Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Miracles of My Parents' Love

Valentine's Day tomorrow!!  What a great holiday... a time to think about those I love!!!
As my mother called me today with advice and made me laugh, I was reminded of my parents' enduring love.

I was also reminded of two miracles that taught me greatly about how their powerful love calmed my troubled heart... thousands of miles away... several years ago.

Miracle #1:  Gift of Laughter- Miracle With My Mother

I served a mission in Bolivia.  I know I posted about Bolivia before, but I did not share this story yet.  

My first few months in Bolivia were very difficult for me because my Spanish was horrible.  One day while my Bolivian companion and I were teaching a young girl; the girl said something funny, and they both started to laugh hysterically.  I wanted to laugh with them, but I had no clue what they were saying.  

That night in my prayers, I told my Heavenly Father how sad I was that I couldn't truly laugh with those sisters.  I wasn't around anyone that spoke English, and I wanted to laugh.  I said, "Heavenly Father, since I can't understand Spanish yet, will you please tell me a joke in my language?"  

That night, God sent me the funniest dreams I've ever had in my life!  They were of my mom in Bolivia!!

My mom makes me laugh harder than anyone else in the world.  There is just something about her dramatic style that gives my whole body the giggles.  

In my dream, God sent me visions of my mom doing silly things in Bolivia- all... night... long!  Her crazy antics made me laugh so hard.  I literally woke up that morning in audible laughter.  In fact, I laughed all day every time I saw tidbits of that dream in my mind again!  My companion looked at me strangely for my laughter.  I tried to explain to her that God had told me a joke during the night.  Being able to watch my mom in my dreams was the language that communicated humor to me more than anything else could have at that time.

At the end of my mission, my mother decided to come to Bolivia, and I quickly realized my dream was coming true.  Mom and I spent an entire month-just the two of us- making crazy, funny, and beautiful memories exploring both Bolivia and Peru!  Everyone adored her!  

I watched the youth stand in circles around her laughing at her attempts at Spanish and hugging her for her happy heart.  I fell out of my chair once because I was laughing so hard as she complimented the cook for a delicious meal.  All I can say is that in her broken Spanish, she did not compliment her or mention food at all.  

We went river rafting on the Urubamba, but the raft got a hole in it.  We went canoeing, but our canoe also had a hole in it... caymans were close by.... but we survived... with laughter.

Then, to top it off, Mom insisted we dress up for our arrival to America.  Honest to goodness, this is how we traveled!!  This picture was taken at the airport in the United States!!

I'm grateful that God sent such a miraculous dream- that my need for laughter was important to HIM, and I'm forever grateful for the miracles my mother works in my heart (and many others' hearts) because of her joyful spirit. 

Miracle #2:  Gift of Strength- Miracle With My Father

During my freshman year of college, I became a balloon entertainer!!  That's right!  Even to this day, I'm often called "The Balloon Lady."  I learned how to make a huge list of balloon animals and then traveled to a variety of predetermined restaurants to make the balloons for the customers for a tip.  

As with the start of any balloon career, you're bound to pop a lot of balloons!  My very first night on the job was tough.  Even though the people liked me, I spent a little too much time at the tables making the balloons.  The manager at the restaurant pulled me to the kitchen of the restaurant and started to yell at me in front of everyone for being too slow.  It was my very first night working!  Surprised at my own response, I answered respectfully and calmly.  I only said, "Yes sir; I'm so sorry sir."  

After he was done yelling at me, he turned around and walked away.  I took a deep breath to clear my mind in order to return to the customers with a happy face.  Maybe he heard my deep breath and took it the wrong way- I'm not sure, but he turned back around and began to yell at me some more... for being too slow.

After he was done with his 2nd bout of yelling, I actually felt strengthened-which was really strange for me.  Usually if someone clearly disrespects me, I either stand up for myself or I break down and cry.  I did neither of these; I felt strong.  I returned to work, put on a happy face, and made the balloons even faster. 

When I returned to my dorm, my dad called shortly after.  He asked me how I was doing.  I told him about my experience.  Then he asked if it was around 9:15; a bit shocked that he knew the time, I told him it was.  

My dad told me he had been at the movie theaters with my mom when a very strong feeling came over him to pray for one of his children.  He didn't know which one, so he left the movie and went to the lobby.  He asked God, "Is it Julie?  No... Is it Jared?  No..."  He continued to ask God about each one of my siblings.  When he came to my name, he knew that I was the one that needed the prayer.  He had no idea why- just that I needed an extra prayer at that moment.  

Thinking about how badly I needed that prayer and how grateful I was that my father left his movie to follow a prompting to pray for one of his children makes me cry again now... 17 years later.  

That is a miracle.  

What a miracle that my Heavenly Father loved me enough to send a message to my Earthly Father to pray for me to be strong.  I love knowing that something as simple as succeeding at my first day of work was important to my Heavenly Father.  HIS love for us is just that great!!!