We have a lot more regular trials than that previous list. Those are just the biggies plus we have one more big one that we can't really talk about that might turn out to be the biggest. The way I'm handling stuff right now is to take it one moment at a time. I don't focus too far on what I have to do in the future and just do what I can until I am worn out. Also, I am being mindful of the amazing good in my life. I have a great family. I love my kids and I love my husband. My baby turned 1 a month ago and my toddler turns 3 on Tuesday. Those are my bonus babes. God knew better than I did what amount of kids I would want. I was at zero, then maybe 1, 2 because you can't have an only child, 3 because of surprise!, 4 & 5 are my bonus babes. It is a lot of fun to have a pair of bonus babes. The days don't drag like they felt like they did when the oldest 3 were at these stages. I know anything difficult about their stages doesn't last. Plus their quirks are so much funnier when you don't feel like a desperate first time mom of toddlers/preschoolers/babies.
Because of Jared's arm I got to take Xander on his Fast Offering Route. I took Elijah a few times. Last week I took both. It is awesome to see my middle son performing his Priesthood responsibilities. I look at Fast Offering collection as a sacred and special responsibility. Xander has a lot of part member and less active families on his route. I was reminded of when we were first put on a deacon's route several years ago. We didn't even pay tithing then due to Jared's disdain for the Church. This little deacon would knock on our door every month. Usually Jared was the one to answer and he would ask me if I had any Fast Offerings. If I had some cash I might say yes but usually I said no. Jared started regularly paying our Fast Offerings because of a little deacon knocking on our door.
When Elijah first got his route both he and I were nervous to ask Jared if he would do it. I did it the first time and maybe the second and then Jared took over. Jared has faithfully, without complaining at all, taken Elijah on his route except for twice since then. Once when he was very sick and once since he has broken his arm. Elijah turns 14 in June.
There is a purpose in talking about our trials even though I don't want that to be our focus. We can see the blessings and recognize what we've gotten through. We have the opportunity to recognize the Lord's hand in getting us through our trials. Right now, as a family, we have to be really humble and completely rely on the Lord. That is a huge blessing.
10 1/2 years ago I met with our Stake President to receive my temple recommend. I felt inspired to move forward in my membership in the Church despite my husband's feelings about the Church. Jared was very supportive of me going through the temple and wrote a great letter to the Bishop saying he just wanted me to do what made me happy. Both my Bishop and President Tillman told me they believed I would one day get sealed to my current husband in the temple. I wondered what they were smoking. Jared was privately so angry about the Church. He complained about Home Teachers coming over. He complained whenever he perceived the Church was taking away from our family or requiring any sacrifice from him at all. Bishop Cunningham(my previous Bishop) was my Priesthood escort in the Temple when I finally went the Friday a week before Maxwell was born. I wasn't telling many people, but somehow I was scheduled by the Temple to get my endowments out during my ward temple session. Not by my doing, or my ward's planning, but by God's hand. Jared and I are not one's for being on stage (we eloped for a reason), but to have my ward family there with me was amazing. Bishop Bate (my at the time Bishop) advised me during the interview to never do or push anything Church related that caused contention or disharmony in my home. He also advised me to invite Jared to attend Sacrament Meeting only with the promise to Jared that I would never push for (or ask for) anything more. I don't remember specifically when that second bit of advice was given. It took me some time though to follow through with that counsel. I did try to keep the Church from being a point of contention though. When Jared wanted to do a family activity on Sunday we did it happily. At least I tried to. We didn't do family prayer, scripture study or FHE regularly. Jared started attending Sacrament Meeting regularly when we moved to Chandler almost 6 years ago. I used to be a bench person to keep the kids contained by myself. Jared prefers the back row so now we are back row people. I think he also liked to make a hasty escape as soon as Sacrament Meeting was over so no one could talk to him before he made his escape. We moved to our current ward 4 years ago. I was called to be a Primary teacher right away. That was working great until Amelia was born. Several people told me I just needed to tell Jared to stay and take care of Amelia while I taught but that would have been breaking my commitment to myself and to Jared. I had to be released from that calling the summer after Amelia was born because they weren't able to find a team teacher for me and my class had become too crazy. Without my knowledge, at some point Jared had started studying the Gospel more earnestly and praying about it more earnestly. Things have seemed to be happening rapidly although the time table shows it to be more slow. Jared was ordained a Priest before Maxwell was baptized in October 2011. Maxwell actually got a special baptism time because they couldn't get Jared ordained before the Stake Baptism. Maxwell was baptized Sunday evening. Maxwell told me that it was pretty special to be baptized by your dad and he was beaming about it. I thought Jared would be willing to ordain Elijah in June 2012, but he wasn't ready yet. At some point during this we started having weekly FHE. Jared assigns topics and lessons to each of us based on what he thinks we need to learn more about. We had sporadic scripture study and prayer at this point. A year ago in January, Jared said he was willing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood when asked by Bishop Charters. There weren't any members of the Stake Presidency available to interview Jared so it fell through at that time. I was feeling impatient. I felt like everyone should just fall in line when Jared says he's ready or willing to do something. I don't think Jared actually did feel ready though. I was hopeful he would be able to bless Ivy but he wasn't. Her blessing was in the end of April. The week before her blessing he felt he was ready to receive the higher Priesthood. I wanted to delay her blessing but he didn't feel comfortable with that. I put a little more pressure on the leadership this time. Jared wanted to be ordained in time to stand in his niece Zoe's circle in June. We were able to make that happen. He was ordained in our home by his dad in May 2013 with Brother Heward (member of the High Council) and Bishop Charters in attendance. The next thing people start asking is when are you going to the temple. I got my temple recommend renewed in May 2013. I had let it expire but I was starting to feel I needed to be ready whenever Jared was. I wasn't ready for that step yet and Jared wasn't ready and I kept working on my patience and waiting. (and my own personal readiness) I didn't and don't want him to ever feel pushed. Last fall we took a temple prep class and Jared still didn't feel ready although he said he would go if I pushed it. I said that I didn't want to go until he was ready. I brought up a different step he could take. He also had been feeling inspired towards that step so he took it. (cryptic language intended, ha ha ha) I felt that step was a more natural progression for him. Basically what feels like a rapid, sudden progression has been over a decade in the making. At Christmas Jared gave me what he dubbed a "promise ring". He wouldn't tell me what the promise ring was for though just that I knew what it was for. When Jared went to get his temple dedication recommend he came home with a real recommend. SURPRISE! Yep that's how I felt. It was late at night so I emailed the Executive Secretary immediately to set up Jared's appointment to meet with the Stake President. Basically I need to fill in a lot more details to this story. I think I might do that in Edits. But the purpose of this story is to share the biggest blessing in my life that keeps me going right now. When we get through the broken arm trial we will be going through the temple and being sealed as a family. My older boys get this opportunity when it will be burned in their memories and on their hearts. What a blessing. God's time table and plan for me is proving to be perfect and awesome. Infinitely better than what I would have planned. My family gets to be sealed in the brand new Gilbert Temple. I genuinely believe watching the construction of that temple as we went back and forth from the Baileys these several years has been a driving force in changing Jared's heart. Jared finally asked me to marry him in the Temple while we were sitting in the Stake Center next to our 3 boys waiting for the Temple Dedication to begin. 3 years ago we attended the Gila Valley Temple Dedication- Jared, Elijah, Xander and I. Jared wasn't even fully active yet. Our Bishop really felt strongly about Jared going to that dedication.
So basically, blah, blah, blah MY FAMILY IS GOING TO BE SEALED IN THE TEMPLE SOON! WooHoo! And that knowledge is what keeps me happy and keeps me going even though I pretty much fall super short every day. My life is completely out of my control. Again the Lord allows us these opportunities to be blessed and to be humbled. And I am watching for the blessings.