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Baby The world teaches birth control. Tragically, many of our sisters subscribe to its . . . practices when they could easily provide earthly tabernacles for more of our Father’s children. We know that every spirit assigned to this earth will come, whether through us or someone else. There are couples in the Church who think they are getting along just fine with their limited families but who will someday suffer the pains of remorse when they meet the spirits that might have been part of their posterity. The first commandment given to man was to multiply and replenish the earth with children. That commandment has never been altered, modified, or cancelled. The Lord did not say to multiply and replenish the earth if it is convenient, or if you are wealthy, or after you have gotten your schooling, or when there is peace on earth, or until you have four children. The Bible says, ‘Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: … Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them. …’ (Ps. 127:3, 5.)

Ezra Taft Benson, Relief Society Magazine, December 1952, p. 793

I offer this quote as an explanation for a number of things. First, this quote is indirectly to blame for the fact that I have not updated my blog for a couple of months. After much prayer and consideration, my husband and I decided that our family was not complete. Thankfully, the Lord agreed and we will welcome our fifth child into the world at the end of the summer. I have not been able to think of anything important to say for a while since I have had a very hard time focusing on anything lately thanks to hormones, fatigue, and lack of sleep.

Second, President Benson eloquently answers the question, “Why would a 40 year old woman who already had her hands full with four wonderful children want to have another one, especially when for most of her life she thought four children was the perfect family size?” Quite simply, it just didn’t feel right. For a while I suspected that my reluctance to admit I was done was the fact that I enjoy caring for small children—Not a good reason to have another child. Babies grow up to be teenagers.

When I came across this quote a couple years ago, it touched me to the point that tears ran down my face. The thought of meeting children in the next life who could have been a part of my family but weren’t, really bothered me. What if one such spirit was placed in a family who did not want them or could not love them the way that I could have? I gave the matter a lot of thought and came to the conclusion: We were missing someone.

I’m not saying everyone needs to have a large family. I like that President Benson says: “easily provide.” A family size that is “easy” for one mother may be a nightmare for another. We need to be careful not to judge one another. The decision to have or not to have a child is between the husband, wife, and the Lord.

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I am a “glass half-empty” person. My brain has been hard wired with negative circuits. I am especially troubled by my negativity when it is unconsciously directed toward others. These critical thoughts enter my mind uninvited. I know that what I need is not just better control of my thoughts, but rather a change of heart like is mentioned in the Alma Chapter 5 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/5?lang=eng). I want to be the type of person who can look at humanity and not notice their faults.

This morning I listened to a talk by M. Russell Ballard. He talked about this change of heart and gave a suggestion about how to achieve it:

How do we make this change? How do we ingrain this love of Christ into our hearts? There is one simple daily practice that can make a difference . . . That simple practice is: In your morning prayer each new day, ask Heavenly Father to guide you to recognize an opportunity to serve one of His precious children. Then go throughout the day with your heart full of faith and love, looking for someone to help.

His suggestion seems simple enough. I will give it a try.

http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/be-anxiously-engaged?lang=eng

We should not underestimate or overlook the power of the Lord’s tender mercies. The simpleness, the sweetness, and the constancy of the tender mercies of the Lord will do much to fortify and protect us in the troubled times in which we do now and will yet live. When words cannot provide the solace we need or express the joy we feel, when it is simply futile to attempt to explain that which is unexplainable, when logic and reason cannot yield adequate understanding about the injustices and inequities of life, when mortal experience and evaluation are insufficient to produce a desired outcome, and when it seems that perhaps we are so totally alone, truly we are blessed by the tender mercies of the Lord and made mighty even unto the power of deliverance (1 Nephi 1:20). . . I testify that the tender mercies of the Lord are available to all of us and that the Redeemer of Israel is eager to bestow such gifts upon us.

David A. Bednar, Ensign, May 2005, 100-101

I read this quote this morning and it brought great comfort to me. The quote almost exactly described my feelings. A friend of mine is going through Job-like trials, and it seems to me that she always has from the time she was very young. I know that our lives are watched over by a loving Heavenly Father, but at times I get discouraged by the “injustices and inequities of life,” especially when I see them happening to someone I care about.

This quote helped me realize that the way to overcome such discouragement is to focus on the blessings we received. Elder Bednar doesn’t promise us that God will make everything fair in this life, but he does promise us that, if we look, we will find evidence of God’s love for us. By focusing on our blessings, we will be “made mighty even unto the power of deliverance.” I think that phrase means we will have the strength to not become victims of the negative things that happen in our lives.

This friend told me about just such a tender mercy. She has recently decided to get baptized in the LDS church and had the desire to contact the missionary who first taught her a year ago. Unfortunately, she could not remember his name, and had no idea where he was. This weekend she went to a church meeting in another city. After the meeting, the missionary she had been looking for sat down beside her.

Now, this wasn’t the miracle that we were hoping for, but it was a miracle nonetheless. If you understand how frequently our missionaries move and take into account that the mission split two months ago, you would have to admit that God intentionally placed that man at the meeting just to bless the life of my friend. She said his presence helped her to remember just how much God did love her.

My friend told me about this experience yesterday, and yet last night, I still allowed myself to become discouraged. Elder Bednar’s quote helped me to remember that I need to focus more on the miracles I do see instead of the ones that I don’t.