I was born with a natural desire to be a mother and raise a family. As a little girl I loved to mother my dolls and make families with my stuffed animals. I watched my own mother and mimicked her behavior around younger children. All my dreams were centered around getting married and starting a family. I even remember saying a special prayer because I was worried I somehow would never grow old enough to be a mom, and I expressed to Heavenly Father how much I wanted that in my life.
When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with leukemia and started a long regimen of treatments. Because I was approaching the age of puberty, my parents were concerned about how the treatments would affect my physical development, especially the developments that would allow me to bear children someday. My doctors admitted that, because of my age and the kind of treatments I was receiving, my chances of having children were not good. When my mom told me the news, I was devastated.
Even though the treatments changed my life in many ways, my possible infertility was the most difficult for me to accept. The other effects of treatment—the sickness and altered physical appearance—were temporary, but infertility was not something that I could recover from. I remember thinking that even though I was fighting for my life, my ability to bear children was just as important to me. I mourned the fact that I might never have children of my own.
A short time later, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was assigned to attend our stake conference, and the stake presidency planned a special dinner to receive him. Because my dad served as a counselor in the stake presidency at the time, our family was invited to attend. While there, Elder Wirthlin learned of my condition and asked me if I would like to have a blessing. My family and I retired to a back room in the stake president’s home, and Elder Wirthlin placed his hands on my head and proceeded to give me a blessing.
I don’t remember the exact words of the blessing, but I do remember the promises made. Elder Wirthlin blessed my body to receive the treatments well and to progress towards recovery, and then he promised that I would grow up to be a mother in Zion and live a full life. I remember the thrill that enveloped my body then. There was no way for Elder Wirthlin to know how much motherhood weighed on my mind as a young girl, and I knew the promises came from God. The blessing gave me hope.
A few years later, I finished cancer treatment and began life cancer free. The sickness and physical alterations faded away, but the question of motherhood remained in my mind. Doctors continued to confirm that my chances weren’t good. Others reminded me that I could still be a mother through adoption, and although I felt that would be a wonderful thing, I felt that the promise meant I would bear my own children. I never gave up hope.
In 2007 I was married in the temple and began life with my eternal sweetheart, Brian. Before we were married, I informed my husband of the complications that could arise in conceiving children because of my history. Nevertheless, we both remained hopeful and started preparing ourselves to have children. However, months went by, and I still did not become pregnant. At times I doubted, but whenever I felt discouraged, I reminded myself of the promise I had received and held onto hope. My husband and I continued to put our faith in the promise I’d been given and the answers we received as a couple.
Finally, I tested positive for pregnancy. We were thrilled! When we shared the news with my parents, they told me that all those years earlier, my doctors had indicated that I had less than a 20 percent chance of conceiving, which was much less than I had imagined. My pregnancy was a miracle, but it was more than that. It was a fulfillment of a promise.
I am grateful for Elder Wirthlin’s kindness and powerful blessing. But I know that receiving a priesthood blessing from an Apostle is not the only way to find the direction Heavenly Father wishes to give us. Most often, I feel answers to my questions come through quieter, more everyday ways in the form of personal revelation following prayer, peace during scripture study, or promptings while I’m listening to the words of latter-day prophets. I know that Heavenly Father will create paths for us to find the things we need to learn and the solutions we require.
Our daughter, Madelyn, was born in August of 2010, and we are so happy to have her as part of our family. She is a tangible reminder to us that Heavenly Father keeps His promises, but before she came, it could sometimes be difficult to keep sight of and maintain trust in those promises. I know that when situations become difficult, we can look back at the moments that we felt Heavenly Father’s love and peace and cling to that as we watch His plan for our lives unfold.
I know that Heavenly Father does have a plan for each of our lives. It may not look like His plan for other people’s lives, but I know that if we exercise patience, further down the road each of us will be able to look back and see that our circumstances were part of His plan for us all along. He is aware of us and is willing to help us find the happiness and answers each of us seek.