March 12, 2017

Recently I've had opportunities to share a couple of stories that mean a lot to me. I've shared them in church settings and with family - I even wrote one in a real life, hard copy journal. But I decided I need to share them one more time. So what better place to do that than the internet, where literally anyone can find them!

I'll start with the older one. When I was nineteen, I started thinking a lot about serving a mission for my church. That would mean eighteen months away from my family and friends - I seriously could have ended up almost anywhere in the world - serving others and teaching about Jesus Christ. But girls couldn't go until they were twenty-one, so I still had a while to decide. Then just before my twentieth birthday, the church changed the age to nineteen. I could go! Dozens of girls I knew left right away. I was already set to do my Disney internship the next semester, and right when I finished that I met Stefan. So I never served a mission. I never felt like I had made the wrong choice, but I did wish I could have chosen both. I guess I was a little jealous of the girls who went. Maybe a little bitter. But still happy with my choice! Anyway, there are a few hymns we sing at church that are total "missionary anthems," if you will. I started to feel bugged when I would hear them. Like, "yeah yeah, missions are great. Other things are great, too! The things I'm doing are great!" And then one day I looked at one of these hymns differently, and since then it has been one of my favorites.

I'll Go Where You Want Me To Go.

It may not be on the mountain 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.

Perhaps today there are loving words which Jesus would have me speak;
There may be now in the path of sin some wand'rer whom I should seek.
O Savior, if thou wilt be my guide, tho dark and rugged the way,
My voice shall echo the message sweet: I'll say what you want me to say.

There's surely somewhere a lowly place in earth's harvest fields so wide
Where I may labor through life's short day for Jesus, the Crucified.
So trusting my all to thy tender care, and knowing thou lovest me,
I'll do thy will with a heart sincere: I'll be what you want me to be.

I'll go where you want me to go, dear Lord,
Over 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 think it's pretty clear why that hymn means a lot to so many missionaries; it's a beautiful and empowering pledge to our Savior and His work. It means a lot to me for that reason too - even though I've never been a full-time missionary. This hymn taught me I didn't need to be, in order to follow the Savior.

It reminds me the Lord is keenly aware of me. He knows me and loves me perfectly. He has a great, big plan for me. And I'm not second-best in His eyes because I didn't serve a mission. He knows the things I do and the things I experience on my own every day - even the seemingly small ones - are important. He can use them all to help me be the best version of myself, if I trust Him and I let Him. And I do trust Him. I genuinely do want to be what He wants me to be. I want to follow Him, try to be more like Him, teach others about Him, every single day - wherever I am, whatever I'm doing.

. . . . .

My second story happened a few weeks ago. One afternoon, Peter fell and hurt his mouth. I'm not even completely sure what happened or from where exactly all the blood was coming - it's, like.. really hard to get a baby to let you look in their mouth. He didn't seem to be in pain, but the blood kept coming. It started to slow down at one point, but then he drank a bottle for dinner and I think all the sucking agitated it and made it worse again. Stefan was home when it happened, but later in the evening he had to leave. We had decided not to take Peter to urgent care or anything because, what could they do, really? He honestly would have had to be sedated before anyone could look inside his mouth, and even then - what could they do from there?

So I was alone to put him to bed, and I was really nervous. He always gets a bottle and a pacifier before he goes to sleep, and after the bottle-at-dinner incident I didn't feel like I could give him either! I tried putting him down without them, and it was a mess. He cried and cried and that probably made the bleeding worse, too - when I went to check on him it was all over his blanket and sheets and face. It was so sad! I called my sister for advice and she said the best thing was probably to give him the bottle and pacifier so he would calm down and fall asleep. Sleep was what he needed most at this point.

As he drank his bottle, I offered a prayer. I told my Heavenly Father I wished I would have asked Stefan to give Peter a Priesthood blessing before he left, but now it was too late. All I wanted was for my baby to fall asleep and heal. I asked Heavenly Father directly to please heal Peter's mouth. I don't do that a lot when I pray - ask for very specific things. But in that moment I needed it, and I knew I was asking for a good thing, so I did.

The peace I felt during that prayer brings me to tears just about every time I think back on it. As I expressed my love for Peter in that prayer I felt it more deeply than I ever have, and I honestly think I was given a glimpse of how much Heavenly Father loves him, too. It felt like He was right there with me saying, "I know how you feel. I love him, too. He's going to be okay."

Peter finished his bottle, took his pacifier, and fell right to sleep. He slept peacefully through the night, and in the morning I didn't see a single sign of any new blood. He had a bottle at breakfast and nothing. He was totally better.

I fully understand that I am his mom and because of that, the entire situation may have seemed worse in my eyes than it really was. And you know what, maybe his mouth would have healed by morning without my prayer. But I just can't deny what I felt during and after that prayer. I felt so close to my Heavenly Father and my Savior. I felt a greater appreciation for Christ's atonement. I know that through it, He knew exactly how Peter and I were both feeling in that moment - afraid. And because He knows that feeling, He knows how to comfort it. I know miracles are real. I know Heavenly Father is ready and waiting to bless us every day, if only we turn to him. None of our prayers are too small to be heard. I know prayers bring us peace. And if there's one thing I want to bring in to my home and give to my family, it's peace.


Joel Galbraith said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Sweet stories Erin

Lesa Emmett said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Sometimes when I'm driving to a meeting in Rantoul (or somewhere out here in the middle of nowhere,) that song will come on. It brings tears to my eyes, because I feel like I really would go anywhere the Lord asked me to go, and hopefully I'll get better at doing what he wants me to do. There are all kinds of missions to be filled in this life.
The story about your prayer for Peter struck home with me too, maybe because it was about a mother's love. I remember times when I just had to turn it over to the Lord. Whether you were babies, or teenagers; I could pray for you, but then I just had to have faith that things would turn out all right.
Love you and your testimony.

missy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Aww, Erin. Your sweet stories made me cry. :)

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