Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Learning Through Life

I don't really know where to start. It all happened last Wednesday. Andy sent me a text on his way home from work. He asked if I was in a good mood. I responded that I was. He asked me to stay that way and right then my heart dropped. I knew something wasn't right. I called him and told him that he was scaring me and asked him what was up. He told me that he had lost his job.
I can't really explain the overwhelming feeling of emotion that hit me. I wanted to throw-up, I wanted to cry, I wanted to curl up in a ball and hide, I wanted to wake up from this living nightmare... How? Why? What? All these questions in my head. But I stayed calm and let him explain. The company has been struggling for a few years now. Part of the reason they wanted Andy to come out here was because they needed better, and bigger jobs. They've been in business for over 50 years and this is one of the worst years they've been through so far. But, just like in Utah, there is nothing to be had. They have struggled to hold on, and they decided to just scrape by with the bare minimum of employees they'd need to keep the company running. That didn't include Andrew.
Rewind to a year and a half ago. I was sitting in the doctors office on a crisp September day with a sick Daphne. My phone rang and it was Andrew. I was going to let it go to voicemail, but I felt I should pick it up. I answered and he told me that the vice president of the company had requested to see him and they had a nice chat that morning. He had told Andrew about an opportunity out east. They wanted him to move to their DC office to head up east coast sales for the company. Before Andy went any further, I knew. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I had an overwhelming feeling come over me that this is what we were supposed to do. We were supposed to move to Virginia.
I fought it. Oh, how I fought it. I did not want to go. Did not want to move away from my family, my friends. I didn't want to make my children leave their school, their comfort zones, their support systems, and everything they knew. Why did I feel like we should do it? What was out there for us? Nothing I cared to know about.
As we struggled with this decision to make 100% sure that it was what we were supposed to do, we prayed and prayed. I found myself on my knees 3, 4, 5 times daily. I received a clear answer every time.
Move to Virginia.
We went to the temple, we talked it to death, we made excuses why we shouldn't, but every time that answer would come.
Move to Virginia.
And then one day when I had just had it, I was in the car to go pick-up the kids from school. I said a prayer out loud to my Heavenly Father. I said, "Father, I don't know why we are supposed to do this. But, if it is Thy will, I will do whatever You ask of me."
Immedietly after that, a song came into my mind.
It may not be on the mountain's height, or over the stormy sea
It may not be at the battle's front, my Lord will have need of me
But if by a still, small voice He calls, to paths that I do not know
I'll answer dear Lord with my hand in Thine, I'll go where you want me to go
I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord
O'er mountain or plain or sea
I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord
I'll be what you want me to be.
I immedietly dissolved into tears. We would do it then. We would move to Virginia.
Fast forward about 5 months. We had moved in and lived in our new rental home for about 2 weeks. A sister in the ward (who is a dear friend now) called and invited me to the stake birthday celebration for Relief Society. It was going to be a luncheon and also have a guest speaker.
I attended.
The speaker turned out to be our Stake Relief Society President's sister. She was incredible. She talked all about being able to feel our Savior's love for us, giving service and love to those in need of it, and other great, heart-warming, make-you-want-to-do-good things.
At the end she talked about being able to know Heavenly Father's will for you and how you can make the best of yourself by listening to Him and following promptings.
She talked about how she had lived in Arizona her whole married life. An opportunity came for her husband, but they would have to move to Colorado. She did NOT want to go. Not one bit. But she knew it was what they were supposed to do. So, they did. She told a story about how while she was unpacking (and crying) she felt the spirit overwhelm her and this song came into her head and penetrated her heart:
It may not be on the mountain's height, or over the stormy sea
It may not be at the battle's front, my Lord will have need of me
But if by a still, small voice He calls, to paths that I do not know
I'll answer dear Lord with my hand in Thine, I'll go where you want me to go
I'll go where you want me to go dear Lord
O'er mountain or plain or sea
I'll say what you want me to say dear Lord
I'll be what you want me to be
I could not keep the tears from coursing down my cheeks. Here, right in front of my face, was an answer to prayer. My prayer of question- Had we done the right thing? Would we be happy here? Were we really supposed to do this? Was this leap of faith, moving our lives across the country with no support waiting for us, worth it?
Yes, it was. Because our Heavenly Father wanted us to do it, and that is all the answer we should need. So, I was happy. And I grew to love my new life here. Hard as it was sometimes, I knew it was right and where the Lord would have us be. I still didn't know why, as we were not without our trials. But I learned not to question why.
That brings us to last week. Why was this happening to us? I know I may seem a little dramatic, but honestly, I felt like my world was ending. What were we going to do? We have 5 children. We have bills, groceries to buy, debt, a mortgage, and on top of that, a rent payment. And now we had no income, not to mention, no health insurance-which, if you recall, I need to have. The only thing that kept coming into my head was "At least we are all healthy. At least none of us has cancer. At least we all have each other."
And we do. That's all that really matters.
I called my mom and bawled to her. I didn't want to put Andy through that guilt. The guilt he shouldn't feel, but I knew he would. I knew it wasn't his fault, it was no one's fault. She helped me remember that we felt right about this decision. It was meant to be and we had been supported, if not cheered on, about our decision. She helped me realize that we may never know the reason why we were required to make this move. However, she also helped me realize that it may have just been the vessel to get us here, and we were meant to do other things.. My mom's a pretty smart, amazing, and wonderful lady. I could very well be lost at times without her wisdom.
The one thing I appreciate and have really come to love about trials in this life is my Heavenly Father's love for me. During hardships, I feel Him constantly with me. I am calmer, and more receptive to enlightenment. I feel Him near at all times. It is truly a blessing. He does not leave us comfortless, nor will He ever. He loves me. And I Him.
After I bore my testimony last Sunday about this very thing, one of my good friends, Jean, came and invited my family to dinner. While we were there, I told her what had happened the last week and she gave me great encouragement. She told me we had family and friends who love and support us. We have the church. And we had each other.
She asked me to think of the worst thing that could happen from this situation. I stuttered for a minute and then became silent. I couldn't think of anything. Our families would not let us go homeless, or without food. They would help us if need be. I had nothing to fear. She assured me that something bigger and better was waiting for us. It would all work out.
God wants us to be our best. He puts us through trials that are specifically designed for us. He knows we can get through them. He puts us through that Refiner's Fire so we come out better than ever we were before. He helps us become humble so we so we are more compassionate. He helps us through certain things so we can become charitable. We are truly doing His work. We are His hands. And we need to be the way He would have us be.
I have mentioned that I am troubled with a pessimistic attitude. I do it so as not to have my hopes dashed. I have always been like that to protect myself from disappointment. I told Andy as we spoke of what to do one night last week, that I would remain neutral and whatever happened would happen. He immedietly admonished me with love. I was not to be a fence-sitter, but choose a side. I could choose to be positive and allow this experience to better myself and learn from it, or I could be negative and have a horrible attitude about the whole thing and blame everyone for all of my problems.
I choose to be positive. I choose not to ask "Why me?" but to ask instead "What can I learn from this?"
It will all work out. I know my Heavenly Father loves me.
And we'll be okay.


Amber Kei said...

Oh, my goodness! Thank you so much for sharing that. We are going through some things and being held back by fear right now and I think somehow not letting the Spirit have complete control. It's made for some rough nights. I'm sure that was beyond difficult to post, let alone, be going through. But thank you. I love that we are related enough that I get to learn from you. I love you and your family! We're praying for you all. It'll be amazing to see what happens in the next year and a half.

Ashlie said...

The whole time I was reading your post I just thought what an amazing person you are incredibly strong and the fact that you are going to be so positivie throughout this makes you even better. I know everything will work out for you and your little family. You are in my prayers.

Mrs.Spy said...

Oh Sweet, Sweet Sarah!!!
I am totally crying right now, not only at the hard thing you afre dealing with, but at the testimony you bore as you talked about it.

I hope you know I love you so much and your family and if there is anything we can do, please tell me.

Brittani said...

Oh my goodness, I read your post and was practically in tears myself. Reading your post though I can't help but feel like you have the right perspective, and if anything else maybe that is what heavenly father wanted you to learn, is just to trust him that he will take care of you. Good luck to you and your family and I know that things will look up for you guys much sooner than you think!

Matt and Joanna said...

Sarah, I'm really sorry you are having to go through this. You are such an amazing person with such a strong testimony. You never cease to impress/inspire me. Like you said, things will work out (just hopefully sooner than later).

Chris and Amy Darton said...

Oh my gosh Sarah, Im so so sorry to hear that. I know that exact feeling but you do get through it. I loved this post and how positive it was. Good luck and keep us updated on whats next for you guys. Youre right- there is something bigger and better waiting. Stay happy :)

Laney said...

Wow! Life does throw curveballs. I'm glad you guys are ok and know you will be ok, too! I have never seen your pessimistic side and think you're pretty amazing. Your faith & trust is so palpable. We'll pray for you guys!! Wish we could do more for you. Love ya!

Tara and David said...

Two words! Love you!!!!!!

Tara said...

You are such an amazing person. Your testimony and faith in Heavenly Father is such a good example to the rest of us. I hope things look up soon. So sorry that you are going through this.

Corrine said...

Oh Sarah!!! I am so sorry to hear about the job loss, but you are handling it in ways that are commendable. I love what your friend said to you, it is easy to wallow in our misery, but really, I think we can make good come from bad things. Hang in there. You are a lucky woman to have Andy and both your families who love you so much. You will be taken care of. I am thinking of you. Give your kids hugs from all of us (our kids still tease Bella about Jonah). Love you guys tons.

Jenny said...

My heart literally sunk as I read this. I am so sorry you are going through this. I know how you feel as we just went through the same thing. Have faith, and there will be days it will definately be hard to trust things will work out, but having come through it I look back and know that we we're taken care of in so many ways. Heavenly Father knows your needs and will bless you and give you the strength you need to make it through this. You are in our prayers. Things will work out, promise!

Shana Smith said...

Wow Sarah, can I please have a slice of your GREAT attitude? Really you are so positive at a time like this. Nate ans I have been through A LOT.. A LOT in the short 5+ years we have been married, and I dont think I ever had as positive of an attitude as you do. I do know that Heavenly Father does have trials planned out and specifically tailored to every individual. Although they SUCK and really try our faith on for size, I BELIEVE that we do learn something at the end of it all. He knows that you are a strong person and He would not give you a trial that you cannot overcome. You have a fantastic support system and you guys are not going to starve or be left homeless, something better is right around the corner!
PS. I am truly sorry for being a "bully" all those millions of years ago, I think I am going to blame it on the age and the fact that I really wanted to be your friend! I too am so happy that we have the friendship we do today! (I made Tony Harris cry like a baby one day, and we were best friends after that.) Not the greatest way to begin friendships, I will be teaching my kids differently.. Ha Ha..
Good Luck with everything, let me know if I can be of any help!

Sarah said...

Thank you everyone for your sweet and uplifting comments. It really means a lot to me :)

Matt and Liz said...

Andy called Matt but didn't tell him he'd been laid off! I'm so sorry Sarah! Hang in there, I'm sure something better is waiting for your family. You are amazing Sarah.

Dave and Kristin Dirkmaat said...

First off-I am so sorry that you have to go through this!
Second-You are a strong and amazing woman! I read this post and had a greater testimony of the Lord's Plan for us myself! It was inspiring and I think we all need to be reminded how much purpose there is in our lives. You should write a book!
Third-Things WILL work out and I have a feeling there are great things ahead!