Happy Sunday, everyone! I know I am really behind on my commentary about everything that has happened since I posted last. I guess even though I am not going to school or working, I am still really busy. Haha! Oops. Anyway, I just wanted to post something about what’s going on in my life (you know, aside from biopsies, being a druggie, and doctor appointments…). I have several other posts that I need to write, but here is one for today! Enjoy and have a wonderful week! Oh, and don’t forget to smile!!!! 😀
Please be warned: This post is going to be super long…..
In the beginning of October, the Stake President of my Single Adult Ward called me into his office after church one Sunday. Usually when a priesthood holder calls you into his office, it is about a calling or speaking assignment or something pretty big. I mentally freaked out….then I thought that maybe he just wanted an update on how I was doing or my input on something. Ha! He did, first, ask me how I was doing. I gave him the short version of my usual answer to that always asked question. He asked me if I was going to be available to come to Stake Conference in a couple of weeks. I told him that I was planning on coming, unless something heart/doctor related came up. Then he asked me if I would be comfortable speaking in conference. I was overcome with so many emotions. I wanted to ask if he was sure that I was worthy to even be considered to speak. Then, I remembered something that someone told me once. “Speakers and teachers are called of God. They are called because there is either something they need learn or something someone is waiting to learn.” So, I said yes. I wanted to share it with you.
“I was born with several heart problems. By the time I was 5 years old, I had had 5 major surgeries and several other surgeries to fix complications from the previous surgeries. Despite being in and out of the hospital, I was able to graduate from high school on time with my friends. I went to school, church, and hung out with friends, just like any other kid. In April of this year, my doctor came into my hospital room with the best news in the world. I was able to receive second chance.
One of my favorite moments in church history is when Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail. In D&C 121, he asks, “O God, where are thou? And where is the pavilion that covert thy hiding place?” “Stretch forth thine hand; let thine eye pierce; let thy pavilion be taken up; let thy hiding place no longer be covered; let thine ear be inclined; let thine heart be softened , and thy bowel moved with compassion toward us.” I can kind of picture how Joseph was feeling; so alone and helpless. I am pretty sure that every one of us has felt like that to some degree at one point in our lives. After, what I’m sure was a lot, of questioning the Lord’s will, timing and reasoning the Lord just answers simply to his son, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment. And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over your foes.” I have applied this simple answer to my life and situation so many times.
I know that Heavenly Father has it all planed out. I also know that we have our own version of the plan. Sometimes these two plans match up perfectly and other times they couldn’t be further opposites. One example of that in my life was in January. After a very long process, I got listed for a new heart. I was so excited. I knew what it would mean for me when I got the call. Knowing “the call” could come any time, I must have been pretty funny to be around. Every time someone would call me or even just text me, I would completely freak out! Just five days of being on the list, I got the call. We rushed to Salt Lake, got checked it, and waited. I was as prepped as I could be without actually being in the operating room. Then we got the news that the heart we thought was perfect for me wasn’t perfect and we couldn’t use it for a successful transplant. I was so devastated.
When I got to go home I kept praying to my Father. I kept telling Him that it wasn’t fair, that I had deserved it and that I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have it. After a while, I heard a voice saying, “Not yet.” I didn’t know what to do. I pleaded with my Father in Heaven and asked him again. Same answer. Then I finally changed my thoughts to ‘When is it going to happen? Can I at least know that? If you don’t like my plan can I just peek at yours?’ I was so tired of not knowing how my life was going to turn out. At the time, I felt like I didn’t get an answer to any of those questions. Looking back I know that I had had it during this whole thing and it feels like an obvious answer now. Why did I get my Patriarchal Blessing in the first place? A few years before I was even ever given the option of transplant, I was lost and needed direction in my life. Since this experience, I have looked to this wonderful blessing for guidance and hope many times.
Priesthood blessings have been a great help through all of this, too. I remember a time during my recovery that was especially difficult for me. I was in the elevator headed back downstairs to the Intensive Care Unit. Me, my nurse, my tech, my bed, and both my parents crammed into the elevator. Because there wasn’t enough room, my grandparents were going to take the stairs. Right before the elevator doors shut, I remember my dad yelling out to my Grandpa that I needed a blessing. So everyone scooted closer together as two wonderful priesthood holders gave me a blessing. I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember what the spirit in that elevator felt like. It was unmistakably there. It felt so strong and safe. None of us knew what was going to happen, but in that elevator, we all felt calm, safe, and loved.
Before I got my heart, I was told that I needed to live in the hospital while I waited. I waited just a little over a month, until I got my turn. The recovery in the hospital was just under two months. Then I was released to live in Salt Lake – that lasted about a month. So not being home, with my whole family with my own stuff for about four and a half months, I was pretty homesick and lonely. I knew that even though I was far away from the life I was used to, I was not alone. I had my Heavenly Father’s help and love every day. I know that no matter what, He loves us and wants to help us.
Alma 28:6 says, “And now surely this was a sorrowful day; yea, a time of solemnity, and a time of much fasting and prayer.” I remember for a while there was a time when it took everything we had to get through one more day. I remember every night when we prayed, I always felt the weight of the day being picked up off my shoulders and taken away. I know that prayer works. Even though we don’t always think we receive an answer, I know that we just need to be patient.
During this whole experience, I have come to learn…and even relearned that Heavenly Father loves us so much and that we are children of Him. He gave us the fullness of His gospel to help us learn about who we are and what we are doing here. He gave us the priesthood to help bless and guide us. If we pray in faith and have a sincere desire in our hearts, I know that Heavenly Father will help us. I know that He has a plan for us. I know that the trials we have been given in this life help us and make us stronger people. I personally know that the Book of Mormon is made up of the testimonies and the teachings of the prophets of God. I know that it is a true book. I am so grateful for this knowledge. I know that the things I spoke about today are true and I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”