Thursday, September 19, 2013

My 17-year-old daughter had jaw surgery a couple of weeks ago. Major surgery. They basically removed both her upper and lower jaw, moved them around, and reattached them so she could eat without causing herself pain. The surgery took 5 hours.

The recovery has been pretty brutal.

The swelling was bad enough that she couldn't breathe through her nose. She had to suck air in through her clenched teeth. Her puffy cheeks made her head look round, and those airways weren't that great either. When she ate she had to choose between breathing and eating, so she preferred not to eat. The Dr. came in and told her she couldn't leave the hospital until she could drink 300 ml in an 8 hour period. Three hundred ml is about 10 ounces.

She started eating better and was able to go home. Every time she took pain medication it burned her throat and she had more trouble breathing. Eventually she quit taking the pain meds because she chose to face the pain rather than the breathing trouble. Things started to get better until the nausea hit. Then eating once again became too difficult. She would eat a few ounces and then hold her head over a bucket trying not to throw up.

Can you imagine throwing up with your jaw banded together and your nose swollen shut? Scary. She decided she didn't want to eat any more. She had lost 11 pounds at this point. Her clothes were a bit loose. From there she started to get better. She stabilized her weight loss and then even gained some back. Now she's doing pretty well. She can start to chew this week, so that should help. The splint comes off in a couple of weeks.

So why am I writing about this here? Because we could not have gotten through this without faith and prayer. Because my husband holds the Priesthood, he was able to give her several blessings. I did a lot of praying and scripture reading. A lot. After a couple of weeks I was able to go to the temple and feel peace.

I am not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because my parents were members. This is not a habit. I am not a casual member who believes because nothing better has come my way. I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the best way for me to follow Him. I believe the heavens are open--meaning, I believe we can pray to Heavenly Father and he will answer our prayers. I have experienced the hand of God in my life repeatedly. I have prayed and my prayers have been answered in many different ways. When I read The Book of Mormon my spirit sings with the truth of the words. God speaks through prophets. He always has and always will. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints because it holds the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the authority to act in His name on the earth.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Talk the Talk

One of the things I read recently in Brother Christensen's book, Everyday Missionary,  is that we can easily bring gospel words into our conversations. I figure that translates into bringing faith-based topics into conversation. How often do I gloss over what for me is a major motivator for everything I do? The reality of my life is that I pray--a lot. I make prayer based decisions on a regular basis. But do I say that? Not usually. So many gospel centered events happen throughout my day.

So today I was at the chiropractor with my daughter, and he asked how my day was. I told him it was a great day because it was a missionary day, the day I get emails from my daughter who is serving a mission.

He responded that he would have an email waiting for him from his missionary daughter:) Too funny. I didn't share the gospel with him, but I opened the conversation and let him know I'm a Mormon, giving us the opportunity to talk about it. And we did. We had a little conversation about our missionary daughters.

So the point is, don't be afraid to use the lingo that clearly identifies your religion. If you're talking to someone who shares your religion it will lead to a great conversation. If you're talking with someone who is not of your faith it will lead to questions and opportunities to share your faith.

A win-win.

Monday, July 29, 2013


When my daughter was in the MTC I learned some things.

1. You can send a letter to your missionary and they will get it the same day if you use They will print it off and deliver it to the MTC. Using the post office takes several days.
2. Look around for local shipping companies to send same day packages. (Sorry to those of you who are not local.) Prices are cheaper as you get closer to the MTC, and I was able to find one that shipped free on Fridays as a service. Ask around.
3. Please, please, please, keep it together when you drop off your missionary. Some are excited to go, some are nervous. If you lay your broken heart on your nervous elder or sister, you'll only make it harder for them. If you're sobbing to your excited missionary, that won't help them either. Wait at least until you get in your car and pull away. Then, if you must *sigh* let it flow.

I do not speak from experience in this, I admit. I was thrilled to the core when my daughter left, and still am. I do listen to the CD she made me rather frequently (she's a pianist). I miss her. However, I do understand that it is very difficult for many mothers to say goodbye to their missionaries. There are so many different circumstances that weigh in. What I did see when we dropped my daughter off was the mother from the car in front of us. She had gotten out of the car and was SOBBING, reaching her arms out to her young son as he left. And the son? He looked back at his mom, concern and uncertainty etched on his face. How could he experience the joy of stepping fully into his mission if he was worried about his mom? He needed her strength.

I sound judgemental. I don't mean to judge the mother--I know it's hard. My heart broke for that sweet mother. But as mothers of these modern day stripling warriors IT IS OUR JOB to

  • Stand firm in the faith
  • Support their sacrifice
  • Encourage and uplift them in their need
  • Make sure they know THAT WE KNOW they where they are supposed to be
So cry if you need to - after they've gone. Write supportive, encouraging letters for those times when they feel lost and alone. Teach them to pray and rely on their Father in Heaven who will support them in all things. Lend them your faith in those moments they might need it. Pray constantly for their faith, safety, and ability to endure.

And then reap the rewards. The evidence of their increasing in faith and humility. The stories of their sacrifice and service to the Lord. The Spirit that floods your home and heart. The increased desires you will cultivate to do missionary work of your own. The powerful influence of an older missionary sibling on the little ones at home.

I am so grateful to be the mother of a missionary.