I hope that by posting these wonderful and faith filled stories, you are gaining hope in the Savior. It’s true, some of the things shared are heart- wrenching, but it teaches me that Father is continually there to help and love us through the difficulties.
Here is a message from my new friend Laura. Thanks Laura for sharing your struggles and faith.
“ My first holy place I can remember was when I was a toddler looking up at the window of our trailer door. It was dark out side and as I gazed up at the stars in that window I had an impression come to me that Heavenly father was there and that this was his creation. wow! I think he gave me that because I was going to have a childhood that had some trauma in it and this was to help me through it. At about 5 a big thunder storm came through hurricane ,where I lived, I was afraid ,very much so, I didn't feel as if I had any one to console me so I prayed and as I looked out at the storm in the window above my bed God told me that He was in control of that storm and that I was going to be o.k. I have looked back on that experience and holy place in my life often. and I am grateful to my heavenly father for loving me and teaching me so young that he knew me and was in control of my life if I’d let him be.
I grew up in a home where my mother had left my father shortly after I was born. She remarried to a man that was an alcoholic. He was very abusive to my mother when he was drunk. many times I felt I had to be in charge and watch over my smaller two sisters and brother. We were put out side many times left to ourselves. We lived on a 14 acre place and played about it and did have many fun hours together, despite the reasons we were left there alone. I even felt I had to watch over my mother. I would run up the street to get the sheriff at times to protect my mom.
My little sister Janice was hit by a car one day while riding her tricycle. she was taken to salt lake and her leg was removed just below the knee. She then had to learn how to use crutches and later a wooden leg. This was very painful for her. She became so frustrated with that leg at times she just would go with out it and hop every where! She learned to ride a two wheeler with that one leg. She later had to wear a body cast, I think she had fallen and broke something, I don't remember what. Mom had to carry that heavy little thing around .I learned that my mom was strong at a very young age in more ways then one . As I watched my sister go through her trials of suffering and her resilient spirit and ability to smile and laugh and my moms ability to persevere I had a holy place begin to grow in my heart.
My other sister, Karen was burned 75 percent of her body at age 3. She was life flighted to California’s burn center. many operations and much suffering beyond any thing I can comprehend came . I was devastated. I was about 7 then. When that little girl came home I became her help every minute of the day and night. I probably drove my mom crazy with it. I watched as my mom would un bandage her and clean her wounds and put salve on them and bandage her back up. my mom became an angel to me as I watched her care for my sister. her strength would later be something I would look back on many times. I watched as the therapist came to our house and gave her therapy for the arm that was burned and bent up into its self to release it so she would have better use of it as she grew. that was so painful for her. I watched as she cried and listened as she moaned because of the pain. I felt helpless and I felt I wanted to help but knew I couldn't this was her trial. I could comfort her and I could be there for her. God was teaching me to serve. Those days and years became a holy place.
When I was 10 my mother divorced and remarried.
Our cellar flooded and wheat and mud filled it about 2 feet deep. we would carry buckets down ,fill them up then return up to dump them. My brother and I got into an argument and I slammed the shovel into the floor and yelled at him to get my point across and as I did I fell to the floor and cut my left hand on a broken glass jar. I wasn't aware I had hurt my self so my brother told me I was bleeding and as I looked I realized my whole hand had nearly been cut off ,it was just hanging there. I went through surgeries to recover the use of my hand. I had cut all my nerves and tendons ,barely missed the main tendon and muscle to my thumb. I had to learn to use the hand all over again. I remember going into the 1st surgery to have my nerves put together. I woke up thinking I’d be able to feel again. I believed I would ,I had been given a blessing and I really believed I would. It didn't happen the way I wanted it to. The dr. found an infection and cleaned it and just closed it up. I had to wait for another time to get it fixed. I was hurt. I eventually regained about 95 percent of the use in my hand.
I thought life was going to be great now that my mom had remarried and I was going to have a real dad. and, for a while I was in heaven. we took missionary lessons, we kids had been going to church and I had been baptized, but my mom and new dad had not been active. she had been baptized as a child and so had her husband. We where able to be sealed in the St. George temple and I had a very special experience then. As we were at the alter and our hands were placed on each other, I placed mine over my brothers and I had a feeling of almost electric like go from my hand into my body. I knew that the sealing power was real and I would never doubt it. That was a holy place. I knew then that I was going to go to the temple when I grew up.
When I was 12 my brother was hit by a truck on the high way just out side cedar city as he and our new dad were changing a tire. My dad was flipped up and rolled down the road, receiving internal bruising and road burns up his back and side. my brother had been taking a rest in the spare tire as it lay on the side while our dad was getting the flat one off. when the truck hit my dads truck it knocked the tire and my brother down the road. he received head injuries, in fact the whole top of his head came off. my dads mom was there and just helped my brother and held his head together until the ambulance got there. I think about her and her strength and what she did for my brother and I find that an example in my life, a holy place of service and compassion.
As I grew up my dad did some things that caused me to loose trust in him and He had hurt my sister and brother and was verbally abusive to our family. I’m not sure what began to happen inside of him. we were not allowed to spend time with my moms family any more and I missed the close relationship I had had with my cousins and aunts and uncles and grand parents. We were not allowed to do allot of things and I began to resent him . He became very forceful and it seemed to me, mean.
later in life as I was driving I was talking to god about my resentment toward my dad. he told me that some day, when my dad had gone through a repentance and paid for what he had done I would see that I loved him and that he was the dad I needed. That was a holy place.
My brother got involved in drugs at about age 12 and began to run away from home , away from my dad. He was placed in a foster home. then returned back home later only to be physically and mentally abused by our dad. this was a hard time for me and I often wondered where my heavenly father was at that time. I kept active in church because that was where I felt love and needed. Church became my holy place along with the times I got to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead. I starved for the spirit in my life. I took every opportunity to be where it was.
When I was 17 a young man moved up the street and around the corner from me. I was giving a talk in sacrament mtg. he walked in late and sat down. I knew right there that he was who I was going to marry. In the following months we got to know each other and dated and we were married in June after I had graduated from high school. Later my husband told me that on our first date as we walked around the temple and got to the side near the baptismal area doors he had an impression that he should ask me to marry him. We were married in the St. George temple. My dream was coming true and it sort of felt like a Cinderella story. I felt I would be a happily ever after person . I came to realize that happily ever after isn't always what you think it is nor does it always come the way you think it should come. But, that happily ever after really does happen, its just that sometimes it comes in ways we don't expect.
My husband and I would soon find out why God had put us together. after we had had 5 of our own children we were faced with taking on one of my husbands sisters kids. She was a drug addict. this little boy needed to be with us and so we went through the foster care training and court to fight for him. years later we would loose him to the foster care system again because of his problems that came because of the trauma and abuse he received as a little boy in his mothers care. He had done things to our children that made it not safe to keep him in our home. so, we were then his parents long distance. that was hard and as I sat in the temple one day after going to court and going through the testing for him I went into a sealing room and cried , I felt I had let god down, but I found that I hadn’t, that this little boy needed what we had given him and god was ok with it. That was a holy place.
Later we would again be inspired to take two more of his sisters kids-a girl and a boy. we had to fight very hard in court for them and it took allot of faith on our part . it took months and the whole time I was so worried for them . during this time we were allowed to have them in our home as foster kids. The girls father was not fighting for her so we relaxed a bit on her part and focused on the little boy. every night I would sing I am a child of god to him and away in a manger. I wanted him to know who he was just incase we couldn't keep him. I was so afraid for losing him. I had great love for him and his sister.
these hours were my holy place as we continued to pray and fast and hope. Finally in court the little boy was given to us . The little girl was made ours as well, but it was a scary thing. We went to court thinking everything was going well and her father would release his rights because he had not done any thing up to that point. He now had decided to fight. Our attorney spoke with the judge and we were allowed to keep the little girl, but during that moment when her father said he wanted her my heart sank. thoughts went through my head like, I had not tried hard enough , I had relaxed and not worried about it enough.
I had my tubes tied. I went into a deep depression. I think all the stuff I had experienced was now catching up to me I felt so worthless. perhaps the abuse itself was a lot of it. I was able to over come it and go on. I had a feeling we had another baby that needed to come into our home. I had my tubes untied. about 6 years later we had a baby girl. during those 6 years I grew in ways I needed to. This time also became a holy place.
in the mean time we were called upon to take another little boy. when we went to cedar to pick him up he went to my husband like he had been waiting for him. he cuddled up around his neck ( he was 10 months old) . we feel god had prepared that little boy for us.
After we had our little girl we were called upon again to take a little boy when our little girl was just 6 months old. the little boy was 2 months old. This was challenging and as I talked to the d c f s person I told them I’d have to think about it. I hung up the phone and called my husband. he told me to do what ever I felt and I told him I didn’t know. I hung up the phone and prayed and the spirit told me that Heavenly Father wanted me to do this. It would be hard ,but it would be worth it. We decided yes we would take him. It has been hard! he has oppositional defiant disorder and is very trying at times . I become very tired and upset and useless many times. I get wore out trying to do things right and still get him to obey. I try to keep peace in our home and he tries to upset it all. I try to keep things nice and he tries to destroy it. I know God loves this little boy and we try hard to love him and understand his feelings. Things are hard! they are also worth it! He says the cutest things and sings the cutest songs. he has an imagination that blows you away he is smart and can memorize so well. and he can love you like no one else on certain days. On the days he shows his love those are my holy places because it is as if he is saying thank you for taking me and loving me, my sprit is grateful.
All of these kids that we have adopted have been sealed to us. Each time we went to the temple to have this done my heart has been touched in special ways those are my holy places.
You would think this would be enough. the Lord would say ok your done. No, he gave me a son who suffers from diabetes and a son who suffers from drug abuse and has had a car accident that took his life , he was brought back to us. we were so blessed! We go through life every day praying for him and fasting often and hoping he will stay clean and accomplish wonderful things .We also have a daughter who has bi -polar and has been in a car accident( different one from her brother) she had nothing happen to her as that car rolled but she did come out having had a traumatic experience that caused her a lot of hard days. She also has drowned and died and was brought back at age 22 . She has a hard time making good choices and lives a life style not concurrent to the way she has been raised. We love her and are learning to love her in spite of her choices. In the hours and days I suffer in my heart for her I have found holy places.
My husband was diagnosed with chromes disease about 4 years ago and nearly died after a surgery that did nothing for him. His pain was so great he just had decided he was going to give up. I had never prayed so hard, but I prayed for him to live. He re- thought and decided to try harder to get through it. This year he went through another surgery to remove parts of his intestine and colon. It has been a month now and he is still not feeling too great. However he is healing slowly and a lot of blessings have come our way .In his arms I have felt so loved and cannot explain how grateful I am to have him still here. In his arms I have found another holy place as he has, over the years , held me as my heart broke and as I have suffered because of the things I have experienced. My heart is a holy place where Heavenly Father has taught me and loved me and led me . Truly I have many holy places in my life and I am grateful for them.