Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Are You Doing?

Hello family and friends,

What are you doing today?  I am trying to keep my thoughts bright.  Some mornings I wake up with anxiety and fear.  The past few mornings have been heavy, but I am alive and moving forward, day after day.  I think about these people every moment, and I know there is a great purpose in store for each of us.      

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What Are You Doing?

What are You doing?
I whisper, dejected,
My life quickly falling apart.
I don’t understand
How a Father who loves me
Could witness my suffering
heart.

What are You doing?
I try to move forward,
But obstacles get in my way.
I struggle to see
How the stumbling is helpful
With challenges day after day.

What are You doing?
This turn, unexpected,
Is leading me down a new path.
I follow in faith,
Hope’s anticipation
Is all the assurance I have.

What are You doing?
I wonder it daily,
But little by little I see
The light moving with me
With each step I take
The vision unfolds graciously.

What are You doing?
I ask in amazement
As wonders and blessings unfold.
I’m learning,
Perspective is altered by
patience.
If faithful, Thy purpose behold.

Anna M. Molgard

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finding Joy in Every Day

One of my dear friends, Lisa, who has a child with special disabilities, shared a story with me many years ago that I’ve never forgotten.  The author’s point-of-view stems from having a special needs child herself, but I find her insight especially helpful in facing the loss of an expectant future.  

Welcome to Holland

by Emily Perl Kingsley

"...it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland."

I’m learning that my new life in Holland can be filled with joy.  The days are going by with an occasional outing interspersed here and there, but I’ve stayed inside most of the time working through thoughts and avoiding the muggy heat.  The girls still have a good two weeks before school starts, and I’m trying to be exciting for them in every way, but my lack of energy and my need to read has kept us in.  I am blessed with happy children (which makes the indoors easier this time of year), but this pregnancy is exhausting, and I can barely get to 1pm before my body demands a cat nap.  

In the process of accepting a hard mortal hit, it’s pertinent to shift perspective in order to cope with the loss of dreams unrealized.  The absence of a stable force in an expectant future is a "very very significant loss," but HOPE in brighter days ahead has enabled me to look up, prepare for a different course, and recognize that there will be joy in my new reality! 

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Baby News :)

Jared & I are excited to announce the upcoming birth of another boy (baby #4), due 12/13/14!  I truly wish I had the perfect ultrasound shot, or better yet, a belly picture of me in the cutest trendiest maternity clothes you ever did see, but today, considering the past three weeks, I am simply grateful for this blessing and the compelling motivation it is to meet my challenges with courage and to joyfully accept that life must continue on.  

Friday, August 1, 2014

Thoughts on My Father's Death

I’m learning what it’s like to suffer the death of a father.  Although I do not seem to function well, both physically and mentally, the days have brought peace despite the obscurity of his seemingly untimely death.  

The bewildering fact that my father took his own life will prove to be an Abrahamic test in my lifetime.

Everyone who achieves exaltation must successfully pass through an Abrahamic test.  

Joseph Smith, in speaking to the Twelve Apostles in Nauvoo, said: “You will have all kinds of trials to pass through.  And it is quite necessary for you to be tried as it was for Abraham and other men of God…God will feel after you, and He will take hold of you and wrench your very heart strings, and if you cannot stand it you will not be fit for an inheritance in the Celestial Kingdom of God.  That is not a particularly comforting thought, but it is one that cannot be ignored if the scriptures are taken seriously.”  

I do not wish to dwell on the physical and mental state of my father at the time of his decision to end his life.  A serious change came over him - most noticeable to me in the last 6 weeks of his life.  Our family continues to yearn for answers ourselves, yet the tough truth remains that we will never fully understand the details surrounding his perceived impossible burdens.  

I wish to acknowledge the belief that his choice was not premeditated for an extended period of time, and our family has felt a strong impression that his passing resulted in as much shock to him as we have all experienced.  

Considering the amount of time I have pondered, prayed, and sought answers, I have found comfort and peace in several truths.

1.  My father was a kind and gentle man who would never intentionally hurt anyone.  Although he was not perfect, he never once betrayed his trust in his divine roles of son, husband, and father - nor did he ever violate sacred covenants.  He was recently honorably released as a devoted bishop of 5 years, and through this sacred calling, he proved to be a compassionate judge in Israel, extending forgiveness and mercy as much as possible.  There are many who live by the motto that the end justifies the means, however, “…every tree is known by his own fruit.”  (Luke 6:43-44)

2.   There is a difference between a sin and a mistake.  Gospel doctrine clearly teaches us that suicide is a sin, and I accept this, yet I find comfort in the words of the late Elder Bruce R. McConkie who taught that “…persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts.”  My absolute faith in the reality of a just God brings peace knowing that only the Lord himself can administer fair judgement with a full understanding of circumstance and real intent.  

Although the acts of sin and mistake may often result in similar consequences, the scriptures suggest different treatments.  We also know that on some occasions, the Lord has brought about His purposes by means of transgression.  “The Fall was a glorious necessity to open the doorway toward eternal life.” - Elder Russell M. Nelsen  

3.  In regards to the future I face as a victim of self-inflicted death, the deep emotions I feel will continue to be swallowed up by the undeniable legacy of selfless service my father exemplified through daily Christ-like discipleship.  If he was to be saved from this act, I believe that we did everything in our power without stripping him of his free agency.  A Savior died to insure we would have that free agency, and we must not carry the burden of continuously questioning our best efforts to help my father during his most tumultuous times.  The moments I shared with my father in the days leading up to his passing have been a source of strength as I was able to witness firsthand my family’s, especially my mother’s, best efforts to patiently tend to any irrational thoughts and behaviors we were perceiving.    

There is a time to grieve, and for me, that time is now.  The forgiveness we receive after this life will be very much weighted on our ability to forgive others.  I forgive my father and hope he will forgive himself.  Although this process is painful, I know that mortal testing is purposeful, and I choose to accept this burden as an opportunity for substantial growth. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

When Tragedy Strikes

Our summer trip to southeastern Idaho took a difficult turn.  

My father passed away unexpectedly while we were there on Friday, July 11th.  

My body is weak, and I am emotionally exhausted from the course of events that have taken place over the past two weeks.  I am in my own home now with my children and husband - simply learning to navigate my new life ahead with a constant clamp on my heart.    

The tears continue to fall, but despite his absence, I know in whom I have trusted.  The divine promises of the atonement have strengthened me.  I have prayed more fervently than I have ever prayed in my entire life  - seeking answers, seeking peace.  I have never known grief before, but the pain is transforming my heart, and I can feel this daily burden strengthening my family and I one day - one moment - at a time.

“You do not need to see the Savior, as the apostles did, to experience the same transformation.  Your testimony of Christ, born of the Holy Ghost, can help you look past the disappointing endings in mortality and see the bright future that the Redeemer of the world has prepared.”  

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Little by little, and as appropriate, I will share more - always praying for guidance in an effort to focus on truths learned and the exemplary life my dad lived.  A simple Thank You will never express the love and appreciation we feel for the thousands of individuals who have reached out to my family and I during this difficult time.