My husband told me I was not allowed to cry but he will sorely disappointed.
Good afternoon, I feel very nervous but very unequal to this task, I’m very humbled at the prospect of standing here at this particular pulpit where I know so many wonderful church leaders have stood. But I’m grateful for the opportunity to share some of the things that have been on my mind recently and that are very dear to my heart.
Today is a special day for me. It is my wedding anniversary. I’m very blessed to be married to this man sitting up here with me for 8 years today. And since I’ve been asked to share a piece of this special day with you, I thought I would start out by telling you a little bit about him, and about how we met cause the story behind our meeting is what’s going to lead me to the topic I’ve chosen to share today.
We met in October 2009. I’ve just finished law school a couple years before this and has come back to Salt Lake and was working as an associate attorney downtown. I was having a very difficult time meeting nice young men to date. I was working as a personal injury attorney and criminal defense attorney at the time. And as you can imagine that’s not really very conducive to meeting nice young men to date. So because I had just turned 31, I thought that my chances are getting smaller and smaller by the minute.
You guys don’t know how lucky you are to be here at LDS Business College, where you are surrounded by people that have the same standards as you. It’s a wonderful thing.
Out of desperation at that time, I turned to some online dating sites…LDS sites mind you. But, just because they were LDS dating sites didn’t necessarily mean that everyone who had a profile was living the right lifestyle. I met some very interesting people, some very decent people, some who I still consider to be good friends. And I met some very “indecent” people. Since I don’t want to say anything negative things, we’ll just leave it there.
On a Saturday morning during this particular difficult period of my life, I was running errands and ended up in what I thought was a minor car accident. It turns out that the damage to the cars was minor, but the damage to my spine was not. Now, sadly the accident was my own fault, so there wasn’t anyone I could sue to make me feel better, at least financially, it was my own fault. But I ended up with a herniated disc in my neck. This disc had slipped out of place and was pinching my spinal cord and causing a lot of numbness and pain in the left side of my body. I ended up in the ER a few days later getting an MRI and some pain relief.
I was in a lot of pain at the time and my family can tell you how awful it was. During the MRI I had about 30 minutes to do nothing but stay still and breathe, that’s all I was allow to do during that time. And if any of you have been in extremely amount of pain you know how hard is to hold still, so it was very difficult in that machine. So I decided to take call on my Heavenly Father for some help. We often call on our Father in Heaven when we are experiencing pain or need a little extra boost, so I figure this was as good a time as any to pray.
I closed my eyes and uttered one of the shortest, but most heart-felt prayers in my entire life. I asked to strength to get through the procedure, and then I asked if He could, to give me something to help me feel happy again. Just one little thing to help me smile. And that was it, that was all I asked for. I waited out the rest of the procedure, got some medication, a lot of very heavy medication, and went home.
The next day, I had a wonderful aunt who lived up the street from me call to check on me. And during the conversation she asked if I wanted to go out with someone that she knew…he was the son of her mother’s hairdresser, now I’ll give you just a minute to figure that out in your mind. My first reaction was “NO!” My dating history at that point has not been the greatest and the last thing I wanted it was to go out in another date especially in my condition at that point. By the end of our conversation, I felt prompted to change my mind. And so I agreed to go out with him and only with the condition that he’d wait until I was feeling better cause at this point I knew that surgery was probably in the horizon to fix my spine, and I wasn’t feeling up to start anything before then.
Unfortunately, well fortunately Brian did not agree to those terms. He called me the very next morning and asked for a time that we could work out to meet. I figured oh well, I’ll go ahead and meet him and then I can focus on healing and move on from there. So we agreed to meet a few days after that. Unfortunately the day that we were supposed to meet and go out, it was not a good day for me. I was so sick from all the medications and the pain I was in, that I had to call him and asked him to postpone. He was very kind, and very patient and agreed to wait a few more days before we could meet, so I figured we would meet the next day.
So the next day, he’s not a patient man if you can tell, I had mustered up the strength to take shower and planning on lying down for a nap when there was a knock at my door. Now I figured it was my aunt that lived down the street coming to check on me, so I didn’t worry about the fact that I had wet hair, no make-up on, and was dressed in my sweatpants. When I opened the door, this incredibly man was standing there with a bouquet of balloons, a get-well card, a bag of chocolate, and a box of Tylenol. It still overwhelms me.
We hadn’t even met, and already he was treating me better than any other person I had gone out. He brought these things by to let me know that he was thinking about me and hoped that I would feel better soon so that we could meet properly and get to know each another. It was definitely something that made me feel happy and made me smile.
I immediately knew that there was something to this person, and I couldn’t wait to get to know him better. Then I looked down at myself and realized what I looked like, and I thought oh no! He is not coming back. But he did come back and we had our first date a couple days after that and had our second date planned within the first 10 minutes of our first date. And the rest is in the books.
We had a wonderful time getting to know each other and dating, and got married in May 22, 2010. And now we have a very rambunctious 6 year-old boy named Tyler and I am very blessed to get to be the step-mom to his 13-year-old son, Nate, who is a wonderful young man. I’m very grateful for my family.
Now, I shared the story of how Brian and I met with you to demonstrate the incredible power of prayer. That simple and humble prayer that I said in the MRI machine brought about the most incredible and miraculous blessings for me. That small prayer changed my life. Within one week of that prayer, I met the love of my life and eternal companion, and from there I was able to start my family. I am so grateful.
In the October 2016 General Conference, Sister Carol McConkie said, “Prayer is essential to developing faith. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father, and we have the opportunity to enjoy personal communion with Him when we pray ‘with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ’” (“The Soul’s Sincere Desire,” General Conference, October 2010).
Further, we must then act in accordance with the answers we receive by the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Sister McConkie went on to describe that prayer involves all three members of the Godhead, something that I haven’t really thought about before I heard that talk. But we pray TO our Heavenly Father, IN the name of Jesus Christ, and receive answers to those prayers THROUGH the Holy Ghost.
We pray TO our Heavenly Father because HE is the one who has the power and ability to grant us our most sincere desires. On the topic of prayer, the Bible Dictionary states that “As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, that He is our Father, and we are His children), prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings” (Bible dictionary, “prayer”).
Building a relationship with our Heavenly Father begins with prayer and, like any meaningful relationship, requires sincere effort. Whether our prayers are said out loud or conveyed silently through the mind and heart, they present opportunities for us to communicate directly with our divine Creator. He hears and answers our prayers, sometimes in very obvious ways and sometimes through impressions, promptings, and feelings of peace. And sometimes he delivers nice-looking young men to your porch bearing gifts. Our prayers become much more meaningful when our relationship with our Father in Heaven develops.
I am very grateful that my parents are here today and my in-laws. I am lucky that we are able to live close to them and that we have a strong relationships with one another. I talk to one or both of my parents every single day. I don’t think a day that goes by that I don’t speak to at least one of them. Now that I am a mother, I understand what it means to want to communicate with your child as often as possible. I understand what it means to love your child and want to know that they are ok.
I know that our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can imagine. He is our Father, He created us individually in his image. And He allowed us to come to earth, to gain a body and experience so that we can become part of his eternal plan of salvation and continue his work here on earth. I believe he aches as a parent would ache when there’s no communication. The effort of communicating with Him must be on our part and it is absolutely necessary for us. He has proclaimed that he will always be near and will answer our prayers, we simply have to pray.
We pray IN the name of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our advocate. He will be the one to stand by us, to defend us when necessary, and to plead our cause when it is our turn to stand before our Father in Heaven.
Over the years I’ve drafted a lot of legal documents both as a paralegal and as a practicing attorney. The first part of every legal document introduces the party who is filing the document, followed by the fact that he is doing it “by and through” his representative or his attorney of record.
Attorneys communicate with the courts and represent their clients’ interests and desires to the court in the host of the court will side with their client. Our Savior acts very much in the same way. We seek answers and things from our Heavenly Father, and we do so through our representative in the name of Jesus Christ.
Sister McConkie said, quote, “This representative suffered, bled, and died to glorify His Father, and His merciful petition on our behalf opens the way for each of us to obtain peace in this life and everlasting life in the world to come. He does not want us to suffer longer or endure more trials than needed. He does want us to turn to Him and allow Him to ease our burdens, to heal our hearts, and to cleanse our souls through His purifying power.”
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find an incredible comfort in knowing that my sins have already been atoned for, they’ve already been washed away, I simply have to repent but I will have that advocate to argue on my behalf when it’s time to face my Heavenly Father. I am grateful for being able to pray in his sacred name and to use him as my advocate when the time comes to pray.
Finally, Sister McConkie said that we pray and receive answers through the power of the Holy Ghost. When we pray with faith, the Holy Ghost can guide our thoughts so that our words harmonize with the will of God.
She said, “It is not only important that we shall know how to pray, but it is equally important that we shall know how to receive the answer to our prayer, to be discerning, to be alert, to be able to see with clear vision and understand with clear intention God’s will and purpose concerning us.”
And then in Doctrine and Covenants Section 9, verses 8-9 the Lord is speaking to Oliver Cowdery and said “But behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong.”
We must be prepared to receive answers to our prayers through the still small voice of the Holy Ghost and to be in tune with the Holy Ghost enough to recognize which answers we are receiving. Sometimes we do not get the answers we want to our heartful prayers. Sometimes we have to wait a very long time to receive the blessings we’ve been seeking. But we have to be prepared to submit ourselves to the will of our Father in Heaven when we seek these answers to our prayers.
Jesus Christ was the perfect example of this when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was in agony, sweating as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground. He prayed saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). He was truly willing to accept our Heavenly Father’s answer to his prayer, no matter the outcome was.
The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant us but are made conditional on our asking for them. This can be the most difficult part of praying. Do we really pray for His will to be done? Are we really willing to graciously accept answers when they are not what we want?
I once received an answer to a prayer that I didn’t want. After I had received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, I was working as a paralegal, and I loved my job. I didn’t have any debt from school, I thought my schooling was finished, I had my degree and I was working a great job and I was happy. You guys will get there, I promise. I just wanted to continue.
My boss at the time encouraged me to prepare for the LSAT and start looking into law school applications. I told him he was crazy. It was not something I was going to do. But he continued to bug me about it for quite a while. So after a couple of years of fighting with him, we had good relationship so we could fight about a lot of things.
I decided to go ahead and take the LSAT, I figured I wouldn’t get a good enough score to move forward and the whole conversation with just end there. So I took it and I got my score back and thought, “oh no.” It was a good enough score to get in at least few schools, so then I though “oh boy.” So then it was time to look into the application process. And I thought, “oh well I’ll fill these out but no school is going to take me, I’m not smart enough or capable enough to handle law school,” and the conversation would end there. Well I got into a few schools and really thought, “oh no! Now I have to make a decision.”
Keep in mind, this was not something I wanted. It was never a desire of mine to go to law school, to practice law, I loved being a paralegal, it was such a great job. So I didn’t want to attend law school, I didn’t wanna practice law, I didn’t wanna spend three years – another three years – in school, in a very hard school. I didn’t want to borrow money to pay for these three additional years. I didn’t want to move away. I just wanted to continue in life the way I was. But I knew I needed to be prayerful when I made the decision.
My patriarchal blessing reminds me that when making big decisions in life to seek the guidance of the spirit as well as my parents. So I went to my parents, and I asked my dad for a priesthood blessing, still hoping the answer would be of course, that I didn’t have to go. Before the blessing I prayed for the ability to understand what that answer would be, to recognize the answer, and I knew that whatever answer I got, I made the promise that whatever answer was, I would do it.
As soon as my dad put his hands on my head, I received an impression, it was that fast. I won’t go into the details of that impression for the sake of time, but there was no doubt in my mind that I had received an answer to my prayer. I had to go to law school. So when my dad finished his blessing, I looked up at my mom with tear-filled eyes (much like they are now) and I said, “I guess I’m going.” And then she looked back at me and I think that she might have been more devastated than I was, that I had to go to law school.
Looking back I think it’s funny that the answer I DIDN’T want came very quickly when the answer to a prayer that I had been praying for, for a very long time took well over a decade to get. I do know that our Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.
Receiving an answer to a prayer that I didn’t want was very hard. I prayed for a long time to understand the reason why that was His answer. I never asked Heavenly Father to change his mind or to change his answer….but I did pray to know why. And eventually that answer came as well.
Now I know why I had to do it, but at the time I didn’t. I went completely on faith knowing that it was what my Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I asked for an answer to a prayer and I got it. From there it was my responsibility to accept that answer that I was given and abide by it.
It was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, it was the hardest three years of my life but it was also the best three years of my life at that point. I’m grateful for that experience looking back. I am grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who knows me better than I know myself. One who knows my potential better than I do, and that knows what is best for me. I’m grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost and for the ability to receive answers to prayers through the Holy Ghost. I almost didn’t meet Brian. He was a direct answer to a prayer, and I’m grateful for the prompting of the Holy Ghost for me to change my mind, because my aunt was perfectly ready to line me up with someone else if I said not. But I’m grateful that I changed my mind, that I was prompted to change my mind. and agree to go out with him. I know I wouldn’t have done that on my own.
I’m grateful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost when I was trying to decide my future with respect of schooling. I know that the Spirit knew I would need a very clear and direct answer in order to accept it.
Prayer is such an incredible tool. Without it there is no way to communicate with our Father in Heaven directly. I know he hears every single prayer that is uttered. I don’t know how, but He does. He’s answered every single one of my prayers when I needed an answer, sometimes it took longer than others but He’s answered every single prayer. He’s blessed me in ways I still can’t believe.
I encourage you all to fill your days with prayer. Don’t just pray morning and night, or when it’s time to have a meal, be in communication with our Heavenly Father constantly. Fill your thoughts with prayer. When you’re walking to devotional, have a prayer in your heart that you will feel the spirit, that you will learn something about yourself. When you are heading to class in the ever so crowded elevators, that we all love, say a silent prayer in your heart that the things that you studied and prepared for class will be brought to mind, and you’ll be to understand and apply the things that you’ve learned.
When your instructors ask for volunteers to pray in the classroom, take advantage and take the opportunity to communicate with your Heavenly Father because is a privilege to do so. Make a conscious effort to take an extra few minutes each morning to thank Heavenly Father for that new day, for the opportunities that lie ahead. I know how busy mornings can be, especially when you have more than just yourself to get out the door. But it’s so important that we take a few minutes to begin our day by communicating with our Father in Heaven.
He loves us, He loves you, please remember how much He loves you, He wants to hear from you. I know he loves me. And I know He answers my prayers. I testify that my life would be so very different if I didn’t pray.
I am grateful to work in a place where we begin classes and meetings with prayer, that we are able to invite the Spirit into everything that we do, and ask him to guide everything that we do. I’m grateful to be a teacher, I’m grateful that not only I’m allowed to but I’m encouraged to discuss Gospel principles in the classroom.
I’m grateful for my family. I don’t think anyone can doubt that I love my family. I’ very blessed, I can talk about them for days but don’t worry, I won’t. Just know how much I love and admire them. My parents, my in-laws, my siblings and their spouses, my wonderful husband and my sons. My heart is very full, and my testimony of this Gospel is so strong. I want you all to know that I have a testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ, I’m grateful for him, for his atoning sacrifice, for his teachings and for his example. I’m grateful that I get to use his name when I pray. And I’m grateful for my testimony of prayer, it is something very dear to me. And I’m grateful that I could share that testimony with you today, and I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.