I am a forty-eight year old wife and mother and a former school teacher. I enjoy reading, logic games, spending time with my family and volunteering in my daughters’ school. I have two interrelated stories that demonstrate how I know that God is aware of me and loves me, and that He answers our prayers.
In the mid nineteen eighties I served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Belgium and France. The President of the Belgium Brussels Mission at that time was G. Perrin Walker, an attorney from Tacoma, Washington. In 1992, I moved from Virginia to Washington state. In 1993, I met the man who is now my husband and we were married in 1994. We were married in the Seattle, Washington Temple, and my former mission president and his wife were able to join us there. Both my husband and I were looking forward to having a family and hoped to have four children, ideally, two boys and two girls. In 2002, when our third daughter was seventeen months old, we learned that we were expecting another baby. We were thrilled since I had just turned forty-one and we were eager to have our fourth child before I got much older.
The early part of the pregnancy went smoothly and the baby seemed to be developing normally. Then at nineteen weeks we learned that the fetus had died. It was a baby boy with trisomy 18, a chromosomal abnormality. After delivering the baby our doctor strongly suggested that we not have another child. My initial feeling was that I didn’t want to risk going through that experience again.
However, within a few weeks I realized I still longed for another baby and my husband felt very much the same. We soon began trying to conceive but as the months passed without any success we began to worry that my age was making it unlikely. Our daughters were so disappointed that we had lost their baby brother and they prayed each night that Heavenly Father would send a baby boy to our family. My husband and I offered similar prayers. Not only did we pray about it, but we fasted on several occasions to be blessed with another child.
After months of disappointment I began to consider that the Lord didn’t intend for us to have another baby and started to ask the Lord if it was His will that we have another child or if I should stop focusing on that and put all my energy into caring for the children I already had. I tried to feel some response in my heart to these prayers but I really didn’t feel that I was receiving an impression either way. One particular weekend I chose to fast about this issue. As I fasted, I prayed fervently that I would feel an assurance either that we should continue trying to conceive, or that I should try to lay aside my hope for another child. In spite of the effort I expended I did not feel that I was any closer to an answer to my prayer. I went to Church Sunday morning feeling very frustrated and questioning my ability to feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
During the worship service my toddler became disruptive and I got up to take her out of the chapel. As we walked through the back of the chapel I saw my former mission president sitting in the congregation. Though we live only about forty minutes away from one another, we had only seen one another a handful of times since returning from Europe. He was (and is) serving as an Area Authority for the church in addition to his work as a lawyer so he had very little free time. When I asked what he was doing there he told me that I had been very much on his mind recently and he felt he needed to come see me. His wife told me later that day that it was only the second Sunday in a two month period that he had been free from assignments at Church conferences and he chose to spend his free Sunday driving all the way out to see me at Church. It was a wonderful surprise, and I was thrilled to be able to spend time with the two of them.
It was only later that I recognized that this was a response to my fasting and prayer. I could no longer deny that the Lord was aware of me when He had prompted one of his very busy servants to go well out of his way to check on my welfare. I was overcome with feelings of humility and gratitude. Although I still didn’t know if there was another baby in our future, I did know that the Lord was aware of me and I felt surrounded by His love.
Later that year a good friend of ours gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and early the next year a young family with a particularly cute baby girl moved into our ward/congregation. Our family had continued to pray for a baby boy to join our family but as my daughters saw those two baby girls at Church each week they decided it might be fun to have another baby girl. Soon, we began praying that, though we had all hoped to have a baby boy in our family, we would also be happy to welcome a baby girl. Within a few months of beginning these prayers, we learned that our fourth daughter was on the way.
We realized that our Heavenly Father had been answering our prayers all along: we had been asking for a baby boy, and
in His wisdom, He knew that this was not what was best for us, so he answered no; when we asked for a baby girl, His answer was yes.
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