sadie's soapbox: but if not...

i posted a little snippet of feelings from this weekend on instagram. 

"but if not, God is still good."
while we were in the temple on friday, for my brother's sealing, the sealer spoke to them about the commandment to multiply & replenish the earth. he said something along the lines of, "some people are blessed with 4 kids, 8 kids, or 15 kids..." while he spoke of all of the people who are blessed with multiple children, my heart & mind pleaded for SOMETHING to be said about those with none. i kept thinking over & over, "yeah, but what about those people who have none? does the Lord not trust me with His children?" and then the sealer said, "& some people have 0 kids. & they spend this life trying to figure out what God needs them to do with their talents & how they can help others."
luckily, i didn't have a ton of time to dwell on that too much over the weekend, but it has just run through my mind over & over again during all of the quiet moments that have come along. & while i am still feeling a little broken & sad, Heavenly Father gave me a glimpse of His love for me when He answered a portion of the pleadings of my heart in that sealing room on friday afternoon. 
i am so grateful that Heavenly Father gave me parker to go through this trial. he truly has held me at my weakest & loved me through all of my tears & crazy moments. i got myself a good one.

as i've continued to ponder about these things, i read the talk, "accepting the Lord's will and timing" by elder david a. bednar from the august 2016 ensign. there were so many quotes from that article that stood out to me, and while i won't share all of those, i will recommend reading that article. (i have linked it a few times)

growing up, i never really imagined struggling to start a family. i always just figured that it would be super simple--get married, pray to find out if it's time to have babies, receive an answer, get pregnant, and then just repeat steps 2-4 over and over until we felt like our family was complete. simple. easy. quick.

i had never thought that there would be days that were dark. or that sometimes attending church would be difficult. that it was possible to feel completely happy and completely broken at the same time. that i would dread pregnancy announcements or birth announcements. 

in my young mind, i never thought that trials would actually happen. growing up, i watched a lot of different people struggle through REALLY HARD things. but my life was particularly easy going and blessed. so i figured my life's trial was learning to empathize and sympathize with those who were "truly struggling." 

but i guess that's how it goes, right? daydreams are always the best case scenarios. 

when month six of trying to have a baby rolled around, i became discouraged and really began to struggle. after hearing over and over again about having joy or being grateful for everything, i felt frustrated. i was trying my best to enjoy the small moments & feel happy, but i was completely broken. i didn't feel joy. i felt jipped and let down. i didn't feel good enough. i felt like there was something wrong with me. i felt forgotten & left behind. and most certainly, i did not feel grateful for my circumstance. 

as we were in the temple on friday, surrounded by all of our family, i felt so much joy and happiness, but also so much pain and loss for what may never be for me & parker. and that's okay. i've learned that it is important to feel the emotions that come during our lives. one of the most important parts of the Savior's Atonement was His experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He felt everything that you and i have gone through and will go through. 

as He felt those things, He pleaded with our Father. He said, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42)

unfortunately, for the Savior, (but so, so fortunate for us) He had to continue-- and He did continue to feel those things. we know why the Savior had to feel those things, so He could know how to help us through our trials, so we can make it back to live with our Heavenly Father again. like the Savior, sometimes our cup or personal Gethsemane is not removed when we ask. the trial continues. 

i've often wondered why that is. why Heavenly Father's will includes this continual struggle. but it hit me the other day that God's plan & ultimate goal for me (and you too) is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." (Moses 1:39) He doesn't remove the cup from us because ultimately that pain and those experiences can help us get back to Him. 

He doesn't remove the cup from us because ultimately that pain and those experiences can help us get back to Him.

this lesson has brought me great peace. and although it doesn't change the fact that we are still childless, it reminds me that there IS a plan. an incredible, wonderful, beautiful plan that will bring me and parker the ultimate form of happiness if we continue to live righteously and faithfully. all of the blessings that have been promised to us can and will be. maybe not in our timing, but definitely in His. 

maybe one day we will have children, but if not, God is still good.

and today, that's what i trust-- that if not, God is still good. He loves us and has a plan for us. i trusted that plan before i ever got married and today, i trust that plan. 

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p.s. thank you to all of my sweet friends and family who have commented and prayed for us over the last year+. we are grateful for your thoughts, prayers and love. as a quick update, we have thought quite a bit about adoption, but as of right now, we are not quite ready for that yet (financially or emotionally). we truly think that adoption is an incredible thing and hope that adopting a sweet child is in God's plan for us. but right now we do not have the means to be able to bring a child into our lives through adoption. (this is not a plea for financial help either, so please do not take it as such)

sadie's soapbox + talk of the week: conversations about infertility

in december, i had a really tough month. i thought i was pregnant, but after four negative pregnancy tests, i realized that it didn't matter how many times i took those silly tests, i still wasn't pregnant. i cried. a lot. i wanted so badly to be pregnant. i felt so unhappy with everything. i felt like because our little family wasn't growing like everyone else's, i was a failure. 

and then we took a trip to new york with some friends. on that trip i felt SO HAPPY to be alive & with parker. i absolutely loved getting to know & hang out with friends. we laughed & made jokes. we ran through subway stations, ate lots of yummy food & walked a billion miles. 

at the beginning of the trip we told our friends that we were trying to have kids but it wasn't working. they sympathized with us, told us they were there for us, said, "that sucks, i'm sorry," and then we moved on. we didn't talk about it for the rest of the week. 

and that was awesome. i have days where i feel like talking about our situation. and i have days where i want to pretend that it doesn't exist. it's hard because i can't say, "oh, by the way, on may 24th, i won't want to talk about it. but may 4th, we can chat all day long." i suppose that's how it goes with any trial though. 

but here's the other big thing: i don't want to be the big elephant in the room. and sometimes i feel like that. sometimes it feels like the only thing people know what to talk to me about is infertility & photography. (granted, i love talking about photography. so continue on if you're chatting about that.)

i have to be honest, we don't really know what we are doing right now. we're not really sure when our next step is going to be taken. we know we want to do infertility treatments at some point. we've set appointments & avoided setting appointments. not because we don't want a baby, but because it's scary & sometimes i just don't have it in me. 

yesterday, in relief society, the lesson was based around these two talks:
God Shall Wipe Away All Tears by Evan A. Schmutz
"Come, Follow Me" by Practicing Love and Christian Service by Elder Robert D. Hales

there were quite a few quotes that really hit home for me & that brought me a lot of comfort. if you're struggling through infertility or any trial for that matter, i hope they can help you too. 

"the eternal joy of knowing that the great plan of our Father in Heaven really is the eternal plan of happiness. there is no other way to receive a fulness of joy." - evan a schmutz 

"many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. i testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them." - evan a schmutz 

"if i may speak to you individually--'all ye that labour and are heavy laden'--may i suggest that your personal struggles--your individual sorrows, pains, tribulations, and infirmities of every kind--are all known to our Father in Heaven and to His Son. take courage! have faith! and believe in the promises of God!" - evan a schmutz

"we can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful." - evan a schmutz

"when all is finished and we have endured all things with faith in Jesus Christ, we have the promise that “God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes." - evan a schmutz

"if you are suffering deeply, with others or alone, i urge you to let the Savior be your caregiver. lean on His ample arm. accept His assurance. 'i will not leave you comfortless: i will come to you,' He promises." - elder robert d hales

when i first started writing this post (a few months ago), i thought i would write a "things to say" or "things not to say" to a friend who is going through infertility post, but it just never felt right. i want to help others without making them feel bad for things that they might have said or may say in the future. so instead of telling you what you should or shouldn't say, i just want to let you know that sometimes, the best way to support our friends is to be there to lift them. to listen without trying to fix the situation. to give a hug. to invite someone over for dinner. to simply be a friend.

"as we follow Jesus Christ, His love motivates us to support each other on our mortal journey. we cannot do it alone. you have heard me share the quaker proverb before: thee lift me, i’ll lift thee, and we’ll ascend together eternally." - elder robert d hales

wednesday letter: my life in quotes

it's another wednesday and another wednesday letter. and this week, i find myself, feeling like michael scott when he said this:

"i knew exactly what to do, but in a much more real sense i had no idea what to do" --

michael scott

do you ever feel that way? last week i shared about how sometimes i just really don't want to take the next step, but this week i'm having a hard time figuring out what the next step even is. for anything really. so what do you do, my virtual pen pals? when you're at a crossroads of sorts and you don't know which path to take, what do you do?

lately, i've been listening to a lot of general conference talks, podcasts, and reading a lot of books to help me figure out what the heck i'm supposed to be doing + how to do [whatever i'm supposed to be doing] it well. and let me tell ya, once i figure it out, i'm going to be REALLY good at it.

"i have no idea what i'm doing, but i know that i'm doing it really, really well." --

andy dwyer

one of my favorite conference talks that i've been actually listened to quite a few times was elder

ballard's talk, "

return and receive

" as i've been working on trying to narrow down what exactly i want to do in life, these words from elder ballard's talk struck me:

"Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life."

"Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an 

end,

 while a plan is the route by which you get there."

"Goal setting is essentially beginning with the end in mind. And planning is devising a way to get to that end. A key to happiness lies in understanding what destinations truly matter—and then spending our time, effort, and attention on the things that constitute a sure way to arrive there."

i've also been reading

the e myth revisited: why most small businesses don't work and what to do about it

 and that book has seriously opened up my mind as to how the business world works. in the e myth, michael gerber talks about how within each of us, we have three personalities; the technician (who has the technical skills), the entrepreneur (who is the dreamer), and the manager (who runs the system of business). he says that everyone has those personalities within them, but usually one of those personalities is way more dominant than the other two. for me, the entrepreneur is 9238472094387 times more dominant than the technician or manager. i'm constantly thinking of new business ideas or new products that i could be launching. but something else that mr. gerber talks about in his book is learning to control those personalities AND help them work together to create the best business possible. 

"And to play this new game, called

building a small business that actually works,

 your Entrepreneur needs to be coaxed out, nourished and given the room she needs to expand, and your Manager needs to be supported as well so she can develop her skill at creating order and translating the entrepreneurial vision into actions that can be efficiently manifested in the real world.... So whether we like it or not, we have to learn how. The exciting thing is, that once you begin to, once your Technician begins to let go, once you make room for the rest of you to flourish, the game becomes more rewarding than you can possibly imagine at this point in your business's life." 

ISN'T THAT SO EXCITING?!?!?!?! sorry, this is where i geek out. a year ago if you had told me that i would love the business portion of running a business, i would have told you that you were crazy. but i can't get enough. and before i started reading the e myth, i lived my life like leslie knope:

"there's nothing we can't do if we work hard, never sleep, & shirk all other responsibilities in our lives."

but not any more!! however, by now you're probably bored. this is the point in the conversation where parker starts looking around for something new to talk about. but i'm fired up. so if you want to talk about business, seriously call me, text me, email me, whatever. i'm legitimately always down to talk about business. 

but for now, i'll move into the infertility portion of this week's update. i talked to a dear friend last week about how if there's something i don't want to share, i don't have to share it. this might seem obvious to you, but it wasn't to me. i get asked a lot of questions. pretty personal questions. and sometimes it feels like if someone asks, i

have

to answer. but that's not true. this week i'm not sharing any updates, because well, i don't have any updates. but i

do

 have a quote from elder holland's talk "

s

ongs sung and unsung

" that struck me to the very, very core. 

"Fortunately, the seats for this particular number are limitless. There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, for the married, for large families,

and for the childless

. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments as the inviolable measuring rod for personal behavior, for if love of God is the melody of our shared song, surely our common quest to obey Him is the indispensable harmony in it." (emphasis added)

sometimes it feels like there isn't room for me, or like i don't fit in because i don't have kids yet. but this line was such a blessing and tender mercy. it came at the exact right time. there

is

 room for me. and no matter where YOU are on your journey, there's room for you too. 

so even if sometimes you feel like michael scott or andy dwyer (see quotes above) know that there's room for you. setting goals and seeking help can help you figure out what you need to do.

TOTW & Wednesday Letter Mash Up

hello dears,

this week i shared a

thanksgiving

post which you can find

here

. we had the most wonderful thanksgiving and feel so blessed by such a generous Heavenly Father. other than thanksgiving, we had a pretty normal week. 

if you haven't noticed, i've been sharing a lot of posts about scripture reading. i've also mentioned the #LIGHTtheWORLD initiative a few times. guys, i love the church's christmas initiative this year. it's 25 days of service to Light the World with goodness. it starts tomorrow with the Worldwide Day of Service! i've been sharing posts about scripture reading to help #LIGHTtheWORLD and as a part of this series, i'm sharing the talk Look to the Book, Look to the Lord by Elder Gary E. Stevenson. 

Elder Stevenson began his talk with a story about a young woman named Mary and then he stated, "I have learned that one is never too young to seek and receive a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon." I loved that and I echo Elder Stevenson and add that you're also never too old to seek and receive a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon. 

This reminds me of a man that I had that opportunity to teach as a missionary in my very first area. His name was Larry. He was a 63 year-old war veteran who visited Nauvoo and felt the Spirit. He then wanted to read the Book of Mormon. After reading the Book of Mormon, he felt it was true and make the decision to be baptized. After making his decision, he quit smoking, and came to church as often as his health would allow him. His journey to baptism was not an easy one because his health wasn't the best, but he continued onward and was able to be baptized. Larry was a convert whom I have thought of many times since meeting him. He has since passed on, but his testimony and journey has continued to inspire me in my life. The Book of Mormon truly does change hearts and people.  

"There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book. You will find greater power to resist temptation. ... You will find the power to stay on the strait and narrow path." - President Ezra Taft Benson

PERSONAL CHALLENGE FROM ELDER STEVENSON:

"People spend an average of seven hours a day looking at TV, computer, and smartphone screens. With this in mind, would you make a small change? Will you replace some of that daily screen time--particularly that devoted to social media, the internet, gaming, or television--with reading the Book of Mormon?"

the Book of Mormon truly changes lives. it has changed mine and i am forever grateful for the power it has brought into my life. i want to share a piece of

my very last mission letter

-- my own testimony of the Book of Mormon. as i read this email over again this week, i was amazed at the power behind the words i wrote. the Spirit truly is with the missionaries and sometimes, your missionary self shares the very testimony you need to hear 2.5 years later.

"I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. That it WILL bring us closer to Christ than 

any other book.

 I stand by that statement-- firm and unchanging. I truly have come closer to Jesus Christ through the Book of Mormon. I love the Bible. It holds God's word, but it will not bring someone closer to Christ than the Book of Mormon will. The Book of Mormon was written for our day. Written for you. Written for me. Its intent is to bring 

us

 closer to our Savior. And if we will read it with true intent, a humble heart, and seeking truth through prayer and study we '

will

 gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.' [Introduction to the Book of Mormon; emphasis added]"

"AS YOU LOOK TO THE BOOK, YOU LOOK TO THE LORD."

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You can find my other #LIGHTtheWORLD posts below:

TOTW: God Shall Wipe Away All Tears; Elder Schmutz



Holy. Do you ever read a talk and feel like those words weren't spoken at Conference? Or think, "HOW DID I NOT HEAR THIS TALK?"

That's how I felt when READING Elder Schmutz's talk, God Shall Wipe Away All Tears.

I've mentioned quite a few times about a trial that we've been going through over the last few months. It's still not time to share more details, but I can safely say there have been a lot of tears shed through this trying time. Over my birthday weekend we were visiting my parents and went to my sister's ward to hear her sing. There were a few other musical numbers before hers but one tugged on my heartstrings and turned on the waterworks. The primary sang with the congregation, A Child's Prayer.

"Heavenly Father are you really there,
And do you hear and answer every child's prayer?
Some say that Heaven is far away, but I feel it close around me as I pray.
Heavenly Father, I remember now, something that Jesus told disciples long ago,
'Suffer the children to come to me,'
Father, in prayer I'm coming now to Thee.
Pray, He is there. Speak, He is listening.
You are His child, His love now surrounds you.
He hears your prayer. He loves the children,
Of such is the kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven."

"Many of us have pleaded with God to remove the cause of our suffering, and when the relief we seek has not come, we have been tempted to think He is not listening. I testify that, even in those moments, He hears our prayers, has a reason for allowing our afflictions to continue, and will help us bear them." - Elder Schmutz

I know He will help us bear the afflictions (or trials) that He allows to continue in our lives. We may not know the reason for trials, but we can find peace in the love and plan of our Loving Heavenly Father.


"Everyone [reading] today is acquainted with some measure of loneliness, despair, grief, pain, or sorrow." - Elder Schmutz

"Please don’t compare, but seek to learn and apply eternal principles as you wade through the furnace of your own afflictions. If I may speak to you individually--'all ye that labour and are heavy laden'--may I suggest that your personal struggles--your individual sorrows, pains, tribulations, and infirmities of every kind--are all known to our Father in Heaven and to His Son. Take courage! Have faith! And believe in the promises of God!" - Elder Schmutz

Everyone goes through their own trials. No set of trials is the same. People deal with their trials differently. One thing I've found that never helps me is comparing my trials to people with similar trials. We all deal with things in our own way and that's okay. Some days might be hard. Some days might be easier. But as we put our faith in Christ, we can find peace in even the darkest of days.

"We can take strength in knowing that all the hard experiences in this life are temporary; even the darkest nights turn into dawn for the faithful.

When all is finished and we have endured all things with faith in Jesus Christ, we have the promise that 'God shall wipe away all [the] tears from [our] eyes.'" - Elder Schmutz

"Pray, He is there. Speak, He is listening. You are His child. His love, now surrounds you. He hears your prayer."



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join me & many others on december 1st for the worldwide day of service! there are so many wonderful ways to serve. together as we do our own acts of service we can #LIGHTtheWORLD


to #LIGHTtheWORLD i've shared a few different ways to study the scriptures.