Thursday, December 2, 2010


I haven't written in a while. Life has been busy, yes. But mostly, I don't write when I am can't explain how I'm feeling.

Almost a week ago, Heavenly Father's plan unfolded in my back yard. Three teens, one car, and lives forever changed. Completely unaware, we were tucked safely inside our home, listening to Christmas music and decking the halls. At the sound of sirens, we watched out the window and uttered silent prayers, too late and far too helpless to do anything.

I didn’t do anything.

A life was lost right outside my window- and me, busy in my little nest, didn't even know it was happening. Perhaps I could have helped. If we had only heard it happen. If only we’d gotten someone there a little earlier. I’ve agonized for days.

Tonight I was reminded. What might have been doesn’t matter. The “what might have been” was never part of the plan. . . His plan. However hard it is to understand, I know things like this don’t happen by chance.

A year ago, when my little brother Shawn had his accident, I was driving down the road when I received a phone call. It was my mom, letting me know a few quick details and asking me to first, call the temple and then second, call my brothers and sisters and tell them to start praying. I didn’t know much, but I knew it wasn’t good. After all, a head on collision with a semi? I knew what that meant. Just as quickly as I felt the panic begin to settle in, I received the clearest impression that I have ever known. In just a few moments, I came to understand very distinctly that what had happened- and what was to follow, was not a mistake. What had taken place that morning was not a mere coincidence. I knew, without a doubt, that everything that had unfolded that morning- every little detail- had happened exactly according to a plan. A very careful, deliberate plan. In that moment, I knew that my Heavenly Father knew me. He knew my family, He understood my little brother, and He most definitely knew what He was doing.

I didn’t know if my little brother would live. . .that was unclear. What I did know, and what I will never forget, is that our lives don’t happen by chance. We have a Father in Heaven who knows us completely. He knows us where we are strong, and He knows us where we are weak. He knows where He needs us, and perhaps more importantly, where we need Him.

We are part of something much bigger than ourselves.

I didn’t know Devin. But he has changed me. His family and their quiet faith have changed me forever. I have been reminded to slow down and look beyond my “to-do’s”. I hope to listen, to not miss an opportunity to save. I reaffirm that the details of my life are orchestrated by a power greater than my own and recommit to do all that I can to fulfill the unique mission that is my own. I can seek to open my heart and understand that the words I say and the way in which I say them have great power. I may lift with each word I speak, or I may destroy. This life is temporary, but my family is eternal.

For nearly a week, I haven’t had the heart to write. I have been too unsettled, almost terrified of what might come. After all, what will I face? Who will I lose? And perhaps worst of all, am I doing it right? Courtney smiled gently through my tears and reassured, “You can only do your best.”

Tonight, as I look around my quiet (but very messy) home, I see the lights and am reminded of the season we are celebrating. Yes, I will face hard things. I cannot escape the inevitability of losing someone I love. Sadly, my “best” will always fall short of what I desire to be.

Fortunately, in all His wisdom, Heavenly Father knew all that. He understood me perfectly, and He sent someone to make up the difference. Tonight my heart is celebrating that knowledge. I feel peace in the promise of eternity. I rejoice in His perfect understanding and find hope in His son, Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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