I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this story because I can see that our journey here started long before I realized it. It’s important for me to document it though, so this week I’ll be sharing more about my conversion to the LDS faith and our journey to be sealed in the temple.
When Brady and I were married, we had the hardest time finding someone to officiate our marriage. Since we were not the same religion, we wanted a neutral party but I also wanted a very spiritually-centered ceremony. We had a major case of bad luck that our top SIX choices were not available the weekend of our wedding. We pretty much had to accept who was available as our wedding was rapidly approaching. We appreciated the person who married us, but our ceremony just did not have the meaning behind it that I wanted. As we drove away from our wedding reception that night, I mentioned it to Brady. “Something was missing,” I said and he agreed. We both decided we’d have our marriage blessed, a vow renewal of sorts, on our 5th anniversary, which seemed forever away.
Over the next few years, I would give birth to two beautiful babies, move a couple of times, try out a slew of new churches in our area and have about a zillion fight-and-make-ups with the one I loved. The years went by at a rapid pace, filled with so many adventures and more stories than this blog could ever hold. I see so many ways God was working in our lives. He was teaching us so much and was taking such good care of us.
On our 4th anniversary, Brady and I discussed the possibility of moving out of our comfy and cozy little home in the suburbs of St. George. This was the first the conversation had really been brought up, but I felt the Lord urging us to change our life. We had originally agreed not to move out of our rental until the possibility of buying a house was an option, but I had a nagging feeling we needed a change. Moving seemed like the first step. We started driving around different places around town that we liked and praying that we would be lead to the right place. After several weeks of keeping our eye out, we found a cozy little home downtown, straight out of the 60’s. It was in our price range, had a pool in the backyard and had SO much character. I walked through with a little apprehension, but thought I could see us here. The backyard had a lot of room for playing and parties and I was pretty much sold. We put in an application and decided we would see how things worked out. We were getting excited, but reminded ourselves that if it was meant to be, it will be. We met the landlord who seemed really excited about us. The house needed work and we were happy to do it. They had been looking for a young family just like us, they said.
A few days turned into over a week and we hadn’t heard about the house. We were so sure we were going to get it, but when we called to check up on it, they told us they had decided to rent it out to the owner’s nephew instead. We were pretty bummed to say the least. It seemed like the perfect house for the new life we were hoping to start. I couldn’t help but be disappointed, but tried diligently to practice faith and patience. After a lot of praying, I felt strongly that the Lord had something else for us in mind and that we should wait it out. Luckily, we were very happy in our current home and I questioned moving at all.
That summer on a trip to California, I quickly read Heaven is Here, which I had been gifted for Mother’s Day. I couldn’t put it down. I had followed Nie Nie’s blog for years, but I found something in her book that I hadn’t before. Her faith through her story was so beautiful and was her only comfort in the worst of her days. I admired this so much and was so completely touched. When I finished reading that book, this book fell into my lap. It was a little heavier on the LDS gospel, but since I had just finished Nie Nie’s book, I knew a little more about it and wasn’t turned off by it’s nature. In fact, I was down right intrigued. Guide Me To Eternity is a story of a young mother of 6 children that loses her husband in an accident. Through her faith she has some amazing experiences and realizes that her love reaches through the veil of heaven. Again, I found the commonality that her faith was the only comfort to her in the worst days of her life. I had such an appreciation for the LDS gospel that I had never known before. I was so happy for these women I was reading about that they had it.
We returned home that weekend. After sunday brunch with the family, as we were heading back home, we passed a house with a fresh new FOR RENT sign in the yard. We had driven past this area a hundred times before, so I knew it was newly available. We decided to call on it, even though we had come to the conclusion to stay put in our current house. The landlord immediately picked up and told us he lived across the street and could show it to us right now. We decided to take a quick look. It was nicer than the house we had looked at before. Much more my style. It was on the exact same street as the other house, just a few blocks down. I liked the location of this house even better. I had loved this neighborhood since I was young. When I walked into the house, I knew. This was it. Our house. This was the place my soul had been searching for. The landlord said we were just the type of family they wanted in the house and if we wanted it, he would draw up some papers that day. We signed the lease later that week. The day we signed the papers, as we sat out on our new porch, we realized the mormon church that was strategically placed just beyond our backyard fence. I couldn’t help but feel like God was smirking a bit with that one.
In the weeks before our moving date, as Brady and I were on a lovers getaway to California, my step-brother lost his wife. She was a young mother of 5 children under 5, her youngest being 7 month old twins boys. It was so unimaginably devastating. I had never felt a loss like this one before. For weeks, I wept as I rocked my sweet babies to sleep. It just seemed so horrible to be able to survive such a tremendous loss. I couldn’t stop thinking about Michael and what he must be feeling. I painstakingly checked his blog and facebook each day for new updates. He and Sharla had been sealed in the LDS temple and were active members. In this unfathomable time, his only comfort was having an eternal marriage with the one he loved. I had read about this all summer, and now I could see it so close I could almost taste it. I was so grateful for Michael – just like the women in my books – that he had the knowledge and comfort he had to get him through. If anything like this ever happened to me, I thought, I hope I would have this comfort.
The next week, we moved in to our new home. It was everything I had dreamed of. A cozy little grandma house, oozing with charm. A big backyard for my girls to run around in and neighbors smiling and waving as they walked by. We had cookies delivered and help unloading the furniture. The warmest welcome to a neighborhood I had ever experienced. I thought this kind of place only existed in movies. I was so overwhelmed with the welcoming. I wanted to get to know the neighbors, to get involved with our new community. When someone invited us to church, it just seemed right to say YES. We headed to that very church in our backyard that first Sunday and haven’t been the same since.
photo credit: Speak Now Photography