I have learned possibly the biggest lesson of all this last week or so. I have learned that everything I am doing, and need to be doing, is mainly for one reason. It’s all about her. Coraleen, my daughter, is the reason for it all.
Let me rewind a bit here. In March of 2014 I was struck to the head and yanked about by a chunk of my long hair. All that occurred from the hands of my own husband. Knowing the Lord knew better than me I left our home for several weeks, and relied on His wisdom more than my own thoughts and feelings. After that time I returned. I did so not knowing what would happen. I did so without birth control, presuming all would work out. As I conceived right away, I had some anxiety. Would we be okay? What if he hit me again during my pregnancy? What if we have an overly fussy child? Can I ever leave her alone with him? What am I to do if she is in the back seat of the car while we are having one of our routine quarrels where I can’t take anymore, and have to get out of the car? Will he let me take her with me? Will he drive off? What would happen? What will happen when she hits puberty? Do I have to worry about him changing her diapers now? I would just ask myself so many questions. I figured they were all quite valid concerning his past and things he obviously still struggled with, but I trusted. I trusted that everything would be fine. I trusted that he would heal. I trusted that God knew best. I simply trusted. And then when he never returned home, but moved on to reside in prison, I needed the Lord’s wisdom yet again.
I prayed for guidance and direction when my little Coraleen was still so young. Within the first couple months of her life the Lord simply replied “Share your stories.” It took me half a year and more prayers to work up such courage required to commence the task, but I did. And I got carried away.
I shared all my stories. I shared and shared and shared some more. And as I did it living in Utah I made tons of amazing connections doing so! I felt so cool! I thought for sure I was going places – amazing places. I thought I would just blast off and become an icon within months. I assumed all sorts of wonderful, dreamy assumptions, because Heavenly Father told me to share my stories, and He knew I needed income too! I decided to fill in all my own gaps, and tell myself that obviously the Lord was going to figure out some way for me to accomplish what He counseled me to do, while bringing home some bacon at the same time. I found so many people who talked about money and vision and accomplishing all these excellent things, and I just got so caught up in it! I kept thinking Wow, the Lord led me to Utah. The Lord told me to share my stories. Now I am here doing so, and look at all the successful people He has led me to. I wanted to do it all! I was needing babysitters more often as I was spending less quality time with Coraleen. I was trying to do all I needed to in order to “provide” for her. I had good intentions, mind you, but was beginning to see less and less what was right in front of me.
I recently looked up the word “provide” and noticed something I had never before seen. It helped me realize why God needs me to stay right where I am until further notice – to be with her, to raise her, and to simply be her nurturing mama during these crucial years of her existence. The pro- + v
This last almost two years has not been easy, but it would have been a lot easier if I would have been focusing more on what I am meant to be doing right now, rather than focusing more on what I can be doing at a later time. The Lord really wants me with Coraleen right now. Period. Three times over the last couple months He has told me that He “needs her safe.” I have no clue what He means by that exactly, but He has accompanied that counsel each time with a command for me to be there with her; to care for her; to look after her.
Why must we human beings complicate things? I know for me there were two very simple tasks I was given. Stay home with Coraleen right now, to mother her, and take care of her; and share my stories – just share them. He hasn’t told me anything else. Not really. I was the one complicating everything, trying to fill in the gaps with my own desires, and getting prideful thinking becoming something “more than just a mom” was the ideal. How ignorant!! With a whole bunch going on in my head during the past couple weeks alone, I have had a loving slap across my face with a “Wake up! I have your world right in front of you, and her name is Coraleen Rose Swank. Take care of my daughter. There is a time and a place for all things, and right now the time and place is now and here. Mother, nurture, raise my precious little girl. She is not even two years old yet. Be patient. There is a time and place for you to accomplish what you wish to in the world, but right now I need you in the home.” Holy cow… I needed this…
So, there you have it. I have shared my stories, and will continue to do so. There are many portions of this ever-growing life story of mine that I have still been keeping secret to the world by more wise counsel from a loving Father, but He has made it clear that the right place for them to be revealed is in my memoir (which He has also granted me another blessing with, as He swiftly led me to the ins with Deseret Book). As far as that is concerned, I wish to begin writing it from page one again (which will be the fourth time I have begun it now), so that in my more humbled, open-eyed state, I can focus on sharing it all in the Lord’s way, rather than my own. I have also been nominated to go on the Ellen Show (another “worldly” dream of mine), and many other exquisite fulfillments of brief dreams that have come simply because of my time in Utah. But, now my vision has been cleared a bit more. Coraleen is first priority – not second or third, or however far down the list she would have to be placed for me to accomplish things I was selfishly, and blindly deeming as “successful.” Neal A. Maxwell said it perfectly when he proclaimed “When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? When the surf of the centuries has made the great pyramids so much sand, the everlasting family will still be standing, because it is a celestial institution, formed outside telestial time.”
I sure am grateful for all the opportunities out in the world for women. I am sure grateful for all the opportunities out there for men. My heart is full as I oftentimes am awestruck when I think of all the magnificence to the world in which we live today. Yet, I am humbled and quite privileged to know that of everything available to us all – of everything that can be accomplished in this mighty world – the one thing that is more honorable than anything else is to care for our families. To provide for the little ones who have been sent down from a regal palace on high to learn and grow under our stewardship.
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And, although I actually wrote this post up a week or so ago, as I was beating my self up tremendously, I realize now that I am indeed capable of fulfilling all the dreams I have dreamed, so long as my number one stays number one – Coraleen. Sometimes, for me, I think to myself I can’t take my time reconfiguring my life, I have a following that I cannot leave waiting. I’m sure I can just do it all now, and it will all be great. Well, I will say that I have about twelve projects (half of those being pretty large), including this virtual baby of mine (my beloved blog), that need more of my attention – in the right way, at the right place, and at the right time. Though my goal is to get back to blogging once a week, I know I must organize my own life more righteously first. I love my From Which We Grow friends, but I must take a couple months off to polish my work in all my avenues, including and especially here, for me and you.
As always, thanks for standing by my side. Thank you so much for your support. I began this blog purely based off the fact that I was to share my stories. I have done so time and again in this surreal year of 2016, and I will continue to do so, by way of the Lord’s will alone. I look forward to posting again when the time is right, and I am always appreciative of your patience, as I am still so new at this all and doing the best I can to provide you with what you deserve and what is purely inspired. Enjoy all the many beautiful holidays coming up! Until we meet again.
~ Tiana Swank ~