While visiting with one of my ecclesiastical leaders ( a.k.a a member of the stake presidency, President D) last night, he told me how much my family inspires him. And that we inspire a lot of other people who are watching us. I was completely blown away. I told him that we are just plugging along, and that we are taking it one day at a time. We aren’t doing anything that should inspire others. But he quickly told me otherwise.
He said that our faith and willingness to put our trust in Him is an inspiration to many, many people. I am still confused. I am just living my life the best I can. I think that is all we can do. What choice do we have but to keep putting one foot in front of the other? Before we know it, we will find that by enduring to the end, and enduring it WELL, we will have made it.
I still wonder why we had to lose Laney. Why I had to learn a different perspective this way. President D told me that there are people who envy our perspective, but would never want to go through what we have to get it. I don’t blame them. I don’t want to go through it either. But I am. I guess I was given this life because I was strong enough to live it, after all.
Whatever things we find ourselves going through each day, we have a choice to make. Are we going to let it get us down, or are we looking at the bigger picture? Do we despair over what we are going through, or do we have hope that things will get better?
It is not always easy to choose hope. Sometimes it is hard to just think, let alone make a conscious choice to have hope. But I want you to know that through this trial, I choose hope. I choose to hope in the promises that have been made to us that if we trust in Him, we can make it through. And if we are looking, we can see and feel Him there, comforting us. Lifting us. He will carry us until we have made it through our darkest nights and reassure us that He is there.
With the new perspective that I have after losing Laney, how can I not do everything I can to align my life with the plan that God has laid out for me? How can I not see His hand in this entire tragedy and realize how much it has allowed me to grow in ways that I wouldn’t have otherwise? I am still not ready to admit that I am glad for this particular trial. I am not sure I ever will be.
But I will tell you this: My testimony is stronger now than it has ever been. I think a lot of it is my new perspective, but a lot has to do with the fact that I choose hope. Hope is on my mind all the time, and hope is what is helping to get me through. So whatever you are going through. Please, have the courage to choose hope.
Today is Laney’s birthday. She would have been 21. On the 21st. They say that it is her “golden” birthday.
I want to tell you about how lucky we were to have Laney. After she was born, she stopped breathing 3 separate times. After lots of tests and procedures to figure out the reason, they sent us home with an apnea monitor and a profound fear that if we took our eyes off of her, she would stop breathing. So when we drove anywhere in the car, my hand was always in the back seat on her chest, feeling it rise and fall. When she slept at night, I was in her room more than my own. Watching and loving her. This went on for 8 months. And then they told us she was okay to come off the monitor. But that was scarier than not having the monitor at all. I swear I must have checked on her every 15 minutes during the night for months. It took me a long time to not worry.
And then I think of all of the fun things and personality she brought to our family and it makes me smile. How she wanted to help me redo the kitchen. How we had started planning what we were going to do. But then things changed. I still felt like I needed to go through with our plans to redo the kitchen. So Ally came to the rescue and helped me. It was incredible how much like Laney she is. When it came time to buying the paint, she said, “This one,” and I knew it was right. Ally also helped sand, paint, and reassemble the cupboards and drawers.
When I went to look at samples of counter tops, Ally looked through them before I had a chance, and picked a couple with extreme confidence. And they were just what I was thinking. She has a take charge attitude, just like Laney. Ally was actually my Balm of Gilead during this project. Working with her made me think about teaching Ally and didn’t allow me to think so much on the fact that Laney was supposed to be the one helping me.
I was able to get the kitchen entirely done before Laney’s birthday. It has been a labor of love, and it finally occurred to me that I was doing it as my gift to Laney for her birthday. I am sure she loves it. I am posting pictures of the kitchen before and after so that you can all see my gift to Laney. I am so incredibly proud to be Laney’s mom!