I have been following Heather on Instagram for a few months now and she has been sharing a little bit about what her son has been going through so I messaged her and asked her if she’d be willing to write this post AND if her son would be willing to share his side as well. I was so happy when they both agreed. These two are amazing examples of putting faith and trust in Heavenly Father.
Heather Herbert is a mother of three teenagers and one still-born daughter. She created the Sweet-Me Project to help other women to live and love in celebration! She also creates products to encourage living a life of gratitude. Blaise is Heather’s oldest child and graduated high school in 2018.
The feeling of always wanting to protect your baby never goes away even when that baby is a 19-year-old adult. Blaise is my first-born, so I lovingly tease him that he is the tester child as my husband and I try to figure out what the heck we are doing. And even though I try my best to teach him all about life, I have quickly discovered that he is teaching me much more.
This has been especially true this last year. The summer before his Senior year in high school, Blaise broke his back. He spent all summer in a back brace, not being able to do the things with his friends that he wanted to do. It took about a year to rehab his back, and after he graduated high school, he decided he wanted to serve a Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He filled out all of his paperwork and met with all of his doctors to get the all clear. He turned in his papers and the Mission Medical office wanted more information on his back. His doctor wrote a letter, and we scheduled another MRI to see if he was a candidate for a procedure that would help with the pain.
Blaise received is Mission call via email, before his MRI, and we had everyone over as he read his call. Winnipeg Canada!! We were all so excited because Blaise really wanted to serve somewhere cold. But literally the next day, Blaise started to get very anxious. He had a sinking feeling that he shouldn’t go. He knew that his doctors had cleared him to go and that he was ok, but he also knew that his back was still hurting him all of the time. He was worried about how the pain would affect his ability to serve. For about two weeks between receiving his call and his MRI, he was on edge. He was really cranky and moody; he wasn’t sleeping, he wasn’t eating, he wasn’t doing well at all.
We went in for his final MRI, and sure enough, we were told that he actually had more damage to his back than we previously thought and that he was not a candidate for the spinal ablation that would help with the pain. With this new news and the loving guidance and counsel from his church leaders, Blaise decided to defer his mission, so that he could do more therapy and healing for his back. He struggled with this decision. He really wanted to go, and he kept telling himself and everyone else that he could do it, through the pain, he just wanted to go. But ultimately I am so grateful that through a lot of prayer and reflection he was able to come to the understanding that putting the health of his back and his future was more important right now, then going out on a mission. So he decided to take a few more months to strengthen his back so that when he does go serve, he can do so without having to deal with so much pain.
Then, as an added trial for him, three weeks after he deferred his mission and started physical therapy, he was in a skiing accident and broke his back again!!! Watching him have to do this all over again, knowing what it meant and the work and time it would take for him to heal was heartbreaking.
My husband and I just sat and cried outside of his hospital room when they told us it was broke again. I remember Blaise saying that he felt he had no purpose anymore because all of his plans were unattainable now. He was devastated and feeling like nothing mattered anymore. The first time he broke his back he became very depressed, so we could only imagine what this time would do.
But this boy of mine, he is a true example of faith. Sure, for the first few days while he still couldn’t walk, he was a mess. I remember sitting outside of his room just crying and praying for him to be ok. Not physically, but mentally and spiritually. I was so worried that this might be the straw that broke the camels back. But about a week after his accident he told me, “I don’t know why this happened right now, and it’s REALLY not fair, but I know I’m going to be ok, no matter what.” And he has not complained about this trial since.
I have seen such a change in him as he has had to deal with these trials. I have seen him turn to prayer first. I have seen him love and support his friends who are struggling and lend them his strength. I have seen him notice and acknowledge the hand of God in his daily life. I have seen him rely on the Lord and act on His promptings. I see a kid who has become a strong, faithful and optimistic young man. He may not be able to serve the mission he was called to, but I know he has a calling in life that he is fulfilling just by being an example of faith, hope, and perseverance. He has taught me to trust in the Lord in all ways and in all things no matter the difficulties. I am so proud of him for deciding to learn and grow from this experience. He knows he has a large support system of family and friends who love him. But most importantly, I know that he KNOWS that his Heavenly Father loves him, and as a mother, that’s what I want most for him.
I was asked to share my recent experience with my decision to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Growing up I didn’t really plan on serving a Mission, but after I graduated High School, I discovered that it was something I wanted to do. I received my call to serve in Winnipeg, Canada but I had strong feelings that this wasn’t my time to go. I broke my back the summer before my senior year, and I was still struggling with daily pain and was worried about how that would affect my ability to serve.
I talked with my Bishop and Stake President a lot and with their help and prayers, and with my many prayers, we decided I should defer my mission. This was hard for me because I didn’t want to defer, but as soon as I made the decision, I felt much relief. I know that peace was a gift from my Heavenly Father to help me to move on and see that He has a plan for me.
Unfortunately, a few weeks later I had a skiing accident and broke my back again! I was super discouraged and frustrated! I was mad at myself because I had a feeling all day not to go skiing. The few days after were rough, and I kind of hated life and had no idea what this would mean for me.
Its been six weeks now, and I am getting stronger every day. I don’t know why I have to deal with this trial again, but I decided to learn and grow from it. I have seen God’s hand in my life, and I know that He will help me to get stronger and better. This past year as I have prepared to serve a mission I have grown closer to the Lord, and I know that he is aware of me and my wants and needs and I have faith that something good will come from this. I have grown to know myself better and have a better understanding of my relationship with Heavenly Father through personal revelation and prayer.