Showing posts with label blessings. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blessings. Show all posts

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blessings from Following the Prophet's Counsel

I know our prophet is a seer. In the Book of Mormon, the missionary Ammon explains this beautifully to King Limhi  "A seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed ... and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them." (Mosiah 8:17)  We cannot foresee things to come but our prophets can.

The prophet’s admonition for mothers to stay home where circumstances would allow was a counsel my husband, Chuck, and I had decided to follow long before we were ever married. But now that we would soon be having a baby it didn’t seem like such a good idea. We had just purchased a new home which I wanted to pay off as quickly as possible, so staying home just wouldn't work. Conflicted in how to proceed, we prayed for guidance. The answer came clear to both of us, “Follow the prophet's counsel. Stay home.” I questioned, how would we make ends meet? How would it all work out? Not knowing the answers to these questions was unsettling, but we didn't hesitate to follow the counsel we had received.

I quit my job which cut our income in half. My husband got a second job to make ends meet. I remember living off what little food storage we had and what seemed like many, many, macaroni and cheese, ramen noodle nights. We welcomed our first baby boy, Bradley, into the world shortly after and things did not get any easier. With only one car, I would drive my husband to and from work with newborn baby in tow. He worked from 6:00 am - 4:30 pm and then from 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm. I wondered how in the world the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home was truly blessing my life at this time, when all it was doing was making it miserable for both of us. I felt guilty staying at home as I watched my husband work two jobs. I was spending all this time at home enjoying my baby while my husband sacrificed time, energy and sleep. This could all easily be resolved if I went back to work; after all, our baby was so little, he would never remember if I was home with him or not. I prayed again and the answer was the same.  “Listen to the prophet, stay home”.

We obeyed, but still things did not improve. In time, we ended up having to sell the home we thought we would grow old in. We moved into an extremely humble apartment not too far from my husband’s work. Defeated and discouraged, we clung on to the promise that we would be blessed for following the counsel of our prophet.

Everything would come to light just a few weeks after moving into that apartment. My baby was now 22 months old and during a doctor’s visit, for what we thought was a knee sprain, we were told that our son had terminal stage 4 neuroblastoma. In an instant our world was turned upside down. For the next 15 months our dear son would endure aggressive treatments and surgeries that made him extremely ill and frail. Now I knew why I needed to stay home. Because of the changes we had made, I was able to stay at the hospital with our son and care for him as long as it was necessary. As time continued, no amount of praying, fasting, or pleading would save our son. Three weeks before his 3rd birthday, while I held him in my arms and expressed our deepest love for him, he returned back to our Father in Heaven. Our hearts shattered into a thousand pieces that day.

During one of many difficult nights that would follow after our son's passing, I was impressed to read from the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi Chapter 17.


As I read through the account of Jesus Christ’s visit to the Nephites, I was impressed by how much he loved them, and blessed them and their little children. I felt that same love from our Father in Heaven and our Savior Jesus Christ at that very moment. It was such a personal witness to me that our Savior knew of our circumstance, loved us and loved our son deeply. The Spirit bore witness that our son was happy, free from sorrow, sickness and pain, and that he was not alone but surrounded by angels just like the Nephite children were so many centuries ago.  I was brought to remember that our temple marriage made us a forever family and we would see him again. I was brought to remember the blessings that came from listening to the prophet’s counsel for me to stay home. I had truly been given a gift I could never replace: time with our precious son! I was able to enjoy every minute of every day of what would be our son’s very short 3 years here on earth. I could see all of the pieces come together at that very moment and I was truly grateful for listening to the prophet’s counsel.

Jacqueline

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Finding Strength to Carry On

I am realizing that summer is just around the corner as the youth (both the young men and the young women) are preparing for summer camp.  It sounds like they are all going to have a lot of fun.  These preparations remind me of scout camp two summers ago.

The scouts were working on their hiking merit badge.  For the merit badge they needed to hike 20 miles all in the same day.  We had big plans, a scenic hike in the beautiful, central Utah Mountains. We kept telling ourselves that this would be good mission preparation for all the miles the boys would walk on their missions’.

We started out early in the morning on the day of the hike, with intentions of getting a good part of the hike completed quickly.  But soon disasters began.  We had only walked for about 10 minutes before someone had tripped and fallen and was bleeding.  We “paused” our hike to practice our first-aid merit badge before continuing.  This should have been a warning of events to come.

We were challenged continually throughout the day, both physically and emotionally.  The steep hills and thick brush that we had to work our way through slowed our hike.  Soon we realized that we would not make the trip as quickly as we had planned.  That meant we were going to run out of food and water and possibly need to spend the night without any over-night gear.

Emotionally it was a challenge to wonder where the next watering hole would appear.  In the deserts of Utah these can be few and far between.  We filtered and drank water that I am sure should have killed us, or at least should have made us all very sick.  The constant barrage from the sun, burned us all quickly, and yet we had to keep hiking.  There was no relief from the heat.  We faced challenges that should have made us quit.  And yet we wanted to succeed, and knew we could.  We were also blessed tremendously.  We saw first-hand several miracles.  However to keep a long story short, I will only recount one of many.

As the day had progressed, we had become separated into several small groups.  Each group had not heard from the others for several hours.  This was disconcerting as darkness was drawing near and we were still miles from the end of the hike.  The trail we were following would split and rejoin itself and split again.  In the thick brush it would be easy to pass another group and not know it.  Several questions were constantly asked: what if someone was hurt and could not complete the hike?  Would we pass by them and not know it?  Would we need to return tomorrow to find them?  Could they survive the night in the desert without any gear, food or water?

Each group decided (independently of each other) to pray for the other groups: prayer for safety, health, and strength to carry-on, and most importantly to be reunited.  With blessings from our Heavenly Father, these prayers were answered.  As the sun set and darkness enveloped us, we were all reunited.  Everyone was safe and healthy.  The decision was made to continue with our hike as we were ill-prepared to spend the night.  We formed a line as we pushed our way through the thick brush.  We had two flash lights in the group, one for the front and one for the back of the line.  We hiked for at least 3 more hours in the dark before we emerged from the canyon at our destination.

As we told each other about the experiences we had while we were separated and anxiously hoping to be reunited, we began to see the blessings we had received and the miracles we had experienced. One young man told how he was too tired to go any farther, and somehow right at 8 pm he had gained strength to continue hiking.  Another group told of how they stopped hiking at exactly 8 pm and prayed for that same young man that he would have the strength to continue.

Another group told how they had no flash lights and would be unable to hike in the dark.  Just as the sun set they prayed one more time to be reunited with the others.  Right as they said “amen”, they heard voices in the distance coming toward them.  What a happy reunion in the dark!  These prayers and many others were answered on this miraculous day.

Having our prayers answered was only one of many amazing events of that day.  My testimony of the power of prayer was strengthened that day.  I know our Heavenly Father listens, and answers prayers!

I have one lingering desire from this experience and it is that the young men will remember the power of prayer.  I know there will be more difficult challenges ahead for them.  I know that if they will pray for each other they will be blessed.

Daniel Burr