Monday, February 8, 2010

Open Heart in Church.

Well, this past Sunday I had a very humbling experience. I have actually bore my testimony twice this year in Church. Not at the pulpit or anything, but in Relief Society. First at Tayler's singles ward. Then at my single's ward.

So yesterday, I had the feeling in my heart that I should bear my testimony about Olivia. I get a lot of people who say,"You're so great with being open about your adoption." At least on my blog, and in high school presentations. I don't get nervous in front of people talking about it. But in Church, I was the most nervous I have ever been. I really didn't think I needed to go up and speak. If you recall, my resolution was to bear my testimony every fast Sunday (1st Sunday of the month).

And it was more apparent that I needed to in Relief Society when Katie gave this BEAUTIFUL lesson on the heart. I'll kind of go into her lesson because I LOVED it and I take notes.

What does the heart stand for?

  • Revelation
  • Pure Intentions
  • Purity and Sanctification
  • Marriage (Being of one heart)
  • Charity and Service
  • Testimony
  • Gospel
  • Humility (Broken Heart)

What we touched on in the lesson was a Change of Heart.

In Ezekiel 36:26 it says, "A new heart also I will give you, and a new spirit will I put with you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh."

How do you have a change of heart or soften your heart of stone?

  • Humble yourself.
  • Learn from your trials.

In sacrament meeting, this boy was saying that in family prayer his mom asked for the Lord to remove the thorn from his side (his challenge he was going through). And the revelation that she had was that the Lord would not take the thorn from his side but that he had to learn something.

  • Having a change of heart is a constant process.

  • You need to have the desire to change.

In my experience, I have been in and out of living the Gospel standard's the past 5 years. I didn't finally have a change of heart until Nic had broken up with me and set the example for me to go back to Church. Only to know that the Lord was looking out for me and for little Olivia. He was guiding to me to where I needed to go and seek help.

The next topic we talked about was - Written on your heart

2nd Corinthians 3:3 says, "Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in the tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart."

What does it mean to have it written upon your heart?

  • Keep dear to you.
  • Resolution- Embedded in your heart.
  • Permanent reminder.
  • Goes beyond knowledge. (Always in my mind, Forever in my heart)

I like what one girl said that your heart is a vital organ. You can't live without it. And so what is written on your heart is the thing that you can't live without.

"What you do is what you feel about what you know."

We did also touch on having a broken heart.

Having a broken heart can mean being humble. That's what it means in most of the scriptures. Coming unto the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite Spirit. My bishop was sitting in the meeting that he has a daughter, and how much he remembers having a broken heart at that age, that there is so much emotion and pain. And not that the Lord wants you to have this pain but to know that you are hurt and that the only way you can feel happiness is towards the Lord.

I remember sitting in the meeting and just thinking, throughout the past 5 years I have dealt with so much heart break, mostly just from trials and mistakes that I put upon myself. Knowing that I wouldn't have had to deal with it if I just stayed on the right path. But I knew I had to learn something and I asked in my heart, "Why did I have to break my heart over and over again?" And the answer struck me INSTANTLY and it said, "So you could learn to get it right."

I remember saying that as I was bearing my testimony. I don't know what it was, it was so hard for me to say that I had Olivia. In a Church setting anyway, I've always felt like people would say, "She had a baby out of wedlock. She is a sinner." But that's not the way I was feeling as I was standing up there and sitting back down after speaking. I felt an enormous amount of love. I felt like I had gone to Church carrying this burden, this dark secret, and that's not what Olivia is to me. I don't want her to be this secret in my life, she is a BIG part of it. I wasn't going to go around and announce it. I thought it was appropriate enough to share it with my relief society.

I expressed that I have a 4 1/2 month old daughter that I placed for adoption. And told them about the feeling about having my heart broken over and over again. That I know in my heart, what I did was right for her. And that I came back to Church with my proud to heart, to have a family and do it right this time around. That I'm also grateful for the opportunity someday to be married in the temple and sealed and have an eternal family. That I understand the atonement, and that what the Lord did for his Son was the hardest thing to do. But He gave Him the world and He gave us, Him. Probably the greatest gift that we'll ever be given and I gave her the greatest gift that I could. I broke my heart, to give her more.

I had a VERY sweet girl write me a note saying that she was adopted and that she appreciated my Testimony that even though I don't see the sacrifices that I'm making now, that Olivia will be so grateful for it later. That her adoptive parents gave her more then what her biological parents could give her and she was grateful for it. It really touched my heart.

Another girl came up and said to me that she loved my testimony as well. That is how she got her nephew is through adoption and that it has completed her family. I honestly LOVE adoption. How can you not when you hear things like that?

I also got the feeling that I needed that support in Church. That I knew that there were other people who have been blessed through adoption and that I should look at it like I was this dirty thing and didn't deserve to be there. I'm grateful to having to learn that lesson for myself. A lot of people pray that this trial will be taken away from them, but have you ever prayed and said you were grateful for the trial and hope to grow stronger from it? Or to help you from the trial and what you need to learn? Just something to think about. :)


  1. I'm so glad that happened! What a wonderful experience!

  2. You have no idea how joyful I feel reading this. No offense, but 3 years ago, there is no way I would have thought you'd be where you are now. It is miraculous and wonderful that the Lord knew what trials to give you to lead you back. I remember talking with Mom and both of us just shaking our heads, WISHING that you would just get it. Praying that you would come around. And then it felt like a crushing blow to find out what things you'd gotten involved in. Then on top of that, later, to find out that you'd become pregnant. I wasn't surprised, but I was sad (but excited to have a preggo buddy at the same time, it was a weird conflict of emotions).

    But wow, your whole experience with adoption and sweet Olivia is probably the only thing that could have taught you how to get it right. And Heavenly Father knew that. He knew that from the beginning and so He set it up for your to be able to bless Dustinn and Val's family with Olivia. Joseph knew Dustinn for what, 14 some odd years before Olivia was even born!

    Anyway, I love that you are taking notes in church. I love that you are listening to promptings to bear your testimony. I love that you are learning lessons and allowing the Lord to write on your heart. And if I love this, then how much more does the Lord love it? I love you, Stef.

    And you are just beaming in that picture. :)

  3. Hi Stefanie, I don't think I've posted a comment on your blog before, but I found your blog from Erika's blog. I'm not sure if you remember me from when we lived in Ft. Lewis, but I remembered you. I've read through much of your blog over the past several months. In fact, I had a baby girl on November 7th, just a few weeks after Olivia was born.

    I just have to tell you that I appreciate your amazing example of love. Those lessons you shared about precious things being "written in your heart" has been a very special lesson to me, and you helped to expand my understanding of that concept. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I know it is helping so many people. Your love of Olivia is so apparent. It's amazing to me to see the "other side" of adoption after having so many friends who have adopted. I'm so proud of you and the direction in life you're taking. Thanks for letting me share a little in your journey.

    Shelby (used to be Knight) Hansen

  4. I know I have posted a couple times on your blog, but I just love reading it!! You are an example to me and I just think you are an amazing person. Adoption is so wonderful and as an adoptive mom I love hearing about birth parents. Birth parents mean the world to our family. I love hearing how your testimony has grown and keeps growing through this whole adoption. Olivia will be so proud of you and will one day be able to look at you to your face and say thank you. Just like I know our daughter will to her birth parents.
    Thanks again for sharing your life with all of us!

  5. I totally know what you mean about being nervous and church and not anywhere else. You know my adoption is just as open and yours and I can talk about it to friends/strangers/whoever for hours. But as soon as I get to that pulpit I completely break down. It's such a different experience. I may not be much older or more experienced than you in this situation, but you are going through the same steps that I did. It's so crazy to hear your testimony and thoughts the same way it happened for me. You are strong. You are awesome.

    Love ya!

  6. love this post Stefanie, you are a sweetie! :)

  7. just had to tell you that i just did a blog post and ended up using a lot of the same scriptures and examples from this blog post. you can check it out, if you like. it's thanks for your inspiration!

  8. Wonderful post. I lived with the feeling bad about not being able to talk about my daughter. I am glad that you are feeling more comfortable about speaking about Olivia.

  9. Your smiling picture makes me happy. :)

  10. Stef! That was so truly amazing! Growing up with you! I have to admit I was worried, and I loved you like crazy! I missed you! I prayed for you! And through this experience you are such a strong person! And I truly look up to you for that! you are just weeks younger than I am, and you are more mature because of this particular experience! And I need to bear my testimony more often that's for sure, and I need to stop being so shy to get infront of people and doing it! And just do it when I feel I need to do it, instead of procrastinating till the last minute to do so...