"There are times when we have to step into the darkness in faith, confident that God will place solid ground beneath our feet once we do. And so I accepted gladly, knowing that God would provide." (President Dieter F Uchtdorf, "The Why of Priesthood Service" General Conference April 2012)
In my journey of experiencing several miscarriages (six so far), despite specific revelation telling me of the importance of those pregnancies, I continued to have faith in the inspiration I had received and the hope I felt for the future. However, as this sixth miscarriage was imminent, I began to wonder if it was time for me to ask more questions--to seek the solid ground underneath my faith. With that question on my mind and in my prayers, I attended BYU Education Week, believing that even if I did not receive the answer to that specific question, it was somehow important for me to be there, where I could receive personal inspiration with more power since I was in a place dedicated for spiritual learning and I had that entire week to devote to that spiritual learning and leave other cares in the background for a time.
I was not disappointed. As I sat listening to the campus Devotional on Tuesday, my mind started to wander away from the topic, even though the speaker was one I greatly admire and had looked forward to hearing (Elder Tad Callister). I have learned that when I am ready to learn and I am prepared, it is good to pay attention when my mind wanders in that way. What came to my mind was a parable which I knew applied to me and my question about miscarriages, but I also felt may have meaning to others as they apply it to their own circumstances and so I wrote down carefully in my notebook so I could share how what seems like a "less than perfect performance" may actually be perfectly crafted just for you:
"I will look at my miscarriages as a musical performance I was asked by my father to perform. I agreed to obey. I prepared the best I knew how and performed the specified song at the specified event. My performance had many flaws. It seemed a failure. I was tempted to question but chose to accept even the failed performance as significant in some way.
Five more times I prepared for a performance of the same song. I did not refuse. I prepared. I hoped for success. I trusted my Father and I obeyed Him. Each time I made sure I was where I was supposed to be at the right time for the performance. I performed to the very best of my ability and even prayed for help and received priesthood blessings for divine help and strength. Each performance began well but seemed to fail before the end.
Each time I was tempted to believe I must have misunderstood what my Father was asking me to do" because I know He does not ask me to do something I cannot do." Each time I chose not to question the commandment. Each time I chose to believe that in my Father's eyes, somehow that I can't understand, His purpose truly was being fulfilled and my performance was not a failure even though the improvements in my ability to play the song showed very little measurable increase. Each time I began preparing again to be ready as soon as Father asks me again even though each past performance was so painful for me.
Finally, I went to My Father and asked Him if He wanted me to know why or if I should just continue to obey and accept . . .I wanted only to do what He wants me to do. He answered me. He wants me to understand. and someday I will. Until then I will keep obeying and keep accepting less than perfect performances." (Janelle Joy's personal notebook, August 14, 2012)
Line upon line, throughout that week, I learned more and more of the importance of my obedience and how each one of those miscarriages has had much more significance in my life and my family's lives than I could have imagined. Details are not important, or even appropriate to share, since they are specific answers given to me. But I do want to testify that the answers did come. I no longer look at those miscarriages with a feeling of sadness or pain. I no longer look to the future wondering how many more I may be asked to endure. Now I walk no more in darkness about that particular challenge, I walk on the solid ground of knowledge. I know that with every challenge we are given, if we continue on in faith, there truly will be a time when we will be able to see the importance and significance of every "less than perfect performance" we perform in our efforts to obey.