Leaving It All in His Hands
By Lauren Madsen
Maybe this is it, I thought.
As I sat in my living room, my mind replayed the conversation my fellow kindergarten teacher and I had about her only child. She and her husband had wanted more children. They plead with God to give them a sibling for their son, but in the end they remained a family of three. Over the years she made peace with it as she continued to nurture her child and her hundreds of students.
Maybe she has been placed in my life to help guide me through what is coming.
I thought about the months of praying and fasting. I thought about negative test after negative test. Heaven knew how much we wanted another baby. Over time I noticed with each prayer I offered, I would re-word my plea, thinking maybe I wasn’t asking quite right. As if the way I asked would make a difference. As if I could convince God what I was seeking was exactly what I needed.
I took a deep breath. Maybe this is it.
I slid out of the chair and onto the floor to offer a completely honest prayer: “Heavenly Father, I do want another baby. Nothing would make me happier than to give Sydney a sibling. I want to provide another spirit with a good home, with love and the gospel. But I understand that Thou has a plan for our little family. Maybe that plan is to stay little. If that is Thy will for our family, I am putting my trust in Thee. But I will need help to accept that plan. If that is Thy will, please give me peace.”
It is difficult to describe the feeling that followed. I realized I had been carrying the heavy weight of my desires combined with what I felt was silence from heaven. But all that was gone now. I felt that weight lifted. My heart that had been frozen with both fear and wanting was now warming with relief and hope, like a winter frost surrendering to the spring sun’s bright rays. And while I knew that Heavenly Father truly cared about my desires for my family, in that moment I could say for certain that I also cared very much about His. No matter what happened next, my heart was faith-filled, willing and ready.
I can't say exactly how much time passed between that prayer and the time we found out we were expecting again. I don’t know why we were given the opportunity to be parents three more times, while other couples continue to endure with empty arms. Sometimes God chooses to intervene here in this fallen world, and other times He doesn't. At least not in the way we think.
When I chose to let go of the way I thought things should be, I opened myself up to other possibilities. It was a new beginning that shaped the days, months and years ahead. The feelings I had that day of submission and trust have sustained me through job loss, miscarriages, financial struggles, chronic headaches, and the deaths of beloved family members and friends. They carried me as I watched helplessly through a care center window as my grandma grew weaker and weaker after a fall. Covid restrictions prevented visitors and I again had to leave it in His hands. My family’s desires for her to remain here on earth with us were not granted. And yet, I have tried to live the advice Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin received from his mother: “Come what may, and love it.”
How grateful I am for that moment in my life when I decided to align my will with God’s. For me alignment with Him means: Believing He knows my potential and what it will take for me to become the best version of myself. Knowing He will be with me through every high and low and all the in-between. Trusting Him when the desired blessing comes, and also when it doesn’t. Recognizing opportunities for spiritual stretching position me to grow in ways I couldn’t have otherwise.
That step toward fuller trust has brought peace and joy to my life, even in the middle of hardship and heartache. Elder Richard G. Scott taught: “Please learn that as you wrestle with a challenge and feel sadness because of it, you can simultaneously have peace and rejoicing. Yes, pain, disappointment, frustration, and anguish can be temporary scenes played out on the stage of life. Behind them there can be a background of peace and the positive assurance that a loving Father will keep His promises.”
And what are some of those promises? All things shall give us experience and be for our good. Our adversity and afflictions will be but a small moment. Tears shall be wiped away and eventually there will be no more sorrow or pain. He will direct our paths and He will not leave us comfortless.
Elder Scott also reminded us of why Heavenly Father does what He does: “The Lord’s plan is to exalt you to live with Him and be greatly blessed. . . He is preparing you to be a god.” It takes work to develop a willing mind and heart to believe, know, trust, and recognize. But it's worth it, because when you hand it all over to the One who created you, knows you, loves you and sees the extraordinary being you are and the one you can become, your life will change forever. He is in it with you now, He will be in it with you always. And He knows exactly what he's doing.