Scott and I listened to this talk last night and it re-motivated me to write again. I am really not sure why my writing has taken such a hit. I really love reading back on my record of things so it makes me mad at myself when I slack so much on it. I have three birthday letters that I need to get up on here plus some really awesome stories that I don't want to forget.
Branson hates getting up in front of people more than anything in this whole world. He would rather break a bone, eat rat poison, get shipped off to military school or get lost at sea than get up and speak in front of people. Exactly one day after turning 12 he was asked to speak in sacrament meeting. He was terrified and kept begging me to call Brother Brown and tell him no. Scott and I went through the whole business of doing hard things and of showing the Lord what were are made of because we are willing to do things that we don't actually want to. He would not budge on his decision, he was NOT doing it. I lovingly assured him that he was. He still refused.
The thing is, is that I knew in my heart that if he didn't do it, that it would be that much harder the next time. Not doing the things we are afraid of only makes that fear bigger, its in the doing of it that grows our confidence. I was praying and praying that he would gain the confidence and courage he needed to give his talk and I kept asking Branson to pray for the same thing. Branson even got to spend the Saturday before his talk with my parents. They took Branson to lunch and my Dad told Branson about a similar experience in his own life, shared a few scriptures and reassured Branson that he could do it. I could not begin to say what this meant to me. Sometimes the load of parenting is a weight I feel I just cant bear, what a gift it is when someone else comes in and lightens that load. After that lunch Branson never again said that he wouldn't do the talk, he stopped refusing but still would not pick it up and and practice.
All the way up until the night before his talk Branson had yet to even read through it one time. He sat in the office gasping for air and sobbing...a full on panic attack over the thought of speaking in church. Scott offered to go down and open up the chapel so that he could stand at the podium and practice there, he agreed but when they got there he nearly threw up with complete anxiety. Even in the vacant darkened chapel he refused to stand up behind the microphone.
He came home and collapsed on the floor of the office. I sat next to him reading through his talk for him and praying (begging) the Lord to give him confidence to give his talk. I rubbed his back and then as if a flood light went on in my mind I realized that I had been praying for the wrong thing. I quickly changed the prayer in my heart from "give him the confidence to give his talk" to "please give him just enough courage to practice his talk." With-in just seconds of this Branson calmed down, took the talk from my hand and quietly walked up stairs. He shut his bedroom door and locked it. I stood out side the door with my ear pressed up to it and could hear the very faint sound of Branson's shaky voice...practicing his talk.
It was a miracle.
The fear never left Branson, he read his talk at least 20 times that night and in the morning he kept reading it over and over. He was too nervous to eat breakfast and then about an hour before church he came to me and buried his head in my shoulder while big quiet tears rolled down his cheeks and asked if he could have a blessing. After the blessing he and Scott left for church. The next time I saw him he was passing the sacrament for the very first time. He looked handsome and steady but I could see the fear and worry had not eased up.
But do you know what? That brave little man stood up there in front of our entire ward and gave his talk perfectly. Scott and I both sniffled and cried all through because we knew just how hard the road there had been for Branson.
I learned so many things from this experience with Branson. I learned that I can and should stick to what I know is right for my kids no matter how hard it is. Believe me it would have been way easier to just let Branson say "no" to the speaking assignment. WAY. But parenting correctly is not easy and it will sometime make your kids pretty mad at you.
I learned that the Lord does things in order. I was praying that Branson would have the courage to give his talk when Branson had not even practiced his talk. Much of the time the Lord does not give us something that we have not earned because He knows we wont grow if He did. He loves us so much that he lets us do the work first.
BUT I also learned that the Lord never leaves us. We might give up and leave Him but He never leaves us. He was there in my mind and heart teaching me what to do to help my boy. He enlightened my mind first, then I prayed for the right thing and then he immediately answered that prayer. When Branson did his part by practicing he received the natural blessing to that choice which was just enough courage to give his talk.
I learned that just because the Lord answers our prayer He doesn't then make it easy. Branson told me after church that the whole time he was talking he couldn't feel his feet and his ears were ringing. The Lord still lets us feel that stretch, that pain, that sorrow but only because it makes the victory that much more sweet. Yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding as was my pain. Alma 36:20
I will never forget Branson's first Sunday as a 12 year old Deacon. I will never forget the pain and the joy of this little experience. I love this true church. I love the opportunities of growth it provides to me and my family. I love the stretching and the learning. I love my husband who uses his priesthood worthily and I love my parents for lifting the load right along with me. And I sure love my Branson Boy.