GingerSnap has been working on a project lately for Young Women’s and asked me to help her with it. Sadly she had to send me an email request to help her because I kept forgetting to do it. I guess being a homeschool mom has its limits, like being asked by your kids constantly for help, so much so that you forget who needs what sometimes. Thankfully I had the time to get it done early this morning because we all woke up as Paul and the oldest two left to serve in the temple this morning at 5:15 a.m.
Here is my First Story of Faith for GingerSnap’s Faith Project in YW’s:
You might have heard this story before but I will share it with you anyway because it is my story and it has seen me through the last 29 years, and I hope it will see me through many, many more.When I was a young girl, about your age, my parents were divorced, so mother had to work to support our family. My father didn’t see us as much as we wanted to see him, so my siblings and I felt alone quite often. One day I decided to take a nap while babysitting my two youngest brothers, Brad and Andrew. They weren’t much older than 5 and 3 years of age. We lived a short drive to my paternal grandparent’s house but for 2 little kids, it was quite the walk down Highland Drive (a VERY BUSY STREET in our community) to their home near Cottonwood Mall. The boys were hungry and wanted a treat, so they got the idea to walk to their grandparent’s house because they ALWAYS had treats there. And since their big sister was fast asleep, this was the moment to do it.I soon woke up and felt very rested, so rested I felt like playing with my little brothers. I began to search for them but quickly discovered that they were gone. I ran throughout the neighborhood looking for them but I could not easily find them. It was in this moment that I realized that I was in need of some BIG help but I didn’t know where to turn. Our next door neighbor wasn’t one who liked our family very much, so I didn’t feel I could call on her for her help. My other neighbor was old and didn’t like to be troubled. And my other closest neighbor had 3 boys of his own and wasn’t one that I felt I could go to, for fear of being scolded. So I turned to the only source that I knew I had in that moment. . . my Father in Heaven.I was in our Living Room and even though I feared that someone might see me, I quickly fell to my knees and pour out a prayer like I have never given before. I poured out a sincere desire to find my brothers and to take FULL reasonability for their disappearance. I was even willing to take whatever punishment lay ahead of me. I sincerely wanted what was best for them and prayed that them coming home would be that solution. I prayed to know what to do, how the Lord needed me to act and that I would obey. And then I put all my hope and fear into His hands and ended my solemn and sincere prayer.As I stood, I had the most amazing feeling come over me of comfort, of joy, of excitement to see how this would work out and of faith that the Lord had heard my tender, and well received prayer. But I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to look or where to go but a feeling came over me to do what I COULD do for now. So I looked about me and saw that my siblings had made quite the mess in the living room. Instead of wanting to scold them and leave the work for them to do, I picked it up FOR THEM. I wanted to HELP THEM, for I felt badly that I had fallen asleep “while on the job” and left them to their own devices.While picking up the living room, I heard a knock at the door. I was actually afraid to open it, thinking it might be an angry neighbor or even the Police, but I found courage to know who was at the door. As I did, I found that it was the Bishop’s son standing at my door. He was the sweetest boy I knew at the time and he was someone I could easily be embarrassed around. I didn’t know if he was hear on business for his father or for the church youth program, so I simply said, “Hello?”He smiled at my greeting and graciously asked, “Are you missing someone?”I was SHOCKED! How did he know? Did Heavenly Father send HIM to help me? Oh, no. NOT HIM! Anyone but him. But wait, I NEEDED his help. So I took a deep breath and told the truth.“Why . . . um. Yes.” I replied with a lump in my throat, making it difficult to choke back the tears I wanted to pour out at that moment.He then said, “Is it your two littlest brothers?”Again I was STUNNED! How would he know exactly WHO was missing? This is incredible! The Lord truly does talk to His children! I said, “Yes. Yes. They have been gone for a while and I have looked everywhere for them. Can you help me?”He said, “Actually I can. . . They are in my car.”WHAT?!?!? I was SO EMBARRASSED!The look on the Bishop’s son’s face is one I hope never to forget. He looked at me with such charity, compassion and empathy. I could feel that he too had messed up babysitting and had been a part of something going amiss in his family, so I did not feel judged by him but comforted. He explained that he had been driving his car (which was so nice and cool!) down Highland drive and saw 2 little, little boys walking down the road. He KNEW that this didn’t look right, so he spun around to find out who they were. When he saw that he knew them, he was relieved because he knew he could easily help them.He drove up to a building, parked the car and walked up to my brothers. He asked them if they needed a ride? THEY SAID YES!!!!! (I wanted to faint! Didn’t they not know to NEVER take a ride from a stranger?!?!?) Then it hit me . . . the Bishop’s son wasn’t a stranger, he was Josh Jeppson. They knew him and they trusted him. They also knew he could give them a ride home because he wouldn’t say anything that he didn’t mean. So they easily went with him but when he asked where they were going, they said they wanted to go to grandma’s house. He asked if they knew the way and they said, “Sort of.” So he encouraged them to go home and ask someone at home how to get there. They thankfully agreed.I think he stopped to get them a treat first, because I vaguely remember them having a treat in their hands. Maybe he had a treat on him? Regardless, he brought them home and wouldn’t let them out of his car until he made sure someone was home to care for them. THAT MOMENT “GingerSnap” was what defined WHO I wanted to marry one day. I wanted to marry a man of THAT kind of conviction, of that caliber and of that integrity. And I did!! Your father is all of those qualities and many, MANY more!I didn’t feel that Josh looked down on me or judged me, or my family, in that moment. In that time of our lives, our family was a mess. Our mother was struggling to learn how to be a single mother with 5 young children. Our family was mourning the loss of having a father daily in their lives. And our family was struggling to obey and respect each other without parents around to lead and guide us from one moment to the next. But this young man looked past all of that and treated our family with the highest respect. He saw our family through our Savior’s eyes and I could feel it.He called to my brother’s, waiting in his cool car, that everything was okay (I am sure my brothers were scared that they were in big trouble) and the came pouring out of the car; their hands filled with what they had initially sought after and only hoped to find once reaching grandma’s house. I welcomed my brothers in with as much sweetness as I could muster but with more gratitude than I had expected that I was not going to be in as big of trouble had they not been found, and thanked the kind “KNIGHT” who had saved the day and had rescued a damsel in distress. He simply smiled as he hopped back into his cool car and went about his day.I immediately shut the door and turned to look at my brothers, happily enjoying their treats, oblivious to the fact that THEY HAD BEEN MISSING and if this nice young man hadn’t stopped and picked them up, WHERE WOULD THEY BE NOW? I was so scared, so overwhelmed and so ashamed I didn’t know what to do. But I KNEW I needed to teach them. I called my brothers over to me and gave them both the biggest hug. I apologized for falling asleep, which allowed them to wander off. I explained how blessed they were that Josh found them and brought them back home. I then asked what they thought they were doing. They told me about wanting to go to grandma’s house for a treat. I smiled and laughed and hugged them again and then told them NEVER to do that again, that it was VERY DANGEROUS and that “because I prayed for them, they were helped to get home safe and sound.”I think about that statement a lot “GingerSnap”. I think about how they were found and they could have easily made it to grandma’s house which was the distance from our Lanebrook Lane house to our Damon Way house. That might have taken them all morning to walk but because it was straight down Highland Drive, they could have made it to the street off of Highland Drive, just past the Cottonwood Mall (which is now a huge field) but how would they have navigated the tightly woven neighborhood and found grandma’s house in the farthest point of them all? That would have been a Little Red Riding Hood Story in and of itself.But I have realized that THIS MOMENT has taught me the POWER of sincere, humble, “Thy will be done”, prayer. I learned that Heavenly Father WANTS me to pray, He needs me to pray, and He needs me to WANT His will over my own will – no matter HOW MUCH TROUBLE I might get into. I learned that He hears my prayers and that He sends the RIGHT PERSON to help us – even if that person gets to be His Son, Jesus Christ. For that is the BIGGEST privilege there can be for any of us in this life. When there seems to be no one physically with you, close your eyes and feel who is spiritually with you, for you are NEVER alone!!!!That moment taught me that I will never be alone, that Heavenly Father does care about the smallest, weakest of us all and that miracles happen every day. And, just now, He is still teaching me. He taught me that Josh Jeppson needed a life changing experience too and that Josh Jeppson was someone WILLING to be taught, WILLING to turn his nice, speedy car around (although he obviously had somewhere to go and something to do) to help with something that didn’t look or feel right and that thankfully the people he was called to help were people he already knew. It won’t always be that way “GingerSnap”. Actually, it rarely is. But I learned how Heavenly Father teaches us line upon line, here a little, there a little and that we can trust His plan for us.I hope you liked this story. Yes. I did tell my mom what happened. Bless her heart when she heard it and bless her heart for having Josh Jeppson be the one to help her children through that experience. For the shame she was already enduring would have been so much more, had it been any other family in our stake. I am so grateful the Lord gave my mother only what she could handle WITH His help. This is my first story of faith. I have many more but this one started me on my journey. I leave this story with you in the name of our Savior, Redeemer, friend and Shepherd, even Jesus Christ, Amen.