“Strong for the Sake of My Children,” Ensign, Feb. 2001, 61–62
After 12 years of marriage and with six young children, I found myself separated from my husband, facing divorce. My husband’s mother continued to live with our family, but with one exception, my children never saw their father again.
My children were too young to understand fully what was happening to our family, and I tried to shelter them as much as I could from the pain I was feeling. But within a few weeks of separating from my husband, I felt vulnerable, empty, and alone. Although I was surrounded by people in my Philippine hometown, I often found myself weeping, longing for the comfort of someone to confide in. Assailed by doubts, I felt as though I were living in a haze. I couldn’t think or plan clearly. And yet I knew I had to be strong for the sake of my children. The burden of their welfare rested solely upon my shoulders, I felt.
Humbled and desperate, I knelt and asked Heavenly Father for three favors: good health, a clear mind, and emotional strength devoid of self-pity and selfishness.
My prayers were answered. In spite of difficult economic conditions in the Philippines, I was blessed with a good income. The harder I was able to work, the more money I earned. Our temporal needs were met, and I found the clarity of mind and the emotional strength I needed to be both mother and father to my children.
I gave my children love and affection and as much attention as possible. I devoted Sundays and holidays solely to them. I taught them not to look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but to look around in awareness. They learned not to hate anyone, especially their absent father.
They also learned to share with one another and build family solidarity. We exchanged ideas and valued each other’s differing points of view. We rejoiced in one another’s victories and comforted each other in our defeats. We were a united family—cooking, cleaning, laughing, sharing, and, above all, praying together.
Seven years after my separation, four of my children and I became members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The teachings of the Church honed and polished my children, further cultivating their talents. They learned more patience and understanding.
As they grew older they also discovered leadership skills and other abilities they did not know they had. They enjoyed peace and a sense of belonging. My children often turned to Church leaders for educational, emotional, and spiritual counsel. They were devoted to their callings and eagerly engaged in Church activities. I watched them thrive as they grew spiritually and developed social skills.
My son and three daughters served as full-time missionaries. They have continued to grow and develop into wonderful people.
My trials have helped me to become stronger and grow in ways I may not have otherwise. Many times I was weary, but in those times of great need my Heavenly Father gave me rest, guided my footsteps, and filled my soul with His love.
I have been abundantly blessed. I cherish my beautiful family. Out of our great adversity we have emerged triumphant.
But we owe everything to our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. For Their influence in our lives we are eternally grateful.