Had the neatest experience in the car on the way to the girls' school the other morning. For some reason, I was contemplating the trials that my sweet little Ella has experienced in her life. When I was about 6 months pregnant with her, Alfredo and I were in a car accident. We were okay, but as a precaution, since I have the Rh factor and some of her blood had mixed in my bloodstream, I spent a night at the hospital. Then at four months old, we found out she had a hole in her heart. She had many chest x-rays, echocardiograms, EKGs and at 19 months old, she had open heart surgery. Her speedy recovery was such a blessing. Then a month later, she got Influenza B and RSV and was hospitalized for 3 days. At about 2 1/2, she rolled off the bed in the middle of the night and broke her clavicle. Ella is also my kiddo who seems to always have cavities despite the fact that I'm quite conscientious about her teeth brushing. She is also a tender-hearted little girl who is quite sensitive to stimuli. She gets easily upset and hurt.
I was reflecting on this as I was driving the girls to school. For only being six years old, she has already had some pretty difficult trials. Some how, as I was thinking about this, I was reminded of Joseph Smith and the trials he had beginning at a young age. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the spirit telling me that Ella, too, has a strong spirit and an important mission on this Earth. She is strong enough to endure difficult trials and remain faithful, if we as her parents do our best to teach her the gospel and instill in her a love for the Savior. She does have such a sweet love for the Savior already and each day she prays to know and remember that He loves us. The spirit was so strong that I began to cry as it testified to me of this truth.
It was such a powerful moment because while I dearly love Ella, I often feel that I am not well suited as her mother. At six years old, she still has more meltdowns than her 3 year old sibling. That really worries me at times, and frustrates me at times. I recognize that this aspect of her personality is both a blessing and a trial because the same part of her that leads her to melt down and overreact easily also leads her to be very aware of other people's feelings and to be very compassionate and caring. But it can be exhausting and makes me feel at times like I'm failing as a mother. But as the spirit washed over me, it was confirmed to me again that it is not my job to try to change or rid her of this part of her personality but help guide her so that she can learn to control it. If I can be more effective at building her confidence and at really establishing a "house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God" (D & C 88:118) then Ella will be able to fulfill her divine mission here on Earth and we will be an eternal family in the eternities.
Interestingly, as I was flipping to the Doctrine and Covenants to make sure I typed that verse correctly, my scriptures fell open to Moses 3. Moses 3 talks about how Satan "sought to destroy the agency of man...to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will" (verses 3 and 4). At the bottom of this chapter I have written, "If you help break a baby chick out of its shell, it will die. Satan would remove our shell and make us go back to God, but without our strength. Christ leaves our shell and helps us gain the strength we need to break our shell and return to God." This just really seemed to fit with my thoughts about Ella...she needs to continue to overcome trials to become strong to fulfill her mission.