Sunday, June 1, 2008

Stake Conference

What a wonderful weekend! For those out there who wonder what in the world is a Stake Conference let me boil it down for you a bit... NO this is not a conference where we join as a mass and eat away at an amazing stake dinner. But it fact this is a church thing... Twice a year we meet as a stake... A stake consists of a geographical area. Each Stake is split into smaller areas. These areas are called wards. A ward is the name for our congregation. This specific Stake Conference we were fortunate recipients to be in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord. Yes, Elder Jeffery R. Holland is one of the 12 apostle. This is such a big deal in Mormon Land! How excited we have all felt as we have waited for this day. Having one of the 12 Apostles is a real treat. There has never been a time (aside from living in Utah) where an Apostle has visited an spoke at a Stake Conference. So this weekend was special... DID I FAIL TO MENTION HOW GREAT THIS WEEKEND WAS?
Because I have been using this blog as my journal I want to share a few things that touched my spirit over the past couple of days.
When Elder Holland spoke it seemed as if his message was created with me in mind. Yet at the same time I knew that is what everyone thought. It was simply amazing how he was able to speak soul to soul. He spoke of each of our trials. Yes, we all go through trials. He compared out trials to that of Joseph Smiths trial in Liberty Jail. He was in this small cell for months! It was cold and DARK and wet. Simply Dreary. He wondered if ever he would feel the warmth of the sun again. As our trials get heavier and heavier we become more and more humble. Our pleadings with the Lord change. We have all cried through the night asking when the end will come. How long must we endure... Elder Holland then counseled us to Plant our Feet FIRMLY in the ground and wait for the storm to pass.
I have recently been through a "Liberty Jail" experience. After hearing this tender council I feel I should journal it. For no other reason I want our dear Noah to know just what his mama went through while waiting for the tender mercy of the Lord.
The second week of June 2007 I received a call from an adoption agency we had signed with. We Were matched. The baby was a girl! Just what we had hoped for. I prepared for this baby. We bought everything a baby girl would ever need. We changed bedrooms. Made an awesome room for the boys and a beautiful room for Jordie and the anticipated baby girl. Her name would be Ella Rose. As the time came due for the baby to be delivered I had a sick feeling in the pit of my soul. I am sure that this was the Lord trying to prepare me for the storm to come. But I would not Listen. My parents and both of my grandmothers came for this extra special arrival. 2 days after the due date we found out that we would not be adopting this child that we had grown to love. It was so devastating to say the least. I am able to say now that I KNOW what feels like to loose a baby. We didn't wait to get our profile back out. Each weeks we would get a line of declines... we had too many kids, we were too white, we lived too far away... ect. It was a blow each time we were "rejected" Were we really rejected? No. But each time I felt more and more broken. Elder Holland mentioned just this... "God Loves Broken Things" Boy was I broken. I wish I had this talk before I went through this trial but I didn't and I still made it through. At the time I didn't feel all that loved... I just felt broken. Elder Holland mentioned the tear filled nights... I had them.... many of them. He mentioned the pleading prayers... Had them too! But then he mentioned the complete Humility.... this is where the "sun"came in for me... There was a afternoon where I found myself alone... The kids were at school and Ammon was at his friends... I knelt down and turned to Our Heavenly Father for repair. I specifically remember saying... "I am prepared to be a mother to a new child. I am committed to teaching another child of Thee and of Thy Son. I yearn to love another child. I am not sure if there is anything I have longed for more." And then there was a big BUT..."But, I am happy with the family I have been given. If another child is not what Thou wants for our family I will understand. I then pleaded that the "VOID" I felt deep within my soul would be taken away." I dint remember I time when I had been so humble. Or should I say HUMBLED. That day Marc and I started looking for adoption referral companies. The Lord lead us to just the one for us. From the moment I first talked with Betty I felt the fire rekindle within me. The next week we took the kids to Disney Land for a surprise vacation. The week after getting home we got a call from Betty. She told of a girl that had just had a baby boy and wanted to see our profile. OF course we wanted our file shown. If we were chosen we had to leave that night. I worked a fast as I could getting out home in order. We were not chosen. This was not something we had not been through before so we continued on... This was a Friday night... We has a really fun late night... We played wii with the kids and goofed around for hours! Betty had told us of another baby boy that had been born but we seemed to NEVER get picked so we did not put much emotion into the prospect. Saturday morning I checked my email.... This is what I found...
Hi Kiera and Marc,

I would like to offer you the match with birthmother Lakeisha for the precious baby boy born 1/30!

I have carefully considered all the families, and just keep coming back to yours. I think Lakeisha would be proud to have her baby part of your family, being loved and protected by you and your children.

If you get this email tonight, and you are accepting this match, please go ahead and look into air schedules. The baby will be discharged from the hospital tomorrow! If one of you can come, that is fine. If both are coming, that is fine, too, You will take custody of the baby tomorow when you get here.

I hope you are excited. This is such a beautiful baby! And Lakeisha is such a sweet person.

Write or call me first thing in the morning.
Take care.


Was this all real? Of course it was... I had 45 minutes to prepare and leave for my flight! I arrived in Houston and waited.... and waited.... and waited.... Joy had some client to meet with before she could bring our long anticipated baby to me. Marc had started driving so that we could have a car for out long wait! Finally that night Joy came to my hotel room... With out a baby! Not having been through this I did not know what to expect. Joy explained that Noah was in NICU and that she was able to get a room for me at the Ronald McDonald house. It was all just so exciting! As we drove to the hospital she explained that there was blood found in his stool and that they had started an IV and run tests... The moments entering the NICU and seeing my child for the first time was the moment I felt the sun... or should I say SON. I was overwhelmed with the whisperings of the spirit. This was our child.... I KNEW it. The Veil was lifted for one brief moment for me to recognize this as my son. The child that Our Heavenly Father wanted in our home... our family.
What have I learned from this? I have learned that through our trials we are to know that Heavenly Father LOVES us. Never forget that! IT is part of the plan! Even Jesus Christ suffered... If that suffering could have been removed and there could be any other way don't you thing Our Loving Heavenly Father would have? All we are asked is when the trial are just too hard to bear... PLANT YOUR FEET AND STAND YOUR GROUND! Don't abandon ship!
How grateful I am able to look at one of my "Liberty Jail" trails and see the love and trust my Heavenly Father has for me. We were promised for more of this trials! This time I know just what to do.
We were left with an apostolic blessing. We were blessed just as his hands were on our heads... Some of the things that stood out in my mind were as follows:
He blessed the men to be worthy of the priesthood they bear.
He blessed the children that they would be protected in all the decision's they would be making... That ALL the choices they made now would be what they were as adults.
He blessed the women of faith. Noting the faithful women in his life....
This blessing was not just for the people in our stake... it was for those also who we as saints have on our mind and hearts.
My parents have been friends with the Hollands for years. Having them in town added an extra bonus... Not only last night were we able to speak and joke freely with this great man but today Grandma made sure each of her "little brew" as Elder Holland called it met and shook his hand. I was not able to hear what he said to Jordie but this is what he said to our boys... To Isaac... "The name of your grandpa, what a good name." To Ammon "Ammon how strong" and to Noah he said the same as he said the night before..." he stroked his cheek... "what Beautiful Skin" Will I need to remind him of this in years to come? Will the color of his skin be his "Liberty Jail trial" Maybe?!?! But then again... he has been blessed to make righteous choices... All of our children have... What peace this brings to my heart as I see the world changing ahead!
"This is a Gospel of Happy Endings" And I am blessed to belong.


Betsy said...

Mind if I refer your blog to Tufuga. She has just suffered a heart-wrenching loss of her own. I think she might find some comfort. I was prompted to place her name on the prayer roll on Saturday unknown of wait would be awaiting her today.

RitterB's said...

Please do! I would love to chat with her... Would you please email me here info?

Sam Ransom said...

What a wonderful entry. I had heard bits of this story here and there from you, but it is wonderful to read it all as once and with the perspective that can only come with time. You are truly blessed with amazing kids! Noah is in the most wonderful family. I cherish your friendship and faith.

Gary Sticht said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing!

Melissa J. said...

My goodness, what a beautiful entry. Thank you for sharing and you are so spiritually in tune. We need more people like you. Your children are so bless to have you as a mother.

KC Kanenwishers said...

I think it's safe to say that Stake Conference was life changing for a lot of people. You know, your experience is going to help others and I think that's why you were supposed to go through it. I hope you'll be able to be your own referral service some day.