I also see how both of us were inspired to make changes in our personal goals and our family focus that prepared us individually and as a family. I watched how Scott had an increased desire to serve others and his family. The month before the accident he spent dinner time teaching his boys everything he learned from his mission. I remember a few days before, how on a walk, he had broken down about Alex leaving on his mission in eight months. He commented how badly he wanted to go with him. In the last five out of six years, I have had sons on missions. Each boy has had profound experiences with their dad while serving those missions. I strongly believe that Scott was prepared for roles he would fufill after his death.
When I think about myself, I remember creating a new mission statement a month before the accident. I wanted to be a more charitable and empathetic towards others. I was reading everything I could find on the subject and I was praying that I could figure out how to be different. Little did I know, that an experience was coming that would forever change me. I needed to face my own personal suffering in order to be able to relate to others who were also suffering. Because of those promptings, I was in a good spiritual place when Scott died and that allowed me to have other experiences that prepared me.
The night of the accident I was walking with my kids on the Galloway trail. They had all wanted to be together that night. As the sun was going down and as I watched my kids skipping ahead of me arm in arm, I had an amazing feeling of love come over me. Very clearly in my mind came the words, “If something happens to Scott, this will be enough, you can still be happy. “ At the time I was so filled with love that I thought nothing of it. As I look back, I know the five of us were not the only ones on the trail that night. We had angels walking with us. I had arms around me preparing me for what I would discover the next morning.
Last week I drove back to Springfield to speak to our college age youth group about how I have seen the Lord’s hand in my life. I used the scripture below to talk about how The Lord prepares us with light before challenging journeys.
“24 For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the rains and the floods have I sent forth.
25 And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?”
The morning after the accident, when my mother-in-law called to tell me that they have not landed, my mind immediately went back to the night before on the Galloway trail and I knew that I had been prepared. In that moment, time stood still and I watched myself sink to the floor and give up and despair. As my future continued to unfold I watched my children’s lives self-destruct. There was darkness everywhere...all I could think was, “There has to be a way out of this, There has to be a way out of this!” Then, out of the darkness there was light off to my side. In my mind I made the choice to turn towards it. When I made that choice, new words came into my head… “This was supposed to happen, we chose this, you have to be strong, this will heal many hearts, now go and figure out how you’re going to tell the kids.“ That day, and every day since, those words of light have carried me through the darkness. I know that day I had an angel husband standing beside me, whispering words of truth that would sustain me for the rest of my life.
The miracles that have unfolded in my life the last six years have been incredible to be a part of! God over and over again has pulled me out of the depths of the sea. He has continued to give me light and understanding, and He has allowed his angels to walk with me on this journey. He has given me a purpose. He has expanded my concept of family and given me more people to love and care for in my life.
Today I am grateful for that preparation. I’m grateful that we don’t have to walk this sometimes lonely and painful journey alone. I’m grateful that this experience of life it’s not the end, but a way for us to learn and grow and be better, and I am grateful for those waves that have propelled me on that journey.