Friday, November 20, 2015

The Neatest-Scariest Experince

I just shared this on my Facebook page, but wanted to share it here as well.

I just had the neatest/scariest experience that confirmed to me once again that God is more than mindful of his children.
I was driving down a busy street and noticed a little boy (5 years old) running with all his might down the side walk. I immediately had the thought, "that boy is too small to be by himself.", but I kept driving.
Two blocks later I saw a lady running like mad down the same street. I immediately knew something was wrong. I pulled over and quickly asked her if he was her child. She responded that she was the ground duty and that the boy was a kindergartner that had escaped from school during recess. The lady was so worried. I immediately told her to get in my car. I then, took off as fast as I could in the opposite direction. We were sick when we saw that the boy was headed right toward a busy intersection with no signs of slowing down. I gunned it and made it into the intersection where I laid on my horn to warn the cars to stop, just as the boy got to the end of the sidewalk. The ground duty hopped out and began to run for the boy. That kid was crazy fast too.
I again took off and got a ways in front of the boy and cut his pathway off with my car and then got out and ran and grabbed him. He was sobbing and kept saying he was going to be in trouble. I kept trying to console him and told him that there was no way he was in trouble at all, that we were just worried about him. I knew he didn't know me and I didn't want him to freak out, so I led him to the sidewalk and had him sit down and told him he could call his mommy. I also praised him for saying he would not get into my car to go back to school. I told him he was so smart and exactly right, that he didn't know me and his mom and dad would be so proud of him for not getting into my car. He knew his phone number which was awesome and also informed me that he wouldn't have gone into the street because his mom had taught him 40 times how to cross a road. smile emoticon
The ground duty got there after that and kept telling him that they loved him and were worried about him and that he was not in trouble at all. She was so great and so loving.
The boy told us he was just trying to go home. Anyway. It broke my heart and scared me to death because my own kid has gotten away before and almost got hit by a car. It's everyone's worst fear.
The three of us sat with him and I had my little boy get out of the car to sit with him too, in hopes he wouldn't be as scared. They shared my little ones fries from his Happy Meal, which seemed to help a little (fries have that affect on me as well). The boys mom then came. It brought tears to my eyes to see the terror in her face and remember my own, when my boy ran away.
Anyway I didn't talk to her, I just got in my car and left after that, relieved that this was the outcome and not something tragic.
So that is the story, but here is the cool part.
I had been shopping for a side table that morning at Target because I had a gift card for there. I knew it was on sale, I had just seen it online that morning. When I got there, it wasn't on sale anymore. I even had a manager look it up online. Two of them did and it showed that it was not longer on sale. So I skipped it.
I then went to my mom's to pick up my kids and for whatever reason, I decided to stay for a little bit instead of going home even though I had a lot to do.
On the way home, I saw the sign for TJMaxx and randomly decided to stop by to see if they had an end table. I wasn't sure why, since I had my newborn with me as well as my 3 year old and I didn't have a gift card for TJMaxx. It really was pointless and would be effort with two kids. I went in, looked around and then left. On my way home, I again had a random thought. This time to drive by a house (just for fun) that I had seen for sale a few miles from my neighborhood. Wasn't sure why I would take the time since it was naptime and the baby needed to be fed soon, but again I did it for whatever reason.
It was on the way home from looking at that house that I saw the little boy at the exact moment he had run away on a route home that I didn't usually take.
There is no doubt in my mind that all of those series of "coincidences" placed me exactly where I needed to be, when I needed to be there. Literally 30 seconds either way and I would have missed that little boy.
Oh and when I got home, I looked online at Target and the end table was listed as
"on sale" once again.
Had it been listed on sale that morning, I would have bought it, picked up my kids and gone home.
Do I believe that God would go to that great of lengths to protect or maybe even save a child?
Absolutely, because I am a parent and I would go to those lengths to protect my children, so why not He?
God is great.
Side note:
I don't believe there's any significance that it was me at all. I also don't believe if I hadn't responded that God would have stopped trying to help that child. He would have prompted someone else. He simply keeps looking until someone responds and it doesn't much matter who that person is. Sometimes I respond and many times, I'm sure I don't. I'm grateful for all those that do respond consistently and bless my life with their examples.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Latest article

I wrote this article a couple of years ago. It started out as a talk, when I was asked to speak in church. I hadn't planned on telling this story for my talk, but I had had a break down during that week. It was over my frustration that after six years, things were not that much different for us financially and we were still struggling. I didn't have a clue what I was going to speak about in church. I felt like I had nothing to offer my neighbors and friends. As my husband I discussed our financial situation yet again, I felt like I learned some valuable lessons from God, that he spoke peace to my soul and helped me see things a bit differently. It was then that I knew I needed to tell our story for my talk. So that's what I did. I cried through it all, but just said it how it was. I didn't worry what other's would think and I still didn't know that I had anything to offer. I simply told everyone what the spirit had taught me that week.

I will never forget after that, how many people came up to me and thanked me. One man in particular was so overcome with emotion he could hardly speak. I sat in awe watching them and wondering what in the world I had said that had touched their hearts in such a way. I realized very quickly that it wasn't anything I had said. The spirit had simply used me and my story to touch each of them, to let them each know that just as God was aware of me and my family he was aware of each of them. That he loved them.

It was literally one of the neatest things I have ever witnessed. I could truly feel his love for them as I felt love for them as well.

I learned another lesson that week. God will use any of us, if we are willing to tell our stories and the lessons that he taught us because of them.

I'll always be grateful not only for this experience, but for the experience and privilege of getting to tell my story to my friends and neighbors and then witness the love God has for each of them.
The love God has, for each of us.


..... (Shutterstock)
My article on Deseret

During the economic downturn in 2008, we were laid off from job after job. Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, we lived day to day never knowing if any money, a job or hope would come. With a mortgage and a growing family, the stress was immense. Many times, my husband and I would question when it would end and we could finally get back on our feet, but several years later things weren't much better, and that was hard.
On one particularly trying day for me, I had a meltdown — something that happened many times during those years. As a result, my husband and I discussed the scriptures, specifically the idea that before this life we all shouted for joy at the prospect of coming to earth. Suddenly, a thought hit me. In that state of pre-mortal innocence, how could we truly understand what mortal life would be like? What it would be like to lose a child, or not be able to have one; to lose a spouse or never marry at all, to suffer addiction, to have a terminal or mental illness, to have children stray, to suffer abuse, to not be able to provide and the many other trials we experience here? Perhaps we indeed shouted for joy, but not for the process — for the end result.
This thought reminded me of the night before I left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Filled with excitement, childlike innocence and immense faith, I was thrilled to go. My brothers sat with me and spoke of their missions being wonderful experiences, but they also tried to warn me that serving a mission would be extremely difficult, perhaps the hardest thing I would ever experience. I nodded to assure them that I understood. Within two weeks of arriving in Italy, I realized I hadn't understood at all.
I had wonderful experiences while serving a mission, right along with those very difficult times, including extreme fatigue, lack of understanding, rejection, guilt, questioning why I’d come and incredible loneliness. It was the difficult times that seemed to take up most of my time.
I remember writing my dad at a very low point and asking, “Why didn’t you tell me this would be so hard?”
His response was loving, yet simple, “You wouldn’t have understood. You can’t have the mission experience without experiencing the mission.”
As I sat talking with my husband and thinking about my mission and my father's wise counsel, I reflected on our situation and the past several years. In that moment, I realized that each of us would have the opportunity to ask our Heavenly Father what I asked of my earthly father. I imagine the answer might be the same.
I realized that during our trial I had let myself believe that job loss wasn't simply a part of life, but was perhaps a consequence for lack of faith — that if we just had a little more, it would be over.
That's when I learned that faith does not always save us from hardships.
Faith may not cure a child’s cancer or heal a dying spouse. Faith may not bring back a straying child or cure a horrible addiction. It may not cause parents to have a child they so desperately want or someone to find a spouse in this life. Faith may not cure a handicap or depression, or all of the things we wish that it would.
I finally understood that our faith would probably not cause us to make more money or get us a house again. However, our faith would sustain us — each of us in our darkest times. We have been told that faith will make our burdens lighter, not take them away. Life is not fair. However, fairness does not produce understanding, humility, love, patience and faith; trials do. Life does.
Newspaper columnist Jenkin Lloyd Jones once said, "The fact is that most putts don't drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. … Life is like an old-time rail journey — delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”
As I reflected on what the spirit had just taught me, I thought about the wonderful parts of serving a mission. The part where I witnessed incredible faith, understanding, love, friendship, compassion and even miracles — rare moments of knocking on someone’s door and hearing, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Tears sprang to my eyes with this new understanding and with it a priceless realization. Had I known how incredible a mission would have been — what it would do for me personally, what it would do for my testimony and how it would shape the rest of my life for the better — I would never have missed it. Perhaps I would one day feel the same about this trial, too.
Life is good, but maybe 80 percent of it is about enduring to the end and trying to be happy despite some extremely hard circumstances. Faith is optimism. Faith believes that eventually, maybe only after this life, everything will be OK. There is no cure-all in this life. That comes later. That's when addictions that have been fought are conquered, marriages that endured are blessed, children come back, we finally get our mansions, broken hearts are mended and families are together forever.