Before They Were Ours

from Britney

In Healing Through Christ, we learn to apply the spiritual adage, let go and let God. We put this principle into practice as we allow Him to do for our loved ones what we are not able to do. We recognize that “God manages things better than we do.”1 Several years ago, I learned the value of letting go and letting God when I faced a challenge with my oldest child.

We moved from Arkansas to Michigan for an employment opportunity right before my son started Kindergarten. I didn’t know much about Michigan before moving there, but I knew enough to expect bitterly cold winters. I couldn’t remember ever wearing a pair of snow pants as a child in the South, much less going to school (or anywhere) in winter weather. The idea of sending my very young little boy to school in several inches of snow wearing insulated pants, boots, hat, and mittens was completely foreign to me. He was so small. I didn’t know if he could handle it. In addition to the stresses of unfamiliar weather and wardrobe, I had other fears about sending my first baby out into the world. He was a homebody who had a lot of anxiety about facing anything new.

One day in November, the first snow started to fall. Before school the next morning, I had a very worried little boy who did not like the idea of adding layers of clothing to his routine. I couldn’t convince him to put on any of his snow gear. His fears came out in the form of tears. I tried to console him as we were running out of time to make it to the bus stop. He continued to sob. I assured him that he would have help at school to learn new procedures. I reminded him that other kids were learning too. I silently prayed for help followed by a prayer aloud with him. It didn’t seem to help. I knew I would have to drive him to school and hand-deliver him to his teacher. I gathered his two younger siblings, and we all headed to school. Still in our pajamas, we walked our sad boy through the halls to his classroom with the sound of swishing little snow pants all around us. I explained his worries to his teacher, reassured him, and turned to leave. It broke my heart to say goodbye. He was emotionally overwhelmed, and his teacher was busy tending to the chaos of a classroom of almost thirty little kindergartners. As I left, I wanted nothing more than to go back, scoop up my little boy, and bring him home with me where he really wanted to be, but I tried not to worry.

Later that morning, I received a call from a school specialist. She told me she had pulled my son out of class for an assessment, and she was calling me to report how it went. Before she shared the results with me, she said, “When I sat down with your son, he rested his head on my shoulder for a little while. It was very sweet.”

“He had a hard morning,” I replied.

After we ended our conversation, tears of gratitude filled my eyes. I knew at that moment that Heavenly Father was aware of my child. Even though he was in a class full of other students with only one teacher to care for them all, Heavenly Father provided a way. He sent another loving adult to sit with my little one and give him the attention and comfort he needed on that particularly difficult day. I not only recognized Heavenly Father’s love for my child, but I also felt His awareness of me. What if the school specialist had waited to call me, or what if she hadn’t even told me about the tender moment she had with my son? I believe she was prompted by the Spirit to contact me right away and share it all with me. I believe Heavenly Father knew my worries and heard my prayers. He wanted me to know that this child, who was so dear to me, was in good hands and that He had sent help. He wanted to comfort me.

Elder Orson F. Whitney taught that our children “were [God’s] before they were [ours]—long before he entrusted them to [our] care; and [we] cannot begin to love them as he loves them.”2 No matter the age of our children, whether they are small or grown, we can trust that Heavenly Father will work in their lives in ways that will touch them. Through their challenges, He will provide help and important lessons tailored to their needs. He knows them well, and He knows how to bless them. We can pray with them and for them. We can walk with them and support and encourage them, but the responsibility to care for our children is not entirely on us. When they’re out of our reach, He will send others to sit with them and help carry their burdens. When they’re alone and face overwhelming trials, He will wrap His loving arms around them.

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On that snowy November day in Michigan, I realized that I can place my fears as a parent in the hands of God and trust that He knows the best way to care for all of His children, including my children. I learned what it means to let go and let God

1Healing Through Christ: Help, Hope, and Healing for those who have a loved one in addiction, 26

2Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, April 1929, 110

Thanks to Britney for submitting this post. If you would like to submit a post that reflects your hope, faith, and experience with the Steps, please send it to