If there is one thing I have learned in my life it is that everyone experiences trials and though no two people experience the exact same trial, similarities in the struggles we face build strength, courage, and hope! I know firsthand what it is like to lose a parent at a young age and it is hard! I grew up in a very loving home with parents who taught me correct principles to pattern my life after. My family was very close and we definitely knew how to have fun! My parents were awesome and my father was the best dad you could imagine. He worked hard to provide for our family, but when he was home he was fully vested in our lives. We played board games together, went four-wheeling, boating, skiing, hunting, sledding, and he always supported us in our sports and just plain having fun.
On March 28, 1990 my father was headed home from work to attend my oldest brother’s basketball game when he stopped to meet a couple that was interested in leasing a building his company had built. While meeting with the couple, the original owner of the building unexpectedly showed up and brutally murdered my father. The man was chased down and taken into custody, but nothing could undo what he had just done to my Dad. My dad was shot multiple times and though we were told he fought harder than anyone to stay alive (I imagine for the chance to say goodbye to all of us), by the time he was identified and our family was contacted, he had passed away.
I was 12.
Just 10 days before turning 13 my Dad was gone. Gone from my family and gone from the estimated 4,000 people who loved him and flew in from all over to attend his viewing and funeral. My dad, the rock, the invincible, the favorite of everyone, was no longer alive. How could I go on?!
No young woman should be left without a father knowing that he will not get to take her on Daddy-Daughter dates anymore, dance goofy with her at church parties, embarrass her in front of her future dates, go to all of her High School Basketball games, congratulate her at her award ceremonies, attend her graduation, hug her at her wedding, become buds with her new husband, meet and play with all her children, and grow old together with her beloved mother. So why am I so happy then? And why do I know that there is more to life than dwelling on the things that happen “to” us instead of the things that allow us to stand?!
I’ll tell you why. It is because I believe in the Savior, Jesus Christ, and His atoning sacrifice. I know that He has felt my pain and truly knows what I am going through. He is the light and life of this world and my faith in Him has brought healing, forgiveness, understanding and renewed strength to live my life in a way that I can bring hope and light to others. (I thank my amazing Mom for this strong conviction. She is a stalwart example of what a woman of Faith should be. She is my hero!)
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always smiling, always laughing, and always looking for ways to make other people happy. I often get asked if I ever feel down or if anything ever goes wrong in my life because I am always cheery and upbeat. I have been happily married for 20 years, have six amazing children, and l usually make friends with everyone I meet. People assume that I do not experience pain, because I choose to be happy. What they do not know is that my father’s death was only the first of many trials to come. I have definitely had my fair share of the tears and I have wept multiple times while praying to Heavenly Father for strength.
When I got married, I struggled for years with infertility even though we wanted children right away. When I was finally blessed with children, I suffered severe post-partum depression and later lost four children to miscarriage. I cannot even begin to tell you how many days my pillow was wet with tears. The heartache and anxiety was almost too much to bear at times and though I never felt tempted to end my life, for the first time ever, I finally understood why someone would. I never thought my pain was going to go away. I felt like I was in a dark tunnel and I could not see the light at the end. I was sure I would be depressed forever and never feel happy again. How could this happen to someone like me? Someone who is always happy? Maybe if I prayed more it would go away or maybe if I studied my scriptures more it would go away. Well, guess what? It didn’t go away when I did those things and I did not understand why. I plead with the Lord to take it all away from me, because I was starting to forget what it felt like to be happy!
Thank heavens for the Savior and for His grace. My depression and anxiety DID go away and though the battle was hard and long fought, the Savior never left my side. I am sure He did not want me to endure such grief and hopelessness, but He allowed me to go through it so that I would be able to help others in the future.
I firmly believe everyone has some sort of trial or trauma in their life even though we may think their life is perfect. Those who seem the happiest are usually those who have experienced the deepest pain. Recognizing that there is opposition in all things is key. Once we experience the heartache and pain, we learn to truly appreciate the comfort and peace.
I am grateful for my trials because without them, I never would have understood how blessed I am to be happy. I thank Heavenly Father every day for the happiness I feel in my life, because I remember all of the feelings of loss and pain. I am not bitter that I have had to face these trials, because these moments have shaped me into the woman of faith I am today.
My name is Mindi. I am strong, I am faithful, I am courageous…and I CHOOSE to stand!
To learn more about Mindi you can find her blogging at http://barkersparadise.blogspot.com or come meet her in St. George at A Reason to Stand on October 22nd.