Ok, let me back up. Our story begins before that. Some of you may have heard this story before. It started like this.
Christian and I dated for a short period of time. Like 3 months short. We started dating in June and got married in September of 2003. Kalea was born on April 5, 2004. You do the math.
There are times in my life where I have told people that “Kalea saved my life”. If I’m being exact, she saved my eternities. When Christian and I met I was not very active at church and I had always been rebellious. When we found out we were expecting a baby nothing stood in our way. We immediately knew what we had to do. Become united and become parents. However, we knew nothing of what was to come. We were young, 20 to be exact. I went from being a cute bride to slowly growing in width. I no longer felt like a cute wife. When Kalea was born she was the calmest baby. That never changed. She never hit the terrible 2’s and 3’s. She was (and is) our angel baby. She taught me how to become selfless. Not completely, but more than I ever had been before in my life.
In March of 2005 we made it to the temple to be sealed as a family. Christian had also chosen that day to give her a name and a blessing. Kalea Cadence Simpson was almost 1 year old. We were 21 years old.
Years went by and we added a new precious member to our family. Mia Meleana when I was 22 (2006), Landen Makoa when I was 25 (2008), and Alana Hazel when I was 28 (2011). Each year has brought us struggles and trials, laughter and happiness, tears and hardships, faith and guidance.
As a reflect on the life that Christian and I have built I see the hand of the Lord in all that has occurred. From day one, finding out we were to become a family with a little one on the way, the Lord was there. I left out that when we got on our knees to pray that day, full of uncertainty, we both KNEW without a doubt our next step. The times that I have felt the most lost are the times that I have NEVER felt alone. Prayer and repentance were never far away, even if I was furthest from my Heavenly Father by my actions. Each time that I have “failed” or made mistakes my Savior was always there. He has lifted me up during my greatest sorrows and hardships. The power of prayer, on my knees, with a humble heart have given me my greatest moments of clarity. Our Savior waits… and waits… and waits for us to go to him. To apply the Atonement to our lives through His greatest sacrifice.
My most recent moment of clarity has come unexpectedly. It was just this Saturday, April 5th. Kalea’s 10th birthday and also the first day of the Spring session of General Conference. I had just finished listening to the first 2 hours and went on my way to get ready for the day. It hit me like a ton of bricks. My life’s greatest blessings were suddenly before me, in my mind like movie. Seeing my family as my greatest accomplishment and blessing and the undeniable gratitude that my heart felt. My mind, my spirit, and my emotions were all completely overwhelmed. I started crying uncontrollably. I couldn’t stop and all I could say (in my mind) was “Thank You” over and over. The fact that my Father in Heaven would pour so abundantly the blessings of an eternal family on someone like me. Someone so rebellious, so unworthy, so undeserving was overpowering. And then, in that moment, the Spirit testified to me, “HE knows”. Not just that I knew… but that HE knows the depth of my gratitude. That HE knows my heart like no one else. That HE knows better then I could ever put into words how I felt. And all I could do was say “Thank you”. How meager compared to all that HE has given me.
He has given me endless chances as long as I come unto Christ. The words, “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ” repeated in my mind today. As we watched Conference as a family, as we celebrated the birth of our sweet 10 year old, as I celebrated the beginning of my life as a mother through such an amazing blessing I can say that I have felt the love of my Heavenly Father and the love of my Savior stronger then I deserve. But I am grateful. I will always be grateful for the potential my Heavenly Father saw in me that I never saw in myself.
There are two quotes that I especially loved during this General Conference. They are both from Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
I can bear testimony that without the rain in my life I would never realize how beautiful the “rainbow” truly is. I have learned to be thankful for my trials and my hardships. We are here not to just endure, but to endure well. The blessings come. I can attest to that.
The second quote.
I am thankful that we have been promised eternity through our faithfulness. I am thankful to have the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that I have parents that taught me vigorously without hesitation. Not only the importance of the Gospel but the value, the sacredness, and the treasure that it is. I am thankful for a husband who honors his Priesthood. I am thankful for children that I am able to teach and nurture and love with the same vigor that my parents taught me.
I know that my Savior loves each and everyone of us. I know that he will bless you the way he has blessed me, if you but come unto Him. He will wait. He will never give up on us. He will be our constant companion as long as we are worthy of that blessing. He was and is there for me. His path for me was never one that I would have expected for myself 10 years ago. I am beyond grateful, and I know that “HE knows”.