This is a guest post from Ajalon J Stapley. To read more from Ajalon, visit her website here.
Years after trying to start a family, I found myself at a crossroads. I had spent half a decade riding an emotional roller coaster with the occasional up, but mostly the gut-wrenching downs that only a woman struggling with infertility can truly understand.
We had tried almost every medical procedure possible, countless prayers and tears were expended by us and others on our behalf, blessings and fasts were offered, I spent hours upon hours scouring the internet to research adoption agencies and certify us as foster parents not once, but twice, in two different states.
We took the classes, completed the home visits and jumped through all the hoops but never saw a child because my husband’s job took us elsewhere before that could happen. We now were in a new state, and hope was on the horizon as we finished our foster certification – for the third time. I was just hired as a full-time teacher, and we were settled into our new home.
But as usual, our plans came to a halt.
My husband got word that his unit would soon deploy for 12 months. Upon becoming licensed foster parents our hope was to take in a newborn. And as much as I longed for a baby and welcomed the challenge, I didn’t know the first thing about them; that was my husband’s expertise and I was depending on him for guidance.
When I learned of the deployment the questions and what if’s came:
- What if he leaves before we are placed with a baby, do I still take one in?
- How can I take care of a newborn by myself when I know nothing – and I mean nothing – about them?
- Can I do this by myself while I’m working full-time?
- Should I wait until he gets home, even if that is a year away?
- What if we miss the opportunity to take in a child?
- Was it so stupid of me to even try this with our military lifestyle, what was I thinking!?
My mind was in a constant state of anxiety, and the worries, oh the worries, swirled inside my head like a tornado, never ceasing. Each day more unanswered questions plagued me and I felt like my body could go into a panic attack at any moment.
The tornado persisted, then one day I read something that was a game-changer for me. In his talk titled, “Faith—the Choice Is Yours” by Richard C. Edgley, a General Authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said, “Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism.”
That struck something inside me. I knew faith was an action; you showed your faith by what you did, like praying to God, following His commandments, and serving His children. But never had I really looked at it as an intentional choice; a choice made in my mind and my heart, every day – every moment – in spite of the doubt, the fear, and the pessimism that paralyzed me.
I wrote this quote on a post-it and looked at it every day, over and over, until that is what I decided to do. I cannot explain the logic or science behind it, but as I chose to have faith in my Heavenly Father: His plan, His timing, His charge…the worries dispersed. I felt as if I had taken the tornado swirling around in my head – picked it up – and handed it to my Savior to let Him carry.
Jesus has invited us to take His yoke upon us, and that is what happened; in doing so I gave my burdens to Him. They didn’t go away; questions remained unanswered, plans unforeseen and we were still childless, but I was left feeling light, calm, optimistic and happy. It was glorious!
Choose faith over doubt, choose faith over fear, choose faith over the unknown and the unseen, and choose faith over pessimism
Every day that I made the choice, to choose faith, I felt the joy and peace that came from placing my burdens on Him. How grateful I am for a Savior who loves me enough to carry my pains, so I don’t have to.