Sunday, September 13, 2015

What is Family? by Wynd Ontiveros


My Life as a Testimony

My name is Wynd: pronounced just like "the wind"; I’m a junior in high school.  I enjoy art and pottery. I’m also involved in sports at my school such as; basketball and track. I moved to Pennsylvania about three years ago from Colorado, and I'm looking forward to graduating here! I've been invited to share my story with you, as part of this celebration of The Family Proclamation. I hope you enjoy!

My story isn’t like other stories... In my life, I have faced a lot of trials and tribulations, and for about three years I believed that my life was just full of, trials, hardship, and bad things all of the time.

At this point I lived with my mother and my five other siblings with no father figure in our life. We were not very active in the church when I was younger due to our unbelief that God was still there for us. We were moving constantly and always having to fend for ourselves. It was hard moving and not knowing where we'd be moving next.  

My dad left my mother, because he didn’t want to face the responsibilities that came with having six kids. My mom never gave up on us; ever since I was young she always gave everything to us first before herself. 

When we were young, this lead us to believe that she was okay and that she was doing fine on her own, because that’s what we saw. However, what we weren’t seeing was a single mom barely pulling through while suffering from bipolar-depression. 

My mom has made mistakes and has issues that prevent her from living the life she had hoped to. In this way, my Mom is probably not too different from many other people out there. But what most people don’t realize is that Heavenly Father puts us through these bumps and curves to see how strong we really are. 

Back then, I wasn’t so strong. I had believed that the bad things were good and that’s the good things were bad. Most of the time, I was rarely at home, and when I was, I watched my two older sisters leave in the night constantly and come back in pretty rough shape. I watched my younger brothers stay home from school many of times, because they were playing video games too long and had gotten no sleep at night. 

We were moving so much, and that moving made us used to running from our problems. I remember going to school for three months and then leaving again and hardly knowing my teachers. My mom was always on the run from everything that she believed was too hard or running to the things that hurt the most. 

At that age, I believed that was just what you did whenever you were faced with trials: that running to have a new start and leaving the ones who care about you most was the way to live life. 

Well, that’s what I was doing by the time I was 13!! I was tired and alone I wanted to leave and escape my home life. At the time, being with someone else and their family was the solution to my problem. I had stayed with my friend and her family mass amounts of time--so much that I was staying there for weeks on end. I was to the point where I was so oblivious to my family that I quit talking to them and interacting with them. The only times I remember talking to them was to fight with them or to yell or to blame them for the way I was feeling. I knew nothing about my siblings, however I worried about them. I worried about my brothers who were becoming ruined by lengthy exposure to playing violent video games daily at a young age, I worried about a younger sister who was being neglected, and many more problems.

But what bothered me most of all in all of this was the feeling that my siblings and I would never know the true meaning of Family. We would never know or appreciate the blessing of having each other, but instead we would always take that for granted.  And then where would we be?

It was July-something 2012, and at this point I was visiting some friends in a town that we had previously lived in, about an hour from where we were currently living. On this day my life changed drastically. My mother came to her senses and did something so brave for her. It is probably the number one thing that really makes me love my mom! 

She knew that her kids were living a life she was dreaming they would never live, so she did what most mothers can’t. She let us live with my aunt and grow up with her, because she knew that living the way we were wouldn’t help us in the end. 

But, to give us up for the greater good--to help us--would be probably the most selfless and courageous thing I have ever seen my mother do. 

I'd never believed in miracles before, but in that moment my mother's courageous act was a miracle to me--one that would change my life. 

Being able to leave a tumultuous situation, in order to have a good life and a family again was a miracle. My siblings and I were given the opportunity to call a place home and not have to worry where our next temporary home would be. Getting the chance to meet and have friends and grow in the church and in our lives. This is what saved us from enduring what no kids should go through. 

My aunt is a saint. She took us in knowing our circumstances and helped us. Many people don’t know their cousins or aunts and uncles well, but I assure you my cousins are like my siblings and my aunt is like my mother and my uncle is like the Father us kids never got. 

The Family: a Proclamation to the World teaches many beautiful truths and an ideal way to live in family life. It also states that "Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation," and that "Extended families should lend support when needed." My aunt and uncle have certainly done that.

For us to leave our home and start over one last time, knowing that we would be living a better and closer life to our Heavenly Father has been a blessing. Us girls have always been baptized members of the church, but we were never fully committed until we moved with our aunt and uncle. Their faith and belief changed ours. 

Although our living situation changed things quickly for us, it took me a while to believe and have faith in my Heavenly Father again. When I was first going back to church, it didn’t just happen for me. It took a while to know and believe what I do today. It takes time and effort and a lot of faith to be able to say that my Heavenly Father loves me and knows me and has always been there for me no matter how alone I’ve felt, but He has! My life was hard and crazy at times but, without my Heavenly Father it could have been a lot worse. 

When people hear or find out about my past they tend to feel bad for me, but that’s not what I want you to take from this. I want you to know that you may think your life is terrible and messed up and that there are others out there with worse problems than yours, and we may not think we get enough in life…but, in reality we get more than enough. 

Family means everything to me; it is the center of my world, because I wouldn’t be anything without my family. 

Most people think that your family is your Father, Mother, and siblings. Well I think your family is whoever makes you...you. 

My testimony of family is my life, because I wouldn’t be here without my amazing family.

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, even though at times we may not see or feel it. It’s always there; it will always be guiding us in the direction of the path He wants us to be on.

I love my family and I wouldn’t change my life at all, because even though it’s not what I wanted, my life is what Heavenly Father wants it to be. 

If you are in a similar situation, please don’t give up! Never think that your life is too hard or too painful, because Heavenly Father wouldn’t have put you through things unless He knew you could handle it. I would like to leave you with this amazing poem that a fellow friend at girl’s camp shared with me. It has helped me out so much when I’m going through rough patches.

 One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.

            Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
                 In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
                      Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
                          other times there were one set of footprints.
                                 This bothered me because I noticed
                               that during the low periods of my life,
                            when I was suffering from
                        anguish, sorrow or defeat,
                    I could see only one set of footprints.
         So I said to the Lord,
     "You promised me Lord,
        that if I followed you,
            you would walk with me always.
                  But I have noticed that during
                         the most trying periods of my life
                                there have only been one
                                      set of footprints in the sand.
                                          Why, when I needed you most,
                                         you have not been there for me?"
                                The Lord replied,
                         "The times when you have
                 seen only one set of footprints,
         is when I carried you."
                                                  Mary Stevenson

Thank you, Wynd, for kicking off our celebration of The Family Proclamation. If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it to Facebook! And please check out the other host blogs today for more wonderful posts and testimonies about family and check out the LINK below to ENTER today's GIVEAWAY! Here are links to the other blogs:
CranialHiccups
and
A Thing Called Love



********************* GIVEAWAY *********************
Check out these HOMEMAKER tees from the Brassy Apple! Megan and her daughter decided to create these after Sis. Bonnie Oscarson's call to elevate the term homemaker.

homemaker tee coral 2homemaker tee coral
Megan says, "Stay at home Moms, Working Moms, Work from Home Moms, Homemakers, etc…..we do more good than we know. We have more “power” than we realize. We juggle more “hats” and have more qualifications for many, many, types of jobs than we give ourselves credit for! So embrace it – right now!" Enter below for your chance to win a coral homemaker tee (size large). Her shop will be up and running again after their move so check them out then to order your own! a Rafflecopter giveaway

4 comments:

  1. What a heartbreaking decision made by this mother. So full of love! Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway. Following on Pinterest. I'll check out the other links too.

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  2. thanks for sharing your life's experiences and what the gospel means to you...

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  3. AuntSue
    What an encouraging story! and your name, Wynd is beautiful! My growing up life was easy, my married life was hard. My husband had bi-polar depression, and it got worse the older he got. Our six children and I struggled through, with damage of course. I applaud you for growing into a fabulous young woman of faith. This morning I awoke with great love for my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. And for the first time, I felt really grateful for all the trials in my life, because it was through them that I developed a great faith in my Savior, in my God and in their love and concern for me. I am now a temple worker, and I love being in the temple, serving my sisters and my God. Love to you.

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  4. Wow! Such a great story! Thank you SO much for sharing it! You are such a mature writer and person- I admire you. xoxo Celeste

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