Saturday, May 23, 2009

Hold a true friend with both your hands. - Nigerian Proverb

They say the Lord answers prayers through other people.

This has been so true in my life. When I was young there was only me, my mom, and my brother Chris for family. Occasionally there was my grandma around but that was the extent of our immediate and extended family. So, you can imagine how grateful I was my for "Aunts" who were really just my mom's childhood friends.

When my mom was 13 her mom left her and her brother in a motel down by the beach (Santa Monica, Ca) and never returned. After a month or so the motel manager regretfully asked the two kids (ages 11 and 13) to leave. From there my mom became really close with a group of about 8 other kids who also had no family and together they formed their own family. For awhile they just lived together under the Santa Monica pier and did what they could to get money and support themselves and their younger siblings. My mom said she used to stand on the boardwalk and tell people she lost her lunch money, and some times she'd get caught and someone would say, "didn't I see you here yesterday?"

She tells these stories fondly because while she didn't have a traditional family she had been blessed with wonderful friends, the forever kind. These friends still keep in touch and have been a support to one another over the years much like a family. She says the Lord answered her prayers through good friends.

I too feel like Heavenly Father has been mindful of me and answered some of my most tender prayers through a good friend. As a child I was blessed with friends who loved me and took me in when I needed a safe place. And, as I got older I had friends who not only shared their homes and families with me, but their faith too. And, it changed the path of my life forever. There have been many times when I have wondered where my life would have ended up had I not have met these great friends in highschool and their parents who took me into their homes like I was one of the family.

In college, my friends were more like sisters. They taught me who I was and who I wanted to become. Getting to BYU was no small thing. There was hurdle after hurdle, followed by miracle after miracle. I assumed these miracles took place because the Lord really wanted me to break the pattern in my family and be the first to get an education, but now I think it had more to do with meeting these wonderful girls who changed my life and who I am forever. They taught me about love and charity, about the Savior and being a daughter of God. Without those experiences I wouldn't be the mother or wife I am. I'm so thankful for the Lords hand in my life, carefully guiding me and for these wonderful people I've met along the way.

I'll never forget how loved I felt on my wedding day when I was surrounded by my 10 bridesmaids, 8 of which had traveled over 15 hours to be there with me, standing in as my family.

Now again the Lord has filled my life with good friends. The kind that make you better for having been in their association. I feel so blessed for knowing these women, for their patient friendship, for their example of motherhood, but most of all for their unconditional love.

I was reading a talk given by Sherri Dew (CLICK HERE) about the influence of women on the world. It's a beautiful talk, and I couldn't help but reflect upon the good women that have influenced my life.
I'm so thankful for these earthly angels who have helped me along my way and I'm thankful to the Lord for answering my prayers, sometimes even before I know what to ask.


MARTHA said...

I love you Stephanie!

Amber said...

Love this post, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing your family history, love, and great writing with the blogging world.

I hope we get to meet in person some day!

Stacey said...

Wow, Steph. That made me tear up. It's beautiful the way you were able to share the ups and the downs and how in the bigger plan of things, they all culminated for your good. What you wrote really is lovely.

whitney said...

You must remember that you are a friend too. A dang good one at that. You learned well from all the good friends you have, because I count you as one of my best friends. A kindred spirit as you would say! I wish you lived closer. Is there not anything I can do to get you to move back to Raymond?!

motherofangels said...

Your such a good example of how something/someone amazing can come from extreme adversity!! I bet your mom is an AMAZING woman! She did well by you :)

Sarah C said...

Wow! Yep, I'll admit it, I just totally balled my eye balls out as I read your post! Thanks for sharing it! I love you... even if you did leave us raymondiets for the big ol' city!

Carrie said...

Love you tons Steph! I feel exactly the same way about you. You're awesome. We DID have the best bunch of roommates ever, didn't we!

Nina said...

I was just telling my dear Booboo Bear (reminding in fact, since she has heard it before) about my "Stephanie, Leslie, Carrie and Amanda" Days -as I call them. They blessed my life. I stumbled over a few hurdles getting there also. Those years came as an answer to many prayers offered and those not even considered yet. The Lord does answer prayers through other people. Sure, I went to BYU and got my degree, but it was the 108 girls who made all of the difference in my life, not necessarily my studies in behavior. Ok long comment. Sorry. Love to you all!

Elizabeth Cranmer said...

Lovely to have a little more insight into you! You really are an extrordinary gal! Last night was a blast!

I'm glad youv'e had the friends you have had along the way, because somehow they led you here, right close to me!