Recognizing God's Hand in My Life (Moms Story)

I am not a blog writer like my little Madison, but I will do my best.  

This is the story of events that have taken place in my life and from my point of view as there are many people who play a part in my life who may see things differently.  I remember growing up we lived in a beautiful home with my Dad, my Mom, one older brother and 4 younger sisters.  I think I was just like every other child I knew.  My dad worked, my mom cooked and cleaned.  My mom loved to sew and made many things.  She always made us matching outfits for church and for play. Birthdays were always special with homemade cakes and family parties.  

Mom & Me

1 year

2 years old

3 years old

4 years old

My Baptism day

I remember my mom was in the hospital for some reason and came home for my sisters birthday on a Saturday. Later that day she went back to the hospital.  The next day was Sunday and I remember all of us kids were surprised to see my mom home again.  In our family we went to church every Sunday as a family.  But on this day my mom said she was not feeling well and would stay home from church.  We were all ready to leave for church and my mom lined us all up oldest to youngest by the front door and told us how much she loved us and went through each of us individually and said kind loving things about each of us. She told us to never ever forget how much she loved us. She gave us all a hug and a kiss and said goodbye.  My Dad drove us to church and was planning on dropping us off and then he was going to go home to spend some time with my mom and then he would be back to pick us up.  

During primary singing time someone (I don't remember who) came and got each of us and told us they needed us in the Bishops office. My siblings and I went into the Bishops office and my aunt and uncle were inside.  They gathered us all together and held on to us. My uncle said he needed to tell us some "good news" and some "bad news" what did we want to hear first.  My brother who was 12 at the time blurted out really excited the bad first and then the good because it will make it all better.  My uncle said, "when your dad went home from church... He found your mom... She got into his safe and got a gun and shot herself in the head". No one said anything.  He proceeded to tell us that the doctors at the hospital delivered the baby and so now we have a new baby sister. 

My aunt and uncle took us back to their house since my dad was at the hospital.  My mom was about six months pregnant at the time. She had to be officially declared dead before the baby could be delivered.  I remember just sitting there huddled by the fireplace waiting for my dad to get there.  I couldn't wait for him to get there because I just knew he was going to tell me it was not true.  I remember when my dad arrived he just held all of us and we all cried together.

That day my dad gave us each a matchstick and had us break it.  He told us the match represented each of us. Alone we would break very easily and could not handle this tragedy.   He then took 8 match sticks and bundled them up. He showed us that if we all stuck together everything would be OK.  We could handle anything. Together nothing could break us. We just had to have faith and stick together and we would make it through this.

I feel like Ammon in Alma 26:16  
"Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel"

I don't even know how to go into detail and explain how awful this whole experience was. Just sitting here thinking about it and trying to write about it is ripping my heart out.  I can feel the pain and emotions from so many years ago.  I can hardly see through my tears.  You never know this kind of pain unless it happens to you.  You just can not comprehend the hurt, the loss, the anguish, the confusion, the questions, the doubts, the regrets, of losing someone so close to you. My whole world was shattered.  

I wanted to be "Western Barbie"
so my mom made me a costume to match my Barbie

We had to stay at my Grandmothers house for a couple of weeks so that the office could be cleaned up and the carpet was replaced.  I remember always being swarmed by people wanting to help.  The day of the funeral we walked in for the viewing and I remember seeing my mom from across the room laying still in the casket.  I still had hope that it was not true. 

I thought I had done something wrong and everyone was in on a big terrible joke.  The whole day was awful. All I remember hearing was the crying, and crying and crying.  Following behind the casket into the chapel with my dad and my siblings. It was all so terrible and unfair. I remember I hated everyone. Everyone wanted to talk to me, and touch me and hug me. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. After the funeral I remember going back to the church for a luncheon and all of a sudden life seemed normal for everyone else. They were all talking and laughing and visiting. I just did not understand how my life had completely stopped and everyone else seemed to be moving along just fine.  

My Dads parents came and stayed with us for a while to help out.  Then we had 2 nannies that were sisters from the Tongan Islands that took care of us for a while. We then had another nanny who lived with us for a while.  Baby Emily was brought home and the hospital did not expect her to survive very long because of all her health issues from being born so early and she went without oxygen for quite some time.  When the hospital staff handed her to my dad they told him not to be a hero. They wrapped her in a blanket and sent her home to die.  


Grandma helped feed and take care of her and we also had 24 hour nursing care in our home. We turned the downstairs living room into a nursery for Emily.  We constantly had people in our home. Many of the nurses were very kind and loving and would not only care for Emily but the rest of us as well.  I remember spending lots of time in the nursery. It was kind of the family gathering place.  Emily had a very difficult life.  She had numerous surgeries and had to be fed through a tube. Emily died in December one month before she would have turned two years old.  It was a blessing for her to be able to return to heaven. She was a sweet baby. Her spirit could be felt by everyone that came into our home.

My mom was an Honor roll student and Editor of her High School yearbook. 

My mom was beautiful, talented, kind, loving and patient.

She seemed to have it all. 

My mom suffered from depression....

My Mom lost HOPE.

(I can add to this...Check Back.)
(...Read Jeffery R Hollands talk "Like a Broken Vessel")

We had many crazy events of women bringing gifts and claiming to have had visions that they were to marry my father and take care of us children.  I had kids at school make fun of me that I made up my mothers death just to get all the attention. 

More importantly we had women who spent countless hours serving our family.  There were women who had housekeepers to clean their own homes, but they spent their time cleaning ours. Many women stopped nursing there own newborn babies to pump milk to help save Emily's life.  An uncle gave my dad a blank checkbook and told him not to worry about going back to work, to just stay home with us kids. He told him to use whatever he needed and there was no limit.  

In my Patriarchal blessing it says, "I bless you to find joy in service" 
I think I enjoy serving because I witnessed it in my behalf.
I love serving and helping those in need especially those who have lost a loved one.  

Sometimes having an understanding heart... is the greatest act of service.

My dad was 36 years old and had 7 children under the age of 12.  I don't know how we made it through all those years except we took it one day at a time and sometimes hour by hour. For so many years I think I was in survival mode just to get through this event.  It has been 30 years and I still try not to think about it or talk about and have never written about it.  

A favorite scripture of mine which explains so much D&C 84:88

"There I will be also, for I will go before your face.  
I will be on your right hand and on your left, 
and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, 
and mine angels round about you, to bear you up"  

Angels continuously surrounded our family.

As I get older and have more life experiences as an adult I have a deeper respect for my father. My father loved my mother with all his heart and I can't imagine what he must have been going through.  At the most difficult time of his life when he didn't know how he was going to make it through the day... He had to do it for seven small children who depended on him.  Years ago I was talking with my dad and he said his first thought was to kill himself and he was so afraid that he would that he had his brothers take all his guns and ammunition out of our home for years.  

As I have thought back on this experience I realized that because of my mothers death I gained my own testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We were taught about the Plan of Salvation, that families could be together forever.  I wanted to live my life in a way that made that possible.  From day one my Dad kept moving forward.  We kept going to church every single week because it was the right thing to do. 

"I desire that ye should remember to keep the commandments of God;" 
 "I would that ye should do that which is good" 
"that ye may do these things to lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven" 
(Helaman 5:6-8)

 It was important to my Dad and it became important to me because of his example.  Each week as we attended as a family we were taught gospel truths to help us become better people.  We were given the opportunity to feel the spirit.  We had the support and friendship of a ward family.  We were surrounded by people with common beliefs and goals.  We were given opportunities to help and serve others.  We were able to spend time together as a family. 

...From that point on in my life I always told myself and just knew for sure that I had been given a trial and I made it through pretty much... and life would be great and easy from then on...  

I remember hearing talks in church, lessons or stories about spiritual experiences you could have in the temple.  I remember hearing stories about people seeing or feeling the presence of a loved one in the temple. I always had a prayer in my heart that when I went through the temple I would see my mother. I wanted to see her again so badly. I wanted to feel her presence, her love and somehow to know that everything was OK.

This next story I am about to share is very personal and spiritual in nature but I feel like I need to share it because it connects so powerfully with the next almost twenty years of my life.  Through this single experience I have grown so much spiritually by trusting that God has a plan for each of us personally. The first time I went to the temple to receive my endowment was in the Las Vegas temple six days before I was married On June 19, 1993. 

During this session I just kept hoping and praying I would see my mother.  During a prayer I had a strong impression to open my eyes.  I opened my eyes and in the back right hand corner of the room I saw a beautiful, brown haired baby boy with big, bright blue eyes.  He was just sitting with his legs crossed and arms in his lap suspended up towards the ceiling. He was smiling at me. It was as clear and real as anything I have ever seen in my life.  I did not see my mother but it was an amazing beautiful experience. I just knew my first baby would be this little boy.

As time went on we had our first baby, a silvery blond haired, green eyed baby girl. 

Seventeen months later we had a blond haired, blue eyed baby boy.  

When our second boy was about a year old I was wondering if I should stop having kids for a while and go to college or get a job. I went to the temple with questions in my mind seeking peace and answers.  I arrived early and was the only person in the chapel except a woman playing the organ. I just sat there quietly thinking and listening to the music. 

After some time I had a distinct impression to look up. As I did I saw this same baby boy in the left hand corner of the room above where this woman was playing the organ. I only saw him briefly, but it was just as clear and sure as the first time I saw him.  To me this was my answer. I needed to continue having children because this little boy was waiting to join our family. 

When our second child was 21 months we had another brown haired, green eyed baby boy. This was still not the baby boy I had seen in the temple. 

Two and a half years later we had our fourth child a brown haired, green eyed baby boy.  

Once again two and a half years later we had our fifth child a brown haired, brown eyed baby girl.  

This little boy had always stayed on my mind.  Although I was feeling quite content with life and was busy with five little ones under the age of eight.  

For the next two years I felt like we were done having children. I thought I must have mistaken how I interpreted seeing the baby. Maybe he was someone else's.  

When our fifth child was almost two years old I started feeling like we needed to have another child.  With my previous pregnancies they were all pretty simple and easy. I would get pregnant right away and had easy uncomplicated pregnancies.  Of course I had severe morning sickness with the girls but nothing to threaten the pregnancy.  We tried and tried and could not get pregnant. 

After two more years I went to see my doctor.  He started me on a fertility drug to help me get pregnant.  It worked and I got pregnant the first cycle. I was so excited. At thirteen weeks I had a miscarriage. I was pretty bummed but my doctor assured me it was quite normal and it happens all the time. Not to worry and to try again in thirty days.  

About three months later after taking the fertility drugs we were pregnant again. One night at thirteen weeks I woke up in the middle of the night in terrible pain and ended up in the Emergency room. An ultrasound was done and the babies heartbeat could no longer be found.  The doctors in the emergency room told me I had miscarried the baby and I would need to schedule with my regular doctor to have a D&C because of the size of the baby.  

I was pretty upset.  This had happened on Friday night and on Saturday it was our Stake Conference Adult Session.  I did not want to go. I was in a terrible mood and feeling pretty depressed.  My husband kept asking me over and over to go.  I felt guilty and gave in so he did not have to go alone. Elder Jeffery R. Holland was speaking in this session. His talk was amazing and I felt like he wrote it just for me. He talked about trials and hardships in life and how you don't just jump over board when you are in a storm. That is when you need to be the strongest. He quoted lyrics from a hymn entitled,

"I Believe in Christ"  

"I believe in Christ; he stands supreme!
From him I'll gain my fondest dream;
And while I strive through grief and pain,
His voice is heard: "Ye shall obtain."

I believe in Christ; so come what may,
With him I'll stand in that great day
When on this earth he comes again
To rule among the sons of men."

 I swear he was looking right at me when he read those lyrics.  I had the most overwhelming feeling that those words were true. I do believe in Christ, he stands supreme. He knows me personally and knows when I am struggling with grief and pain. The words that really stuck out to me were, "Ye shall obtain" I knew in that moment that I would have my baby and everything was going to be as it should be.  "So come what may"

The next week I saw my doctor and had to have a D&C surgery. My doctor was surprised because of all the extra medications and helps we were using to keep the pregnancy. He assured me it was a strange fluke and the third time would be a charm.  Just give it one more shot.  

Elder Holland's talk gave me just the boost that I needed. I was sure I would be blessed and have this little boy I had longed for. I wanted another baby so bad and I just knew I was supposed to have the little boy I had seen in the temple.  I was doing everything I could to be a good person. I was really studying and searching the scriptures. Darren was in the Bishopric and we spent countless hours serving and helping in any way possible. I started attending the temple more often and I really enjoyed initiatory work. I loved the promised blessings. I would go weekly hoping and praying that the blessings would flow over onto me. I was frustrated and confused because all I wanted was a baby. I was doing my part. I was a good person. I was serving and living the gospel. Our families life revolved around serving others. Why could I not have this righteous desire. I did not want worldly riches or a huge home or vacations. I only wanted a baby.

Once again we tried all the medications and I got pregnant. My pregnancy was labeled as a high risk pregnancy because of previous problems. The first trimester I had weekly visits. Starting about 11 weeks  I saw the doctor every 5 days. I was taking a few different medications to help with the pregnancy. Everything was going well. At fourteen weeks I started seeing the doctor 2 times a week and we were doing non stress tests and ultrasounds to keep an eye on things. Every week we listened to the babies strong heart beat. The pregnancy was very stressful and I was always on edge that there was going to be a problem. I wanted this little baby more than anything. 
I was convinced that I would have this baby. 
Our family would be complete.  
I would have my tubes tied and we would be done with the pregnancy complications.  
Just like that.
That was MY PLAN.

Once again I wasn't fully trusting the Lord's plan.

At twenty six weeks I went in for a routine exam and the doctor said he could not find a heartbeat. He tried several times. He did an ultrasound and could not find any movement. He had me go to the hospital right away and get a second opinion.  We went over to the hospital and had a second ultrasound done. The nurse did not say anything.  She excused herself to call the doctor.  She came back in and had me get on the phone. My Doctor said for some reason the baby died and because he was so big I would need to be scheduled at the hospital later that day to be induced and deliver the baby. 

I was devastated.  
Why was this happening to me? 
Later that day I was admitted to the hospital and the induction medication was started.  I was in labor for 9 1/2 hours and then I delivered a tiny, lifeless, brown hair, blue eyed little boy.  It was the most depressing day of my life. The nurses kept me completely drugged up so that I did not have any pain or discomfort to help make it easier on me. They left me alone and I was able to hold him and spend time with him. I know everyone was trying to be sensitive and helpful, but who wants to go to the hospital and go through delivery and go home with nothing. A hospital counselor kept coming into my room and wanted to talk with me. I told her to leave me alone.  

I felt completely empty and angry.  My little boy had brown hair and blue eyes.  
Was this him? Was he the one?  If so... why did he die? 

After a while Darren went home to be with the kids and I tried to go to sleep.  Before Darren left he said a prayer with me before bed.  During the middle of the night a nurse came in to check on me and take my vitals. She told me everything was going to be OK. She said she had heard me say I would never have a child again and I wanted everything removed. She told me to wait and not to do anything, that it would be a mistake.  She said I needed to try again.  She was the sweetest person. She told me where she was from and left.

The next day I asked my for the nurse who had been in the night before.  I told them her name and where she was from.  They had no idea what I was talking about...

The next day I went home and went right to my room. 
It is hard to write all my feelings, and I doubt you really want to know. 
So I will skip ahead... 

Later that night Darren kneeled at the end of our bed for prayer and said, 
"it's your turn tonight" I was totally shocked that he asked ME to pray after what had just happened. Quite honestly I didn't want to pray and I didn't feel thankful at all. 
I knew I shouldn't feel that way. 
I hesitated... 
And nothing really came... 
I felt so empty and helpless. 
All I could say was, 
"Heavenly Father... Please... help me..." 
It was literally all I could get out through tears, and tears and more tears.

And guess what? 
That's all it took. 
I called my Heavenly Father by name. 
I just asked... And immediately I felt a burden lifted from off me.  I learned a very powerful lesson that my Father in Heaven is aware of me personally. He knows what I am experiencing. He knows what I need. He is just waiting for me to turn to him and ask for his help. 

As I have thought back on that experience I know that I am not unique. Heavenly Father loves all of his children. He is always there. He wants to help us and bless us. It is our choice to turn to him, to call him by name, and ask for his help. 

Why is it that when we are struggling we don't STOP immediately and say,

Heavenly Father... please... help me! 

Losing this baby really through me off in so many ways and for so many reasons.  I really struggled with the fact that I felt like I already had a major difficult trial. I felt like it wasn't fair and it was such a righteous desire so why would it not be granted. Each day I tried to be good and do good. I felt like some people thought it was not that big of a deal and that I should just get over it. But I couldn't. In so many ways it was as much or more difficult than losing my mother. I was angry and depressed. I just could not feel happy. 

One really difficult day I got a package in the mail from a sister. It contained a plaque that said "Be Happy" and a primary CD. I took the CD and went for a drive.  The first song was 
A Child's Prayer a familiar primary song. As I listened to the first two lines. I said the words in my mind.

"Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do yo answer every child's prayer?"

I distinctly heard in my mind. 
"You know I'm here"

I just cried. 
I know He is there. 

I was just having such a hard time and really struggling. 
Once again I asked and I was reassured that he is there for me.
Why is it that when we are struggling we don't STOP immediately and say,

Heavenly Father... I know you are there...  
and I will listen patiently for your answer!

I have done it...  and it works.  
For each and every one of us. 
Because we are His children and He loves us.

I have also learned that lessons come line upon line.  Here a little and there a little. 
Heavenly Father is always listening.  I have also learned that sometimes we have to be very patient and wait on the Lord because blessings will come... eventually.

...the next few months were miserable, everywhere there were reminders of what I lost, everything made me cry, or feel guilty for not just getting over it.  I was at a Doctors appointment and he suggested I try an antidepressant.  I was shocked that he would even suggest a thing like that.  I was not a "DEPRESSED" person I didn't want to be labeled like that.  

(again read, Jeffery R Hollands"Like a Broken Vessel")

He explained to me what depression is and how a simple little pill can help.  I tried it and within days I felt like a new person.  I only took it for a couple months and I was able to come out of my "funk."  

I was Happy.  My husband was Happy. and my 5 beautiful children were Happy.  

Life was great and we were moving forward and there was absolutely NO thought of pregnancies, or more children.

...Until...  exactly one year later I had a dream that I had another baby.  It was so real that when I woke up and the baby wasn't there it took me a minute to figure out it was a dream.  I went and told my husband about the dream and that we needed to try again.  

He said,
"No Way!  Are you Crazy?  You have been through so much!  Just stop!"...

Well maybe I was... I let it go for a few days...

...A few days later my husband had a dream... and basically... in the dream we had our children and there were some people Darren did not know who they were, where they lived or anything about them... he just gave them one of our children... he did not care, he didn't ask me first, he just gave him away.  The people drove away with this little boy.  All of a sudden Darren was like what did I do?  He started searching, he did everything he could to get this little boy back.  After three days he was finally able to find him and get him back. He just said I want him. I don't know what I was doing.

He said the dream was so vivid and real that when he woke up he was just sick about it.  He didn't think he could even go to work that day.  He just wanted to stay home and be with our children.  

It took him a few days before he told me about it.  But he said it really made him think what if we really are supposed to have another baby and he just didn't care and was saying no??

Crazy or Not?

Within a couple weeks we were pregnant again.
and terrified of what lay ahead....

I will fast forward this next part...
LONG... STRESSFUL... High Risk pregnancy.
I visited the Doctor up to 3x a week.  Test, ultrasounds, medications etc.  
Every visit terrified of what they were going to tell me.  I would not buy or look at a single baby item.  At an appointment the doctor slipped and told me it was a baby boy.

Still trying not to get excited I knew this was it...my little brown haired, blue eyed baby boy.

We FINALLY got to thirty seven weeks and my Doctor scheduled me for a...
Little induction :)

...except the baby had been transverse for the last three weeks.  (meaning laying side to side, like he was lounging on the couch.  They started the induction in the hospital and tried several times to flip the baby.  Finally they succeeded and he was in the correct position. (except at that time we did not know the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck.. twice!)  After 18 1/2 hours of labor the baby and I were both struggling... the Doctor performed an emergency C-section.   

My husband was even standing there watching the whole thing (which is a miracle in itself)

and then out comes a beautiful, BLOND HAIRED, BLUE EYED BABY BOY!

of course we were thrilled to have a healthy, living, breathing baby boy.

BUT... hold on just a second.

The first thing my husband said is... "he is BLOND."

I said, "He is? are you sure?"

Eli was struggling to breathe so they took him away and I made Darren stay right with him.  I had to get all put back together. Nurses kept coming with updates as he had to be admitted to the ICU.  I was amazingly calm and peaceful.  It was about 2 am and I hadn't seen Darren or the baby in a while.  

I kept having this feeling to call my Dad and have him come help Darren give Eli a blessing. 
I hate asking for anything, or feeling like I'm inconveniencing anyone.  It was 2 am.  I didn't want to wake my Dad up or make him worry.  

I had the feeling a second time.  Call Dad for a blessing.  I thought, I don't want to bother him.  I tried to relax.

Once again I thought, I really need to call my Dad and have him help Darren give Eli a blessing.  I was in the room by myself. I thought... Eli is fine. Everything is going to be OK.

I distinctly heard in my mind: 
"Yes...he will be.  BUT this is about obedience... 
will YOU listen to and obey my prompting?"

Immediately I called the nurse and said I needed my husband right away.  He came in and I asked him to call my Dad.  He said, "are you serious?... it's 2 am?"  I told him what had happened.  He called my Dad right away and they gave Eli a Priesthood blessing.

Eli and I were in the hospital for 6 days while he was in the ICU.  

I recently read a line in a book from a friend that said,

"Sometimes joy can come from Heaven's resolution of bitter experiences"

Eli Samuel healed my broken heart and completed our family. 

...but my story doesn't end here

I still thought about this little brown haired, blue eyed boy...
Why did I see him?  
What was I supposed to learn from this experience?
Was he my little boy who died?

...some months later I was driving in my car listening to a new CD I had purchased.  All of a sudden I had an overwhelming feeling like a flood spilling over me. It took me by surprise. I pulled my car over and stopped.  I wasn't even fully paying attention to the music... so I replayed the song and heard...

"I gave my life that he might live"  

I can't even describe the feelings or emotions that I was experiencing.  

I was so stubborn and set in My ways, for My plan... that I did not see God's plan.  

I believe that my little brown haired, blue eyed little angel knew God's plan.  I truly believe that he "gave his life that Eli might live"  I would not have had another child after him.  I had already discussed it with the Doctors.  Eli needed to be in our family and this is how God got him here.

Heavenly Father is really there he listens to and answers every prayer.
In his own way and his own time.

I am so blessed.  I love my Savior.  I know that he knows me personally.  He knows my strengths and weaknesses. He know my fears and my desires.  He knows my thoughts and my deeds. He knows my hopes and my dreams.  He knows my wants... but more importantly he knows my needs.  He knows my heart.   

I will end with one of my favorite hymns:
"Savior, Redeemer of My Soul" ( p. 112)

Savior, Redeemer of my soul,
Whose mighty hand hath made me whole,
Whose wondrous pow'r hath raised me up
And filled with sweet my bitter cup!
What tongue my gratitude can tell,
O gracious God of Israel.

Never can I repay thee, Lord,
But I can love thee. Thy pure word,
Hath it not been my one delight,
My joy by day, my dream by night?
Then let my lips proclaim it still,
And all my life reflect thy will.

Chasten my soul till I shall be
In perfect harmony with thee.
Make me more worthy of thy love,
And fit me for the life above.

and one more favorite:

Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!

(Hymns, no. 30)

I try to recognize God's hand in my life on a daily basis.

I will keep trying to do my best and I know He will do the rest.

All is Well.
Sent from my iPad


  1. this is so beautifully written! you are such a strong and faithful woman!

  2. Sister Stucki. Your beautiful Testimony has been a gift to me. Thank you for sharing it!! I never knew your story. My heart has been touched and my testimony strengthened! My nephew recently took his life. He left behind six young children! It has been difficult. Your sharing gives new meaning to courage, conviction, faith, and enduring all things. God bless.you, sister jenkins