One Sunday morning I heard, “Prepare Every Needful Thing.” I was lying in bed alone in my room, but I heard the words just as if someone stood beside me speaking them with authority.
What did that mean? Was something going to happen? I had been Relief Society President for over three years. Was I to get things in order and prepare to ‘pass the torch’? Did it have anything to do with my calling? No, that didn't feel right.
My thoughts went to disaster, literally. We live along the Wasatch Front. Was I to prepare for an impending earthquake? No sense of confirmation followed that thought.
I only had one more idea, but I didn't like entertaining it. I knew “Prepare every needful thing” was part of a scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants but I wasn't adept enough to quote it by heart, so I left the coziness of my bed and looked it up on LDS.org. The verse is found in D&C 88:119 and repeated in 109:15. “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even 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.”
Usually I keep things (like hearing voices) to myself, at least until I see the purpose and feel a conclusion. However, wanting some input, I shared with my husband, Enos, and our sixteen-year-old son, Cody. Not much came back from either one of them. That left me with that one idea that I didn't want to think about. There’s another scripture that says now is the time to prepare to meet God.
When I was 13 years old, my parents called a family council. I, with my five siblings, listened attentively as we were told that Mom had breast cancer and the doctors thought she had about two months left to live. Dad said that he had fasted and prayed and knew that she would be healed. He was right. There was a ward fast and the tumors shrunk 1/3 their size. After a stake fast my mom said that she knew there had been a change in her body and that the cancer was gone. Her doctor was flabbergasted. How could these fast growing malignant tumors completely disappear? She hadn't begun any treatments. Her doctor was almost convinced to believe in her God. About five years later, my mom had pain in her leg. Cancer was the culprit and even with two years of aggressive treatment, cancer overcame her entire body and she died at the age of 43. At the time of her death, my youngest brother was eight years old. My mom had been given a Priesthood blessing in which she was promised that she would live to raise her children in the gospel. Doug had been baptized and although the blessing wasn't fulfilled in the way we hoped, I have to concede it was fulfilled.
Interestingly, now, on this January Fast Sunday of 2009, I was 43 years old, the same age that my mom had died.
It was only a few months before this that a friend had told me that her greatest fear has been that one of her kids would die. She thinks a lot about that. She wondered if before our twelve-year-old son, Josh, passed away unexpectedly in March, I had also feared losing a child. Because of my experiences with Mom’s early death, my fear had been that I would die while my kids were still kids. Josh’s death had totally side-swiped me.
“Prepare Every Needful Thing” had awakened in me the fear that I wouldn’t be here for our other two boys when they needed me. It’s not that I received a spiritual feeling that I was on the right track, it’s that I hadn’t received any other direction. I continued my fast that day and increased my scripture reading and prayers the next few days, waiting to receive more. On Thursday, as I was walking down the hallway, “prepare every needful thing” just kind of morphed to “prepare to receive children into your home”. Immediately, the spirit filled me. You know how that is. I fought back tears as I knelt at the couch and shared what I had just received. The confirmation came.
I look back to this experience and see that the Lord has a sense of humor. He let me contemplate the possibility of the end of my mortality to help me be grateful for the assignment of being a foster mom because he knew what a difficult road I was about to embark upon.