I had discovered two weeks before, that I was miraculously pregnant. We had been working for the previous nine months on our paperwork to adopt two children from Romania. Our oldest daughter was five at the time, and we had been trying to have more children with no hope of success. Interesting how so often when you focus on something else and choose to adopt, suddenly you discover you are pregnant! The next three weeks were full of miracle after miracle as we worked our way through and around the corrupt Romanian government adoption rules and regulations. I understand more fully why people kiss the ground of American soil when they return from foreign countries. I knew what I was doing would be dangerous, but really had no idea how much danger it would truly be. This was a time where the only thing I had to rely on was my Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his will for me, my unborn child, my new adopted child and my entire family. I literally placed my life in His hands and prayed that I would be able to return home to be with my husband and daughter again in this life. We were welcomed by a tank with the gun pointed at our plane and escorted off the plane by Romanian soldiers with machine guns in our backs. That was just the beginning of a very interesting three week adventure, I am grateful to know I will never have to do again. Each day we ran into major glitches that if not solved, would prevent the adoption. As I think back, I believe there were legions of very busy angels softening hearts, and preparing the way for this tiny little strong spirited girl to have a chance to live.
We were there for a week before I was able to see her. She was six weeks old and was the tiniest baby I’d held since being a candy stripe at Primary Children’s Medical Center in Jr. High. I remember the skin just hanging off her bottom, as there was no fat on her little body at all. She had the biggest blue eyes, with the longest dark eyelashes I’ve ever seen. We call them “cow eyelashes” – that’s how long and beautiful they are. When we got her home, the Dr.’s figured that she only weighed about two pounds at birth. The past 21 years have been filled with the hardest challenges, as well as some of the greatest joys I’ve ever experienced.
In the past seven years it seems that life has turned into hyper-speed! Trials, tribulations and struggles seem to be coming faster than we can handle at times. No one is immune. I read an article the other day on how some people view Mormon moms. It stereotyped us as “Happy women, with handsome husbands, kids that look like they came from GAP commercials; women who are stay-at-home moms to cook, clean, scrapbook, blog and appear to have the perfect life.” Isn’t it funny how things appear on the surface, and people as a group are perceived? Little do they know we struggle with everyday life just like everyone else. Our marriages aren’t perfect, but we work on them daily and make it work. It is sometimes difficult to LIKE the person that we LOVE, and vice versa. Our kids don’t always grow up to fit the typical LDS mold of serving a full-time mission or even marrying in the temple. Sometimes our stay-at-home world is rocked by an unstable economy and in order to keep things afloat, we have no choice but to go back to work in order to assist our husband in keeping a roof over the heads of our children. Just when you think you can’t do one more thing, you find out you have skin cancer . . . again (darn those baby oil, sizzling in the sun like bacon days of the 70’s), or need surgery to fix a medical issue you’ve been mysteriously plagued with for the past 19 years. The medical bills have been part of the family budget for the past 21 years. Your parents are getting older and you worry that you will be able to be there for them when the time comes. You yearn to do all the things your heart desires. Serve others daily, lighten someone’s heavy load, work and serve in the temple, do genealogy work, teach and enjoy your grand children, care and serve the ladies you Visit Teach, do the best job you can in your church calling, learn to do something new, finish old projects, go back to school and get your masters degree, the list goes on and on . . .
Mormon women are so hard on themselves. The quest to be perfect can be crippling at times. A wise friend once told me, “You can’t do all those things at the same time, it’s just not possible. You will have different seasons in your life to accomplish all that the Lord has in mind for you. Just do the best you can with what you have today and the rest will all work out.” The wonderful thing about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is that you are NEVER alone. He is with you ALWAYS. Each trial that comes along has a way of refining us and making us stronger, if we are willing to accept the gift of the atonement of Jesus Christ to get us through these hard times. When we come to the realization that WE are not the ones in charge of our lives, that our loving Father in Heaven is carefully guiding us along the narrow pathway back to Him, because he loves us and wants us to live with Him once again as we did before we came to this earth to be tried and tested. When we accept and act upon these things, those lights at the end of the tunnel that turn out to be just another train are easier to handle. He knows we are not perfect and are not capable of achieving perfection on our own. Through the sacrifice and atonement of our elder brother Jesus Christ, He made it possible for us to return to live with our Heavenly Father again someday.
As members of the Church, we have high expectations of ourselves. It is important to realize that we can only do so much, and as long as we’re doing the best we can do, the atonement will make up the difference in the end. By putting on the Armor of God every day we will be armed and ready for the hidden battles that will come our way each and every day.
Until next time,