Last Sunday, my husband and I were asked to speak in church. The bishop asked that we share some experiences in our lives that had built our testimonies. I thought right away of three amazing miracles in my life that I had to share. They are in order of sequence: meeting my husband, having my son, and surviving to enjoy them both — these have been my greatest blessings. All of them were a result of service. In fact, every major blessing in my life can be directly tied to service. Here’s my story.
Meeting My Husband
My husband and I met in a Young Single Adult (YSA) Ward. But what he didn’t know is that the Lord carefully crafted that day. To set the scene, I must give you a little back story. I had a terrible fear of commitment. I’d already witnessed my brother endure a terrible divorce, and the idea of marriage to the wrong person really scared me.
So, a year before I met my husband, I was being set apart for the Institute Council and the Lord surprised me by telling me that I was going to meet the man he had in mind for me in the next year. (I needed a full year to stop freaking out!) The Lord had also told me in my patriarchal blessing to take every chance for service because the greatest blessings would come to me through service.
Which leads me to the Sunday before Hubby and I met, when my friend called me up and asked me to cover her Sunday School class. She had to be out of town for something. It was the one and only time I ever taught in that ward — and it was the one Sunday Hubby decided to leave his regular ward and check out the local YSA Ward. We wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t been teaching.
Gaining a Testimony of Joseph Smith
I still remember that the topic that day was about Joseph Smith. It was during preparation for that lesson that I gained a testimony that he was a prophet of God. I saw him in a different light and learned to truly love him. It was a wonderful spiritual experience and I felt closer to God than ever. After my lesson, three guys came up to me and asked me out. Hubby wasn’t one of them. And I’m glad, because I was SO mad at those guys for asking me out.
Here I had shone a light on the key figure in the Restoration, an event that changed the world. I had shared my heart to feed their souls. And all they could think of was a date?! Yes. I was mad!
Looking back, I was probably a little hard on them, because that’s the kind of girl I’d love for my son to find one day. But honestly, people, don’t ask her out right after the lesson! Hubby waited a week and I’m so glad he did. At that point, I was in a much better frame of mind to think of dating.
Service brought another amazing gift into my life. My son was my miracle baby. Hubby and I had been married for about a year when we got pregnant with our first child. I miscarried at 10 weeks. That time was a major trial for me. We ended up having 3 miscarriages in all and we saw a specialist for several years. Eventually she told me that I needed IVF or I’d never get pregnant successfully. But I had a coworker who had done IVF unsuccessfully seven times. They had mortgaged everything they had with nothing to show for it.
I knew that if I went down the IVF path that I would be just like her. I knew that once I started, my determination could easily ruin our relationship and finances. I couldn’t be objective and I needed guidance before we went down that road, so we went to our bishop for a blessing.
Our bishop was truly an inspired man of God. In the blessing, the Lord told me that I was a determined soul, so he would be very clear. He said God needed our — and if we would serve Him, He would bless us with a baby. Two weeks later, Hubby was called to the branch presidency of the first Young Single Adult Branch in northeast Philadelphia. We were the same age as the members in the Susquehanna Branch and it was so fun to serve with them. I got to be the branch “big sister,” and if we’d had children at that time, we couldn’t have served in that branch since there was no primary.
We made such wonderful friends and had a blast, and I mentally put motherhood on the back burner. We had been serving almost two years when we found out we were expecting.
It was a high-risk pregnancy because of all the miscarriages I’d had, so I had to see my doctor right away. She was in shock. She kept saying “You did this all by yourself!” and I had to remind her I didn’t do anything. It was all the Lord.
Now, before I continue, I need to tell you that I didn’t know at the time that I had a blood clotting disorder that made my pregnancy very dangerous. In fact, it wasn’t until years later that I learned the hormones I had to have daily to maintain the pregnancy could have given me a fatal clot. All I knew at the time was that I felt terrible — so I got another blessing, and the Lord gave me another miracle.
The Lord was very generous in that blessing. He said He appreciated the sacrifice I was making and, since I couldn’t have medication because of the pregnancy, He would be my medicine during that time. He kept His word. Every time I felt sick, I would pray. Sometimes the symptoms were severe. But every time, I felt a warm wash of love and every pain and illness went away within moments.
That time was a beautiful testimony builder that God is deeply involved with every baby born on this earth. There are no accidents with Him. I know we had to wait till it was Heavenly Father’s time for Carter to join us. But when it was time, He made it possible even though I found out years later that I had five separate conditions that should have kept me from motherhood. But nothing is impossible with God. And bringing Carter into our family, He handed me miracles by the fistful.
Every major blessing in my life can be directly tied to service. I’m grateful for the example of faithful parents who taught me by example to serve and trust the Lord. I’m grateful that I get to be my son’s mom and Hubby’s wife. I can’t say I’m easy to live with. I have some chronic health issues. But I know that this life is a unique time in my eternity. I will never again in all eternity know what it’s like to struggle with infertility. I will never again know what it’s like to have fragile health. Both have opened the doors for the Lord to show me His miracles. Without my human weakness, I couldn’t have learned so much about God’s power and love. And it is always through service that God gives me His greatest blessings.
Patty thrives on all things creative. You’ll often find her in the garden pretending she is a suburban farmer. She loves meeting new people, and is devoted to her friends and family. In her heart she is a Midwesterner even though life has moved her all over the country. She believes in “blooming where you’re planted” and has found purpose in every place she has been. She has a deep and abiding love for the Savior and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And she loves editing LDS Blogs because it is a constant spiritual uplift. Not many people can say their job builds their witness of the Savior.