Tuesday, October 22, 2013

What I Know- day 6

Day 6: Eliza Lane and Isaac Jaeth were sent to our home for a reason. Because Heavenly Father knows me and Skyler and because he knows my children better than I possibly can, He decided to send them to our specific family. I am so glad that we let it happen when we did!

I know this because I knew they were coming before they were conceived. When Skyler and I were engaged, we had a date at the temple. As I sat in the endowment room, I felt Eliza's spirit and it was as if she was spiritually kicking me. I knew that she needed to be born and I knew I needed to get ready. Skyler and I were so incredibly nervous, but I could not deny what I felt and Skyler felt similarly. Nine months later we decided to get pregnant and nine months after that, Eliza Lane was born.

In the middle of the rough pregnancy with Eliza Lane, I knew Isaac was waiting to come to our family. My response was, “Lord, could I at least deliver this baby before I need to have another one?” It didn't make sense that the prompting came that early. A couple months later, Eliza Lane was born and it was the most difficult experience of my life. I could not talk about the delivery for four months without bursting into tears. At this point, it was very clear why I needed to know about the little boy waiting to be born.

In August 2011, we moved to Arizona, sleeping on an air mattress at my in-laws house and storing all of our clothes in crates in the front room. I had two part-time teaching jobs and Skyler had no job. We had no health insurance and no nest egg. However, we felt the peace from the Holy Ghost and knew it was the right time to bring that little boy to our family. Nine months later, Isaac Jaeth was born.

Life is more complicated with two kids, but I have never doubted that these two precious spirits were supposed to be in our family. The timing may have seemed odd or difficult, but I am so glad that we didn't wait until a “better time” to let them come.

What I Know- Day 5

Day 5: I am proud to be an American. I am so blessed to have been born in a country that values freedom and liberty. I have been blessed with education, freedom of religion, and gender equality. Working with students from all over the world makes me even more appreciative that I was born here. May God continue to bless America.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

What I Know- day 4

Day 4: Marrying Skyler 5 years ago was a great decision

Having three friends who got/are getting married has given me ample opportunity to reflect on how my life has changed in the last 5 years. I knew this before, but my reaffirmed conclusion is: Skyler is a great husband.

I know this because he loves me and forgives me regularly. He chooses to show his love by doing “dirty things” that I don’t want to do. He expresses love with words and actions. He helps me face things that I don’t want to and accepts me the way that I am, even if he knows I can do better. At Shannon’s wedding the temple sealer talked about how when we get married, we covenant with each other and with God that we will not just sacrifice our time or possessions, but we sacrifice our very selves. When we knelt across that altar, Skyler really gave up himself and gave it to me. He is wholly committed to our marriage and family. I am incredibly blessed!

Our favorite thing to do before we got married was to talk. We would talk for hours and hours and hours. It is still true now. Our topics might not be as exciting as they were before, but I am so glad that I have someone who I can talk to about anything like diaper rash, smelly garbage, our budget, and what we want our family to look like in another 5 years.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What I Know- day 3

Day 3: Jesus Christ died so that I can live. Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, and thus He is the only way to return to heaven. If I repent, I can be clean and return to live with Heavenly Father again. Jesus is my personal Savior. In Gethsemane he paid for my sins and felt my grief. He can truly understand everything that I feel physically and emotionally. I know this because I have felt the power of repentance in my life. I have made mistakes. I have felt the regret that comes with sin, and I was unable to cleanse myself. I turned to God, prayed, pleaded for forgiveness, and made changes in my life. The peace did not come instantly, but it did come. Because life is hard, I have also felt sorrow. My heart has ached and I could do nothing to make it heal and fill the gaping hole. I could try to distract myself in the short-term but I could not fix it. In those times, I dropped to my knees and begged my Heavenly Father to heal my heart. I sought comfort in my faith and eventually, my heart started to heal and soon it didn't hurt anymore. I also know this because I have taught it. One evening I was in Albania teaching a woman about the saving power of Jesus Christ. We watched a clip from “Special Witnesses of Christ” in the empty rented room where we had sacrament meeting. As the Apostles spoke of the role of Jesus Christ, I felt so much warmth in my heart and tears filled my eyes. There were only three of us in the room, two young missionaries and a middle-ages Albanian woman. I added my own testimony of His divinity and the warmth of the Holy Ghost filled all of our hearts. We knew it was true and the feeling was overwhelming. Jesus Christ lives and we can know it. We can feel the impact of the atonement if we seek it and the Holy Spirit will testify to our souls that Jesus is the Christ.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What I Know- Day 2

I want to be like Jesus Christ. His entire mortal ministry was filled with selfless and compassionate miracles; some were grand and some were quiet. He came into the world in a humble stable. He had the physical necessities, but he didn't have wealth or ease. He was a perfect example and despite that, he was attacked spiritually, emotionally, and physically. He chose to pay for the sins of the world in Gethsemane. He felt all of our sorrow and heartache. Then He was judged, brutally beaten, and crucified. Some of His last words were inspired by love and understanding instead of a feeling of entitlement or revenge. After allowing His spirit to leave his body, it was buried in a tomb. On the third day, He was resurrected.

I want to be a more self-less person like Him. I want to be less concerned about my short-term blessings and start loving and accepting people more completely. I want to stop what I am doing and help the people around me. I want to return hate with peace. When I have done a better job of that, I have felt incredible amounts of peace and joy. There is a lot of turmoil and chaos in the world, and I want to be one who expresses the love of Jesus Christ, even if those whom I interact with don't believe in Him. Some of my Muslim students have shared the trials that they and their families are going through. I can tell them that I will pray for them and I can talk about God, but I wish I could teach them about the Savior of the World. He died for them, even if they don't know it. He can heal their hearts and forgive their sins. I can't teach them that, but I can show them the love that He would if He were here.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

What I Know- day 1

Life is unexpected and sometimes I get too caught up in what I don't know or trying to plan for the unknown. I want to refocus a little bit on what I DO know. Day 1: I have a Heavenly Father whose power, understanding, and love are beyond what I can imagine. He created me spiritually and loved me so much that He created a plan for me to receive a physical body and be tested. He knew me before I was born, and He knows me better than I know myself. He knows my weaknesses and He has faith that I will conquer them. When I live below my potential, He still loves me and forgives me when I seek Him. He is orchestrating my life and gives me spiritual, physical, emotional, and temporal blessings every day! I know that He exists because I see miracles in my life. My body is not made for birthing babies, but I have two. My fear about Isaac being delivered without working anesthetic was lessened as I prayed and was comforted by the Holy Ghost. Because Heavenly Father knows my physical body and also my spirit, he prepares me by whispering what I need to know. I have heard His voice comfort and guide me through priesthood blessings, and I have felt his love on my knees and as I quietly cried in bed. He lives and knowing that puts my life in perspective. I am never alone; He will not abandon me. If I sincerely try to be closer to Him and know Him better, His presence will be more real in my life. Death is not the end, and I can live with Him again. I don't have to be perfect, but if I continually strive, someday I will fall down at His feet and wet them with my tears.