Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Was Not Forgotten

This last Sunday was Stake Conference, which is a large gathering of members in the East Fresno County area.

Ryan and I attended the Sunday morning session. I went with a bit of apprehension.

Sunday morning Stake Conference has often been a reunion of sorts. It is a twice-a-year meeting in which I see those I have known in the past. We exchange greetings and small talk.

This doesn’t sound too terrible, except that I often see those I grew up with, leading their cluster of squirmy and restless children. Seeing these people again and noticing… “Oh, they have 3 children now” “That newlywed couple is pregnant already” “Wow, her kids have grown up”.

That is difficult.

I also see those adults who knew me as a child. For a while, the small talk centered around Ryan and I, and our family planning. “Any kids yet?”, although, that has faded over time (not sure if that is a good thing or not).

I am also apprehensive about the topics that will be presented. Family is a huge part of our beliefs, and it seems inevitable that the topic of parenting or the importance of families will be approached at some point. I remember a couple years ago hearing the good ol’ “multiply and replenish the earth – it’s a commandment!” sermon. Anxiously, I left the room as fast as I could, tears running down my face, bursting into the bathroom, only to see a girl I once babysat in there, rocking her baby.

So, sufficed to say, Stake Conference isn’t always my favorite day.

Even so, surrounded by family, I attended Stake Conference. As the speakers made their rounds, I leaned over to Ryan and said, “I haven’t heard the talk that was just for me. I want to hear something that was written just for me to hear.”

The last speaker was our Stake President. Sure enough, the topic turned to families. Children… and what blessings they are. Oh, no. Not again.

But then he said something I don’t think I will ever forget. He said, “I tread lightly on this topic, because I know there are some out there who are unable to have children.”

Oh my gosh, I wasn’t forgotten.

He went on to tell his story, of how he and his wife had their little family, but they always felt that there was another little girl who was supposed to be with them. Time passed, and soon his youngest was 18. He told God, “If this last child is meant to be with us, You better send her soon. I am not getting any younger here!” He was 48 years old when she was born. Their family finally felt complete.

He told the story about Abraham and Rebecca from the Bible. Upon learning they were going to finally have a son (in their late stage of life), they laughed, which can also be translated to mean rejoiced.

“And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

I picture the laughing and rejoicing that will occur in my home someday.

With tears in his eyes, our Stake President talked about waiting those 18 years for their daughter. He admitted that there are some who wait longer, and without other children. Then he read the following from the Doctrine and Covenants: “The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

He talked about how, one way or another, we will all have our dominion, or our posterity. This was comforting to me.

After the Stake President had sat down, and we began to sing the closing song, Ryan leaned over to me and said, “Well, you got your talk.” I am grateful to the Stake President, and to my Heavenly Father, for not forgetting me this Sunday.

I received a package yesterday. It is a necklace which reads one simple word, “Eventually”. This word is a blessing and a curse. A comfort during times when I feel my situation will never change, and a reminder during times of anxiety and impatience.

My dominion will be everlasting someday, and without compulsory means it will flow unto me forever and ever. A promise that is worth waiting for, and will be mine… eventually.


Brock said...

Michelle, there is nothing to say that has not been said already. You uplift and encourage me. Thank you for sharing your words and Pres. Barrus's. Oh and I want to be there to laugh and rejoice with you!
Love ya lots

James and Kresta said...

Michelle, I am so glad you were able to remember his talk and post it. I was sitting with the choir and zoning out until half way through I realized he was talking about something I needed to hear. My Husband talked to Pres. Barrus before stake conference and told him about our frustrations with trying to have a family. He told James the things he said in his talk. James had no idea that Pres. Barrus would also say it over the pulpit, but I am so glad he did. A few other's in the choir had mentioned your same apprehension to me about stake conference, but when Pres. Barrus spoke I could see them smile through their tears. I am so glad we aren't alone through this (although it really does feel like we are!). I sure hope you get your time to rejoice and laugh soon!

Meka said...

Amazing post! Wow! I felt the same way about Stake Conference! I remember leaving early in tears a few times in fact during "those talks" it's just too much sometimes. I am so glad your stake president touched on infertility. I always wanted to hear something like that, I wish it was brought up more! I almost started crying myself when I read how you left in tears only to find someone you once babysat with their baby!! Ohhhhhhh, it's times like that that hurt so much and there is nothing to do but sob! It's just so hard.

Savannah said...

Wow. I'm so glad you were not forgotten on Sunday. I also LOVE the necklace you ordered.

HeatherIsHere said...

Hi Michelle, I don't know if you knew I followed your blog or not, but I really love this post. I love all of your insight and thoughtful experience and I think you give great service to others by sharing so openly. I have learned so much by reading your words and I like to think it has made me a little more sensitive and aware or the situations of those around me. I love the reminder that God does not forget us in our anguish, and that although He does not always remove the trials, He guides us through them, even when we are too distracted to notice. I think of you and pray for you often. Best wishes and all of my hope and faith for your new treatment program.

Heather (Hart) Miller

hartfamily72 said...

Michelle, I was so hoping you were at Stake Conference to hear President Barrus' talk. I felt the Lord's love for you when I heard it.
I appreciate reading your thoughts and feelings in your blog. I know the Lord loves you and is aware of you. I pray for you every day. Thank you so much for allowing us to partake of your wonderful spirit and attitude. Your words never fail to inspire me. You were always a very special young girl and are now a very special young woman.
Rene Hart

The Jars said...

Michelle, you do not know me but if you did, we would be great friends! I just spent an hour reading through your blog and you are amazing! Reading your thoughts and stories is like reading my own journal.

My name is Sarah, I have been married for 7.5 years and have now been a mom for two beautiful months! On Sept. 9, 2009, our beautiful daugter was born and on Sept. 11th, we signed papers and brought her home. Funny, as such a perfect day 09.09.09 was for us, I read the anonymous comments that were left for you that same day and the only thing I can say is that I am sorry. I would never really wish infertility on someone else and yet sometimes I kinda wish they knew for just a day how painful it really is.

I am a mother now and I am so extremely happy and yet never will I forget how it feels to have empty arms when you so desperately want to have those arms filled with a child. Even now, I cry when I am holding her because I can't hardly believe it is real. I know I am not that 'experienced' and have only been at it for two months, but I would give up sleeping for the next 18 years to get to hold her in my arms every single day! I just can't imagine complaining about being tired or having a hard day to someone who is still waiting with empty aching arms. Infertility is part of who I am and so I think part of me will always have those feeling so close and so raw...does that make sense?

And also, about Julie and Julia! Can I just say that I did those uncontrolable yucky sobs right there in the middle of the theater! It was like watching yourself on screen wasn't it? I did not know that about Julia Child but loved her even more for being 'one of us.'

And lastly, I know how it feels to 'not be forgotten.' I remember a few years ago sitting in a worldwide leadership training about rearing a strong family. I thought to myself, I cannot sit here and listen to two hours of this and get through it all without breaking down in the middle of the chapel...and then Elder Holland said something that I will never forget. He said, "To all those out there who have not been blessed with children of your own, you are in our prayers and our Father has you in mind. You are not forgotten but are loved beyond belief." I have thought over that statement many times and I will admit that I don't always understand it but I was very thankful that day and many days since to not be forgotten.

Anyway, this was really long, but I just wanted you to know that you are making a difference with your words. So, thank you!

-Sarah Jarman

Christine Dallimore said...

Just inspiring- Really!!!! How wonderful to that Heavenly Father loves you SO MUCH that your Stake President was guided in what he said...OOOO- Chills!! :0) Also THRILLED to hear of your progress from Dr. Oh!!! Any little improvement is such fabulous news! Keeping my fingers crossed for you......

Bekah said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm so glad that talk was just for you.

I've been trying to find an online support system for IF as all my friends have babies! Thanks for sharing your story.

-Bekah, iwillbeamom.blogspot.com