From the time I was a little girl I had my entire life planned out. I would graduate from high school, go to college, travel to a few countries, get married to a fairytale husband, live in a ritzy neighborhood, and have 4-5 kids. My husband would adore me and never make any mistakes. My children would be the best at everything they did. I would maintain a perfect home and never have to worry about money. You think I’m exaggerating, but I am dead serious. These were my plans for life and I was intent on making them happen. That is until life actually did happen…
Of course as I grew older I began to realize that life doesn’t always go as planned and we often times have to make adjustments or make an entire change of course. This was the case on countless occasions throughout my life and I’m sure you can identify as well. I’d like to now recount how life REALLY turned out and how through all the trials, challenges and course corrections, I was able to find peace and happiness.
Growing up I had divorced parents. They separated when I was just three years old. The challenge of living in between two households really took a psychological blow to my childhood development and to this day there are still side effects that I have to deal with. At the age of twelve I lived with my non-member father and attended church with him and became inactive in the church as a youth. As I drew closer to my eighteenth birthday I felt like it was time that I made adult-like decisions in my life and one of those choices was choosing what church I would join. I remembered the feelings I had as a child when I went to church with my mother, so I thought I’d start there. I began attending church with her again and those same feelings I had years ago began to resurface. Those feelings found in Galatians 5: 22, “….love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” were what I was seeking after, I just didn’t know it at the time.
Soon after returning back to the church, I met a funny looking guy who wore thick, black glasses and strange clothing. We had a challenging courtship and even broke up for a short period of time. Most of our trials stemmed from our parents and families, but we stuck it out and after only dating for about six months we had a crazy idea to get hitched. This was a difficult decision for our families to accept for various reasons, mostly because of my age and we hadn’t dated for very long. I remember it felt like everyone around us disapproved of our decision. We had no money. We didn’t have jobs that could sustain our needs. We didn’t even own a car. We both were still in school and had to figure out a way to pay for that expense. Everything pointed to no, but we both knew it was right. We had found the right person and we made it a goal to marry in the right place, the temple of the Lord. Again, those feelings resurfaced. When we discussed our life together and treading through these uncertain waters, we both felt those feelings of peace, love, joy, and gentleness.
We weren’t sure how we’d make it work, but we had faith. Faith that even though the world was against us, the Lord would provide a way. And He did! I remember the day before we were married, my husband received a phone call saying he got the job he had applied for (talk about perfect timing). We were able to receive scholarships and grants to pay for college and miraculously graduated completely debt free! We had a small house that was sufficient for our small family. Our first child was born healthy and happy. Life seemed to be perfect. At least for a little while…
A few years later we had two more children. Our last child wasn’t exactly planned and was a welcomed blessing. My pregnancy was healthy and our child was growing and developing in perfect health. Then the night of his delivery came. Labor progressed beautifully without complications. I remember the nurse who had been attending to me suddenly came in with a concerned look on her face. She didn’t say anything as to why she was concerned, but simply asked that I try moving to a certain position to help the baby descend into the birth canal better. She came in a few more times to help me adjust to different positions and I knew something was wrong when my doctor came in. He had a very serious and concerned look just like the nurse. Before I knew it, there were several nurses in the room and it was time to push. I remember using all the strength within me and nothing was happening. This happened several times with the same result…nothing. My doctor made a split second decision and was able to force the baby out.
What I remember most was the silence. The thick, almost deafening silence. The silence in the room was so quiet that it seemed loud, very loud, too loud. “Why isn’t he crying? Shouldn’t he be crying?” Then out of literally nowhere, a team of specialized nurses came rushing in. They quickly flopped his little limp body onto the table and immediately began CPR. My husband and mother couldn’t stay to watch and left the room. I was left alone to helplessly watch my precious newborn fight for his life. But I knew I wasn’t really alone. I felt it. I felt the Lord’s love right there in that delivery room. At that moment I prayed. I never prayed so hard in my life. I just chanted over and over, “Please God, let him live, let him live.” I didn’t know it at the time, but when my husband and mother left the room they left to pray too. As soon as my husband finished his prayer, the long-awaited cry came. He lives! Our prayers really did work! The following week was the hardest week of my existence, but what got us through was faith, love, and prayer.
After finally bringing our baby home from the hospital, life was different, I was different. My thoughts didn’t seem like they were real or even portrayed who I am. I felt isolated, alone, and anxious. I was constantly worried I would do something wrong and lose my baby. I finally had to conclude that I was dealing with a bad case of the “baby blues.” Only it never went away. I became paranoid and felt like family members and friends were continually judging me as a mother. The things that once brought joy and happiness didn’t have the same effect anymore. I knew it was depression, I could feel it. Like something was literally wrong with my brain. I went for a time where I didn’t want to leave the house. I became so lonely. What finally brought me out of the darkness was the light of the Savior. He knew what I was going through. He felt it in the garden. He felt the desperation, the loneliness, the gut-wrenching pain, the feeling of inadequacy and lack of joy.
Turning to Him and handing over our pains, sorrows, and imperfections is what will truly bring everlasting joy and happiness. When we are faced with even the most difficult trials and challenges of our lives, He is always there…comforting and gently guiding us. Our lives are most likely far from perfect. We all deal with and experience unique challenges that are specific to our individual growth. The actual experience or trial is not really where the challenge is. The real challenge is to find peace and happiness within the trial itself. That is how we learn and grow…to look beyond the imperfections of our lives and seek after the Savior, who is the never-ending source of those feelings we find in Galatians; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
Meghan was born and raised in Odessa, Texas and is the wife of a teacher and mother to three children ages, 7, 5, and 9 months. She graduated from Permian High School in 2005 and went to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, earning her degree in Business Administration in 2010. While attending college, she worked in the accounting department for a oil and gas company, but decided to become a full-time mother after her first child. She has since worked on and off in various capacities, but after overcoming self-doubt and fear, decided to become a full-time blogger and entrepreneur.
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