My name is Anna and I am a mother, wife, sister, aunt, and friend. I’ve been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints my whole life, yet I’ve had to discover and develop a faith of my own to make it through the challenging times in life and know that God is really there hearing my prayers.
My family has experienced a lot of heart-ache, growth and change that has made me search myself to know who I really am and what is most important to me. I grew up really focused on academics and thought I wanted to be a traveling career woman. I am a task-oriented person who is recovering from being a compulsive type-A personality. I met my wonderful husband in college, and three years after our marriage we had a beautiful little boy and two years later a little girl, changing my view of what is really important in life for the better.
When our son Spencer was 3 years old, he became inexplicably very ill and went through three days of hospitalization trying to figure out what was wrong. It was terrifying as we went through various tests and doctors told us about extremely high white blood cell counts and potential causes like Leukemia. We finally discovered that my son had had the worst level of vesicoureteral reflux—a widening of the ureters causing a “backwash” of urine and bacteria causing serious kidney infections and other bladder problems.
In Spencer’s urinary reflux health issues, there has not been a clear breakthrough for a cure but I’ve seen steady progress, and I see how he has received comfort and strength in small ways. His bladder is improving in that he feels like he needs to use the bathroom, which he did not sense before and he adheres to his potty break schedule every three hours with very few complaints even when it interrupts his own agenda. A few adults have told me that Spencer has told them about his surgery on his own in a way that expresses his strong faith that he will get better. He hears us pray for him as a family and afterward gives us big hugs, saying in a sincere way that melts my heart, “Thank you, I love you.” Prayer provides that comforting assurance that someone is listening and truly does care for us.
All this happened when we lived far away from family while my husband was in graduate school in New York. It was so reassuring to have a network of support through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as others helped us through the difficult times.
When Spencer’s health became stable I enjoyed taking my kids to the park and enjoyed the wide spectrum of people of all race, religion, political, and cultural backgrounds. Somehow being at the park and having children is the great uniting force for strangers. Children’s play areas have been the best place to meet new people and have interesting discussions. For example, when discussing Spencer’s recent surgery, I often found myself explaining how we pray for a good outcome and how those prayers help Spencer be at peace. One woman sincerely asked me, “Do you really think someone is listening and your prayers are heard?” And I was able to answer with a resounding, “Yes.”
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Anna, I loved this essay. The very last lines said it all, “Do you really think someone is listening and your prayers are heard?”
That’s been my experience as well.
Beautiful. I love that you were able to answer with a resounding “yes.” Me too. What a great way to share your testimony with those around you.
This was marvelous. Thank you.