Trusting the Lord’s Timing

Trusting the Lord’s Timing Relationships

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Gospel Solutions for Families. I’m your host, Amy Iverson. The scriptures remind us over and over to wait upon the Lord. Former Apostle Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it this way: “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” If you’ve ever wondered about the Lord’s timing in your life, you’ll want to join us today.

I’ll be talking with Lisa Lund. In 2004, Lisa married Russell Lund. Today, hanging on a sign in Lisa’s home is this quote: “Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives you a fairy tale.” Lisa’s fairy tale didn’t come the way she expected. Her fairy tale took faith in the Lord’s timing.

So Lisa, you, growing up, I feel like, had a very early dose of thinking fairy tales happen. And a big part of that was because of your parents– Absolutely. –even the way they joined the Church. Tell that story. My parents met at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

And when they got to the point where they were deciding that they wanted to get married, my dad asked my mom, “Would you investigate the Mormon Church with me?” And my mom said, “Yes, I’d be happy to do that, as long as you would investigate the Catholic church.” That’s fair. She had been raised Catholic; he really hadn’t been raised with religion. But the story goes back 10 years earlier, when my dad with his family came from Illinois. And they went across the United States just on a summer vacation.

And my grandma really wanted to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so they stopped at Temple Square. And as they were finishing that tour, and they were leaving to get back in their car, my grandma tells the story that my dad, at 14, turned around and said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but someday I’m going to be a Mormon.” Just from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Yes, just from being on Temple Square, the Spirit he felt. It was 10 years later that that conversation happened with my parents as to, would my mom investigate the Church. And my mom tells the story that when the missionaries were talking to them, instantly my dad knew he wanted to join the Church.

My mom was a little bit more hesitant. She calls herself more of the stubborn side of the relationship. And it wasn’t until they started talking about families being together forever–she said that’s when the Spirit told her this was right. And they were married in 1959 in the Peoria, Illinois, church. And it was about three years after that when my sister and I–Lynn was two and a half; I would have been one and a half–that they came to Utah and we were sealed as a family.

And what’s really special about that is, your mom really must have been close to the Spirit to have the fact of forever families be the thing that touched her, because of a tragedy that happened later. Right, it was. When I was nine, I had just finished the third grade.

And it had been the best year ever, that when I finished school, Mrs. Jimas, my third-grade teacher, had written on my report card, “When this little girl goes, a part of my heart goes with her.” And I felt the same way about her. It had been the best year.

And we were planning our annual summer vacation to go back to Illinois. We had moved to Utah, and we were planning our summer vacation to go back to Illinois. And my dad left for work on June 1, and he never came home. He was killed in a car accident. And overnight our world went from being, I would consider, perfect to “What’s going to happen now?” My mom had four little kids–a 10-year-old, a 9-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 3-month-old.

It had only been four years before that that they had moved from Illinois to Utah. My dad had been recruited by ZCMI to come out and be in charge of their advertising department. And now she was left with four little kids, and the closest relative was 1,500 miles away. But they had made the decision to raise their family in Utah, and she stayed.

She had the faith to know this is where she wanted to raise her family. The morning after the accident, she gathered the four of us together and told us what had happened. And you think of someone, 34 years old–she had been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and instantly her world was turned upside down. And she had the faith to gather her little family and kneel down and pray for the years we had been together as a family and that we all needed to live our lives that someday we can be reunited again. Well, she became your hero.

Absolutely, absolutely. And now she’s 81 years old, this cute little short Italian woman. And she is.

She is one of my greatest heroes. So an eventful childhood for your family. And as you grew older, your mom played another role when we’re talking about fairy tales, because your sister became engaged, your younger sister. My older sister.

Oh, your older sister, OK. And your mom was a little worried about money. So tell that wedding dress story, because that is a hoot. Yes. Lynn and Kirby got engaged.

And Lynn and I are just 14 months apart in age. And my mom told us that she was on a tight budget. And she knew we would be getting married close together, and so we needed to pick out a wedding dress together.

And so we went shopping together, found a beautiful wedding dress that Lynn wore when she got married. That was in 1981. I got married in 2004. [LAUGHS] So you didn’t wear the dress.

So not only was the dress not in style, but I couldn’t have fit in it. So that’s in your 20s, when your sister gets married. And in my life, anyway, that’s when most of my friends were married.

That’s college time. Exactly. And it didn’t happen for you in your 20s. What were you feeling at that time?

You know what? There are choices and consequences that come from those choices. And a big part of it is because of choices I had made. And I think that I can look back and say, “I wish.” But my life was a wonderful life.

I’ve had wonderful opportunities. I never looked at it as, “Why me?” There were times–a dear friend of mine called me up and told me that she was engaged. And I was so excited for her, but I said, “Let me call you back.” I hung up the phone, and I cried. Not–I was so excited for her.

But it was one more friend getting married, and I wasn’t. And I think part of it was choices, consequences, and feeling like, “Have I put the Atonement in place for myself?” And did you realize that was the case in your 20s? Or has that come over time? I think it’s come over time, to realize that I needed to be able to put the past behind me, that I had been forgiven of things.

But had I forgiven myself? Had I realized that the Atonement was not just for everyone else, but for me? And so you felt like that was a barrier to you and relationships. Absolutely. So in your 20s, you had a little conflict of emotion, it sounds like.

And then your 30s came, and you still hadn’t found the love of your life. Right. And so in your 30s, how did your mindset change? Or did it? Do you know what?

A lot of it was “Maybe this is not going to happen, and I can be happy anyway. I can move forward with my life.” I have two wonderful sisters that let me be a second mom to them. And in fact, I have in my home a cross-stitch that my sister did that says, “Few of us will reach our potential without the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.” And that’s a quote by Sheri Dew. And the little plaque at the bottom says, “To our second mom, Lisa,” and then, “Love, Jared, Jordan, Abby, Justin, John, Michaela, and Olivia.” And they were my kids. And I just appreciate so much my sisters, who let me be such a huge part of their children’s lives.

I also decided to build a little home in a family neighborhood. I had been attending singles wards for years, and I thought, “If I’m going to move into a neighborhood, I need to get involved with the family ward.” And that’s scary when you’re in your early 30s, you’re single, and you move into a ward that’s a lot of young families. But I went into that.

Everyone was strangers. And when I did leave, 10 years later, I left family. I left– Now, that’s an amazing attitude, because I think a lot of people, when they’re single, whatever the circumstances are–the Church focuses on family, family, marriage a lot. Absolutely.

And it could be very easy for you to have sat in a corner in the back–I know people who have done this–and keep to yourself. So what was it that made you have that oomph to get out there and be involved? I think the first thing is, from the time I was young, I love kids. I love children. I was the babysitter.

And when my nieces and nephews were born, I loved children. And so instead of feeling sorry for myself that this was a part of my life I did not have, I embraced that so many wonderful mothers allowed me to be a big part of their children’s lives. Being in a neighborhood where the families were young–two bishops served, that their wives had three and four young kids. I sat next to them, and those children became my children also. That’s wonderful.

I have a cute story to tell, that Tyler, when he was about eight years old, said to his mom, “Mom, do you think Lisa would wait till I got home from my mission?” [CHUCKLES] And I was in my mid-30s at the time. Tyler now is happily married and such a wonderful young man. But there are so many children out there now who have grown up that I consider mine also.

You mothered in your own way. Yes. So you are full of joy and seem to have this wonderful, positive attitude about everything.

But was there ever times–because I think a lot of people are in this situation or similar ones–where you did feel alone or where you felt maybe God had forgotten you a little bit? Yes. I felt like there were times, more, I hadn’t forgiven myself. So how could God love me? How could He want the best for me?

And I call them my chocolate chip cookie days, where I would make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and I would lay in bed, pull the covers over my head, and just feel sorry for myself. But then, I’m a half-glass-full person. I would wake up the next day and count my blessings.

And there are so many things in my life that I feel like, if I would have been married in my 20s, I would have missed out on. Not the thought of being a mother myself. There is no one who calls me Mom. But there are a lot of children who call me Aunt Lisa. I have three beautiful stepchildren who I adore.

And there are six babies out there that call me Nana. It worked out. I wouldn’t have that if I would have gotten married in my 20s. And you stayed very active in the Church. I did.

And your testimony remained firm, it sounds like, through all of this time. My testimony did. That testimony of the Atonement is what I have grown into and learned to appreciate so much, what the Atonement can do. And I think it was when I was called to be the stake Relief Society president in a family stake, that I remember our stake president calling me. And I looked at him and I said, “There are a thousand women in this stake who are more qualified.

I’m not married. I don’t have children.” My idea of a home-cooked meal was shredded wheat with a SlimFast poured over it because I couldn’t keep milk fresh in my fridge long enough. But it was right. The timing was right. And it was the experience that made me realize, “It’s time to move on.” So you getting this major calling, which would be daunting for anyone, I think–is that finally when you were able to forgive yourself?

I think so. I think it was, “If the Lord trusts me with this, I need to trust myself that it’s time to move forward.” And through this whole time–I mean, through years and years–were you open? Were you dating?

Were you doing all of those things? Oh, yes. And blind dates, I had some amazing blind dates. But I think anyone who dates for a long period of time can say, “Oh, dating was not the greatest experience for me.” I struggled with dating. In my profession, I work with doctors, and I am confident with that.

In my Church callings, I was confident. When it came to dating, I was a wreck. My poor sister and my dear friend Jana would hear about how I felt about dating.

I was a wreck when it came to dating. “Will he like me? Will I like him? Maybe I like him more than he likes me.

Maybe he likes me more than I like him.” It was just a challenge for me to date. And so in those times, you said you did have times where you felt maybe a little deserted, your chocolate chip cookie days. Yes. But how did you stay close enough to your Heavenly Father to–and did you think, “He has a plan for me”? I mean, did you–were you always able to keep that thought in your head?

That He had a plan for me. But also, “Enjoy the life experiences you’re having, all of these experiences”–serving in the callings I had, opportunities at work that I was able to travel and meet wonderful people in my job. My family was such a wonderful support system. And even though 90 percent of my friends were married, they included me in their lives. And I realized I had a full, happy life.

Well, it sounds like gratitude was a huge part of your life and what made your happiness. Very much so. I think we could all probably learn from that a little bit.

So let’s talk about when your fairy tale started to happen. This started on one of those blind dates. It did. OK.

It did. A good friend of mine– And you’re in your 40s by this point, is that right? Yes. Well, Russ and I met–it was probably–yes, just before I turned 40.

A dear friend of mine–and if anybody thinks that their friendships from when they were in junior high cannot have eternal consequences, my dear friend Jana moved into the neighborhood and into our ward in the eighth grade. And we were friends, but as time went on, we became better friends. And she had two beautiful children that I was a big part of their lives. And her husband and my husband, Russ, were serving in a bishopric together. Your soon-to-be husband.

Yes– OK. –at the time. And Jana lined us up. And you were still willing– Yes. –to do another blind date, OK. Yes. We were lined up, and we went out twice.

Well, Russ is the most wonderful man in the world, but he is very quiet. And after the second date, I told Jana, “He is way too quiet for me.” And Russ told me, after the second date, “If you want to go out again, why don’t you give me a call?” So maybe he wasn’t quite feeling it from you. Oh, OK. [CHUCKLES] The same thing is how it was. Two and a half years went by.

Oh, so you did not call. I did not call. It was like, “OK, two dates. I’m done.” He told me if I wanted to go out again, “you call me.” Jana was so upset with me, it almost ruined our friendship, because she had a greater perspective of the type of man Russ was than I did at the time. And it was shortly after that second date, I was called to be the stake Relief Society president.

So you went through a change in your life, in your own personal thinking about yourself. Yes– Yeah. –is what. But when President Smith called me to be the Relief Society president, he said, “Do you have any plans to move out of the stake?” And I somewhat sarcastically said, “Only if some tall, dark, and handsome man comes and sweeps me off my feet.” Well, when you’re one month before your 40th birthday, you’re not thinking that’s going to happen. So two and a half years later, I worked with a woman, Beverly, and Jana, both at different times, commented to me that Russ Lund had spoken in church and what a great job he had done.

And I let Jana know, “You know what? I feel bad because I did not give him a fair chance.” And Jana said, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” And at that point, it was like, “I don’t know. What can I do?” So I sent Russ an email and just told him that I felt bad. And in fact, I have a copy of that email, and it just said, “I felt bad that I never called you again. Would you want to go out to dinner?” That was in October.

Well, he played it really well. He tells me, “Usually, any time would be fine. But I have vacations planned.” So that was the first part of October.

It wasn’t until the first week of November–he kept me waiting an entire month–that we went out. And from then on, we went out the first time in November. We were engaged in January, and we were married in the Manti Temple in April. Wow, what a great story.

It was wonderful. So now, knowing all of that, can you look back and think, “This was how it was supposed to be”? Or do you think these were your choices, and so that postponed you finding this fairy tale? What is your perspective now on your life?

I think the Lord took my hand and walked me through this experience. And I have thought before, “What would my children have looked like? What is that experience like of carrying a baby and having a child?” But I can’t even go there, Amy, because I think, “What would I have given up?” Look at what I have. Russ came as a package deal with three beautiful children. And now we have a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren and one on the way.

I cannot imagine my life without them. So if I tried to think back, “What if?” I can’t go there, because that would mean I wouldn’t have what I have now. And what I have now is priceless to me.

I think there are a lot of people who are waiting for something in their life to happen. It could be marriage. It could be children.

It could be a job, whatever. And it’s tough. You are the perfect example of how we should be. But can you help those of us who may not be there yet?

But how do we trust in the Lord’s timing like you have? That’s a good question. I think you have to look at it as that our Heavenly Father knows us.

And looking back now, 55 years, how many times in my life that I believe the Lord knew better than I did. And I think if we can have an eternal perspective, not just this limited–what I’m going through today, what I’m going through this week or this year–but we have that eternal perspective like my mom had when they started talking about families being together forever. What we’re going through now is a small part of what Heavenly Father has in store for each one of us.

And we can all make our happily ever after. Maybe it’s going to be with a husband and children. Maybe–in my mom’s case, she has still made her happily ever after for the last 47 years. She never lost perspective of that eternal plan.

But three months after my dad died, she went back to school to get her master’s. And when my youngest sister started school, she started teaching again. She was a wonderful teacher. And we even thought, “Wow, when she retires, what is she going to do?” She spoils her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. That’s her life, is her family.

And I just think that happiness is a choice. Whatever circumstances we may be in, we have the ability to choose to be happy. And finally, can you just talk a little bit about how important putting the Atonement to work in your life and having that personal relationship with the Savior comes into play as we trust in our Heavenly Father?

The Atonement–Heavenly Father knows us. He loves us. But we have to believe.

We can’t just say, “Oh, yes, the Atonement is for everyone else.” We have to believe, “He did this for me,” that what He went through was for every one of us. And if we are willing to do that, we can know that our life may take a detour. As we have our GPS going, recalculate–there are times we have to recalculate. And we cannot undo the past, but we can make the future better and put that Atonement into play and realize He wants the best for us. He’s not there to punish us, but choices have consequences.

And if we put the Atonement in our lives, we can have our happily ever after. For my 50th birthday, the greatest gift Russ gave me was a picture I didn’t even know had been taken. We were down at the Salt Lake Temple at a wedding. It was a rainy day.

He’s holding an umbrella. I’m holding his arm, and we are walking. And he gave that framed picture to me on my 50th birthday.

And to me, it shows the two of us can get through anything together. The storms of life, whatever is put before us, we can get through together. And I think it’s having the Lord on our side and knowing we will one day return to Him. My mom is 81, and today would have been my dad’s 82nd birthday. It’s not going to be that many years before there is going to be an amazing reunion in heaven.

And I hope it’s a lot of years. I am certainly not ready to let my mom go. But what an amazing reunion there’s going to be. And he’s going to wrap his arms around her and tell her what an amazing job she did.

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome to Gospel Solutions for Families. I’m your host, Amy Iverson. The scriptures remind us over and over to wait upon the Lord. Former Apostle Elder Neal A. Maxwell put it this way: “Faith in God includes faith in His timing.” If you’ve ever wondered about the Lord’s timing in your life, you’ll want to join us today.

Trusting the Lord’s Timing Dating

I’ll be talking with Lisa Lund. In 2004, Lisa married Russell Lund. Today, hanging on a sign in Lisa’s home is this quote: “Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives you a fairy tale.” Lisa’s fairy tale didn’t come the way she expected. Her fairy tale took faith in the Lord’s timing.

So Lisa, you, growing up, I feel like, had a very early dose of thinking fairy tales happen. And a big part of that was because of your parents– Absolutely. –even the way they joined the Church. Tell that story. My parents met at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

And when they got to the point where they were deciding that they wanted to get married, my dad asked my mom, “Would you investigate the Mormon Church with me?” And my mom said, “Yes, I’d be happy to do that, as long as you would investigate the Catholic church.” That’s fair. She had been raised Catholic; he really hadn’t been raised with religion. But the story goes back 10 years earlier, when my dad with his family came from Illinois. And they went across the United States just on a summer vacation.

And my grandma really wanted to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, so they stopped at Temple Square. And as they were finishing that tour, and they were leaving to get back in their car, my grandma tells the story that my dad, at 14, turned around and said, “I don’t know about the rest of you, but someday I’m going to be a Mormon.” Just from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Yes, just from being on Temple Square, the Spirit he felt. It was 10 years later that that conversation happened with my parents as to, would my mom investigate the Church. And my mom tells the story that when the missionaries were talking to them, instantly my dad knew he wanted to join the Church.

My mom was a little bit more hesitant. She calls herself more of the stubborn side of the relationship. And it wasn’t until they started talking about families being together forever–she said that’s when the Spirit told her this was right. And they were married in 1959 in the Peoria, Illinois, church. And it was about three years after that when my sister and I–Lynn was two and a half; I would have been one and a half–that they came to Utah and we were sealed as a family.

And what’s really special about that is, your mom really must have been close to the Spirit to have the fact of forever families be the thing that touched her, because of a tragedy that happened later. Right, it was. When I was nine, I had just finished the third grade.

And it had been the best year ever, that when I finished school, Mrs. Jimas, my third-grade teacher, had written on my report card, “When this little girl goes, a part of my heart goes with her.” And I felt the same way about her. It had been the best year.

And we were planning our annual summer vacation to go back to Illinois. We had moved to Utah, and we were planning our summer vacation to go back to Illinois. And my dad left for work on June 1, and he never came home. He was killed in a car accident. And overnight our world went from being, I would consider, perfect to “What’s going to happen now?” My mom had four little kids–a 10-year-old, a 9-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 3-month-old.

It had only been four years before that that they had moved from Illinois to Utah. My dad had been recruited by ZCMI to come out and be in charge of their advertising department. And now she was left with four little kids, and the closest relative was 1,500 miles away. But they had made the decision to raise their family in Utah, and she stayed.

She had the faith to know this is where she wanted to raise her family. The morning after the accident, she gathered the four of us together and told us what had happened. And you think of someone, 34 years old–she had been a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, and instantly her world was turned upside down. And she had the faith to gather her little family and kneel down and pray for the years we had been together as a family and that we all needed to live our lives that someday we can be reunited again. Well, she became your hero.

Absolutely, absolutely. And now she’s 81 years old, this cute little short Italian woman. And she is.

She is one of my greatest heroes. So an eventful childhood for your family. And as you grew older, your mom played another role when we’re talking about fairy tales, because your sister became engaged, your younger sister. My older sister.

Oh, your older sister, OK. And your mom was a little worried about money. So tell that wedding dress story, because that is a hoot. Yes. Lynn and Kirby got engaged.

And Lynn and I are just 14 months apart in age. And my mom told us that she was on a tight budget. And she knew we would be getting married close together, and so we needed to pick out a wedding dress together.

And so we went shopping together, found a beautiful wedding dress that Lynn wore when she got married. That was in 1981. I got married in 2004. [LAUGHS] So you didn’t wear the dress.

So not only was the dress not in style, but I couldn’t have fit in it. So that’s in your 20s, when your sister gets married. And in my life, anyway, that’s when most of my friends were married.

That’s college time. Exactly. And it didn’t happen for you in your 20s. What were you feeling at that time?

You know what? There are choices and consequences that come from those choices. And a big part of it is because of choices I had made. And I think that I can look back and say, “I wish.” But my life was a wonderful life.

I’ve had wonderful opportunities. I never looked at it as, “Why me?” There were times–a dear friend of mine called me up and told me that she was engaged. And I was so excited for her, but I said, “Let me call you back.” I hung up the phone, and I cried. Not–I was so excited for her.

But it was one more friend getting married, and I wasn’t. And I think part of it was choices, consequences, and feeling like, “Have I put the Atonement in place for myself?” And did you realize that was the case in your 20s? Or has that come over time? I think it’s come over time, to realize that I needed to be able to put the past behind me, that I had been forgiven of things.

But had I forgiven myself? Had I realized that the Atonement was not just for everyone else, but for me? And so you felt like that was a barrier to you and relationships. Absolutely. So in your 20s, you had a little conflict of emotion, it sounds like.

And then your 30s came, and you still hadn’t found the love of your life. Right. And so in your 30s, how did your mindset change? Or did it? Do you know what?

A lot of it was “Maybe this is not going to happen, and I can be happy anyway. I can move forward with my life.” I have two wonderful sisters that let me be a second mom to them. And in fact, I have in my home a cross-stitch that my sister did that says, “Few of us will reach our potential without the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us.” And that’s a quote by Sheri Dew. And the little plaque at the bottom says, “To our second mom, Lisa,” and then, “Love, Jared, Jordan, Abby, Justin, John, Michaela, and Olivia.” And they were my kids. And I just appreciate so much my sisters, who let me be such a huge part of their children’s lives.

I also decided to build a little home in a family neighborhood. I had been attending singles wards for years, and I thought, “If I’m going to move into a neighborhood, I need to get involved with the family ward.” And that’s scary when you’re in your early 30s, you’re single, and you move into a ward that’s a lot of young families. But I went into that.

Everyone was strangers. And when I did leave, 10 years later, I left family. I left– Now, that’s an amazing attitude, because I think a lot of people, when they’re single, whatever the circumstances are–the Church focuses on family, family, marriage a lot. Absolutely.

And it could be very easy for you to have sat in a corner in the back–I know people who have done this–and keep to yourself. So what was it that made you have that oomph to get out there and be involved? I think the first thing is, from the time I was young, I love kids. I love children. I was the babysitter.

And when my nieces and nephews were born, I loved children. And so instead of feeling sorry for myself that this was a part of my life I did not have, I embraced that so many wonderful mothers allowed me to be a big part of their children’s lives. Being in a neighborhood where the families were young–two bishops served, that their wives had three and four young kids. I sat next to them, and those children became my children also. That’s wonderful.

I have a cute story to tell, that Tyler, when he was about eight years old, said to his mom, “Mom, do you think Lisa would wait till I got home from my mission?” [CHUCKLES] And I was in my mid-30s at the time. Tyler now is happily married and such a wonderful young man. But there are so many children out there now who have grown up that I consider mine also.

You mothered in your own way. Yes. So you are full of joy and seem to have this wonderful, positive attitude about everything.

But was there ever times–because I think a lot of people are in this situation or similar ones–where you did feel alone or where you felt maybe God had forgotten you a little bit? Yes. I felt like there were times, more, I hadn’t forgiven myself. So how could God love me? How could He want the best for me?

And I call them my chocolate chip cookie days, where I would make a batch of chocolate chip cookies and I would lay in bed, pull the covers over my head, and just feel sorry for myself. But then, I’m a half-glass-full person. I would wake up the next day and count my blessings.

And there are so many things in my life that I feel like, if I would have been married in my 20s, I would have missed out on. Not the thought of being a mother myself. There is no one who calls me Mom. But there are a lot of children who call me Aunt Lisa. I have three beautiful stepchildren who I adore.

And there are six babies out there that call me Nana. It worked out. I wouldn’t have that if I would have gotten married in my 20s. And you stayed very active in the Church. I did.

And your testimony remained firm, it sounds like, through all of this time. My testimony did. That testimony of the Atonement is what I have grown into and learned to appreciate so much, what the Atonement can do. And I think it was when I was called to be the stake Relief Society president in a family stake, that I remember our stake president calling me. And I looked at him and I said, “There are a thousand women in this stake who are more qualified.

I’m not married. I don’t have children.” My idea of a home-cooked meal was shredded wheat with a SlimFast poured over it because I couldn’t keep milk fresh in my fridge long enough. But it was right. The timing was right. And it was the experience that made me realize, “It’s time to move on.” So you getting this major calling, which would be daunting for anyone, I think–is that finally when you were able to forgive yourself?

I think so. I think it was, “If the Lord trusts me with this, I need to trust myself that it’s time to move forward.” And through this whole time–I mean, through years and years–were you open? Were you dating?

Were you doing all of those things? Oh, yes. And blind dates, I had some amazing blind dates. But I think anyone who dates for a long period of time can say, “Oh, dating was not the greatest experience for me.” I struggled with dating. In my profession, I work with doctors, and I am confident with that.

In my Church callings, I was confident. When it came to dating, I was a wreck. My poor sister and my dear friend Jana would hear about how I felt about dating.

I was a wreck when it came to dating. “Will he like me? Will I like him? Maybe I like him more than he likes me.

Maybe he likes me more than I like him.” It was just a challenge for me to date. And so in those times, you said you did have times where you felt maybe a little deserted, your chocolate chip cookie days. Yes. But how did you stay close enough to your Heavenly Father to–and did you think, “He has a plan for me”? I mean, did you–were you always able to keep that thought in your head?

That He had a plan for me. But also, “Enjoy the life experiences you’re having, all of these experiences”–serving in the callings I had, opportunities at work that I was able to travel and meet wonderful people in my job. My family was such a wonderful support system. And even though 90 percent of my friends were married, they included me in their lives. And I realized I had a full, happy life.

Well, it sounds like gratitude was a huge part of your life and what made your happiness. Very much so. I think we could all probably learn from that a little bit.

So let’s talk about when your fairy tale started to happen. This started on one of those blind dates. It did. OK.

It did. A good friend of mine– And you’re in your 40s by this point, is that right? Yes. Well, Russ and I met–it was probably–yes, just before I turned 40.

A dear friend of mine–and if anybody thinks that their friendships from when they were in junior high cannot have eternal consequences, my dear friend Jana moved into the neighborhood and into our ward in the eighth grade. And we were friends, but as time went on, we became better friends. And she had two beautiful children that I was a big part of their lives. And her husband and my husband, Russ, were serving in a bishopric together. Your soon-to-be husband.

Yes– OK. –at the time. And Jana lined us up. And you were still willing– Yes. –to do another blind date, OK. Yes. We were lined up, and we went out twice.

Well, Russ is the most wonderful man in the world, but he is very quiet. And after the second date, I told Jana, “He is way too quiet for me.” And Russ told me, after the second date, “If you want to go out again, why don’t you give me a call?” So maybe he wasn’t quite feeling it from you. Oh, OK. [CHUCKLES] The same thing is how it was. Two and a half years went by.

Oh, so you did not call. I did not call. It was like, “OK, two dates. I’m done.” He told me if I wanted to go out again, “you call me.” Jana was so upset with me, it almost ruined our friendship, because she had a greater perspective of the type of man Russ was than I did at the time. And it was shortly after that second date, I was called to be the stake Relief Society president.

So you went through a change in your life, in your own personal thinking about yourself. Yes– Yeah. –is what. But when President Smith called me to be the Relief Society president, he said, “Do you have any plans to move out of the stake?” And I somewhat sarcastically said, “Only if some tall, dark, and handsome man comes and sweeps me off my feet.” Well, when you’re one month before your 40th birthday, you’re not thinking that’s going to happen. So two and a half years later, I worked with a woman, Beverly, and Jana, both at different times, commented to me that Russ Lund had spoken in church and what a great job he had done.

And I let Jana know, “You know what? I feel bad because I did not give him a fair chance.” And Jana said, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” And at that point, it was like, “I don’t know. What can I do?” So I sent Russ an email and just told him that I felt bad. And in fact, I have a copy of that email, and it just said, “I felt bad that I never called you again. Would you want to go out to dinner?” That was in October.

Well, he played it really well. He tells me, “Usually, any time would be fine. But I have vacations planned.” So that was the first part of October.

It wasn’t until the first week of November–he kept me waiting an entire month–that we went out. And from then on, we went out the first time in November. We were engaged in January, and we were married in the Manti Temple in April. Wow, what a great story.

It was wonderful. So now, knowing all of that, can you look back and think, “This was how it was supposed to be”? Or do you think these were your choices, and so that postponed you finding this fairy tale? What is your perspective now on your life?

I think the Lord took my hand and walked me through this experience. And I have thought before, “What would my children have looked like? What is that experience like of carrying a baby and having a child?” But I can’t even go there, Amy, because I think, “What would I have given up?” Look at what I have. Russ came as a package deal with three beautiful children. And now we have a daughter-in-law and a son-in-law and six beautiful grandchildren and one on the way.

I cannot imagine my life without them. So if I tried to think back, “What if?” I can’t go there, because that would mean I wouldn’t have what I have now. And what I have now is priceless to me.

I think there are a lot of people who are waiting for something in their life to happen. It could be marriage. It could be children.

It could be a job, whatever. And it’s tough. You are the perfect example of how we should be. But can you help those of us who may not be there yet?

But how do we trust in the Lord’s timing like you have? That’s a good question. I think you have to look at it as that our Heavenly Father knows us.

And looking back now, 55 years, how many times in my life that I believe the Lord knew better than I did. And I think if we can have an eternal perspective, not just this limited–what I’m going through today, what I’m going through this week or this year–but we have that eternal perspective like my mom had when they started talking about families being together forever. What we’re going through now is a small part of what Heavenly Father has in store for each one of us.

And we can all make our happily ever after. Maybe it’s going to be with a husband and children. Maybe–in my mom’s case, she has still made her happily ever after for the last 47 years. She never lost perspective of that eternal plan.

But three months after my dad died, she went back to school to get her master’s. And when my youngest sister started school, she started teaching again. She was a wonderful teacher. And we even thought, “Wow, when she retires, what is she going to do?” She spoils her grandchildren and her great-grandchildren. That’s her life, is her family.

And I just think that happiness is a choice. Whatever circumstances we may be in, we have the ability to choose to be happy. And finally, can you just talk a little bit about how important putting the Atonement to work in your life and having that personal relationship with the Savior comes into play as we trust in our Heavenly Father?

The Atonement–Heavenly Father knows us. He loves us. But we have to believe.

We can’t just say, “Oh, yes, the Atonement is for everyone else.” We have to believe, “He did this for me,” that what He went through was for every one of us. And if we are willing to do that, we can know that our life may take a detour. As we have our GPS going, recalculate–there are times we have to recalculate. And we cannot undo the past, but we can make the future better and put that Atonement into play and realize He wants the best for us. He’s not there to punish us, but choices have consequences.

And if we put the Atonement in our lives, we can have our happily ever after. For my 50th birthday, the greatest gift Russ gave me was a picture I didn’t even know had been taken. We were down at the Salt Lake Temple at a wedding. It was a rainy day.

He’s holding an umbrella. I’m holding his arm, and we are walking. And he gave that framed picture to me on my 50th birthday.

And to me, it shows the two of us can get through anything together. The storms of life, whatever is put before us, we can get through together. And I think it’s having the Lord on our side and knowing we will one day return to Him. My mom is 81, and today would have been my dad’s 82nd birthday. It’s not going to be that many years before there is going to be an amazing reunion in heaven.

And I hope it’s a lot of years. I am certainly not ready to let my mom go. But what an amazing reunion there’s going to be. And he’s going to wrap his arms around her and tell her what an amazing job she did.

She’s my hero. I am so blessed to have the life I have. Trusting in the Lord’s timing isn’t easy.

It can challenge the faith of anyone. But in Lisa’s life, her trust allowed her to grow and be strengthened. That’s not always the course we would choose. But as the Lord fully knows, it’s the course that brings the greatest satisfaction and that molds us into the person He knows we can be and ultimately want to be.

I’m Amy Iverson. Thanks for joining us. Join us next time for Gospel Solutions for Families. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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