In the Palm of His Hand
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“In the Palm of His Hand,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 46–47

In the Palm of His Hand

The first few years of our marriage seemed nearly perfect. After my husband and I were sealed in the Mexico City D. F. Mexico Temple, we both graduated from the university and our first daughter was born. My husband had a good job and was called as bishop in our ward. Then we were able to move to Jalisco, a part of Mexico where my grandparents had lived. We had always dreamed of rearing our children in a peaceful place, and Jalisco met the desires of our hearts. Our way of life, however, would soon change dramatically.

In Jalisco, our second daughter was born. Unfortunately, I suffered severe complications after her birth. We were able to meet the expenses from our savings, but then, two weeks later, my husband lost his job. With no income, we had to move from our house. Credit card bills, car payments, and rent were strangling us.

Eventually, my husband began to work nights as a taxi driver. Frequently his expenses exceeded his profits, but his work did bring a little food to the table. Then the car broke down, and even that little source of income ended. We sold or pawned many of our possessions. At the same time, Mexico underwent a serious currency devaluation, which added greatly to our financial distress.

My husband was emotionally and physically exhausted, so I got a job as a teacher in a bilingual elementary school. The work was hard, the salary small, and I had to leave my little ones in the care of a Church member. To save money, we moved to a cheaper place in a poorer section of town.

As I struggled to go to work, care for the family, keep up the house, and participate at church, I became very depressed. One terrible night I was so distressed I had to be hospitalized. After giving me a sedative, the doctor told me, “You’re drowning yourself in your problems. That’s for cowards, and I don’t think that is what you are. Think about it.”

Her words resounded in my mind, and I closed my eyes, searching for something to give me courage. I reviewed my life. Yes, all our material possessions are gone, I told myself, but I am still alive, and I have a wonderful husband and two precious daughters. I remembered I had not been born to accumulate goods or to live in tranquillity. I had come to serve my family and others and to build the kingdom of God.

When I returned home, I prayed as never before. I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to strengthen me. I spoke with my bishop, and he told me, “The Lord will remove from your path that which is hurting you.” The following day I learned that I had been fired from my job without any explanation. The same day, I learned I had been granted a scholarship to further my education.

One morning, the telephone, which had not worked for months, rang to bring the news that my husband had received a teaching job. The phone immediately stopped working again, but it didn’t matter. My husband had work!

As never before, welfare and self-reliance principles took hold in our home. I learned to process wheat and soybeans for storage. I planted corn near the sidewalk, then received permission to plant a garden on property belonging to friends. God blessed our little garden, which was barely a square meter of ground. It produced an abundance of food, including squash and alfalfa.

The hard work—and the food I was able to store—tamed my fear and filled me with hope. As my attitude changed, I was able to see the hand of the Lord in our lives. We were blessed with good health; none of us even had a cold. Never, even in the most difficult times, did we stop feeding the missionaries. The children always had food, and we had plenty of invitations to eat with friends. One day I was finally able to buy a second cylinder of propane for our stove. Immediately the contents of the previous cylinder ran out. Typically, a cylinder lasts a month and a half, but this one had lasted for months.

Out of our trials we learned some important lessons. We learned to value the counsel of our leaders. We learned to receive; it is good to serve, but it is also important to let others serve you. Both my husband and I were able to get additional job training without paying for it. My beloved in-laws were always conscious of our needs, and I found in my mother-in-law a great friend.

And our marriage grew and was strengthened. One night my husband took me into his arms and said, “I don’t care if they put us out on the street. If you are by my side, I will have the courage to start all over again.”

Perhaps most importantly, we came to see things from an eternal point of view. We came to understand that both in good times and bad, God shelters us in the palm of His hand.

  • Emma Ernestina Sánchez Sánchez is a member of the Las Aguilas Ward, Guadalajara Mexico Moctezuma Stake.