We opened the two letters.

They both said no. Denied.

No to the dream of going to BYU for both of our girls.

The disappointment was deep.

We’ve visited BYU campus on every trip we’ve made to Utah.

To quote Les Miserables, in dramatic fashion, “Dreams were made and used and broken.”

According to all of the parameters, they were above and within the average of people who get into the school.

We’ve heard about people who had lesser scores and little desire to get in, be accepted.

We’ve heard about students with much higher scores also be turned away.

We put all of our eggs in that basket.

My girls wanted to be there and worked all of high school to make it happen.

There were dreams of being on campus with Emmett. All of our kids there together.

We were very sad and mystified.

We tried to make sense of it all. We still haven’t.

That’s a place we’ve already spiraled down.

For one of the girls to not get into would have been one thing, for both to not get in seemed a long way outside our hopes and expectations…the ideal, of course, being both of them accepted.

It was a rough weekend. The death of a dream as it had been dreamed has been mourned. I know that sounds dramatic. It feels that way.

Now, it’s time to figure out what’s next.

Around each corner, I get another chance to practice everything I’ve learned. The discomfort is never over. The chance to stretch doesn’t stop.

I get to help my kids learn and practice, too.

We felt the pain.

I had to say things to myself and my kids like:

It’s ok be disappointed. It’s ok to be sad.
It’s important to allow yourself to feel those things.
What story are you telling yourself about this experience?
Is it a story you want to tell yourself? Do you want to believe this version of the story?
What are you making this mean?
The only one feeling your angry feelings is you. Your angry feelings aren’t hurting BYU admissions or the people who got in that don’t want to go to BYU.
Are you ready to choose love? Love heals. Love is the best thing to feel. It’s the best choice for each of us.
What can we be grateful for?

I teach Sunday School. On Sunday I was still reeling from the news. I knew it would be difficult to go to church, knowing our girls dream was lost, and having other people get in to BYU. I wasn’t ready. And neither were they.

We went anyway.

I taught anyway.

The lesson turned to trials and hard things we go through. And how parents feel when they see their children go through challenging things.

Someone said, “They go through the refiners fire and we don’t know what will happen but we pray it will be good things. We learn things in moments like that.”

Or maybe that’s just what I heard.

Into my mind came Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego.

They had done ALL the right things! My girls had done ALL the right things to get into BYU. They had worked their entire high school careers for this moment that didn’t happen.

This was their chance to be rewarded.

Instead, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abenego were sent into the fire. And it wasn’t just any fire! It was a fire that was heated up to 70×70.

When they went into that fire they had no idea what was going to happen. No one did. Their parents didn’t. The king didn’t.

Well, actually, they all thought these boys were going to their death. They thought it was the end.

They walked in.

Into that burning fire. The hottest one they had every built.

They were standing there. They weren’t just not burning to a crisp but talking to someone else.

Jesus was there in the fire.

He was there in the moment everyone thought was the end.
For these boys, it was a beginning.

They came to know Christ like they had never known him before.

These were boys who knew Jesus!

They had loved him. Obeyed him. Done everything he had asked of them.

They had come to know him already.

But this.

This experience was different.

They came to know him intimately and personally.

They walked out of that experience unscathed. Unburned. Not even smelling like fire.

Their experience was for them.

But it was also for everyone who saw what happened.

It changed the King. His heart was transformed.

So did all the people there.

Everyone knew that their God was THE God.

Their experience wrought a mighty change in them and in others.

This moment, where Miriam and Emma and the dream that was supposed to be the reward at the end of high school actually has ended up being something very different.

Already, my girls have said it seems like the right thing. They were quicker to get there than me.

We are trusting that another door will open.

One that is better. Even though, our own plan seemed like the right one.

Giving that up to Heavenly Father. Letting it go for the better plan that’s ahead.

The one where they and we become the best version of ourselves.

It’s not been easy. At least, that’s the story I’ve been telling myself.

I’m trusting good things are ahead.

My girls are, too.

As I say all the time:

Everything is going to be ok! We don’t need to worry.

Worry pretends to be necessary.

The truth is: faith is necessary.

Hope is necessary.

This is an opportunity to walk into a fire and meet our best selves and Jesus there.

To the fire walk we each have ahead of us,


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