I am entering my last few weeks of my first pregnancy. I couldn’t be more excited to have our little boy out here in my arms.
It seems like so much has happened since I realized that I was pregnant. We were living in Provo, Utah going to school at BYU. I was working at the MTC and planned on living in Provo for a long, long time. We got the message that Taylor’s grandmother was going to leave for a mission and that Cedar City had a smaller college with an engineering program. We could watch her house for her as she was away for two years, attend school, and have our baby. It seemed perfect because both of us could benefit from serving one another.
Then as the semester progressed we realized that college wasn’t the right path. It wasn’t BYU and it wasn’t SUU, it was simply the wrong thing at the wrong time. We prayed and asked God for help to know what the best thing was for our future family. It finally registered to Taylor and me that there isn’t just one way to succeeding in life.
The prophet Gordon B. Hinckley gave a famous speech for young adults where he encouraged them to seek an education. As returned missionaries, Taylor and I have reflected on his message over and over again. It felt as if the prophet, the society we live in, and all of our friends and family were telling us that college was the only way to make it in life. However, after some reevaluation, prayer, and study, we discovered that that wasn’t the message President Gordon B. Hinckley had been giving after all. He said,
You have a mandate from the Lord to educate your minds and your hearts and your hands…The Lord wants you to train your minds and hands to become an influence for good as you go forward with your lives. And as you do so and as you perform honorably and with excellence, you will bring honor to the Church, for you will be regarded as a man or woman of integrity and ability and conscientious workmanship…The Lord wants you to educate your minds and hands, whatever your chosen field. Whether it be repairing refrigerators or the work of a skilled surgeon, you must train yourselves. Seek for the best schooling available. Become a workman of integrity in the world that lies ahead of you.6
Taylor and I discovered, more on my part, that the prophet was encouraging us to learn a skill, or trade, that will be valuable to make a living. He doesn’t care if we attend BYU, SUU, or a trade school. He doesn’t care if it’s being an apprentice for an electrician, or working for a construction company where they teach you how to bid jobs and build a company. Receiving an education can come in many different ways, but do it the right way. He was saying to do it the way that makes you happy, fulfilled, and moving in the direction that you want your life to be going. Taylor taught me bravery and courage in being who he really was. He’s an amazingly hard worker who has so many skills and talents. Taylor taught me that success isn’t found down one single road, it’s found where you create it. It’s found where you have the faith to venture off the “what everyone else is doing” road and chase your dreams.
Once we made the decision for Taylor to take a break from college, it seemed like so many doors started opening up. Taylor had a job offered to him in Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. We had to make some big decisions on where we wanted to take our little family, where we wanted to end up, and what kind of a career Taylor wanted to be in.
Looking back we recognize that it all starts with the faith to decide that something is either worth all the pain and suffering, or it’s not. Once we realized that we shouldn’t just suffer through college for four years when it makes us miserable, but that we have the power to change things now. That’s when things changed. That’s when we gained momentum. We decided to act. However, that faith lead us to situations that required more faith than the previous situation. Each new challenge required a new level of faith.
We prayed and prayed and moved forward. I went to the temple and would ask God why so many different blessings were being poured down on us, we couldn’t really tell what the right thing to do was. I sat in an open area in the temple and opened the scriptures randomly. It opened to Doctrine and Covenants 75:25-27 which reads,
Wherefore, I, the Lord, give unto you this commandment, that ye obtain places for your families, inasmuch as your brethren are willing to open their hearts. And let all such as can obtain places for their families, and support of the church for them, not fail to go into the world, whether to the east or to the west, or to the north, or to the south. Let them ask and they shall receive, knock and it shall be opened unto them, and be known from on high, even by the Comforter, whither they shall go.
A few days before reading this scripture I had a professor that gave me some advice about big decisions. He said, “Most big decisions, regarding jobs specifically, only have three options. They are location, pay, and how awesome the job is. However, for most people, you only get to choose two out of three. Choose wisely.”
Taylor and I realized that location and pay were probably our two most important factors. We needed to be able to take care of our new baby, but Taylor also is an avid hunter. It’s important for him to be able to go outside, hunt, fish, and have a beautiful place around him. In Colorado, where Taylor grew up, was where he longed to be since the day he left. However, just like the scripture said, we could only go somewhere where our “brethren were willing to open their hearts” (a.k.a. job opening).
We went home for Christmas break to Colorado and I found multiple houses to look at. Taylor didn’t understand why we were looking at houses if he didn’t even have a job, but I knew that we’d be moving down sometime soon. I have perfect faith in Taylor’s ability (and God’s ability) to find a job wherever he wants. We found a house we really loved, but we knew that it would probably be gone by the time that we were able to move down.
Taylor began a new job once we got home from Christmas break now that he could work more hours and wasn’t attending school. A day into his new job he got a phone call from his old boss from Colorado. He offered Taylor a job, a way to support a family, and a future in a trade where he could teach him extremely valuable things in construction. This was a little bit faster than we anticipated, but it didn’t matter. We were ready to take it and to move to Colorado.
That day we called the real estate agent and asked her if anyone had submitted an offer on the house we loved the most out there. There was a family planning on submitting an offer two days from that time. We submitted ours that night and signed on the house.
Talk about big decisions! We ended college, started working full-time, have a son coming in less than a month, started a new job in Colorado, are moving soon, and bought a house!
Now we have all new problems and concerns. The house has to be painted before we close in the middle of February and the siding has to be replaced. Taylor moved out today to go work on the house while working his new job.
In the meanwhile, I am here in Cedar City until I have the baby. I am in the 37th week of pregnancy and have weekly checkups with my doctor. It’s not wise to travel right now. He could come any time after this week. For the next month, Taylor and I are separated while he fixes the house and I prepare for labor. I am going to pack as much as I can and call Taylor the moment I am going into labor. He’s currently about 5 1/2 hours away, but I have undoubting faith that somehow we will be together during my entire delivery and I don’t have to be afraid.
Last night we listened to the worldwide broadcast for young adults by President Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet. The topic was about making big decisions. President Uchtdorf explained that if we take care of the “little things”, or everyday things, then God will take care of the “big things”. In other words, if we read our scriptures daily, say our prayers, attend church meetings, etc., then the big things will work out on their own.
Taylor and I have seen that in these past few months. I’m so thankful that we read our scriptures, pray, attend church, attend the temple, and pay our tithing. I don’t know how we would have everything we do without God at our side. We have an entire room full of clothes, toys, books, a crib, car seat, pack and play, etc., for our son. We don’t need anything else for him, in fact, we have too much. We are giving away some of our gifts to friends or family that are having babies and have less than we do.
How did we afford all of that while attending college and working part-time? How are we affording to have a baby and pay for all the medical bills?
How are we affording to buy a house and move to Colorado?
How are we sure we are on the right path?
Additionally, from the broadcast last night by President Uchtdorf, he quoted from Steve Jobs, ” You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future”. Looking back we can see that it was only through Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and their constant blessings that we are where we are. We aren’t pros at making big decisions, but we can say that our faith is steadily increasing. We aren’t afriad to make big decisions because we know that God is with us.
He is blessing us beyond our ability to handle it all. It reminds me of a scripture in the Bible that teaches about tithing. It reads,
“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”
In this scripture, you can replace “all the tithes” with “all the little things” as well. If we bring all the little things to God and sacrifice our time and our hearts to Him, then He will pour out a blessing so great that there won’t be “room enough to receive it”.
God has proved Himself to us and we are forever grateful. We are grateful that we didn’t wait until we had everything to start our family. We are grateful that we had faith to act, move, and find out the right path for us. We are forever grateful for God’s infinite grace and love that constantly carries us from day to day.