have to preface this by saying that I absolutely love teaching relief
society. It is my favorite ward calling of all time. I learn so much
about me any my thoughts, viewpoints, strengths and weaknesses through
teaching these lessons. I always end up thinking that I teach the
lessons that are the hardest for me or the ones that I have to currently
apply into my life. I certainly needed this one.
look back onto my life and see a significant amount of trials. There
have been times in my life that I he struggled severely emotionally,
physically and financially. There have been many times in my life that I
have felt that I have hit my wits end. There are times that I have
wanted to quit, give up and just melt away into nothing. There have
been times that I have been so down that I didn’t know how I would get
through the day.
How is it that we are supposed to be
grateful throughout our trials. It is easy to be grateful when we are
in a good spot, when life is grand, when our marriages are perfect, when
our children are healthy, when our finances are secure… or at least
out of the red, when our family is happy, when our food is hot, when our
water is cold, when our lives are sailing smooth and easy. It is much
harder to be grateful when life hands us the hard stuff. It is tough to
kneel and give thanks for our life when nothing seems to be going
right. What do we give thanks for? What do we find important in those
This lesson made me think long and hard into my
life, past and current circumstances and dig to find what I was most
grateful for and what was the most important in my grand view of things
in life. It made me think through when I was grateful when life wasn’t
going according to plan.
I took a paper bag, smashed it
and crinkled it, covered it with mud, condiments, burned the edges,
stuck chewed gum all over it, sprayed it with cooking spray and made it
as gross as possible. I filled it with chocolate kisses. I showed it
to the class and asked who would like to hold this for me. Not one
volunteer. I asked for someone to please take it for me because I
didn’t want to get the mud and grease all over my favorite (Ann Taylor)
dress. No takers. I did gt one person to told it in the palm of her
hands long enough to tell me that it was very heavy. It would be a
gross, dirty, and heavy load to bear. No one wanted it. The same
volunteer came up and peeked inside of the bag, gasped with joy and
announced, “She has chocolate in here!” I then asked who would take the
bag if it was filled with chocolate. Many more volunteers appeared
I think that that nasty bag of chocolate
is so much like our trials in life. Nasty, gross and heavy to carry and
hold, yet hold a treasure that we want. I look at my trials, some of
them I would go bak and do again, some I would avoid with a ten foot
pole, and realize that in every single one of them, a treasure was
found. Some of them took YEARS to discover, but they were there.
of my favorite examples of being grateful in my circumstance was when I
was divorcing my kids ad. We ended up having to go to court several
times. The first time we went to court, I was confident that I was
going to come out on top. No question. However, quite the opposite was
true. My judge, who was famous for being pro mom and generous, ended
up handing down a really unfair ruling. My lawyer was shocked. His
lawyer was shocked. It left me needing to find a job and returning to
work the next day. I was given the burden of the house, the cars and
all of the bills. It gave me minimal child support and no alimony.
left that court appearance shaking and shocked. I didn’t know what to
do and I panicked. How was I going to go back to work immediately?
What was I going to do with my kiddos? Could I find a babysitter that
would take a baby and an autistic child? Could I find a way to pay for
the house? It was a beautiful and large home. It was my children’s
only home. However, it had a killer mortgage. I wanted the house, but
didn’t realize how in the world I was supposed to manage it.
remember pacing outside my home that night looking. I kept looking at
how pretty it was with the lights shining on the inside in contrast to
the dark night outside. How was I going to do this. I remember praying
that I would be able to find a way to stay home with my children long
enough to be able to get them stable and into school. It was so
important to me that I stay home with them at this point in their life.
I wasn’t lazy, I just knew that my place was with my children. It hit
me at that moment, I needed to let the house go to foreclosure.
the next day I told my attorney that I was going to let the house go
into foreclosure and move, found a new house and made all of the plans
to move. However, my plans just wouldn’t come to fruition. I couldn’t
get it to come together. I pleaded with the Lord to please help me and
this was the only way that I could do it. However, the harder I prayed
and worked, the more trials were put in the way of it all. I couldn’t
understand why things just wouldn’t work out. I was faithful. I was
doing my best. I was doing every single thing that I could think of to
live a good and righteous life, yet the Lord just wouldn’t bless me with
what I needed.
Fast forward two years. The fact that I
was willing to let the house go to foreclosure threw my ex into a
panic. He didn’t want to lose the house. He wanted to keep it for
himself. However, he was unable to afford to keep the house and pay my
child support and alimony. So, as a compromise I stayed in the house
for another two years as he got his finances in order to refinance the
house into this own name. It took him two years to do this. As a
compromise, he agreed to pay the bills as he had been paying as though
we were married as long as I agreed to stay in the house so that he
could get his ducks in a row to refinance it.
that as such an enormous blessing. The Lord HAD heard my prayers and
HAD answered them in a much bigger way than I had ever thought
possible. I was able to stay home with my children for the next two
years, without any issues whatsoever. I was given a stipend a month for
groceries etc. Looking back, it was the most amazing blessing that I
could have imagined, hidden away in a gross paper bag of a trial.
feel so often in life, we are put into positions that people tell us,
“welcome to the club.” You find out your child has autism…. Welcome
to the club. You get divorced…. Welcome to the club. You are back in
the singles world…. Welcome to the club. You join the ranks of
working moms…. Welcome to the club. You find yourself going through a
second nasty divorce…. Welcome to the club. Clubs suck. They really
do. They serve an amazing purpose though. We often times are inducted
into clubs that we want nothing to do with, but find that they not only
become an integral part of who we are, but also give us the opportunity
to serve and help others as they also join the ranks of “the club.”
despise some of the trials that I have had to experience in my life.
So many of them have been painful and have left some tender scars.
However, I look at the people that I have met, the conversations that I
have had, the blessings that have flowed from these trials have been
beyond compare. Yes, initiation into clubs is a horrible thing at the
time, and may take years, or even a lifetime to overcome or get through,
but at the end of the day, we are blessing so many people’s lives,
including our own. I wouldn’t change that part of my life for anything.
many times I think that I am going through the worst trial imaginable.
I won’t lie, some of my trials, have been intense. Very intense. I
really do want to write my story down someday. However, after I hear
about what others go through, I wouldn’t change trials with anyone that I
know. I found this YouTube video and loved this man’s attitude. He
was hit by a wave while on vacation with his family. The wave broke his
neck immediately rendering him paralyzed from the neck down. If anyone
has room to complain, he does. However he takes his life and has done
what he can with it. I wonder often how I can adopt his attitude with
some of the trials that I have been facing.
As I am not able to post after the video, I will end with this. Every trial is like a coin. It is ALWAYS two sided. You will never find a one sided coin. Sometimes we only choose to look at the one side of the coin. Often times we think that the coin will never be anything, but tail side up. However, if we can remember that on the other side of tails, there is always a head. There is good in every trial. Sometimes we don’t see it right away. It is there though.