WARNING: This post contains religious overtones. I respect that some people may not feel about religion as I do, but it's my blog so I'm going to talk about how I feel on the subject. I would just ask any commenters to follow your mother's advice: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." :)
As I went through my meetings in church today, several people made comments about their reflections of the year 2010. That made me realize that I haven't really reflected on my year at all.
Thinking back over the year 2010, it was definitely the most difficult year of my life. Most people have maybe one or two life altering events a year. I can think of at least four that happened to me in 2010.
I moved to Utah, got in a pretty bad car accident that totaled our car, my husband left the church, and I had a baby. I also started school again, taking an 18 credit hour semester which was a humdinger! (I wanted to get in as many credits as possible before baby came, and with the looming prospect of being a full time mom and student this coming Winter semester, I am SO GLAD I did!) However, for the purposes of this post, I am going to focus mainly on the first four events that I shared with you.
As often happens in life, sometimes some of the sweetest blessings come when we are enduring bitter circumstances.
Moving to Utah!
Upon moving to Utah I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful people and friends that I have ever had in my life. In the short 8 months that we have lived here I have discovered more of a community in my little neighborhood than I have ever encountered in any of the five places I have lived since I moved away from my home Ward, where I had known most of the people since my childhood, to go to college. What first seemed like a sheltered, closed, cold community opened up into an outpouring of love and support from so many wonderful people in my neighborhood. All it took was a little bit of an effort on my part to get involved and to get to know people.
I am so grateful for the people that I have met that have unhesitatingly opened their arms and unstintingly poured out their love to me. I don't think they will ever know how much I needed that this year and how much it has saved me.
Earlier this year we got in a car accident that totaled our poor Subaru and most of the possessions that we had packed in an effort to clean out our Texas apartment for the big move. A car going 30-40 mph broadsided our car on my passenger side, perfectly plowing into our car in the exact middle of our tires. I was 14 weeks pregnant at the time. Miraculously, I walked away with only three staples to close the gash in my head caused by the glass from my window, a bruise on my right calf and a sore body for a couple of days. The baby was totally fine and probably had a good time sloshing around in the amniotic fluid ("fun mom! can we do that again?!"). Later that day, when we went to salvage what we could from our car, the guy who towed our car was amazed to see that I had escaped with so little injury.
I attribute my protection to guardian angels and thank the Lord that my husband had us say a prayer of safety before we left the IHOP where we had eaten breakfast, just 3 minutes before our accident.
Not long after the accident, a huge surprise came my way. My husband left the church. Many of you may be thinking, "So what? What's the big deal?" But you have to understand, that I have tried to live my entire life in such a manner that I could marry a man in the temple and raise my children in the gospel. I have worked my entire life to be able to have a home that radiates joy, love and service as we worship Christ and try to emulate his example. Having a husband who also wants to have a happy home, but no longer agrees with the projected path to get there, was a huge adjustment to my life perspective. I share the selfish reasons why my husband's change of attitude was hard for me, but there are also monumental spiritual and eternal consequences for his welfare that were just as difficult for me to come to terms with (but, he doesn't want to read about that. (; ). There were several stages of transition as I tried to deal with this new reality, all of which were just as hard as the previous ones.
His disbelief made me really question my belief in the Church and I had to seriously and honestly reevaluate my testimony. While this has been one of the hardest things that I have ever had to go through, I can look back and truly see that "all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord." D&C 98:3.
My husbands decision made me realize that I needed to make a hard decision about whether I believed in the church or not. I could no longer sit on the fence with certain issues. I either believed or I didn't. And, after a lot of prayer and study, I knew that I did believe. I knew that I could not walk away from the knowledge and experiences I have been given. "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation" Joseph Smith-- History 1: 25.
It would have been a lot easier to not push the issue with my husband and just go along with his decision for the sake of saving contention in our marriage, for the sake of staying on the same page, for the sake of not losing my best friend. I have never been so in tune with anyone more than I am in tune with my husband. We know and understand each other so well and we are honestly each other's best friend. Holding to my faith was going to put a big gap in between us that could only be crossed by me giving up my faith or him, by returning to the church. I knew that, and that made my decision even harder because I knew that my husband would not be interested in returning to the church for a long time, if ever. But I could not turn my back on my faith.
So, I redoubled my efforts and started striving to live even the smallest of commandments. I know that if I get lackadaisical in the practice of my faith, it will be almost impossible to resist taking the easy path and letting all of this go by the wayside. But I believe in my religion and I have come to see and feel that, the more I strive to keep even the smallest of commandments, the more blessings I receive and the more joy I feel. So, even in this seeming catastrophic trial, I have felt great blessings in my life.
The fourth life changing event was having a baby. I don't think this needs much explanation since many of my blogs are dedicated to the trials and joys of motherhood, but I will say this: I love my baby boy. I love being a mom. Even when days are hard, I can't wait to see what sports he will like, if he is good in school, if he likes blocks or legos better, what college he decides to attend etc. etc. etc. And I plan to have more kids to add to the chaos and the joy.
2010 was definitely one of the hardest of my life and, to be honest, I really don't know what 2011 has in store for me. But I am determined to go forward in faith, doing my best to find the blessings amidst the trials and rejoicing in my God who loves me and has blessed me so abundantly.
God is good. God is great.