My childhood was painful, on many levels, in many areas.
I found the gospel of Jesus Christ in my early 20's. The first time I read Jacob chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon, I immediately saw myself as a tame branch that had been grafted into a wild olive tree.
Upon marriage to a truly wonderful man, I realized I wanted my future family to be different than my past experience. I recognized that I would have to change myself, to be the mother I wanted to be, and to raise my children to effect change for the better for them and future generations. When faced with difficult situations of family matters, conflict resolution, correction, and discipline, I have consciously resisted my automatic inclinations and have intentionally responded in more Christlike ways. This is still a daily challenge and choice after nearly 20 years.
I strive to be an intentional parent, however I am not without more faults than I can count. Even though I consistently strive to be an intentional parent, I often fall short. I try to be open with my family, apologize, and try again.
I have faced significant trials in raising my 5 amazing children. Autism, Epilepsy, OCD tendencies, auditory processing deficits, hearing impairment, mood disorders, autoimmune disease, violence, law enforcement involvement, and the removal of one of one of my sons by the state because he was a threat to us.
No one’s life is easy, but each of my trials has brought me closer to my Savior. I have witnessed miracles in myself, my children, and in my family. Most people do not see Autism in our family today. When the statistics were very grim for one of my daughters, the seizures spontaneously stopped. My son experienced miraculous healing and returned home, against the professional prognoses.
Parenting in today’s world, with the constant bombardment of Satan's influence, is difficult. I make mistakes regularly. It is my faith that gets me out of bed when I feel like giving up. It is my hope of the ultimate reward, eternal life for me, my husband, and my children, that I fight for each and every day.
I have often felt isolated, judged, and pegged as a bad mother. This was especially true during the years when my son was in and out of professional psychological and judicial facilities. I found solace only in my Savior. Conversely, I was also asked by the professionals involved with us why I was still advocating for my son, and why I had not yet given up, as so many in my position had given up much earlier in the process I was in.
I refuse to return to my maker only to declare that it was just too hard. I trusted HIM to light my path, all the time with the hope HE would restore my son. I wanted to know for myself that I tried everything I could, that I explored every option, and I could confidently say I had done my best.
The difficulties and struggles of the past have molded me into the person I am today, and motivated me to choose the harder course to break the negative generational patterns, while embracing the positive attributes I inherited and to give my children the childhood they enjoy. I have learned and grown through raising my children in more ways than I could imagine. I am ever grateful for them. I marvel at their development, their growth, their perseverance, and their triumphs.
While I am not significant in the eyes of the world, or even in the eyes of many I know and associate with, I know that my efforts have improved the lives of my children, family, and even those around me. I strive to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet the needs of those I have stewardship over the best way I know how. Because of my past, I am able to meet people where they are at, see their qualities, even when hidden beneath hard behaviors, and to recognize their worth, despite the situation they may presently be in. I endeavor to build people up, rather than tear them down and I trust that my devotion to God will make all the difference in the end.
I am humbled to learn of this nomination. I am greatly touched that someone has seen fit to honor me. I hope that my story might motivate other mothers to improve themselves and their families. Thank you.
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