. So, that was the same. But then, the similarities kind of stopped.

In the past, my early pregnancy is riddled with extreme tiredness. And I was tired, but with the fatigue, I felt like I had a different hormone coursing through my body and for the beginning of my pregnancy I was just really on edge. It felt like I was constantly anxious.

In spite of my exhaustion, I couldn’t fall asleep when I would go to bed. Finally after a couple of hours I would drift into an uneasy sleep only to be awakened a couple of hours later and then start the process all over again.

Cramps

The thing that was the most different though, was the cramps. I had never experienced cramps with any other pregnancy. It had me a little worried, but everything online said it could just be your uterus expanding. I thought, well I’ve already had two kids and it didn’t mind expanding then, so that didn’t make a lot of sense.

My next thought was a hopeful, maybe it’s twins! Maybe it has to stretch to make room for two and this can be my last pregnancy because we would have four kids earlier than expected.

I knew that cramping in and of itself wasn’t bad. It was only bad if I started bleeding.

My First Miscarriage

Trigger Warning

On October 28, 2017 we had a Fall Festival at our church. There was chili, costumes, trunk or treating and general merriment. I felt like a zombie. I told one of my friends that I felt bad for people who came up and talked to me because I was just wiped. I was feeling more cramps, but it was probably just because of my very tight Elsa dress that I wore to match my daughter’s Anna.

Hours before My First Miscarriage

I took my daughter around to all of the trunks and she collected her treats and then we headed home.

The First Signs

I couldn’t easily go to the bathroom in that dress, so when I got home I definitely had to go. After getting the kids settled, I excused myself and after seeing something out of the ordinary, I felt my heart sink.

There was spotting. Not a lot. But I had never spotted before during a pregnancy. It didn’t feel real. I put a panty liner in, hoping it was just spotting. I wouldn’t have been as worried if it had all been dark, but a little tiny bit was bright red. I knew bright was bad.

I walked into the living room and told Austin. He looked concerned. I started crying. I felt silly for crying. It was just a little bit after all. It didn’t mean that anything was wrong necessarily.

Next Steps

We called the doctor, who we knew wouldn’t answer because it was a Saturday, and so we got the number to call for the doctors on call. She told me to just take it easy, to try not to worry and to go to the ER if I was going through a pad every hour.

We relaxed for a little bit. After all, just spotting. We stayed up and watched some shows and then went to sleep around eleven. At eleven, I could tell the bleeding had gotten a little worse, but I kept telling myself, it didn’t NECESSARILY mean what I thought it meant.

Night Time

Around two in the morning I woke up and went to the bathroom. Blood, clots, a lot of stuff. I knew in my heart that it was bad, but I still kept telling myself, it’s okay. Everything is probably fine. Everything has always been fine. My body takes care of my babies. I’m not having my first miscarriage.

I couldn’t go back to sleep though. After an hour and a half of tossing and turning I finally just went out into the living room and started watching The Office. If anything could make me feel a little better, that would at least distract me. Around five, Austin got up, probably wondering where I was.

He went back to bed. I followed and tried to fall asleep again and couldn’t. I got up and went to the bathroom. More of the same of the 2:00 bathroom trip.

Austin was awake when I came back. “I just don’t see how this is going to be okay,” I told him. I cried more. He held me.

When I Knew

After trying to find comfort, but unable to, I had the idea to take a pregnancy test. If it was positive, then I could just wait until the doctor’s appointment. Maybe everything was okay.

I didn’t think it would be negative. I thought there might just be a faint line and that would be disheartening but I would be able to wait.

I got it ready and watched. I stepped away for a bit, because it was supposed to take five minutes and I was going crazy just waiting for the line. Then, I looked at it again, expecting to see a faint line like I had the first time I took one.

The line wasn’t there. It was a completely negative pregnancy test. I grabbed one of the positive pregnancy tests still lying on the bathroom counter and felt myself trembling as I held them next to each other. There was no line. Not a shadow, nothing. It was blank where the line used to be.

I felt like I had just been hit in the chest and I might never breathe again. The line was gone and I knew at that moment that my baby was gone too.

My Loving Husband

I wanted to collapse on the floor, but before I could, Austin had his arms around me, holding me even though I didn’t want to be held. I sobbed, gasping and crying with the ugliest sounds I’ve ever made. I didn’t care. The raw noises were the only things that came close to expressing how I felt. I cried so hard. How could I have been pregnant and now it was all over? How was that possible? It was like it had never even happened.

I wanted Austin there and I didn’t all at the same time. I wanted to melt in agony but he was preventing me from melting. His arms were gently around me, supporting me even when I pushed away. He didn’t shush me. He just let me sob. I don’t know how long I cried. It felt like forever. I cried until I couldn’t anymore. Instead of melting into agony, I felt like a hardened shell of a person when the crying had passed.

It was Over.

I had just had my first miscarriage. It was over. There was nothing I could do. I was completely powerless. My baby was gone. July 1st would come and go and there wouldn’t be a little baby to hold.

As crushing as it was to see a negative pregnancy test after multiple positive ones, it also gave me a sense of finality, of closure. I didn’t wonder anymore if I had had my first miscarriage. I knew I had. I didn’t have to feel anxiety until I saw the doctor anymore. I knew it was over.

In that sense, knowing was better. Now I could grieve and start to pick myself up again.

After My First Miscarriage

Unfortunately, the next day was Sunday. I needed to be at church. All of the children would be singing and doing a program in a couple of weeks and this was our first practice  inside of the chapel. I am playing the piano and needed to be there to practice with them.

I debated about not going. Aside from the emotional and physical toll of my first miscarriage, I had also only slept for 3 hours. My eyes were swollen from the thousands of tears shed during the night and I knew people might notice. I wanted to wear sunglasses at church, but I thought that would look even more weird.

All I had to do, was make it through 3 hours of church without crying.

Church

The opening song was Be Still, My Soul. If you are familiar with the song, you know it is a hard one to sing when you’re grieving. I didn’t sing. I tried not to listen to the words. Who picked that song anyways? The sacrament hymn was Thy Will O Lord Be done, which also pressed tears to my ducts with every lyric. I didn’t sing again.

I was very grateful that the talks were not on hardship, eternal families or prayer. Hearing about those things would set me off. I was like a bomb that would explode if a feather grazed the detonation button.

I tried not to talk to too many people but I also tried not to be rude. I just didn’t want them to look long enough at my face and realize that something was off.

I had two people notice something and ask me if everything was okay. I had already decided that I would just tell anyone who asked that I was tired, which was true.

And if you know me, you know how much even a half truth kills me. I will almost always tell people the truth if they ask me directly. In this instance, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to start crying all over again, because I knew that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to stop.

Playing the Piano

Unfortunately, playing the piano is a contemplative calling. Sometimes while I was playing the children’s songs, I would get caught up in the notes and my mind would wander back to the night before. I would replay it. I would see the negative pregnancy test again.

Then I would mess up the song and have to force myself back to reality. No one would have noticed that I was messing up more than usual. I have let everyone know that I am not the best piano player. It was nothing too out of the ordinary to hear me stumble across the keys.

Heading Home

I finally made it to the car. We drove in silence for a while and with no prompting whatsoever, tears rolled over my lower eyelids again. I couldn’t hold them back anymore. I had spent 3 hours trying not to let them out.

Austin gave me his ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’ face and held my hand.

Peace about My First Miscarriage

At some point on Sunday night, it was like something inside of me snapped. I’m not sure if it was that my body physically couldn’t handle being sad anymore, or a gift from God (probably the latter), but I suddenly felt very at peace about it.

At peace is the best way to describe it. In my heart, I knew and I still know now that the little baby I lost is not always going to be lost. I don’t know all of the doctrine about what happens with miscarriages, but the way I felt and the impression I received was that I would still get to one day hold the little baby that had started to form inside of me. I would just have to wait a little bit longer to do it.

I felt a very distinct hope that the baby was still ours and that it was all going to be okay. One day in the future, I would hold my child and know that he or she had been waiting for us too.

Hope

I received a lot of tender mercies over the weekend. My very active little boy for some reason wanted to cuddle with me (never happens) and he fell asleep in my arms and I got to lay on the couch with him and press my cheek against his soft, fluffy head for an entire hour. It was almost like he was a newborn again.

My daughter snuggled with me too and gave me lots of loves.

I felt such clarity. For the first time in a while I could feel very strongly the love of my Heavenly Father and His Son surround me. I knew that He was aware of me. I knew that He loved me and my family and that He was aware of our pain. I knew He was proud of me and what I was trying to accomplish in my life.

Moving Forward

I hope one day we can welcome two more children into our home. I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know how invested our Heavenly Father is in my family. I felt His presence so strongly and felt how deeply He cares for our family and how much He sorrowed with us.

He loves us all so much and I hope that I never forget that. It’s hard for me to see His love all the time when I haven’t gone through something devastating for a while. It seems like when I really need Him (not just when I think I need Him), He doesn’t hesitate to throw his arms around me. Some more thoughts on God’s Love

I know He loves me. I know He loves my family. I know He hears and answers our prayers, even if it’s not the answer we want.

 

I have hope that our little family isn’t done growing yet.

My Grandpa’s Funeral – which I didn’t attend

My Grandpa’s Funeral

I didn’t get to go to my Grandpa’s funeral. It was in Idaho and I am currently in Michigan. As I type this, my family is driving to the gravesite to say a final goodbye to him.

Although I didn’t get to attend, I did get to create a Memorial Slideshow for him. I love my Grandpa. Sifting back through years of pictures to see him at his best moments was truly a treat.

I especially loved seeing the pictures of him when he was my age, or when he just had a couple of kids, like I do now. I wonder if he was as clueless as I feel sometimes. I wonder if he and Grandma weren’t as pro at their relationship as they were in their later years. He must have had moments when he wondered what his life would be like. I wonder if he was happy as he lay there in his final days at what his life had become. I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Tribute to a Great Man at My Grandpa’s Funeral

I will always remember brewer’s yeast, playing cards with him, and listening to his jokes. Once when we were hiking back from our fishing spot on the Russian River, I remember joking with him about if there was a bear, all we had to do was run faster than Grandpa. He didn’t think that was so funny.

I miss you Grandpa. I’m glad you get to be with Grandma now. You were an example to me throughout most of my life about how to be happy in every circumstance. I loved your joking around and harassing us all, even up until you knew you were knocking on death’s door. I know I will see you again and I can’t to play cards with you in the eternities. I love you!

Life after Death

For more information on what we believe happens after we die, feel free to visit this website and watch their sweet video. It explains how we can have hope for the future, even when our loved ones slip from this life into the next.

God’s Love & Parent’s Love – Finding it

God’s Love

It’s usually a small thing. Sometimes I barely notice the trigger. But usually at some point throughout the busy, hectic, stressful, frustrating, fun, crazy day I have a moment where I remember just how deeply I love my children. It might be Siena volunteering to snuggle with me. Or my son, Grayson raising his arms as far as he can and looking at me as if I am supposed to know what he wants. I do. He wants me to pick him up. And if I take a moment and contemplate on my love, I am always left with a small impression of how great God’s love must be for His children.

The Deepest Love

I can’t even begin to fathom how anyone could love their children more than I love mine. And I don’t say that in an arrogant way. It’s more, I really cannot comprehend of a deeper love. My husband and I love each other. But I think that love is more built rather than instinctual. Loving your child has to be some sort of biological necessity, because even after the tantrums, the headaches you get, the sleepless nights, the bitten fingers and stressful talks, you are still hopelessly in love with your babies.

Deeper than My Deepest

Then to learn that God’s love is more than we can comprehend, is literally beyond comprehension. Now I know what it feels like to love someone so much it hurts. And I can’t imagine someone having that kind of love for me. I can’t fathom that.

God's love greater than a mother's love

God’s Love

At times I haven’t always believed that it is real. I have struggled and prayed to feel His love and been left with an empty feeling. Fear clutched at me as I thought that perhaps He didn’t love me. I kept praying. It has taken a long time. But in case you are feeling the way I have felt, I did receive an answer.

How I Know

It wasn’t a booming, in your face, heart warming expression of love. I kept waiting for something unmistakable. If he wanted me to know of His love, isn’t that how it would come? There would be no denying an answer to a prayer like that. Or so I thought.

As I’ve gotten older though, I learned that I can’t always trust the experiences that seem so crazy out of the ordinary. Because the further away I get from it, I question my own memory. It seemed real at the time, but it doesn’t always after coming back down to reality.

Instead my answer has been a constant flow of reassurance. I study my scriptures, I tell Him my doubts, my concerns and my emotions. And in response, He guides me to the correct answers. He helps me solve my problems. He listens to me even when I’m screaming at Him in my prayers. And after I have calmed down, He shows me the truth. God doesn’t tell me He loves me; He shows me.

God Doesn’t Tell Me He Loves Me; He Shows Me

God’s love is a parent’s love. Sometimes expressions or declarations of ‘I love you’ fall on deaf ears. Children forget. And after being a child and a parent, I know that as a child, you can never comprehend the love of your parents until you are one.

I don’t remember one time hearing ‘I love you’ that had a profound influence on me from my parents.

God and parents impress their love upon their children by teaching, guiding, correcting, and showing you the way to be happy. That’s what God does for me. That’s what my parents did and still do for me. So, that’s what I hope to do for my children.

God's love evident in our family

Patience – 3 Different Kinds – Which one do you struggle with?

Patience is always a Christlike attribute that I have struggled with. But I haven’t figured out what EXACTLY it is with patience. There are a lot of connotations and meanings of the word and as I was floundering in my spirituality recently, I think I have sorted out in my mind some of the different aspects of patience and why the trait seems to be so elusive to me.

So, if patience is something that you have questions about, hopefully this will answer some of your questions.

patience watching the clock tick

Connotations of Patience

For me, a whole list of thoughts or ideas comes to mind when I think of the word, patience. Here are some of the thoughts I have.

  • Waiting in a waiting room.
  • Trying not to get frustrated with those who make me wait.
  • Not getting a reward immediately.
  • My children having to wait for a treat.
  • Trying to bite my tongue when my husband is taking longer than I had decided he should take to complete something.
  • Watching someone struggle with something and having to teach them the same thing over and over again… aka children.

All of these can be frustrating if you are a person of little patience, like me. Not all of them are frustrating to me, but some are definite triggers.

But, I think there is a much more concrete way of looking at this word and dividing it, so that I can focus on one area where I struggle. I struggle with all of the aspects of patience, but there is one in particular that seems to get me down again and again.

1. Patience with Others

This aspect of the attribute is one that I seem to do okay with. While I may have impatience at the start, I usually notice and try to reign in my frustrations. After all, I am imperfect too.

Having patience with others is something that I think most people will find they are better at doing. We know we need to be charitable and we know we shouldn’t judge. We get those lectures all the time.

Impatience with Others

Usually, having impatience with others is a series of instances where a person does not measure up to your expectations.

Let’s break that down even further. This means that first, there is someone or something in your life with which you consistently interact. If you didn’t have this kind of interaction, there would be no need to have patience with them. Their offense would be fleeting and the impatience experienced with them would not force you to practice this attribute.

Second, you have unfairly imposed your expectations on someone else. For example:

  • I can’t understand why my child can’t read yet. I was reading by the time I went to Kindergarten.
  • Why is he always so slow getting out the door? It would have taken me 15 minutes to do this.
  • Why does she insist on making fun of me every time we hang out?
  • Does he have to keep tapping his foot in that annoying manner? Is anyone else tapping their foot?!
  • He should know how I’m feeling. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him.

Does any of this sound familiar? This is like the story of my life. I have thoughts like these frequently and have to work extra hard to exercise a little patience. I’m sure some of you reading this, are professional patience practitioners and are shocked that people like me even exist. We do. And we are probably impatient with you at times.

patience with your spouse

Overcoming Impatience with Others

Now that we understand how we can offend the divine attribute of patience in this manner, there are ways that we can overcome it as well. I have listed a couple of steps that help me.

  1. Identify what is making you angry. (Usually impatience leads to anger and that is when we recognize the emotion.)
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

I will list them all again, but go into further detail.

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Others

1. Identifying the Cause of Anger

Evaluate the situation and reflect on how it made you feel. Try to identify what particular action triggered that emotion.

2. Let it Go

Sometimes, you don’t need to understand why someone is behaving in a way that irritates you to your core. Maybe the foot tapper has a nervous twitch that flares up when he feels uncomfortable. Take the opportunity to try and be grateful that you don’t feel anxiety when you are surrounded by other people.

With this step, I usually need divine help to actually let it go. I say a prayer and I ask Heavenly Father to take away my frustration and be able to focus on whatever it is I need to do. I have always felt peace when I ask for His help. He knows the other person who is frustrating you and will always want you to have more love for them too.

3. Address the Issue

This one is the hardest to do. It requires a lot of love, a lot of listening and a lot of love. Yep, love twice. Don’t even try to do this unless you take the time to love the person first.

Child Learning to Read

In the example with the child who is having a hard time reading. You could try something like this.

“Kayla, I want to talk to you about something. We have been trying to read for a while now, and I can’t help but notice that you don’t seem to enjoy it. Why is that?”

Then, you have to just listen. Listen until you can’t listen any more. Chances are, your child wants to read just as desperately as you want them to.

patience with children learning to read

Spouse is taking too Long

I wanted to use another example where the priorities of the two individuals may not be aligned.

You are trying to go somewhere and your spouse just doesn’t seem to take the hint that you want to go NOW. You watch as they dilly dally, take their time finding their favorite jacket, don’t help get the kids ready or whatever it is that keeps them from getting in that car.

Now it is important to address the issue by communicating your feelings. And just start with a blanket statement of how you feel. It should literally be only 3 words. ONLY THREE.

I feel (feeling word). Here are some examples:

I feel frustrated.

I feel annoyed.

I feel upset.

I feel angry.

I feel ignored.

I feel forgotten.

Don’t say, “I feel like you…” That’s just another way of accusing them of doing something.

They will probably ask why you feel that way and you can then explain by saying something like this.

trying to be patient with spouse getting ready

“It’s been very important to me to get to Carl’s gymnastics on time. The teacher has already talked to me about it before and so when we arrive late, I feel embarrassed.”

Notice that you are still not accusing your spouse of anything. If you accuse your spouse, they will feel defensive because they might have been trying to get ready fast too. Or maybe they feel embarrassed because they took longer than they thought they would.

4. Forgive

Once you have either let it go or you have addressed the issue with the person and then let it go, it is time to forgive them and move on. If you are not ready to do this step, you have not adequately done steps 2 and 3. Go back, and try it again.

 

Here is another example of when I lost my patience with my daughter.

 

Patience with Self

This kind of patience requires you to recognize that you are imperfect and be okay with your imperfections. Obviously you want to become better. That is part of human nature. Of course we want to grow and progress, but a lot of times our growth is not dependent on our own time table.

Let me share with you a personal example that I am sure many people can relate to.

Getting Back in Shape

I am 6 months postpartum. At 3 months, was New Years! And guess who made some awesome New Years Resolutions. Some of those resolutions centered around losing weight.

I decided I was going to do a work out program that was supposed to take 3 months and then BAM! I would have my fit body ready to show off to the world. If anyone watched my Beauty and the Beast – Mom Parody you will know that that did not happen. There is evidence in the video of that.

scale and tape measure

I lost a little weight, but nothing like I had planned. In a fit of embarrassment and shame I cried as I thought about all of my great plans. I was going to get a new swimsuit, fit into my old clothes again and basically be a babe. Summer was just around the corner and this was the year that I was going to be ready for it.

Confusion and despair threatened to overwhelm me. I had done everything I was supposed to do and when I had done this 10 years ago, I had lost the weight super fast!

But, I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. I have to have patience with myself and my body and it’s imperfections. That just means that I have to wait longer to get what I want. So, here is to the next 70 years of my life eating healthy and working out. I guess it will never end. What a great practice of patience.

stretching girl
This is what I will look like for the rest of my life I guess.

Overcoming Impatience with Self

The Steps in this one are the same as they are with overcoming impatience with others.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Forgive Self

This is a heart to heart with yourself. It’s easy for a lot of people to not worry about being patient with themselves. But this is so important. You are just as important as those other people you have impatience with. You have unfairly placed expectations on yourself that maybe you couldn’t meet.

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with Self

1. Identify the Cause

Sometimes I just feel Meh as people describe it now. I don’t want to do anything or I just feel “off”. If I am feeling this way, it is usually because I am being impatient with myself. Some expectation wasn’t met and now I need to deal with it before I can feel like myself again. When I am feeling this way, I might just feel like laying on the floor with my cheek pressed against the carpet. Maybe I just can’t sit still. Or sometimes I am just depressed.

2. Let it Go

I only recommend this option if you have already taken the time to address the issue with yourself. If you already know why you are feeling this way and have taken the time to do an inventory with yourself, then you can start with Letting it Go. Again, this usually requires some divine help.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

If you haven’t taken the time to identify how you are feeling and why, it’s time to dig deep. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to someone about it, write it down, pray about it, draw, scream or express yourself in some way. Find a way to work through those feelings and do it.

Once you have sorted out the cause of your impatience, say a prayer like mentioned before and ask Heavenly Father to take the feeling of impatience with yourself from you.

4. Forgive Yourself

Accept yourself for who you are. For me, I have to accept that I can’t lose weight as fast as I would like to. I did everything I could for 3 months and still lost the pounds at a snail’s pace.

But, I’ll be the tortoise in the Tortoise and the Hare. I just have to keep going, keep trying to be better even though I may not be able to see the results that it is yielding immediately.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with myself.

 

Patience with God

This is the one that I struggle with the most. When I follow commandments or do something good, I expect that all of my troubles and trials will be taken away. I expect to be rewarded for all that I am doing and I get frustrated when God does not do things in my timetable. Doesn’t He see how hard I’m working? Do my efforts not make any difference?

I am sure they do, that’s where faith comes in. But He does them in His own timetable.

He knows what we want before we ask Him and we may ask and not receive it, or maybe not receive it right away.

That can be SO frustrating.

 

Theatre

I have always loved performing, being in plays and showing off. That’s just in my nature. You might never guess from meeting me because I don’t have a very loud personality.

juliet's balcony
This is the balcony in Verona, Italy referred to as Juliet’s Balcony.

When I was 14, there was an audition for Romeo & Juliet. I was so excited because duh! Juliet was 14 in the play. I was the perfect age and thought that I could surely get the part. After memorizing and memorizing, praying and pleading I went to the audition. I was nervous, but I had done what I needed to to prepare.

Guess what happened. TOTAL FLOP. I couldn’t seem to remember the lines, got nervous and basically just froze. I left knowing I wouldn’t get it. What a terrible, embarrassing feeling. I wanted to crawl into a hole inside of a cave and die.

And the embarrassment led to anger. Hadn’t I been doing everything right? Didn’t I practice and work hard? Why hadn’t I received help? If my audition had at least gone smoothly, I could have been happy with that even if I didn’t get the part, but it was a disaster!

We’ll come back to this story.

Overcoming Impatience with God

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the steps with this one are the pretty much the same as the ones in the other two impatience categories.

  1. Identify the cause of the anger.
  2. Let it Go OR
  3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go
  4. Try to Align your Will with His

This type of impatience is a lot harder for me to overcome. I usually don’t want to let it go. I want to just stay mad, bitter and insulted. Real mature, right?

 

Steps to Overcome Impatience with God

1. Identify the cause of the anger.

A lot of times this springs from feeling entitled. We felt like maybe we deserved more blessings. Or maybe we had an expectation of God that He didn’t fulfill, even though He never agreed to it.

2. Let it Go

This is not the same as ignore it. You definitely don’t want to build up frustration with God. You need to figure out what is going on, recognize that you had an expectation of Him that He didn’t necessarily agree to and accept that.

3. Address the Issue & then Let it Go

He will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS talk to you about anything because He loves you. Say a prayer and let Him know you are disappointed or frustrated so that you can start to reconnect with Him. Don’t you think He wants to know how you are feeling? You can tell Him you’re angry. He will even listen if you are angry with Him. He’s not going to get defensive or offended. He is the perfect listener and loves you and wants you to come to Him, even though you may feel like that is the last thing you want to do.

4. Try to Align your Will with His.

This is different than forgive Him, because there is nothing to forgive. He is perfect, therefore we know that He did not make the error. Now, we need to do the hardest thing and let go of what we want and try to see what He wants for us. I promise it is always better.

Romeo & Juliet

I was disappointed for a long time and even more devastated when I found out that the ENTIRE freshman class was going to go and see Romeo and Juliet because they were reading the play that year.

That could have been me! Everyone could have seen me perform. I don’t remember why, but for some reason, I couldn’t go. I think I had a doctor appointment or something, which was too bad because I wanted to go.

Then, the next day, I heard the reviews. “It was terrible!” “The worst play ever.” “All they did was make out the whole time.” “Disgusting.”

Imagine my relief when I realized, that could have been me. That night I said a prayer of gratitude that I didn’t get the part. First of all, I would have been extremely uncomfortable with making out with some boy I didn’t know at 14 years old, when I had never kissed anyone. And I would have been embarrassed that everyone in my whole freshman class would have seen me ‘making out the whole time’ in ‘the worst play ever’.

I think God’s will for me was much better than my will for me.

 

Here is another example of when I lost patience with God.

 

Patience

It is hard for me to trust God’s timing. When I want things, I usually want them right away because that’s just how I am. I want to check things off my list, quit stressing and move on, but God doesn’t work the same way as me. He knows what will shape me and help me become the person I am supposed to be so I guess I can trust him.

Answer My Prayer – When it Feels Like You’re Not Listening

I am sure I am not the only one who has sat alone in my room and looked up, wondering if He really loves me. Am I the only one who wonders if He cares? Does He really know me? Will He answer my prayer?

Reassurance of a Parent

I have often wondered why, when I am feeling this way, when I really want to feel the love of my Father in Heaven, do I not immediately receive heavenly help? Wouldn’t my Heavenly Father want to remind me that I am loved, that I am not alone? Wouldn’t he want to reassure me that He is there?

answer my prayer the way I answer my daughter's request for a hug

Sometimes when I have prayed in anger at my lack of answers, I have told him that if my child needed to know that they were loved I would never hesitate to tell them. I would never hesitate to show them. If He was in fact my Heavenly Father, why would He not want me to know just as immediately.

Where are my guardian angels? Why can’t I feel the warmth in my chest? Is it too much to ask for a heavenly hug?

I wrestled with this question for months. Why wouldn’t He just reassure me of His love? Deep down, I was pretty sure that He did, but I felt like I needed to be reminded.

Unexpected

My answer came after much studying of the scriptures and General Conference talks. It came after praying and pleading with my Heavenly Father to just show me His love for me.

If I knew He loved me, I didn’t have to feel alone. When everything else felt like it was falling apart, I would at least know that He was with me.

After much praying, studying and crying, I finally stumbled across this talk. It was by Elder David A. Bednar, and He talked about ways that we can receive revelation from God. I wasn’t necessarily trying to find the answer to my prayers in this talk, I was just trying to draw closer to the Lord.

He used two examples during his discourse.

Example 1

When you walk into a dark room and find a light switch, you turn it on and immediately the room is illuminated with light. Suddenly you can see more clearly. Everything is shown to you at once.

answer my prayer like lightbulbs being turned on in a dark room

This type of revelation is infrequent and rare. It is most commonly used when you are in dire need of a course correction in your life, Elder Bednar says. This is one of the ways that we can receive revelation.

When this has happened to me, I have looked around me in shock that no one else seemed to feel what I was feeling. It felt so tangible and real. It also came when I really needed the assurance of God’s love. I have only felt this kind of revelation once or twice in my life that I can remember.

And to be honest, this is the kind of heartwarming, bosom burning answer from God that I was looking for. Elder Bednar goes on to say that while powerful, this kind of revelation is not necessary for receiving a testimony.

Example 2

Imagine you are  facing the east and watching the sun rise. First you would see evidences of the rising sun. The darkness would begin to lift and more and more of the surrounding wilderness would be revealed to you.

sunrise as an answer to prayer

In fact, you might not notice it was even happening unless you were watching for it.

Even though the source of this light is the most powerful source of light in our world, sometimes we do not even notice that we are using it.

This type of revelation, the kind that comes quietly is much more common and frequent. We can receive answers to prayers like this all the time.

 

Answer My Prayer

Suddenly I realized that He had been answering my prayer all along. He didn’t need to show me with trumpets and a burning bush. He was guiding me little by little in my life. My Heavenly Father could answer my prayer, simply by showing me that He was with me by BEING with me.

Just because He wasn’t answering my prayer the way I wanted Him to, doesn’t mean that He wasn’t answering it.

 

To Recognize When God Wants to Answer My Prayer

As I went through this experience, I realized something especially important. I wasn’t hearing the answer because I wasn’t actively listening. I was doing what I was supposed to; going to church, saying prayers and reading my one chapter a day.

praying to God to answer my prayer

But I wasn’t doing everything I could to discover what I wanted to know. In a way, I think I expected Him to answer my prayer without having to put in any effort. But when I didn’t go to Him, how could I hear his gentle whisper?

 

What I know

I know that God loves me. He loves all of us. I am constantly amazed at the evidences that He knows us each individually and wants us to return to Him. I know that He is always with us, always wanting to help us. We just have to draw close to Him and ask. As we are near Him, we will always hear His answer.

answer my prayer like a sunrise so it lasts longer

I am so grateful He answered my simple prayer with a simple answer. I learned way more about how to be close to Him than I ever would have if He would have just obliged my demands. He certainly knows me better than I know myself.

 

I have had God answer my prayer on many occasions. I am sure that I will write more, because His love constantly amazes me. General Conference is always something that inspires me and during this last one I received an answer to my prayers about loving everyone.

General Conference – An Invitation to Become Better

What is General Conference

Every spring and fall, I look forward with great anticipation to my church’s General Conference. If you don’t know what this is, allow me to explain.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. People commonly refer to us as Mormons. Every six months, the leaders of my church who are literal Prophets and Apostles speak to us and give us new direction on how to grow closer to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. You can see it streaming online, broadcast on television and live in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Tabernacle before General Conference
Austin and I went to General Conference together for the first time when we were dating. We’ve watched it together ever since.

All of the members of the church take the weekend and listen to up to 10 hours of talks or discourses. It is amazing. And even though it is frequently only members of the church who know that it is going on, ALL are invited to watch and listen. Because, if you haven’t noticed from our 70,000+ missionaries around the world, we want everyone to come unto Christ.

 

Memories of General Conference

Since I grew up in the church, for as long as I can remember, I have been watching General Conference. We lived in Alaska, so the morning session started at 8 am. My parents would drag us out of bed and for the first session we would all lay in my parents’ room and try to stay awake while they talked…or at least try to make it look like we were awake.

By the time we had woken up for the afternoon session (which for us started at noon), we would have eaten and gotten a fresh wave of energy, so we usually busted out Monopoly and I would beat my brothers and sisters every time. It’s not their fault. They didn’t know that the key to winning was to get the orange monopoly every time. I figured this out early on in my Monopoly playing days.

Other times we would draw, do art projects, cook, or try to keep the noise down long enough to stay under my parents’ radar.

 

What I LOVE about General Conference

It seems like every time General Conference comes around, I try to think of questions I have that I would like answers. And I can’t ever seem to think of something specific. Because I have heard so often that we should go with questions and that we would definitely receive answers to our questions.

Temple Square with Austin
Hanging out at Temple Square in between Sessions

And pretty soon, my favorite time of year is upon me and I haven’t asked a question. I listen to the talks and suddenly all of the thoughts and concerns I have been having are addressed. Questions I didn’t know I had are being answered and I feel like even though I didn’t think I was prepared to listen, Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed to hear.

This was my experience today, after the first two sessions of General Conference. Later, I perused my Facebook feed and everyone else who listened to conference said that General Conference was tailored to them. How is that even possible?! Because I know that it was tailored to me.

It’s possible because God knows us each individually and His Spirit can touch each of us to guide us specifically for our lives.

Every six months we receive revelation, specific to ourselves, individually and it is up to us to decide what we will do with it. We can just listen and log it away. Or we can let it change us to become a better disciple of Christ.

 

New Traditions of General Conference

Now, we live in the Eastern time zone. That means that our first session of General Conference doesn’t even start until noon. So, we have the entire morning and Priesthood session doesn’t end until 9:30 or 10:00 at night.

Waiting for Music and the Spoken Word before General Conference in the Tabernacle
Waiting for Music and the Spoken Word before General Conference. Sorry the pic is blurry.

This year we started a new tradition. Austin’s brother and his wife are coming into town tomorrow, so we spent the whole morning doing some Spring Cleaning. So, I guess our kids will grow up doing some deep cleaning the morning of General Conference. What a way to make them look forward to it every year! We’re awesome parents.

 

Tomorrow

I am so grateful for General Conference and I can’t wait to hear what our prophets and apostles have to tell us tomorrow. And I guess with that, I mean, I can’t wait to hear what God would have us know.

Austin & I in Front of SLC Temple
We had no idea that less than a year later we would be getting married in that building behind us.

This is literally the best time of the year. If you have never had a chance to listen, please tune in tomorrow for the most uplifting experience of your life. You will not regret it. I have included the link at the beginning and again here.

General Conference is literally, my secret key to becoming One Helluva Homemaker.

Feeling Alone? You’re not the Only One

There are many times when I am feeling alone. I think those times started increasing in frequency when I started staying home with the kids. It was easy to feel surrounded by people and validated when I was working or going to school.

But even then, there were many times when I would feel alone.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling alone. We have all felt that way. Whether you are alone surrounded by coworkers who you can’t seem to connect with or you are alone by yourself. Perhaps you are alone surrounded by kids who don’t get your witty sense of humor or recognize how much you love them. Maybe you are alone with a spouse or alone surrounded by friends.

Feeling Alone while surrounded by people drawing

Loneliness doesn’t have to strike only when you are physically alone.

A Mortal Experience

As hard as it is to feel alone, we can take comfort in knowing that this is a mortal experience. Everyone feels alone at some point or another. They have to. Because even Jesus Christ, the literal Son of God felt alone.

Evidences of Christ Feeling Alone

I don’t know everything that happened in the life of Christ and I am certainly no expert. But, it occurred to me while I was reading my scriptures today, that He prayed just as much or much much more than we do.

“And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him.” 

Jesus Christ prayed to the Father all the time. He wanted to be close to Him. Just the simple act of Christ praying to His Heavenly Father shows me that feeling alone is a mortal experience.

I am sure He prayed for other reasons as well. In this case, He was praying to bless the people He was with. And I am only left to guess what else he prayed for.

The Greatest Scriptural Evidence of Christ Feeling Alone

When Christ was hanging on the cross, we have a lot of evidence that He was praying. And not only was He praying, but the scripture suggests that He was left alone, by the Father, which is something that we never have to experience.

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

After Christ died on the Cross, the Pieta
This is one of my all-time favorite statues and we got to visit it when we went to Italy. The Pieta depicts Mary holding her son, Jesus after He died on the cross.

In our General Conference, that we have as a church semi-annually, one of our Apostles gave a great talk on this verse. I am afraid that I will not be able to give it as much justice.

But something that Elder Holland says in his talk is that Christ had to experience feeling alone. He said that even when we are alone, we are always only a prayer away from God. But if we sin, we remove ourselves from the presence of God and because of the atonement, Christ had to feel everything that we feel.

Why it Matters

After Christ was feeling alone on the cross and diedSo, even when we are really, truly feeling alone, we can always know that we are not alone in what we are feeling. Christ has felt it too. He will be there to help you. He knows how we feel, He wants to help, because even for Him it was crippling to truly be alone.

If we want to not be feeling alone, all we have to do is pray and we will receive help. We may not feel it immediately, but He will eventually help us to feel that we are never alone, not truly. Because Christ has already felt what that was like, we can be assured that He will always be there so we don’t have to feel the way that He did.

Just Remember

If you can look outside of yourself, there are so many people around you who are probably feeling just like you. Try to help your friends and family remember that they are not alone, because you are there with them. We can always help lift those around us and you never know how much you will help someone.

When you are feeling alone, don’t you wish someone would reach out to you?

 

More

One of the times I was feeling alone was when I struggled with Postpartum Anxiety. It is still possible to come out on the other side.