HERE AND NOW
So this leads us to the here and now, five years from the incident. Drue and I have been married with our little family of four just over a year. I am still working through things. I have come to realize I will probably always be working through things, but having this man by my side has helped me to continue to heal immeasurably. The greatest thing ever is I have learned to trust and love again. I know I am safe in his hands and that he will always be there for me and love me, just as I am. He has been tested to the very core with all the trials he has be given; yet he has chosen to stand, and I know he will always choose to stand. If only I could get him to write his story…
What I feel for him is a love beyond even my own comprehension, a degree of happiness and level of contentment I have never had the blessing of experiencing in this life. He is very loved and needed in our little household; a rough and tough Cowboy surrounded and smothered by all three of us girls. He has filled huge voids in our lives. I don’t know how he manages it, but he does.
He is as Cowboy as they come, the modern John Wayne, if you will. He even carry’s the accent. I didn’t know an accent was possible in Idaho, but his mom said he was born with it, just another one of those attributes that makes him entirely priceless to me. He gives me so much and I’m so grateful to have him to work through, endure and experience all the triumphs and struggles that life has to offer and to help me continue to work through my past. It feels so good to have a balance and to be able put all my effort into being the wife and mommy I have only dreamed of being.
Our life pretty much consists of lots of laughter, squeals and LOTS of negotiating from two little 5 year olds, cowboy boots, cow crap, oh, and did I mention cows? As a Ranchers wife and family, we spend our time on horses, rounding up cows, branding, vaccinating and all else involved with working 5000 head of cattle. It’s a very demanding career for my Cowboy, but it’s his dream and has now become mine. Even greater, it’s a family effort of which we all get to partake in together when we can.
I’m not much for a cowgirl, nor will I ever claim to be, but I’m not above throwing on a pair of boots and being covered in that disgusting green stuff, nor jumping on a horse and riding through mountains to gather cows… it’s no trail ride, I promise. I would say we are a “perfect family,” but let’s be real… There is a lot involved with bringing two families together as one, blending, along with all the tender emotions, even insecurities that come with the life experiences we have both endured…but we get each other and we work together to help ease those soft spots embedded within us. Perfect would be boring anyway, and as I have learned, it wouldn’t allow us the blessing of refining our marriage, our family and ourselves. It’s pretty great though and it feels so good to finally be in this place. We also hope to add a couple buckaroos to our family; we could really use a little extra manpower around here, but we will see what the Lord has in store for us and our little roundup gang.
I have learned that “Enduring” is more than just getting by; it is working through your trials with the Lord. If we allow him in, we will experience a happiness beyond all knowledge, beyond all measure. I have also learned that happiness isn’t really a person, place or thing. It is an emotion we choose to work for, even during our most humbling moments of life when we have to dig down deep. For me it has come through this very refining process, of which I am still learning, growing and healing. It is through that journey of truth that each trial teaches. The rewarding outcome and feeling of accomplishment when yet another mountain has been faithfully climbed and conquered, and I didn’t think it was possible.
It has come with finding the right person to walk by my side and be there with me to endure all the trials and enjoy all the triumphs the Lord entrusts us with. There are many people, events, accomplishments and things that add happiness to our life, but essentially, we hold the key. When there is no one else left to grab hold of (in my case, not even a spouse) and I was sitting alone in the middle of a mountain range, it was all up to me to find and determine. The Lord was my lifeline; he was the only one that could pull me out of it.
Of course I had my Earthly Anchors to help me along the way, but essentially there is only One that truly sees us for who we are and what we can become, only One that can reach the most inner depths of our soul and fill those holes from deep within that bind us, it is only He that can sustain us in our deepest hours of need. True Happiness comes from enduring in every situation and grasping firmly to that rope of hope. Through it all, I have witnessed tender mercies beyond measure. I have found how the Lord really works in my life and what it truly means to know that he is there for me. I have learned that he isn’t just there, but that he protects us through the entire process and delivers us out of our own personal bondages, and in his care, we will never be defeated. It is through that tender process that he taught me who I really am; what I am made of, my eternal worth and potential; I have also learned a deeper meaning to this journey called life.
Never in a million years did I ever think I would experience and be able to relate with those that have lost a child, widowhood, the deep disappointments of an annulled marriage, deception and all else that fell in the cracks. Meanwhile, going through the excruciating steps of rebuilding and finding my own happiness as a single mother, I found myself. It seems so impossible as I look back, but through the Lord, I have learned nothing is impossible. You really have to want it though. It did not come easy, nor was it a quick process. The Book of Mormon was also key in my journey; I’m not even certain the last time I read it from cover to cover, shamefully, but what a tender mercy it was that I was making my way through it during that time. Written within those sacred pages are the answers to this life. We are not alone, and we weren’t sent here without the proper tools to help us make it back to him. In a very special blessing I received from my grandfather, a stake patriarch, in May of 2012, I learned that in the pre-existence I was able to spend an extended period of time with my Heavenly Father, and during that time, he tutored me on how to handle the trials of my life. He gave me the tools I needed then, the gifts and strengths particularly for this day and time of my life, that he knew would be necessary for me to endure and overcome. It is my hope that someday I will be able to say I am completely healed from all that has transpired in my past, but even if that never happens, I have all the tools, and an extremely patient, loving, supportive and even empathetic husband by my side. They are sacred years of my life. As I opened my heart and poured out my soul to him, just as I learned from Alma the Younger, the Nephites and my journey through that hallowed book; “He truly filled my hunger and he fed my soul”.
ONE LAST THING
Going back to when I was serving in the Young Women’s. I was really having a hard time wanting to let them go… They were a strong influential tool in the Lord’s hands along my journey; and not just the Laurels, but also the entire Young Women’s organization. I loved these girls and I loved the leaders I served with. On my last Sunday with them, I had the blessing of giving the entire Young Women’s the lesson; it was on “Forgiving Ourselves,” the perfect lesson for me to conclude my time in their service. At the conclusion, I left with them a piece of my treasure that I held most sacred in my treasure chest. It was a block of wood that said “I Can Do Hard Things,” a gift I had received just months earlier from a dear friend of mine… Such a simple saying for the impact it has had in my life. I kept this plaque on my dresser so I could have its hopeful reminder every morning as I got out of bed and every evening as I was retiring for the night. I still keep this plaque close by, on a shelf in my room. On the back I left with them my testimony, my greatest treasure gleaned from this refining process, of which I would also like to conclude my story with…
I have learned it is the hard things in life that help build our character and define who we really are. And it is during those times that you really find out what you are made of. As long as you keep your Heavenly Father the center of your lives and always turn to him, he will be there for you and will help pull you through those hard times. And if you will really open your heart to him and allow him in, he will bless you with much strength and hope and you will witness tender mercies immeasurably that will forever change your life for the better. No matter how hard it seems or how impossible you may feel; you will not be defeated, I know this. And perhaps someday you will look back on those times and be grateful. He loves you and he knows you individually. Through your loving Heavenly Father is the only way, I promise. So when the storms of life come your way, just simply look at this little block and it will help remind you that “You Can Do Hard Things.” And then turn to your Heavenly Father. He will help you the rest of the way, and yes, you will conquer it.”
Story written by: KayCee
This story was seen first on Real Imprints.
Family pictures by Ellie Asher photography.