Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Adaptation and The Family Proclamation by Jen Fuller

"By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.

Adaptation: something that is changed or modified to suit new conditions or needs

Isn't this what life is, one adaptation after another?

Mine is.

When Jocelyn asked me to post about this topic, I read through it trying to think how I would be able to make this relatable for all those reading it. I have to say that my life is in adaptation mode 99% of the time. 

We all find ourselves in adaptation mode at times in our lives.  At times it is frustrating, and we don't have answers to why things happen to us in life. We only know that our "trials and tribulations" will be for our "benefit and learning". Sometimes it takes years to really reach a point after a trial where you can sit back and say thank you to Heavenly Father for this. A time when you are able to take stock in all that you gained and all the ways you grew in that experience.

I am hoping that by sharing one of my personal struggles you will be able to better understand the different forms this section of the proclamation can take in your life.

(So young!)

A few years into our marriage I was in a car accident that left me on bed rest for 6+ weeks. I was unable to really dress myself, sit, lie down, drive, you name it. Due to the fact that I did not want my husband to flunk out of BYU, I took my mother up on her offer to come down and help take care of me and our family for a little while. That little while turned into a month and a half. She sacrificed, taking time off of work (flying about 3000miles), and time away from my dad and my youngest sibling, who was in high school at the time. She drove me to many doctor appointments, to the lawyer, to handle insurance items, pick up the kids from school, helped with homework, cooked, etc. while the my husband was in school and working. It was a huge blessing and we are very grateful for my parents' sacrifice for us.

(Brooding 14 year old and mom)

Those that know me well, know that I like being very self-sufficient (some might say that I pride myself in it) and don't take help when offered (needed or not). I don't enjoy having people do things for me. This was the beginning of a very hard and uncomfortable time for me; not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Several months after the accident there was a point in time when the "recovery" started. It was evident that I would no longer be able to work as much as I had before, and then after giving it a good 10 months, at less than part time, my husband and I prayerfully made the decision for me to quit because it was causing too much pain. That pain was making me unable to function at home

The recovery was slow and rocky for the first 2 years. I was not progressing well. I received a rude induction to the chronic pain club, the daily pain killer league, and the anti-depressant guild (on top of becoming pregnant and delivering our little miracle that is baby number 3). 

It became clear during the early months of this recovery time, that I would have a lot of limitations now with my physical activity - otherwise known as my life. 

I would no longer be able to play sports, go hiking, go camping, ride a bike, lift anything over 5 pounds, or run (to name just a few). The most obvious changes happened in our home. I was no longer able to have my kids sit on my lap if we read a story, for family scripture study, or went over some homework. 

I was not able to carry them from the car if they fell asleep on the way home or if they hurt themselves while playing. I could no longer go out in the backyard and play soccer, chase them, shoot hoops, ride bikes, or go on walks with them. 

The relationship my husband an I had as a couple also had to have adjustments made. Those things we loved to do as a couple in the great outdoors (see above :), the things we bonded over and fell in love doing, were no longer possible. He was now left with an inactive sometimes bedridden wife that struggles with chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety. I often found myself thinking "This was not what he signed up for. This was not what I signed him up for."

When I now thought about who I was, I had no identifiers that I recognized. I not only had to figure out how I was going to get through life being a mom and wife, but I had to figure out who I was as a person.

I had to redo my way of parenting. How was I going to let them know I loved
them when I was not able to do all of these things that they had been use to for
their entire lives? On top of all this, I was now a full time stay at home mom.
I had little experience in this area. I also needed to learn to connect with my
husband differently, but most of all, I had to dig deep and see what there was left inside of me that was worth something.

(The 3 reasons I do what I do!)

Fortunately I married my wonderful husband. He not only was very aware of his role to preside over his family in love and righteousness, he was able to pick up the slack (seriously a lot of slack strewn here and there, and everywhere) I was causing left and right.

(Med School graduation May 2010)

He kept ME going for this uphill battle I had. He never talked down about the accident, or of the situation I was now in. He was/is always concerned about how I am feeling physically and emotionally. His ability to tell me that we would get through this, though maybe not how we wanted to (pain free and extremely mobile - yes I tend to have high expectations in life), but we would get through it together as a couple, and as a family, if and only if we relied on Our Father in Heaven. 

He would tell me over and over again that our kids loved me because I was their mom. They knew how much I loved them. So mom only watched them play outside or play ball now. That was not a big deal. I would be the best cheerer on the sidelines even if the game was only in our backyard. 

He let me know that we were still a team. We still needed each other. He needed me, and we were in this together. This moment in time was just us having to regroup and come up with another game plan at half time. Our goal was still the same and there was more than one way to accomplish it. We needed to work together to set our new path to be an eternal family life. Sometimes equal partners meant that one would carry the other when they needed it. Equal doesn't always mean even.

It has been almost 7 years since the accident. This definitely hasn't been the last of our struggles in life. I am thankful that we have been able to help build upon the foundation of our marriage through this experience. Looking back I have a better understanding of unconditional love, faith, personal prayer, charity and eternal marriage. I have a greater love of the Gospel and for the plan our Our Heavenly Father. Most of all cherish and know the importance of being a mother and wife in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

DSCF0374 edited 1Jenny Fuller's beauty and love for the out of doors runs deep.  She was born and raised in Alaska, where she met and fell madly in love with her extremely handsome, athletic and smart husband, Stanley. Together they are raising 2 teenagers and a 4 year old. Jenny and her family have recently relocated to the great state of Pennsylvania (and LOVE IT!) while Stan does his residency in Ophthalmology. Jenny worked for several years as an ophthalmic technician, specializing in pediatrics-special needs.  For now she is a stay at home mom that enjoys cooking for a large crowd, crocheting and knitting, cake decorating, photography, music (plays the violin and piano), being outdoors, playing sports, staying fit, learning new things, and reading non-fiction. Jenny also enjoys spending time with her family and going on dates with her husband. This year she is tackling homeschooling with her oldest, a 14 year old 9th grader. Jenny loves the gospel and is very grateful for the family and friends she has in her life.

Please visit the other sites in our celebration:
Chocolate on my Cranium
The Red Headed Hostess
Welcome to the Madness


Positive Music and Downloads.com and Your LDS Radio.com are sponsoring today’s uplifting and inspiring four CD collection of EFY (Especially for Youth) music.
Even if you aren't a winner, you can find this great music at www.PositiveMusicandDownloads.com and www.YourLDSRadio.com!

www.positivemusicanddownloads.com Dedicated to bringing today's Latter-day Saint music to a worldwide audience since 2008

www.yourldsradio.com Your home on the Internet for the best in LDS music


  1. inspiring story, it isn't until years later that we can finally make sense of and understand the growth that comes from the trials we go through...

  2. Bless my soul! now THIS is an entry that's worth reading and rereading. Life is all about adaption. And nowhere do I read her blame the accident, the other person, the problem. These things sometimes aren't anyone else's fault. But they are our sweet gifts to grow from. Let's here it for this Jenny and her wonderful amazing husband. May they have survive all the adaptation life and the Lord sends them. EXCELLENT WRITING

  3. Most of us want the dream life of a perfect family without any problems. But it is because of problems that come along that help us make our dream life. Jenny has just shared that with us. Thank you for being a wonderful role model and friend.

  4. Great post Jen! Sending some NC love your way. We sure do miss you here!

  5. I 100% agree with all of your thoughts. Life is really all about adaptation. What an inspiring story. Thank you for sharing.

    On a side note, we have been homeschooling now for 3 years and love it...good luck with your adventure. I am sure you will discover so many things. (some good and some bad, but all worth it)

  6. What a great example of adaptation in our families!! Thank you for sharing your experiences and feelings! We are also starting homeschooling but our kids are a little younger! Good luck and enjoy the time you get to spend with kids!

  7. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  8. What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing it! :)

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

  10. This is. A very inspiring post.

  11. I love your line "Equal doesn't always mean even."

    I really needed to hear that line. Thank you so much for writing this.

  12. This was an inspiring and lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing this post. You are a great example of faith, hope and the ability to adapt to your changing life. It is obvious that you are blessed with a wonderful husband.
    Loved this one! Keep on enjoying the sweet moments of your life.

  13. Oh, how I love and miss you! "Equal doesn't always mean even..." So true! There have been so many times that I have feebly tried to explain that principle- now I have the exact line to use! Life is just hard, but your foundation is so strong- it always has been. Thank you Jenny:)

  14. Thank you for sharing your story! You are certainly correct: life is a series of adaptations and growth!

  15. Wow! What an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.

  16. Really wonderful stuff, Jenny! Your line "Equal doesn't always mean even," will go down in Celebrate Family history! :) Thanks again for this excellent post!

  17. Thanks for sharing your story. It helps our faith grow.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. In our home there is hardly a day that goes by that you don't hear, "Adapt and overcome!"

  19. What an inspiring story! Gives me a lot to think about in appreciating the little things and showing that kind of unconditional love. I hope I remember to show unconditional love to my spouse and children in the little things as well as the big ones.

  20. WOW! I need to be that way with my hubby. Thank you for sharing.

  21. I love this post. Thank you for sharing your journey, Jenny!

  22. What a beautiful family! Enjoyed your post.

  23. This story is inspiring on so many levels - I really appreciate the honesty in showing how these lessons were learned. A beautiful result from something tragic.

  24. Thank you for your courage in writing this post --you demonstrate such grace and hope, in spite of the ups and downs.

  25. Thank you for sharing your story!

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, we think you are great!

  28. Aunt Jenny, this is so insightful. I loved reading it, and love knowing you because every part of this is so true. I love you guys so much, and miss you taking care of me!

  29. What a beautifully written post. You always inspire me to be a better woman and wife. Love you and miss you lots (and your cooking :))!

  30. Thank you for sharing something so personal. I loved when you said, "Equal doesn't always mean even." Sometimes we give more and sometimes we need to receive more...I don't know why, but that just resonated with me this morning. Thank you!

  31. Wow, thank you for sharing this

  32. This is SUCH a touching post!