Saturday, March 31, 2018

I Believe in a Pre-existence

I was taught from a very young age that I lived in Heaven before coming to earth.  I was taught that I was (and we all are) a spirit child of God and that when we are born on this earth, we gain a physical body that is united with our spirit.  The idea of a pre-existence is something that always rang true to me because I simply believed what my parents taught me and what I learned at church.  Then experiences I have had cemented my belief that I can honestly say I know that I-you-we all lived in Heaven as spirit children before we were born.  Knowing these simple truths changes the way I do everything and see everything.  It changes the way I act and the choices I make.  The purpose of this entry is to add my witness that we truly did live in Heaven before coming to this earth.

So, I am pregnant with our 8th child (10th including our miscarried sons) and this little girl in my tummy is who I wish to write about tonight.  In 2007 my third child was born, making it one daughter and 2 sons for us.  My Mom came to help with him after his birth.  While she was visiting, she had a very distinct dream of a future daughter of ours.  Since that day over a decade ago, our family has had numerous dreams and other very special sacred experiences with this little girl.  Each pregnancy has been a boy, but I always knew she would come (but, I am so grateful that her 5 brothers (one miscarried) came exactly when they did, despite wanting her very much to come).    

My oldest daughter in particular has had many special experiences with her sister and after one particular dream (Nov 2012) she told me that her sister’s name had a “z” sound in it, but she couldn’t remember the exact name.  My husband and I were both like, “No, we will name her, but thank you.”  I had always liked the name Camille and had always thought of this girl as Camille.  Shortly after my daughter’s dream, I could feel this precious unborn spirit daughter with me.  I could not see her, but could just feel overwhelming peace and love that she was beside me, wanting to hold my hand (spirit to spirit).  In my mind I could hear her tell me very clearly that although Camille was a pretty name, she wanted to be named Susanna (which definitely has a “z” sound in it).  So since that day, she has been Susanna to us! 

I absolutely positively know that Susanna’s spirit existed well before she was conceived as the Lord allowed us numerous experiences with His precious spirit daughter, Susanna (probably because He knew I needed so many if I was going to agree to have so many children!)  I have also been blessed with several friends who have had similar experiences that I have had and it offers further witness to me that we lived in Heaven before coming to earth.  I feel like my life has been immensely blessed with the knowledge of a pre-existence.  I know someone reading this may have a hard time believing this concept as it may be so foreign to them.  If you are one of those people, don’t take my word for it, pray and ask Heavenly Father if you are His spirit son or daughter who lived in Heaven before coming to earth.  I truly believe that this knowledge will make your life more fulfilling.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

What the Holy Ghost taught me about Motherhood.

Tonight after reading my scriptures, I felt like I should read some of my spiritual experiences from the past.  After reading about one, I felt very strongly that I should share it.  Maybe it is more because I need this reminder myself and my important role of mother (especially in the summer time when life is crazy with balls flying at my head and an abundance of chaos).  

“July 2012

A couple weeks before Spencer’s baptism, I went to the San Diego LDS temple.  I was ready for the 7:30 session, but kept having a prompting to wait for the next session.  I kept shrugging it off.  But the thoughts kept coming.  So I sat down and prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help me know if these thoughts really were from Him or if they were just my random weirdness.  The spirit confirmed that they were from Him and that I would understand why I needed to go to the 8:00 session once I saw.  

So when the officiator told us that it was time to go into the 7:30 session, I got up and walked with everyone else, but sheepishly told him that I was going to go to the 8:00 session.  I thought he was going to think I was weird and was worried what he would think.  However,  he was very kind and told me to go ahead into the other chapel to wait.  

I walked into the chapel, to the center seats and looked up at a painting of a 12 year old Jesus teaching at the temple.  I sat down very slowly because I was completely struck that this was why the Lord wanted me to wait for the 8:00 session.  As I looked at that painting I saw my boys in the place of Jesus Christ.  I kept thinking I needed to read the scriptures and the thoughts were just “No, let Me teach you.”  I sat by myself in that room for about 15 minutes staring at the painting, listening to the Spirit help me understand more fully my GREAT responsibility to teach my children the gospel.  The Spirit impressed upon my mind so deeply that these children of mine are going to grow up and step by step need guidance to keep their priesthood duties.  Baptism is the first step, but then there is getting the priesthood, being a home teacher, serving a mission, being a husband and father, etc.  It was very clear that I needed to stop thinking of them as the rough and tough little boys that leave muddy finger prints all over my newly washed windows, but as the strong, fearless Priesthood leaders that God sees them becoming.  It was all about what their potential is…to be like Jesus Christ in that painting and it starts right now with how we treat and teach them.  Stuart and I must help them reach their potential by doing the small things today.

After being alone for 15 minutes, the same officiator came in and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Aren’t you glad you waited!”  Yes I was!” 

A young Jesus sitting in the temple, talking to the elders, who are gathered around listening and talking among themselves.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Miscarriages

My Miscarriages

As of Halloween week of 2015, we have had 6 live births and 5 miscarriages.  There has been great joy with the live births for our family; but sadness, emptiness, discouragement, frustration, guilt, and also joy with our miscarriages.  The joy is the part that I wish to focus on.  The joy was not in relief to lose a baby, but rather joy, after I listened to the Lord teach me the purposes of the individual miscarriage.

My first three were consecutive miscarriages between my oldest and second children.  I was so young and inexperienced.  I had a very hard time finding comfort.  I read lots and lots of things about miscarriage, and the only thing that brought peace to me was when I read experiences that woman had had when the Lord revealed to them about their specific circumstances.  They were all unique to them, which I loved because we are all unique.  Sometimes I read of the miscarried spirit coming back in another pregnancy of theirs (or even in the next generation of their line), while other times the miscarried spirit remained in heaven.  Even though I loved reading those experiences, I felt like I just wasn’t good enough to receive my own personal revelation about my specific circumstances and just left it as is.  (Sarah Hinze is the writer that helped me.  I can't find the original post about her miscarriage experiences, but here is one that she wrote about her miscarriages that is awesome

It was not until years later, that I learned about my specific circumstances in my miscarriages.  It became more that the spirit that had miscarried wanted me to know that he existed, in heaven, and was part of our family.  This spirit flooded my mind with memories of times when he was with me and our family, helping our family.  We had felt help from the other side of the veil, but had no idea it was him.  

One day as I drove, he whispered to me that his name was Aaron and the next couple of days taught me the meaning of his name.  In the Book of Mormon, there was a man named Aaron who was next in line to be the king, but gave up his throne so that he could preach to the wicked Lamanites.  Our Aaron wanted me to know that just like Aaron in the Book of Mormon gave up his right to the throne, he gave up his opportunity to come to the earth so that he could be a missionary to those who had died without understanding Christ and His message.  Every single ounce of despair that had been felt by losing a pregnancy, immediately washed away.  I felt an over-abundance of joy that Aaron was our son and that he was fulfilling the best possible purpose that he could be fulfilling for himself, Heavenly Father, and our family.

I also learned that one of the miscarriages was our son, Spencer.  He came back in my 5th pregnancy and we are so grateful that he is with our family.  There are no words for how much I love my dear, sweet Spencer.  Miscarrying him also brought the great blessing of being very appreciative of him once he was finally born.   

Fast forward to 2015, we have 6 children in our home, and the Lord told us it was time to have more children and to not delay.  We did so on the Lord’s timing, but miscarried 2 times in a row.  

When I started to miscarry the 4th time, I was feeling despair and panic.  I thought why can’t everything just be peachy keen with this pregnancy.  I said a prayer, and the spirit said, “You must go through this so you can teach others through your example.”  I am not going to lie, I didn’t like the answer (was hoping for, "No worries, you're not going to miscarry).  My husband gave me a Priesthood blessing by the laying on of hands.  The thing that really stood out to me from the blessing was the words to stop worrying about what others think and to “not fear man, but fear God.”  I know that in the blessing, the Lord was trying to tell me to not worry about what others may say about sharing/talking about the taboo topic of miscarriage that He wanted me to talk about.  I am not writing it for those critics, but rather for those that the Lord knows needs to gain some healing in their own circumstances.  I know that I am beyond grateful for those who have shared their experiences, which have led me to my own answers.  I really truly believe that as we seek answers in our own circumstances, the Lord will reveal them to each of us, in His timing.  

Even after learning so much from my other miscarriages, I honestly felt a little jaded for a bit after my 5th miscarriage (I am very imperfect!).  I felt like we did what the Lord wanted us to do in getting pregnant on His timing, but still miscarried, and felt it was unfair.  I studied the scriptures and listened to General Conference talks to help me get rid of the negative thoughts.  As I did so, my mind filled with the Lord reminding me of special spiritual experiences our family had had regarding our unborn children and knew that these miscarriages were to bless our family and these specific spirit children.  I was filled with peace and joy.  Sometimes it is hard to see why the Lord has us go through trials, but sometimes those trials are to bless us in ways we can’t even comprehend.  When we turn to Him and seek His answers, He helps us understand.  But we must be teachable, and turning in anger, blocks revelation (I know that all too well).   

I don’t know everything about all of my miscarriages, but as I turned from my anger and towards him, I learned that in Oct. of 2015, the Lord chose to allow another spirit, Jeremy (name that Stuart and I separately felt prompted was his name), to join our family and return quickly to Him.  I don’t know specifically what his purpose/mission is, but have felt that while he will remain in heaven, his mission differs from Aaron's.  I do know that he loves the Savior very, very much and that his purpose is to bless, which brings JOY!  When someone brings up that we have 6 children, in my mind I think well, actually 8 because Aaron and Jeremy are very much a part of our family.  I know that the Lord truly desires greatly to bless us, which brings joy!

This is picture is of all of our babies, along with representations of Aaron (the missionary statue) and Jeremy (the young child with the Savior plaque).

Monday, December 1, 2014

"The Christmas that helped us understand the true meaning of Christmas"

Last year a week before Christmas, our home was robbed of Christmas presents and other valuables.  Word spread very quickly and we soon found ward members and a neighbor at our door with food, and gifts to replace what we had lost.  We were very grateful for their kindness, but Stuart and I felt extremely guilty that people were spending their busy schedules and money on us.  Although our family was shaken up by the intrusion, we were OK.  We knew that the items stolen were only possessions (well, the kids did have a MUCH harder time with losing their gifts).  

Feeling unworthy of the over- abundance of kind deeds, I knelt down and plead with Heavenly Father and asked that people would forget about this whole thing and stop serving us.  The answer was a very warm and kind response…let them serve you and use it to serve.  The answer was really a demonstration to me of how God works and how He uses each of us to serve and in turn we are to serve others.  It also helped me to realize that sometimes I need to be more humble and allow the service.  The truth was that as much as I felt we didn’t need the service, it made such an immense difference in helping us feel an abundance of love and with our family feeling the true meaning of Christmas.      
On Dec 23, a few families that we had never met before came to our door.  They told us how our neighbor had posted on facebook about our ordeal.  The Natter Family from Temecula read about it and put a massive effort into blessing our family.  With the generosity of 17 families, whom we had never met, they presented us with many gifts and money.  We were completely overwhelmed with their generosity.  They were all filled with the Pure Love of Christ and radiated His love.  The kids were ECSTATIC about their gifts.  They have never had a Christmas like this.  That is for sure.  After these 3 families left, the scared feelings of the robbers returning dissipated and were replaced with love, peace, and hope.  

I went to bed knowing that we should serve others with the money that was given.  I thought of so many people that could use it and just didn’t know where to begin.  I woke up very early and it was very clear to me what the Lord wanted us to do.  For a while I had wanted to feed the homeless a warm meal on Christmas.  I wasn’t sure though how to go about making a meal for so many and on Christmas when I am so busy with my own little kids on Christmas morning.  So I had just kind of resigned to it being good in theory, but not doable.  Christmas Eve morning it was clear that feeding the homeless was exactly what we were supposed to do, except I wasn’t supposed to do the cooking.  My friend’s husband was supposed to do the cooking.  

My good friend’s husband had owned a restaurant, but lost it a couple years ago with the downfall in the economy.  Since then he has been working little jobs here and there, but nothing that would support a family of 6.  They have been destitute these last couple of years, which has been very hard on this humble man’s pride and sense of self-worth.  This is a family that serves so selflessly even when they barely have anything.  Kids flock to their apartment because it is a place of love and kindness.  

My friend had told me that if ever I know of someone that needed a caterer, that her husband could be hired.  So Christmas Eve morning I called them and asked if he would cater a meal for the homeless on Christmas morning.  They both jumped at the chance.  He told me that he wanted to do it for free because of who it was for.  I of course told him that he would be paid by the generosity of others.  I took him shopping on Christmas Eve and at 11:30 on Christmas day I got a call that the meals (chicken, rice, and vegetable medley) were ready to be picked up.  They had made close to 100 meals.  It was so good to see this humble man so happy and rejuvenated to be hired to use his skills. 
They are very religious people and love God, but do not celebrate Christmas.  So I was not taking him away from any Christmas family traditions that his family would be celebrating.  I am just amazed at how the Lord worked in the whole situation to uniquely bless each of His children in our own needs and desires.  He truly is aware of us and what we stand in need of.  

Stuart had gotten a severe case of strep throat Christmas morning so stayed home with the 2 little kids taking naps.  Meanwhile, I took the older 3 kids to pick up the meals and drive around to find people that needed a warm meal.  Summer (11) was really excited to go, but the boys were upset about leaving their brand new amazing toys.  Their frustration was short lived as we got started.  

As we drove I kept praying that we would find people that needed a meal.  I was constantly reassured that He would lead me to people.  We started driving around and found a few people that were holding signs up for help.  Sometimes we handed them meals through the window when we were stopped at a stop light.  Other times we got out and walked around a bit to hand them out.  Everyone was VERY grateful.  Summer made and handed out little notes that said things like “Someone cares.”  All of the kids were a little shy at first, but they soon warmed up and walked up to people with confidence and love.  I kept having the thought to go to San Diego where the 94 ends and the city begins.  Wow!  There were a lot of homeless people there.  They were so kind and so grateful.  

This brought us so much happiness.  When we got home and were eating dinner, Spencer (8) said this was the best Christmas EVER!!!  I asked why and he said because of the homeless and all of the presents. All of us agreed that this was our best Christmas ever. 

The most important thing I learned from this experience was that although bad things are going to happen, Heavenly Father replaces the bad with something so much better, something that we may not feel like we deserve.  I learned so much about the grace of Jesus Christ and that when we have been blessed with it, we must share it with others.       

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dreams do come true

Last week I was at the grocery store with my 3 youngest boys.  I kind lady smiled and jokingly said, “You should have 3 more.”  I replied, “Oh, I do have 3 more, but they are in school.”  She laughed and went about her day.  

We are asked a lot why do you have so many kids and my answer varies depending on my mood.  When it comes down to it, we have so many kids because these are the children the Lord wants us to have and we want to do what the Lord wants us to do.

Three kids was a hard number of kids for me.  In my heart I knew we were going to have more, but one night after a long exhausting day, in frustration I told the Lord that we were done having kids and that if He wanted us to have more children He had better let me know because as far as I was concerned, we were done.  

That night the Lord answered me in my dreams, as is His usual mode of communication with me.  In my dream I saw 3 young adult boys dressed in suits and ties.  The middle one told me, “I am Benson and we are your sons.”  I could not see their distinct faces because a sheer veil or curtain like thing was in between us.  Needless to say, I woke up with a changed heart.  I felt an overwhelming love for these boys and knew I wanted them in our family. 

In the next years our Benson came, followed by Keith and Adam.  I thought of them as already part of our family before they were born.  But when Adam officially joined our family this past February and I was taking a picture of the 3 boys, I became so emotional.  I told my husband, 

“Dreams do come true.” 

There are not enough words to express my gratitude to the Lord for changing my heart.  For helping me to see that what His will for me was better than what my own will was.  Yes, life is crazy with 6 kids and tears are shed when I am feeling overwhelmed with the task of being a wife and mother to these children.  I make lots of mistakes, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.