Associate Teaching Professor, Family, Home, and Social Sciences
Divine intervention. That sums up my experience in gaining an education.
When I became a single mother after nearly 25 years of marriage, I knew that I would need to return and pursue my education to be able to support my 5 children. I had left school after completing a little more than 2 years to marry, move, and raise a family. My greatest ability to succeed in school was not a brilliant mind; rather, it was a fierce determination to do what needed to be done (thanks to my pioneer heritage). I knew that pursuing an education was mortally impossible at that point of my life. I was devastated emotionally by the divorce; I had fibromyalgia, which not only causes near-constant pain, but also weakens the memory system; and my two youngest children had serious health problems.
Literally every day, I witnessed a form of divine intervention in my life. Sometimes it was as simple as finding a parking spot close to class so I could be on time. Other times it was a tremendous blessing such as my son’s frequent hospitalizations occurring in the middle of the night (rather than while I was away at school) so I could get him settled and arrange to have my mother come and stay with him when I needed to leave for class. I was supported mentally, as well; I spent many hours studying (possibly more than younger students since I struggled to retain what I studied), and I was blessed to be able to remember what I needed “just in time.”
While I was completing my last year of my bachelor’s program, I applied for a master’s program. I know that it was literal divine intervention that enabled me to be accepted and to be able to teach classes so that I could financially support my children.
Following my master’s program, I was tired and burned out. I prayed and fasted for over a year to understand what the Lord wanted me to do next to support my family. I concluded that I would not go on for a PhD but that I needed employment that would provide a sufficient income, insurance, and flexible hours to meet the needs of my children. However, the Lord informed me that I would need the PhD and guided me into a program that was only mildly related to my first two degrees. I was gratefully surprised that I loved my program! I loved my course work and the projects. I continued to have daily divine help to complete my program. I obtained a tenure-track position at BYU about 6 weeks before I received my PhD.
So what has my educational path meant to me? I am grateful for my position, for the association I have with my peers and with the students, for my opportunities. But most of all I am grateful for coming to know and love my Heavenly Father more deeply. I know that He opened the doors that enabled me to return and complete my degrees and to find a program and a job that I loved. I am grateful for the tough challenges that forced me to rely on Him more fully.
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