I Choose Hope

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.

~CTR

 

I Hope I Make You Proud

 

I got on the computer the other day to erase Laney’s browsing history because of all of this Google privacy stuff. But when I pulled it up, I cried instead. The last thing she had been looking at was a song called I Hope I Make You Proud. It hit me all of a sudden how very proud I was of her. How I hope I make HER proud by the way I act now.

It gives me hope, wanting to make her proud of me. I know she is close, and is watching out for us and finding ways to bless us. So when I consider the actions of each day, I hope I make her proud. I hope that as I try to help others along their way, she knows that part of it it is because I want to make her proud.

As I look back over the things I have done in my life, I ask myself if my kids know how proud I am of THEM. Do they know how I am so proud that they have the courage to stand for what they believe? Proud that they are making good choices? Proud that they belong to ME? Proud at how they serve others? Proud at the young adults they are becoming?

Whatever my new normal becomes without Laney, I hope to make all of my kids proud of ME. Proud that I rise above whatever life throws at me and carry on. Proud that I am not afraid to cry anymore. Proud that I can serve others and find joy in doing it. Proud that I know who is guiding my life and that I too have courage to stand for what I believe. Proud that I can reach outward, even if my heart is broken. Even if I don’t understand the purpose for this trial in our lives.

Whatever life brings us, and through whatever trials we face, I hope I make them proud by the way I live my life. If we face everyday with courage, I have no doubt that those around us will see it, and maybe it will help them carry on. And make themselves proud, too.

~CTR

Real Heroes Wear Name Tags

Laney loved to write to missionaries. So much so that she started a club to get her friends involved in writing them, too. She encouraged others to serve missions because she knew it was the right thing to do. She knew that sharing the Gospel was one of the reasons we are here. She firmly believed that she didn’t want to get to the other side and have people ask, ” You knew this all along? Why didn’t you tell me about it?”

So, when she went off to in college, she started the WAM club. It stands for Write a Missionary. She had a standing time every Sunday when the young adults in her ward were all invited to come to her house and write missionaries. Laney wrote to her friends. And then their companions. She felt that maybe if she wrote encouraging letters, it might make a difference. She knew that her letters might be the only mail they received on their missions.

Laney has over 110 first cousins. One of them holds a special place in her heart.  He is the same age as her and they and grew up together. She was constantly encouraging him to go on a mission. It took a little longer than normal, but he is now proudly serving a mission. I am sure that she is there beside him when he is discouraged, encouraging him (or maybe kicking him in the behind, if we know Laney).

My little four year old nephew, Soybean (not his real name), knows how important it is to serve a mission, too. He has a little Sunday suit and he calls it his missionary suit. He wants to wear it all the time. He loves it because he knows that Laney’s boyfriend wears a suit. That he wore one on his mission. Soybean wants to be a missionary when he grows up, just like Laney’s boyfriend. He is Soybean’s hero. He is our hero, too.

Laney had so many close friends serving missions, that upon news of her accident, their mission presidents were called by their parents. Two of her best friends, Josh and Solomon were still serving, getting ready to come home. They immediately wrote our family, giving us such sweet tender mercies. Josh came home just two months later. It was so sweet to meet with him after he got home. He brought with him more of those tender mercies that we so desperately needed.

Now we are waiting for Solomon. He will be home in March.  I cannot wait to give him the hug that he was waiting to get from Laney. At our house, my family loves super heroes. But they love real heroes more. And real heroes wear name tags.

~CTR