Sunday, November 30, 2008


Many years ago our theme at girls camp was "Lay up for yourselves Treasure in Heaven". I don't remember much about camp, or any specifics of the things we were taught. What I do remember is that I came with the idea that if I did what was right, and made it back to live with my Heavenly Father that I would, in the process secure for myself treasure in Heaven. I still believe that to be true.
At the time however, the treasure I had pictured in my mind was that of a somewhat naive, innocent, young women. I imagined I would have a beautiful castle where I would reside "happily ever after" with my husband. I assumed that this treasure would resemble what I considered to be Earthly treasure. Beauty, jewels, riches, ect. I didn't put too much thought or consideration into the significance of this Heavenly treasure, how it was truly aquired, or what it really was.
Soon after having Branson I read this scripture: Matthew 6: 19-21

19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

As I read this scripture my mind adopted a new understanding of Heavenly treasure. My previous imaginations have been replaced with beautiful glimpses of my celestial son. Although I've only seen him as a baby with my earthly eyes, I often picture him as a young man, a missionary. Handsome, tall, and full of light. I can easily picture a smile that brightens my heart more than any Earthly jewel or treasure ever could. When I "look" at this image in my mind, I am met by the most brilliant, understanding, loving eyes. At times I even try to run towards my son and embrace the person I have imagined. A large piece of my heart longs to be with him, and therefore, where my heart is...there my treasure is also!
I still hold on to the imaginations of my young heart. However, now I don't mind so much if it's a cottage rather than a castle...a cottage where I can be with Rob, Branson, and my other children. A cottage where the Heavenly treasures can be held in my arms.
Although the journey along the way to the treasure is difficult, I know how this story will end, and it's "happily ever after"! I pray I can do all in my power to receive the treasure that awaits! Branson, thank you for being my tiny little boy that is now my biggest Heavenly treasure. I love you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Last night Rob and I created a list of things we are thankful for. It really brought to a remembrance all the things that we count as blessings in our lives. We have so much to be thankful for! We are truly blessed with great things, things that are helping us find joy in this journey. Although we came up with over a 150 things (and we keep adding to it)...I wanted to record my "top ten" for this year.

1. The Savior
I am so grateful for the new found love and appreciation I have for the Savior. I am thankful for the new perspective I have on the atonement, and his sacrifice in my behalf. I am grateful that these things combined with his Resurrection, will enable me to be reunited with my son and spend eternity with my family. I am so grateful for the gift he has given me of the Holy Ghost. I am thankful for his understanding, patience, and continued unconditional love. I am thankful for his perfect example of how to live in an imperfect world.

2. Rob
I am so thankful for the way in which Rob loves me completely. I am grateful for his desire to make my life full and happy. His selfless love for me is truly amazing! I couldn't live without his adorable little songs that he makes up and sings each morning, or our cuddle time each afternoon when he gets home from school. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have him here to make me laugh and enjoy the good moments, and provide a shoulder to cry on during the hard, lonely moments. I feel truly blessed to be able to come home to my best friend every day, and I'm most certainly grateful for eternity, an eternity with him...even that sometimes doesn't seem long enough to be with my sweetheart!

3. Branson
What an incredible blessing our little boy has been to us this year! I am so thankful for this pure, celestial son. I am truly amazed at how much he has taught us, and how many lives he's touched as he serves his mission on the other side at this time. I am so grateful for the expansion of my heart that enables me to feel more love for him than I even imagined possible. I am inspired by his obedient example, and grateful that he chose to follow God's plan for him. I dream often of the day that our reunion will take place...oh, I can't wait for that embrace!

4. Family
Rob and I have come to appreciate even more the love and support of our incredible families. We are so blessed to have families who do all they can to be there for us every step of the way. We are grateful they understand how important our little guy is to us, and for the added strength that their testimonies bring to us in moments of heartache and fear. We will be forever indebted to them for all acts of service they have rendered in our behalf. I love that God's plan is centered around families...for isn't that what it's truly all about?

5. Friends
We couldn't help but think and talk about all of our amazing friends. Like our families, they too have helped us through some of our darkest days. We are truly humbled by the love that has been shown to us, and the continued support we receive from all of them. Being so far from home has required us to rely on this great network of friends. We are thankful for each one of them for the prayers they offer in our behalf, and for the acts of kindness that they show forth!

6. Time
Although I struggle to accept the timing of things in God's plan, I am grateful for the time I've been given. Time, six years, to build an incredible foundation of love and friendship with my husband. Time, nine months, to carry Branson with me during his short time on this Earth. Time, twenty six years, to experience learn and grow from all it offers. Time, every day, to look at my life and realize how blessed I am because of the things I have, and the things that will come. Time.

7. July
We've had some hard July's...2 miscarriages have occurred in July, and Branson slipped from our arms in July. However, the two greatest things in my life happened in July...I married my eternal companion on July 12th, and I met my son on July 1st. So I'm choosing today to love July instead looking back at July's with fear.

8. Emotions
I am so grateful for my ability to feel emotions. I have never felt such strong feelings of love, anger, despair, joy, loneliness, companionship, confusion, understanding, sadness, pain, heartache, peace...there is something to be said about opposition in all things! I am thankful that I'm learning that these emotions are meant to be felt, meant to be learned from, meant to be real, meant to be intense. These emotions help us become more like our Savior, for he truly felt all things. The key, is learning how to bridle these emotions and channel them in a positive direction...I'm still working on that.

9. Christmas
I am so grateful for my favorite time of year. A time to celebrate Christ, family, friends, and traditions. I am thankful for the gift of enjoying this season. I am thankful for the lights, the decorations, the yummy food, the smells, the music, the trees, the smiles, the warmth, the glow, the joy...the season! I love it because my older brother Dustin and I share this infatuation. I have spent a lot of time pondering why I love this holiday so much and I have come to the conclusion that it is because it is perhaps the easiest time of year to give and receive the pure love of Christ, and what a beautiful thing that love is!

10. Puciini's
Yes, my new favorite restaurant. I could literally eat there every night and be just fine with that...I might be a hundred pounds heavier by next Christmas, but every pound would be enjoyed! I love, love, love the twice baked pizza...yummy! Thank you Heather for introducing me to the "adventurous" new pizza place, and thank you Rob for taking me there for every date night the past two months! I am thankful for yummy food.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Does He Know

One of my greatest fears is that Branson doesn't know how much I love him. Most mothers get a life time to show their children how much they love them through physical acts, and tell them through verbal words everyday. I never got that chance.
However, I know that the love I feel for Branson is just as real and just as intense as it would be if he were still here with me today. So I've often wondered..."Does he know and feel of that love?"
This intense love for Branson started to develop the instant we discovered he would be joining our family. It continued to grow as we prepared for his arrival, felt the reality of his existence in fetal movements, and as we dreamed of all the things we would do with him. That love was magnified the instant we met our son and felt of his pure spirit. I have truly never felt a love so complete and all consuming.
I have spent many nights crying myself to sleep as I yearn to tell my little boy of that love. In every simple physical act, I find myself wanting Branson here to do those very things for him. One day I was loading a batch of laundry, and I found myself bent over the washer sobbing, not wanting to go on. I kept thinking how unfair it was that I was still having to do the monotonose little things without him here. It may sound trivial, but even laundry was something I pictured myself doing with Branson at my side. He should've been there at my hip, making things a little more difficult as I tried to pick up clothing with only one free arm. I shouldn't be able to do a whole days worth of laundry without having to stop for a feeding, or to change a diaper. I had even pictured myself having to put him on the dryer as it might be just the thing to lull him to sleep.
As I stood there, the weight of not knowing for sure if he knew of my love, was almost more than I could bear. I gathered myself up and began to walk towards the family room. As I did so I passed this picture in the hallway. I stopped and just stared at the beautiful depiction of the Savior holding my little boy. I leaned against the wall and just stood there for quite some time. As I did so, the spirit did some talking.
First, it said, "The Savior feels the same way". I came to the realization that this must be similar to how the Savior felt as we left his presence for our mortal experience. I'm sure he wondered then, and I know he often wonders now..."Do they know of my love for them?" I strongly felt that perhaps at that very instant the Savior was wondering the same thing about me. Does Natalie remember how much I love her? Even though she's doing some very hard things, does she feel it? In the hardest moments does she know it? I felt very impressed that the Savior and my Heavenly Father wanted me to know that their love for me is just as real and intense as the love I feel for my son.
I was then assured that Branson knows of my love for him. Although I've never spent time with the Savior during my mortal journey... I know he loves me, and in a similar fashion I know Branson feels of my love for him. I'm not sure how it works, but I know our spirits can remember that love from the time we spent together previously. I don't know how to explain it to others in a way to help people understand, but the day that we met our son, my spirit recognized his spirit. It was almost as if my spirit rejoiced in the long awaited reunion. Now, I just endure a form of "homesickness" to feel it again!
I pray that I might always remember the things I learned that day. I plead with Heavenly Father to let my son know of the love I feel for him, and how much I miss him. I like to think that once in a while he lets Branson listen in on those prayers!
I thank all my sweet brothers for giving us this picture that beautifully depicts where our little guy is until we meet again. Thanks means the world to us!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Know Enough

Today I am grateful for what I know. There are certainly many things I don't know and don't understand. However, the things I do know are the things that get me through each moment, each day.
Last night we read a talk in the Ensign from the most recent General Conference. It is entitled, "You Know Enough". As Rob and I read this talk together, the spirit testified of the truth that Elder Andersen shared. I felt that what he said was just for me...isn't it amazing how conference talks have that affect? One part of his talk has been on my mind all day:
"...we each have moments of spiritual power, moments of inspiration and revelation. We must sink them deep into the chambers of our souls. As we do, we prepare our spiritual home storage for moments of personal difficulty."
After reading this I remembered something my dad said to me shortly after having Branson. What he said to me made sense that night, but last night after reading this article it seemed to come full circle for me.
My dad and I were talking about timing. I was very frusterated and angry about not understanding the Lord's timing of things. After all, we had "patiently" waited for six years to have Branson, only to have him taken from our arms. Where was the justice in that? I wondered, "If this experience was meant to be ours, then why not a year after trying to get pregnant? Why six?" In a fit of rage and confusion I wanted answers, I wanted an explanation...I wanted what I couldn't have.
In the wisdom that my father has, he listened to me without judgment. He didn't try to stop me, or tell me I shouldn't think that way...he just listened. When I was finished, he told me that my questions were real and justified, he told me he understood...and then he asked if he could share his point of view on a few things.
He asked me to think over the last six years...all the good times, the bad times, the moments of spirital growth, church callings, and opportunities to share my testimony. At that moment, my mind was flooded with countless opportunities I've had to tesitfy of the very things that were the glue holding me together at that moment. I can't count or even remeber how often I was able to bear testimony to my young women of eternal families, and the reality of the knowledge that I am a daughter of God with a divine nature and destiny. As a Sunday school teacher, I was able to teach about the atonement and resurection that will someday enable me to be reunited with my son. I have had powerful moments of spiritual confirmation that the Lord is aware of my life, and that he loves me. That night I was blessed to "see" that those six years were a time of prepartion...a time that I was able to compile a "spiritual home storage" for my moments of personal difficulty.
My dad proposed that perhaps if it had been one year instead of six, I wouldn't be spiritually prepared to face the winds of adversity that are now raging against the very foundation on which I stand.
So, tonight I am grateful for what I know. Grateful that what I know if getting me through. Grateful for those moments of spiritual power, inspiration and revelation that built up my spirital home storage. Grateful that the Lord, in his mercy, gave me the gift of six years. Grateful that he presented opportunities for me to learn and come to know enough. I pray I've done enough, learned enough, and "stored" enough to see me through the dificult days ahead.
I don't know where I'd be, or how I'd get through this whithout the things I know. I look forward to learning the things I don't know
"...At times, the Lord's answer will be, "You don't know everything, but you know enough"- enough to keep the commandments and to do what is right."
I am positvie I don't know everything. However, I am confident I know enough to get me through tonight.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Over the past few days as Rob and I have been decorating for Christmas, we have had the Christmas music streaming loud and clear. I love the sounds of this time of year. It's almost as if these songs fill the air with joy and put a spring in my step. I heard the song "I'll Be Home for Christmas" many times as we decorated. I love this song because of the nostalgia that I feel as I reminisce about going home for the holidays.
My parents and grandparents have always done so much to make Christmas a magical time of year. Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed all the simple things that fill the holidays with anticipation and excitement about the birth of the Savior and the visit from Santa. There is always beautiful lights, yummy food, special decorations, Grandma's homemade chocolates, fresh cut trees, and plenty of fun to be had with family.
Moving away has made me appreciate even more all that happened at my home during the holidays, and Rob and I have tried our best to replicate the love and joy that abounded in our homes. We look forward each year to returning home for Christmas to spend time with family and participate in long running traditions. This year is no exception.
However, this year as we hung ornaments on the tree I couldn't help but think of a different home that I've been dreaming of even more than I usually Heavenly home, and this song took on a beautiful new meaning. I couldn't help but imagine the special preparations that must take place in Heaven as they anticipate the celebration of the Savior's birth. I imagine the colors are beautifully saturated and the halls are decked with boughs of holly. Can you imagine the magical sound of the angels singing the beautiful carols? I am sure that our little Branson inherited the love of this season from us, and as I contemplated this idea of the Heaven's preparing for Christmas I couldn't help but envision him being the master tree decorator just like his daddy. I'm sure he's right in the thick of these preparations.
As the words "I'll be home for Christmas, you can count on me. I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams" sounded in my ears, I felt an intense yearning to be truly "home" for Christmas. Although I can't return there this year, or even next,I will be there in my dreams! My son and I walking in a winter wonderland, exclaiming to all the world that the Savior was born and that he still lives today. Branson, one day daddy and I will be "home for Christmas" can count on us! What a joyous, magical Christmas that will be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Painful Visit

Today I had a doctors appointment. This was to be the second post-op visit since my surgery 2 1/2 months ago in which my doctor removed the fibroids that they think may have played a part in the tragic cord accident. The main purpose of the visit today was to have an ultra sound so that the doctor could look at my uterus and see how things are healing. He wanted to be able to gage for us how much longer it would be until he would give us the "go ahead" to start trying to get pregnant.
It has been one of the hardest days in a while. I knew that today's salt would sting, but I wasn't ready for the painful memories that accompanied it.
In his office they just have one ultrasound room, and for me it is "the room". The room that brought my world to a screeching halt. The room that haunts my memory, and pulls at my heart. The room that I hate. The room where a mother's worst fears were made a reality. The room where I saw a still heart, and a lifeless body just four short months ago.
I did pretty good at keeping my emotions in check as the tender nurse led me back to the room and went through the routine instructions. However, as soon as she shut the door I pretty much lost it. As I stood there my mind was flooded with the events of June 30th. The whole day replayed in my mind, and it was as if I re-lived the all of the emotions of that day.
I was finally able to put on the robe and climb up on the table to wait for the doctor to come in. As I sat there, tears streaming down my face, I kept trying to prepare myself to see an empty screen heartbeat, no movement, no baby. It was such an empty feeling. I tried to remember what it was like when that screen was full of life, and that room full of joy.
As the doctor began the ultrasound, he said he wanted to take a look at the uterus, it's lining, and the insicion sites. As he did this he commented on how happy he was with how things seemed to be healing, and he said that he was hopeful for our future.
I couldn't hardly even ask any questions because I was so choked up with emotion, but I was able to talk to him about when we could start trying to get pregnant, and then came another blow...March, yes March! I know that to most people three and a half months doesn't seem that long, but it seems like an eternity to us. Time seems to just crawl by when we think about how long it will be until we can hold another baby in our arms. This news brought on another wave of emotion and thoughts. It's the hardest thing in the world to be told that you have to "prevent" a pregnancy when that is the thing you desire most.
I was thankful to come home tonight to the warm, loving, understanding arms of Rob. It is with him that I am completly open. I appreciate him so much for the love he unconditionally shows. I am grateful that he understands my pain, and yearns to help me through the hard times. I am thankful for the tears we shed as we cuddled our "squishies" and reminiced about our son. I am blessed to have such an incredible companion that is in this with me all the way.
Although today was hard and painful, I look forward to the fresh start tomorrow offers. Branson, I love you and miss you more than words can express! I miss your movement, the sound of your heartbeat, and your hicups. I'll be loving you tonight and forever.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Worth a Thousand Words...

This picture is truly worth a thousand words. Rob's brother Trevor drew it and gave it to us the night before Branson's memorial service. I now have it hanging in our Hallway.
This picture says it perfectly without saying anything at all. I love how Trevor was able to capture some of the many emotions we felt that day. Love, pain, joy, sadness, heartache, pride, and parental care. I feel as though the Saviors face also portrays his understanding and acceptance of all these emotions, as it almost beckons our patience and promises that one day he will make us whole as this miracle will come full circle.
Perhaps my favorite part about this picture is that Christ's robe falls down and surrounds Branson as we hold him in our arms. There is no doubt that Christ was with us every step of the way those few first, heartbreaking days. We especially felt his love and peace that day when we met our eternal, celestial son.
I have thought often about the exchange that took place that day. We know without a doubt Branson's spirit was with us. I have never felt anything so pure and real in my life. People have often said to us "You look so at peace in your pictures." I'm not quite sure how to explain the intense emotions and feelings of that day to those who weren't there. Although there were moments of great sorrow, and letting our son go was definitely the hardest thing we've ever done physically, spiritually, and emotionally, there was a constant feeling of peace and an assuring spirit that this was right and we would be okay.
I often find myself wanting to go back to that day for many reasons. I want more than anything to hold my little boy in my arms again. I want to look at his perfect little nose, and tiny little ears. I want to rub his little toes, and put my cheek against his once more. I want to see Rob holding his son again and looking like the proudest daddy in the world. I also want to go back to that day and capture the peace that was with us in a bottle. Perhaps if I could do that I could open it and partake of a little of that peace on the hard days. That day was perfect and tragic...if that's even possible.
However, there was a very poignant moment when Branson's spirit returned to his Heavenly home. I imagine, just as this picture depicts, that as Branson left our arms, he was returned to the loving arms of the Savior. I find a lot of peace in knowing that Branson is being taken care of by the best "babysitters" there is, and although the mortal mother in me is a little jealous, I know that he is completely consumed with love and peace.
I look forward to the day that this exchange will occur once again. However, this time the exchange will be permanent...eternal. I can't even begin to imagine the joy that will overcome us as we approach the Savior and see our little boy swaddled in his loving arms. As Branson is returned to our arms, I am sure we will want to hold him close and never let go. In that moment our eternal family will be reunited, never to be separated again. I believe our eyes will be opened to the awesome mission that he has performed during this time of separation. I imagine that I'll thank the Savior for taking care of my son and embrace him with the love that only a mother could have for someone who has watched over and taken care of her son. I hope that as my gaze meets the Savior's that he can say, "Daughter, be of good comfort; they faith hath made thee whole."
Trevor, thank you for depicting perfectly what my eternal eyes behold when I think about my son and the love the Savior feels for me, Rob, and Branson. Your portrayal of this special day says it all!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Tear Soup

A few weeks ago my brother shared some insight with me about mourning that I found to be very helpful.
I read a book called "Tear Soup" that was so full of warmth and understanding. It put into words perfectly the way that I have felt through many of the differnt emotions and stages of greif. It compares this process to one of making 'tear soup'. It relates that most people are willing to share in one cup of our tear soup. When a tragedy occurs, people want to help in that moment. But, as life would have it, most people are so busy with life, and carrying their own burdens that they move on quickly and don't find it appetizing to consume more than a cup. However, as the books states, and as I have found, there are people who are willing to share in more than a cup of my soup. In fact, there are a few people who have probably had a full pot of it! They have a desire to sit down at my table of greif and partake of my soup when I need to share it. They are those who truly "mourn" with me. Jed shed some light on the difference between grieving and mourning:
The dictionary states: To Grieve is to suffer and endure anguish ALONE. To Mourn is to feel deep sorrow, sadness, and regret, but to be "more public" to share it with others, to not let it stew and grow toxic by keeping it inside.
In 3 Nephi chapter 12 Christ is teaching the people the beattitudes and verse 4 says "And again, blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Mosiah 18:8,9 ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort,...
I don't think the order of the words in these scriptures are coinsidence. For as I have found, when people are willing to take more than a cup of my soup and mourn with me, I inturn find comfort and my heart finds peace.
In the process of making my soup those first few weeks my pot was filled as tears flowed, questions of doubt were asked, pain clouded my vision, my heartstrings were wrenched, and my soul felt empty. The beginnings of my soup were personal and could only be prepared by me.
However, it was through the taste-tasting of my soup that I first realized my soup was becoming very bitter and hard to get down. I new I couldn't stop making my soup and let is simmer as it was. If that I happened, I knew my soup would eventually be scorched and I wouldn't be able to tolerate it all.
I began to find glimpses of an eternal perspective, and spoonfulls of peace as I realized that it was in the sharing of this soup with others that I'm able to learn and grow...that I am able to go back to my pot and add new ingredients to my soup to make it more sweet. A tablespoon of patience, a cup of understanding, a dash of other's tears, a quart of love, and a handful of joy.
I have learned from all different types of chefs. There are those who have shared parts of their recipe with me because they are making a similar soup, just farther along in their cook time. There are cooks that started their soup around the same time I did, and we're learning together. There are cooks that have made soups from completely different recipes that are willing to share some of their secret ingredients with me. And there are those chefs who have almost perfected their soups that are patient as I ask them for guidance. Every type of chef has something to offer.
I continue to revise my soup, and some days when I taste it I still find it bitter, but I guess my recipe is becoming more balanced because somedays it is especially sweet and enjoyable.
My heart is full of gratitude to those that have lent a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a hug. I have learned so much much by the wisdom others have shared and the examples of those I love. Thank you to those who have contributed to my soup, and who are willing to partake of more than a cup.
It is my hope that I'll be able to share parts of my recipe with others...that someday I can contribute some sweetness to another's pot. It is in this process that we do as the Savior has asked: mourn with those that mourn, and comort those who stand in need of comfort!
I can't wait for the day that I get to share my completed soup with Branson. I hope by then that I'll have perfected my recipe, and that as we share the soup we will be "filled" with joy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Miracle

Well, this post is about four months in the making. The principle of miracles has weighed a lot on my mind since the moment that we discovered that Branson's heart had stopped beating. It's something I've spent a lot of time reading, pondering, and praying about. For me this principle is a "big" one. Just a couple of days ago, my understanding was enlightened and my spirit recognized truth.
It's amazing to me that most times, and especially in this case, the answer to many prayers, and numerous questions was right there in the scriptures...the same place they've been for the past 4 months as I have contemplated this principle. I am sure now that my spirit and my heart were being prepared to find the answer and accept it when it came.
In the New Testament and throughout 3rd Nephi there are many accounts of Christ performing miracles while he was physically on the Earth. Ever since I can remember, I have believed in the ability that Christ has to perform miracles. I have never questioned the accounts that are recorded in the scriptures, and I have always believed that Christ, although not physically here with me, has the power to perform miracles in my life...Rob being the perfect example.
However, the instant we found out that Branson's heart had stopped beating, I wanted a miracle. I knew that Christ had the power to breathe life back into my little boy's body, and I wanted it more than anything I've ever wanted before. We spent so much time on our knees that day, asking for this miracle. Rob laid his hands on my head and blessed that life would be restored to our son, if it was God's will. I believed with all my heart that it was possible.
As we all know, that miracle wasn't meant to be ours. That has been one of the hardest things for me to accept and come to grips with. Everyone kept saying; "This trial is just meant for you to grow and learn from." "This is all part of the plan." "Endure this trial and you will be rewarded." "The timing of this just wasn't meant to be, just be a little more patient." Well, quite frankly, I wanted to know why!
Why didn't Christ ever say any of those things to anyone while he was on the Earth. I couldn't find one example from the scriptures of when Christ was personally on the Earth that he didn't perform the miracle that had been asked of him. Healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, forgiving sins, cleansing the lepers, calming the sea, and yes...even raising the dead. I wondered... "Why didn't Christ ever say to someone, 'I'm sorry, this trial is just meant to be yours'...or 'I could perform this miracle for you, but it's just not right at this time." It seemed to me that when people asked, they received.
I felt as though we had asked for this miracle...the miracle of having life restored to our child. A very pure and righteous desire. I felt like we had done all we could, and that Christ should do the rest. He'd one it for so many others...why not us! We had waited for six years to receive this miracle of having a child, and I wasn't prepared to let that miracle go so soon. Suddenly the heartache we'd felt over infertility was now multiplied ten fold.
I asked many people their opinions, I read many talks, and said many prayers but the answers I received never seemed like what I was looking for. Then last Sunday in church our Sunday School lesson was on the Chapters in 3rd Nephi where Christ asks for the people to be brought forward:
"...all the multitude with one accord, did go forth with their sick and their afflicted, and their lame, and with their blind, and with their dumb, and with all these that were afflicted in any manner and he did heal them every one.."
A very clear knowledge came to my mind that I had never thought about before. It was true, Christ did heal these people, every single one. However, they had been sick, blind, or other wise afflicted for a period of time previous to the healing. They DID carry their trials and afflictions for a time. They too had to endure heartache, sickness, and pain until their faith in Christ made them complete at the time of his visit. Although it's not recorded, I would guess that they too had been praying for a miracle, such as the ones they received that day, for many years. Like us, they probably wondered when their miracle would come.
This got me thinking in a totally different direction, and I went home to read from the New Testament. I opened to Matthew Chapter 9:20 and read:
"And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him and touched the hem of his garment...Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; they faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."
Twelve Years! Twelve years that I am sure probably seemed like an eternity to this woman who had been sick. Twelve years of enduring suffering and pain. And although she had to endure her trial for a long period of time, she was able to remain faithful enough, that eventually it was that faith that made her whole. This was the part that I was missing all along. These people didn't get sick, or carry heartache for one night and then were healed the next. The trial of their faith was a process through the refiners fire of time.
I too have a trial to carry and endure. It is painful, it causes a lot of heartache, and I want to be healed. I want to spend time with my miracle, Branson. It is from my enlightened knowledge that I find a new hope and reason to endure with faith. I believer that it will be this faith that will make me whole again.
I don't know if this healing and the miracle of being with my son will come in a few years, or even in this lifetime. However I do know that one day I will be made whole through the healing powers of Jesus Christ. One day he will call me forward and perform my miracle. One day through Christ we will be together again. Until then I move forward in faith.
Although Branson's life wasn't restored as we'd wanted, I know that his life, his mission, is a miracle in and of it's self. So today I am grateful for that miracle. The miracle of a perfect son. The miracle of eternal families, and the miracle of feeling love for a child. I am at peace with the knowledge that Christ could have performed the miracle of bringing Branson back to us, but that in his love and eternal perspective, Christ knew it just wasn't part of our plan.
Branson, thank you for being our little miracle. The example you've set, the lessons you've taught, and the lives you've touched has been truly miraculous!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Mortal Eyes

Today as I sat at the back of Sacrament Meeting, my eyes filled with tears. From where I sat I could see 10 newborns, 6 pregnant women, and 3 rows full of a family there to witness a baby blessing. I heard testimonies born about the joys of being a parent, and sang songs about teaching our children. The ache was almost unbearable as the strings of my heart were wrenched once again. I couldn't help but think to myself, "Why them and not me?" More than anything I wanted Branson to be there, dressed in his cute little church outfit, snuggled in my arms. I wanted people to stop at our pew, to take a peek at our cute little guy, instead of passing us by. I wanted to bear my testimony and thank my family for attending the blessing of our little boy. I wanted to verbalize my knowledge of the gospel and my love of Christ to him. I wanted to sneak out of the meeting to sit in the mother's lounge. Instead I found myself thinking...this just isn't fair! Today's salt was especially painful.
As I sat there crying, I kept thinking that I didn't want my "mortal eyes" anymore! When I see the view that my mortal eyes provide, it's bleak and at times hopeless. My mortal eyes allow me to feel self-pity, jealousy, and anger. They allow me to question myself and the Lord. They limit my view to here and now...what I wanted, and what I "gave up". I wanted to tear away my mortal view and see this room, these people, and myself in a new way.
As soon as the prayer was said, I slipped out the back door and down to the bathroom. I put myself in a stall and had a good, hard cry. The mortal inside me said, "Just go would be easier, safer." Instantly I thought back in my mind to one of my blogs from last week about how this pain and stinging is all part of the healing process. I told myself "no".
Standing in the stall, I offered a silent but heartfelt prayer. I asked the Lord to clear my mortal view and allow me to think and see with "eternal eyes". As I asked for this gift for today, for that moment, I felt peace.
When I can look at this experience and see my son through eternal eyes, what I behold is indescribably beautiful. During the moments that my eternal perspective clears away my mortal view, I have renewed strength. I find purpose. I am overcome with love. With my eternal eyes I see how much the Lord loves me, I trust in his plan, and I feel an intense desire to return to him and my son.
As I continue on this journey, I pray that the Lord may allow me to discern between the views that I behold. I hope that I can learn from the mortal view and find joy in the eternal perspective. I pray more than anything that the Lord might give me the courage to face this mortal experience with eternal eyes.