I glanced at the questions I had written down a week earlier. I wanted answers. And I believed I would at least get some sense of direction by watching conference. I had a lot of questions written down. But one in particular stood out more than the others: Will everything be OK if I’m unable to have children?
As a young, unmarried adult with an aggressive case of endometriosis, my future is a bit daunting sometimes. Endometriosis is a chronic illness that causes tissue similar to the tissue lining the uterus to grow in places it shouldn’t be inside the body. With this wandering tissue comes a whole lot of nasty symptoms (I’ll spare you the details). But I’m mostly faced with chronic pain and the uncertainty of fertility. And the worst part of all? There is no cure. You can take medicine to slow down the tissue growth or get surgery to remove it temporarily, but it will keep on growing back. Ultimately, the only way to exterminate it completely is to remove the reproductive organs.
With that in mind, my future is definitely one of my biggest anxieties. I always had at least some sense of direction and a roadmap for my life. And as a woman in my mid-20s, I’ve learned that life doesn’t usually go exactly as planned (something everyone should know!), so I was prepared for roadblocks and detours. But it wasn’t until I was officially diagnosed with this gruesome disease when my roadmap for the future seemed to spontaneously combust and burn up before my eyes.
This diagnosis wasn’t just a detour, it completely threw me off course. Like into some uncharted wilderness even Google Maps couldn’t find! After a season of despair and denial, I eventually learned I needed to accept my circumstances and I found that I truly could be happy and move forward, even with this trial (it’s possible!). But even then, with the uncertainty this disease causes (not just with fertility, but with the other life-altering symptoms as well), I was still constantly being battered with fear of the unknown.
So, with my questions in mind, I prayed—asking Heavenly father to help me find answers from the messages shared at general conference. I clung to my questions throughout each session. I felt tears prickle my eyes when Elder Ronald A. Rasband told us not to fear the future or the unknown.1 I smiled when I heard Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf talk about finding healing and happiness from the Weltschmerz of life.2 And finally, during the general women’s session, I heard these profound words come from our sweet prophet, President Russell M. Nelson: “Please note that anytime I use the word mother, I am not talking only about women who have given birth or adopted children in this life. I am speaking about all of our Heavenly Parents’ adult daughters. Every woman is a mother by virtue of her eternal divine destiny. …
“… No one can do what a righteous woman can do.”3
The Spirit felt like a jolt of lightning through my heart. I felt goosebumps break out on my arms. I couldn’t believe it. It was exactly what I needed to hear. It’s like Heavenly Father was saying, “That was for you!” I knew truly that He was aware of me right then and there. I know that He is aware of all of us at all times.
Ultimately, all of my questions were answered during conference. Some of the answers were profound, and others, while brief, were enough to bring me peace and help me to keep moving forward. I know without a doubt that the words spoken at general conference truly come from God and that He wants to lead us and comfort us all in the uncertainties of mortal life. He will not leave us to wander aimlessly and alone.
All in all, I have felt the Spirit impress to me many times (not just at conference) that no matter what happens in my future, if I’ll ever be free of my chronic illness and whether or not I’ll have children through adoption, by some miracle, or only in the next life, God is aware of me and my circumstances and that everything will be OK. I know He has a plan for me and a plan for each of us. Even though my plans might not always go smoothly, His plans always will. I know my future is bright. And in those times when even Google Maps can’t even point me in the right direction and I’m feeling lost and afraid, I remember that Heavenly Father has an eternal perspective—He can see what I cannot. If I trust Him, He will bring me peace and keep leading me home.