Thursday, November 27, 2008

True Thanksgiving

Today, I am grateful for everything obvious and the least obvious of them all.

First, the obvious. I am grateful for my wonderful husband who is the only one who at least halfway gets me. I am grateful for his love, for his amazingly helpful attitude, and for how hilarious he makes life.

I am grateful for the gospel and all things related to it. The scriptures, prayer, the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ and his atonement, Heavenly Father, resurrection, Joseph Smith, the restoration of the gospel, and covenants.

I am grateful to live in America and for the freedoms I enjoy. I am grateful for the food I so easily obtain and for Peter's job, health insurance, and for a roof over my head.

I am so grateful for so many other things, but I won't bore you with the list.

The most unobvious of them all is that I am grateful for the greatest trial I have ever faced. I am grateful for last summer when my world fell apart. So many things happened that I can't even talk about, but it was much more trying for me than anyone outside of my immediate family knew or will ever know.

My brother and his wife died. That was excruciatingly tough. I loved them both so much and it was so hard to mourn the loss of two people you love that much. Your mind plays back memories of one and then the other like a tennis match. You think about their last moments and what they were thinking, what they felt.

That was tough, but it only got tougher. As someone who has never had children, and the real possibility of never having them, I felt strongly impressed to take on raising their three young children to whom I was very close. I was soon faced with people stating my biggest fear, they didn't think I was good enough. Things were said that I have had a hard time forgiving for, but it wouldn't be fair for me to talk about because this is a one sided story.

So, after imagining having children in my home and having that strong feeling that I should do that, I was faced with the toughest decision of my life. I had to give them up. I did it to maintain peace in our family. For months I was plagued with the question of whether it was right. I knew it was, but the question lingered. I could only turn to the scriptures and remember the women who fought over a baby. When they were told the baby would be split in half, the real mother gave him up for the baby's benefit. It wasn't that I thought I would get them if I gave them up, it was I had to make a decision to do what's right even if it means I would really have to follow through with giving them up.

Beyond that, at the same time I was faced with another family trial, the one I won't talk about, but it was a doozy. Combined with the others, this made up the worst time of my life. It's times like those that make you wonder what you did to deserve it. The answer was nothing. Every trial began out of my control. The only control I had was the way I reacted to it.

I was able to humble myself more, and I prayed so much more for help, for comfort. I found out how strong I can really be and I learned to let the Lord direct my life. This trial period was one I will never forget. I am grateful for it and the way it shaped me and my life. It became a great awakening for me spiritually and it strengthened my character in ways unimaginable.

Thus ends the, however many, days of gratitude.

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