My good friend Becky, previous to two days ago, was pregnant and due right after I was. We announced our pregnancies 1 week apart, and throughout my pregnancy, I have found a lot of solace knowing that she and I have been going through very similar things. We are both 21 (our birthdays are 1 day apart), we are both English majors, we were married within a month of each other, and we both had very similar experiences in deciding to get pregnant. Two days ago, she found out she is having twins. They are her first babies, and they are both boys. I refer you to her blog post found here before you continue reading.
Becky is amazing. I know that, because Heavenly Father trusted her with 2 babies instead of just one. Every single mother of twins that I know is chalked up on my list of "Mothers that I would like to be like one day." One of these is my own mother. Becky will be a wonderful mother to these babies, and I have so much respect for her, and for the faith that she has maintained through this. It's a darn big deal to find out that you are having twins when you are 21 years old. Darn big deal.
I have stolen the quote from her blog to stick it here, because that quote struck me extra hard when I read it. I want you to read it, and to think deeply about it. Don't just skim it, you'll be missing something very important if you do.
"I have just two things to say to you who are troubled about the future. I say them lovingly and from my heart.
First, we must never let fear and the father of fear (Satan himself) divert us from our faith and faithful living. Every person in every era has had to walk by faith into what has always been some uncertainty. This is the plan. Just be faithful. God is in charge. He knows your name and He knows your need.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ—that is the first principle of the gospel. We must go forward. God expects you to have enough faith, determination, and trust in Him to keep moving, keep living, keep rejoicing. He expects you not simply to face the future; He expects you to embrace and shape the future—to love it, rejoice in it, and delight in your opportunities.
God is eagerly waiting for the chance to answer your prayers and fulfill your dreams, just as He always has. But He can’t if you don’t pray, and He can’t if you don’t dream. In short, He can’t if you don’t believe."
--Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
Like I said, throughout my pregnancy I have struggled with depression. I have struggled with fear of the future. I have struggled with uncertainty. I still have 2 semesters left in school. I have a husband who has 3 semesters left of his undergraduate degree, and then will be going to grad school. I don't know a lot of things about the future. And a lot of the time, that scares me.
Like Becky, though, I know that this was the right choice. In quiet moments when I can calm my mind, when I let myself be happy, when I am grateful and content, I feel my baby with me, and I know that he needed to come here. I know that he needed to be with us. It was his time. The Lord needs him here. And part of that reason was me. The Lord needed me to have more faith. So he sent me a baby boy to help me grow.
It's amazing how the Lord works. I have spent the weeks since general conference re-watching talk after talk. Mostly, I've watched President Monson's talk--The Divine Gift of Gratitude. It's been slow, but I have felt my mentality change every so slightly every time I listen to it.
I have so much to be grateful for. So much to be happy about.
I am so grateful. So happy.
I am attending a good university. I have a wonderful husband who loves me, and is excited about the future. I am expecting a beautiful, healthy, baby boy in March. I have a wonderful family, and wonderful in-laws. I have the gospel.
I have the gospel.
And that, my friends, should cause me to rejoice and be full of gratitude everyday.
Which leads me to my next point.
There was one day last week where I felt like I had literally been stomped on by a parade of horses, storming into a bloody, hopeless war. I felt so pelted into the ground, that I didn't know how I could ever stand up again. I cried and cried and cried.
That day, LJ somehow didn't have to go into a (usually) mandatory meeting with his boss. Instead, he came and found me in the Wilkinson center, and tried to pull out of me the matter that was causing me such distress. I never told him what had caused my depression, I don't think, but that really didn't matter at all. To be honest, I really can't remember what it was. You see, what's wrong is never really what we think is wrong. And LJ saw this. He was able to reach down beneath the foggy muck that was clouding my mind and the aching of my heart to see that the problem was my failure to use my God-given gift of agency. Sure, life was a little difficult, sure my emotions were running wild due to these crazy pregnancy hormones, but beneath all of that, I was not allowing myself to be happy.
LJ pulled out his Book of Mormon, and told me to read 2 Nephi 2 in its entirety and think and pray about agency the entire time I read. He specifically pointed out verse 27 which reads: "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself" (I added my own emphasis, obviously).
It hit me like a ton of bricks. It doesn't matter what happens in life. I have two choices: 1.) to choose to be happy and have freedom, or 2.) to choose to be miserable and remain in a sort of captivity.
Being happy is just so much better, you know?
Depression is real. Emotion is real. Why do you think that these tools are so effective in Satan's hands? But God is also real. The gospel is real. And all things which are expedient are given unto us. That means we have power. Real power to fight the adversary. Real power to fight the adversary and win.
Amazing, isn't it?
LJ always tells me, "Nothing works like the gospel works."
All I have to say to that is a rousing AMEN.