Rewind to 2002 with me for a moment:

It had been six months of waiting for a baby and every month we bought those pregnancy tests: so excited!  {Just kidding, false alarm x 6!} After graduating with my AA degree in Office Systems Management (I didn’t want to be ambitious, I was just sent to make babies, you see) I’m working as the full-time receptionist at Pres. Bednar’s [1] Office on BYU-Idaho campus. One Tuesday Elder Grow came for devotional and spoke a little about what a blessing it has been for his family to follow the prophet and have his wife stay home with the children and not work. There are MANY working mothers in the Kimball Building that I saw every day. I observed as many of these women (some had to work, single moms, etc.) turned off the devotional or slammed their office doors as not to hear the radio, and some blatantly stood there and criticized his words, i.e. “He has no idea what he’s talking about. Ricks College would shrivel up and die if all of the mothers went to stay home with their children.” etc. I was getting a little riled up because at this point I would have given my left arm to be able to get pregnant and stay home with a baby and I literally wanted to stand up and tell them all, “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard!” I wrote Pres. Bednar an email and explained the situation and asked him how you know when you should bite your tongue and how you know when to make a stand up and let people know they are wrong. Thirty minutes after coming back to the office from devotional Pres. Bednar asked his secretary to have me come into his office. (Can I just add as a postscript after being a SAHM, part-time, and full-time working mother — this issue is just a little more complex than my 20 yo mind could grasp).

Here I sat, a 20 year old, lowly receptionist in front of Pres. Bednar. And I will be grateful until the day I die that he took the time from his schedule to teach me a little about life. First of all he asked how long we’d been waiting for a baby. I told him it’d been six months.  The man literally laughed loudly in my face and said, “Well, first of all maybe you need to learn some patience!”  He had a family member who had been trying for over 3 years, he tells me. One day he was alone with Elder Eyring and this problem had been weighing on him and he asked Elder Eyring about it. What do you say to the couple who has done everything right, who has prepared themselves their whole lives for the day when they can build a family and raise children up unto the Lord, and they remain childless?

two-paths
Do You Have Faith To Follow His Plan for You?

Elder Eyring told him that the Lord doesn’t send children for us to teach them; the Lord sends children for them to teach us. God could find a different way to teach children what he wants them to know, that in the parent-child relationship the child is actually the teacher and the parent is the student. The point of this life is for us to learn how to become like God. Sometimes that is accomplished by having children; sometimes the Lord determines that it is accomplished by NOT having children. Do parents learn patience, long suffering, service, and humility from having children? Yes. Do couples learn the same things from NOT having children?  Yes. So the point is for us to submit our will to the Lord’s to become all that he wants us to be; to become like our Heavenly Parents – no matter the path they give us to get there.

This moment was huge for me – if I had not been able to be taught so clearly at such an early stage in our journey, I’m not sure how well things would have worked out for me. Pres. Bednar quickly sent me back to work. Over the next three years we eventually conceived our daughter after an IVF cycle with the only surviving embryo (out of 31) that survived an oocyte thaw. It took another 8 years, 4 foster kids, and 1 failed adoption for me to find space to take a breath and stop trying to have children. In the peaceful silence that filled my life I found that it’s possible for me to “become” not just on a difficult, bumpy path; but on an entirely different one.

Sometimes God Messes With Your Head And When You Think You're Choosisng God's Way? You're Actually Choosing Your Own
Sometimes God Messes With Your Head And When You Think You’re Choosisng God’s Way? You’re Actually Choosing Your Own 

I hope that we can all learn to rely on our Savior as we move forward; not with bushy tailed optimism but with clear eyed perspective. Hope for a righteous desire to be fulfilled….but if not – have faith not to be healed, not to be blessed, not to be married, not to survive cancer, etc. This takes an entirely different kind of faith. May you find strength and beauty in your own unfulfilled righteous desires.

 

 

Is there anything you’ve experienced that you’ve found strength and progress from unexpectedly? Do you think with enough faith you can “overcome” your trials, or does a different faith accept the the lack of desired outcome? Often I feel the language/rhetoric of faith is used in such a way that belittles the faith of those whose prayers go unanswered. (See here [2]) What do you think?

 

[1] please excuse my use of “President” Bednar. I still find myself slipping up every once in a while. I thought for this flashback it would be appropriate. Besides, I used to answer my phone at home by saying, “Executive Office, this is Kristine” – at least I broke that habit.

[2] I can no longer find the FB link with the title “Fighting Infertility with Faith” title – they may have changed it – there was quite the dustup in the comments section