Sunday, March 23, 2014

My Time Out for Women Experience

This past Friday and Saturday night, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event called Time Out For Women. There are inspirational speakers from all walks of life, beautiful musicians that share their talents, and overall a great uplifting experience. Here are some of my favorite quotes that stood out to me:

"Take the rain with the sunshine."

"It is not the length of our life, but the depth that is important."

"We dream to make meaning of our lives."

"Righteousness will come to pass when you dream."

"Rise to the stature of your divinity."

"The trick is to enjoy life today, not the better ones ahead."

And then, in a poem shared by one of the speakers, my entire life seemed to stand still. Suddenly I had more clarity and understanding in my life than I've had in a long time. This one statement applied to me so much that I was in tears, bawling, and couldn't stop. So here it is:

"I got nothing I prayed for, but God gave me everything I needed."

Now, I guess you could say this isn't entirely true, I have gotten things I've prayed for. But what about those things that I did pray for, fervently, with all my heart and soul, and then I didn't get them? What about those times?

For example, what about the 8 months of praying during my pregnancy with Nathan, every single night, that we would have a healthy, normal baby with no complications? I like to think that I have great faith, and I was very confident that my Heavenly Father was aware of my current situation with Julianna and Blake. I had my hands full! But I knew it was time to have another baby, so we did. And I wanted to have a baby that I could just love without worries or scary moments or lots of doctor visits. I really didn't think that was selfish of me at all to want this. So when Nathan was born, and we found out he had the cleft palate, it was a huge shock. How could our prayers have not been answered? I remember the silence in the room after the nurses had finished their brief explanation about bilateral cleft palate. I've mentioned before that I felt a peace and confidence come over me soon after that visit from the nurses. But if I'm to be completely honest, before that peace, there were definitely some thoughts, during that silence as Joel and I sat contemplating what we were just told, that veered toward the "why us?" and "how could we be given another child with specific needs?" Especially after praying so long and having as much faith as possible. We prayed for a baby without challenges, but we were still given one anyway. How could this happen?

But wait...what about the other half of that quote? ...God gave me everything I that why very soon after these thoughts, I felt a peace and comfort come over me? I began to see very soon after his birth that our prayers are not always answered in the way we hope them to be. And sometimes that is hard to accept. It's only after we move forward, and trust again in Heavenly Father, that we see how much we needed what we didn't pray for, if that makes any sense. My faith wasn't done being tested yet....and I know now that this baby is helping me learn things I haven't learned from my other children. He is taking me on a new journey and helping me become an even better mom than I ever thought I could be. So yes, my prayer was not answered, but God did give me everything I needed in my little boy Nathan--he gave me a new level of faith, courage, and understanding that I didn't have before. He gave our family a little baby boy that we all love and cherish, that we laugh at, and that has brought us closer than ever before. He gave my children a little brother that they can learn to love and accept and teach and cuddle. And he gave me another beautiful redhead, too.

It's true, my life as a mom is nothing what I expected it to be. I never imagined I'd be a mother to such unique children. But what I do know is Heavenly Father knows what each one of us needs to learn while we are on this earth, and what I am learning is exactly what I need to be learning. As I go forward with this blog, I hope to find many more of you out there and to learn from your stories as well. Attending this event also helped me realize how important it is to share our struggles and joys, because it makes us all stronger in the end. I feel like a completely different person now. I know what I need to be doing, and I will keep on doing it!

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