Upheld by His Hand
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“Upheld by His Hand,” Liahona, Oct. 2004, 28–29

Upheld by His Hand

When I first heard the gospel, I loved it and knew I wanted it to be a part of my life. I wanted to be married someday to a returned missionary, have children, and live happily ever after. I fell in love with the most wonderful guy. He was also a convert. After he served his mission, we were married in the Washington D.C. Temple.

Five years and two children later, I found myself sitting in a general conference broadcast all alone. My children had stayed home with their father.

I will never forget the feelings I had that day. The “happily ever after” I longed for seemed to be slipping from my hands. My sweet husband, the returned missionary I married in the temple, was struggling with activity in the Church. I prayed for him and put his name on the prayer roll in the temple. Still, he chose not to attend church. It was heart wrenching to hear my two-year-old son plead, “Come to church with us, Daddy.”

As I sat in conference that day long ago, my soul was stirred by the excellent talks, but I also felt saddened. I so wanted my husband there. We were on this earthly journey together, but we were walking different paths. I needed strength to carry on. Sitting alone at church with a newborn and a two-year-old can be trying under any circumstances, but we were living in a new city, in a big ward, and many of the members were students just like my husband. I thought I was the only one who had a less-active husband, and I felt out of place. But I plastered on a smile and continued going to church, all the while dying inside.

During conference that day, the congregation rose to its feet to sing “How Firm a Foundation,” and I simply sat there. I did not have the energy to stand.

As the third and final verse began, I started to feel different. Something was changing, and the sweetness of the Spirit engulfed my whole being as I listened to the words:

Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,

For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.

I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, …

Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

(Hymns, no. 85)

Then one of the most amazing moments of my life happened. It seemed to me that someone was literally helping me to stand. I looked around, but no one was there. From that moment I was a changed person. I knew I was not alone. And in that one instant I knew that someday all would be well.

A smile came to my face in a recent sacrament meeting—18 years after that conference—as my husband was released from the bishopric and called to be the Young Men president. I received a new calling too—the one I’ve feared my whole life—Relief Society president. Feeling overwhelmed, I felt my heart skip a beat as the closing hymn was announced: “How Firm a Foundation.” My tears always flow when that hymn is sung, and on that day they were in abundance. They were tears of gratitude, and I knew again that all would be well.

Illustrated by Sam Lawlor