I am no longer a Fox, but fully and completely a Carraway! Al Carraway- here’s to happiness with a companion! Still will be blogging. Still making videos. Recording audio this week for our newest video that we’ve been trying to get done for a while now. It’s coming, I promise! I’m really excited for many reasons. One being, the topic. Any guess what it is? Two- being, did any of you noticed that I said “our” and “we”?
I definitely married above myself. I strive to have as much faith as he does, and to be the example that he is. I’m confident that if others knew him, they would be asking him to give Firesides and not me. Seriously.
I am proudly, and far beyond excited, to introduce to you, Benjamin Carraway. Best friend. Companion. And husband. Here’s to a life with no longer “I’s” and “me’s”, but “our’s” and “we’s.”
It’s funny, I never put thought into getting married until I got baptized. I joked saying I swallowed some of the baptism water, because quickly after then I had thoughts of, “Where’s my husband?!” Haha. And exactly 4 years later, to the date, I got married and sealed. How’s that for a baptism anniversary! A few short months after my baptism, Elder Krause and Elder Richardson gave me a lesson on Eternal Marriages- one of them said that in their Patriarchal Blessing their future wife is preparing from him right now. I decided right then and there that I was going to do that too. I knew the only way to do that is to become as close to the Lord and I possibly could. They also made me write a letter to my future spouse, which was a little awkward at first not knowing who he was at the time, but proved to be an awesome thing. It was the start of 2010 I did that, right before I would pack up my life into a 2-Door Alero Oldsmobile and drove across the country to UT, for who knows why at the time, where I would eventually meet him 3.5 years down the line.
It wasn’t until Utah that my life took a turn in a direction I didn’t even know was a possibility for myself. The closer I became to my Savior and Father, (not just because of my future spouse, but out of pure joy and desire,) the more my I started doing things I never thought I could ever do. Not once has things gone the way I had in mind, which can be really difficult at times- you have those fleeting thoughts of if God truly cares about you, or if He actually listens to your prayers and knows you- but how grateful I am that they did not go the way I had in mind. Because they have been profoundly better. Looking the way that I do and moving to Utah, I had it in the back of my head that I would never get married because of the looks and reactions I would get. But I knew that nothing should override my initial and prominent goal: to live and share the gospel. To love and live for my God. Never would I let what I didn’t have get in the way of that. Never would I let a change of course take away from the unchangeable truth that if I were trying, I would be blessed. I would be taken care of, no matter what.
Life is hard. Strength wasn’t as strong as I needed it to be some times. Times where it was so hard I would lay on my floor yelling at Him. Asking Him where He was. Telling Him I can’t do this, whatever it was at the time. But my commitment was never wavering. Had I not made that promise to myself and to God, I’m not sure if I’d be where I am today, doing the things I’m doing. Sometimes, forcing myself to use this faith that I didn’t think I had, but using every bit of me to never lose sight of the faith that I did have. Sometimes grasping to it with every bit of energy that was left, sometimes it seemed by my fingertips and someone was pulling me by the ankles in the opposite direction. Holding on to blessings I had received and what I had read in the scriptures. That if I put Him first, if I put God first, everything else would fall in to place. That I would be blessed from my efforts of trying, not perfection. That I would be taken care of with what I can do, and not compared to someone else’s strengths or weaknesses. Just mine. That I wouldn’t know and strengthen if I didn’t experiment with His word. That I wouldn’t be helped if I didn’t act. If I didn’t do.
The only option to me, was to keep going. To keep going with Him. Every single time, being shown that His ways are greater. That with Him can I overcome anything that comes my way. And each and every single time it would lead me to something better in my life, that wouldn’t have been there if I didn’t push through, have those hard times, and trust. Each time, my love for Him would grow. I would strengthen. I would receive. And have a continuance of comfort and happiness. The only way I have come to know how great our God is, is never leaving Him during my times of weakness, times of un-sureties, times of anger and lack of understanding. With Him am I truly happy. The more I served the happier I was. The more I tried, the better I became. The more I was helped, the more I wanted to share. I blogged with no shame or fear of my trials and conviction to my Father in Heaven. I started traveling to speak at firesides several times a week, while working full time. I got endowed in 2012 and just 2 weeks after I did, I started working as an ordinance worker in the Provo Temple on the only night I had free for myself. And the way the story goes for me, it wasn’t until I was doing everything I could and magnifying all the opportunities that arose-whether they were planned and wanted, or by surprise and doubted- that I met him. That I met Ben. My companion. My best friend. My biggest support.
“…I am finally becoming the person Heavenly Father wanted me to become all along. My best self meant for you. In 1 week I leave behind my family. In 1 week I leave behind the only way of living that I know of…everything is so different, and I have to just continue to be led by the spirit no matter how hard or lonely it is. …I wish I knew you right now. I wish you were here with me as I go through all of this…When you read this our wait is finally over because it seems so far away right now. …But I’m glad you are here now. I’m glad that I never have to be alone again.” (Letter To Husband, 2010)
Life is hard, but oh so beautiful. Forget not whose hands we’re in. Forget not that you are not meant to just ‘get by’, but to give you the absolute best ever created. Forget not that His ways are always better and how comforting to know He knows us better then we know ourselves. Never should it be about what you don’t have or haven’t gotten yet. Don’t let it be about what you don’t know, or can’t do. Embrace what comes your way, especially that which you didn’t initially envision for yourself. Trust. Allow Him to show you how great our God is. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed. And more then anything, do not think you cannot do this. Do not let giving up be an option. Focus on Him, knowing that you will be blessed with the best ever created. What you know and what you have is enough for His help and guidance. You are always worthy of your God’s love. Prioritize. Turn to Him. Experiment. Act. Focus. Commit. Try. Hold on. Embrace and receive.
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