Stories of Faith: Mary Staples

May 8, 2015

One of my earliest memories of understanding what faith meant was in my early formative teenage years. At church one Sunday we received one small grain of mustard seed, carefully taped onto a beautifully decorated card with the scripture from Mark 17:20 “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

I don’t remember very much from the lesson, but I remember pondering what that meant later at home.  I ran my fingertip over and over this little seed. Studying and looking at it. That tiny little mustard seed, barely the size of a pen tip. I began thinking that surely if that is all it takes how hard could it be? It seemed like something I could do. Something attainable. I’m not a competitive person, but I’m loyal and steady and in that moment I decided to plant my seed of faith.

Throughout my teenage and college years I began to nourish it. When I was exposed to other outlets and other opportunities, they seemed frivolous and meaningless compared to my time spent getting my hands dirty and tending to my garden. In my private hours of prayer, fasting, church attendance, and scripture study, my roots were sinking deeper and deeper.

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After marrying my prince charming we began what we thought would be the “trial of our faith.” We waited long and hard through much tears and heartache to start a family of our own, and were finally blessed with the girl of our dreams. The most beautiful, happy, perfect little human being there ever was. There were times I wondered if it could even be possible to love her as much as we did. We cherished her. When we held her tight I would reflect on my little plant and marvel at the sweat and tears in the form of a tiny little green tip out of the ground. I was so proud of it. The watering and nurturing of my tiny little seed, through the help of the Savior’s Atonement was sprouting. I was in a continual state of gratitude.

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On the morning of January 16, 2015 I carefully turned my two year and five month old daughter’s bedroom door and stepped into her room. As my eyes fell onto her flush white face my breath left me and my heart sank. But almost instantaneously I felt a warm rush over my body. It was a flame that had been burning inside of me for a long time, but in that little moment of stepping in and stepping forward, something ignited within me a torch of flame. My faith encircled around me as I cradled my lifeless daughter, and I was rescued by the warmth, the knowledge, the hope, and the dedication, of a tiny little seed that I had planted many years before.

In the midst of the madness that followed during the next several hours and days as my life turned upside down and inside out, my faith was doing the walking, breathing, and thinking for me. And when I could not do it alone I had help from both sides of the veil, as Jeffrey R. Holland has said as my “horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see (came) riding at reckless speed” to protect me, help me, and guide me. It’s hard to explain what this feels like, but I have thought so much about it over the last few months as I have sat helplessly in a small corner of my garden.

When Marjorie was taken on the wings of angels back to heaven that fateful January morning she left a whole world behind asking “why?” Not Marjorie, anyone but Marjorie. Our trial of faith was in the arrival of Marjorie, not an unexpected early departure.

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In the past few months it has been cloudy with downpours of steady teardrops in my tiny little garden of faith. I have lain down and sobbed in the mud, I have stomped on the dirt, I have thrown a rock or two, or three, or four. I have felt as if the sun will not shine again, but just when I’m about to pull out the plant I think of these words by Russell M. Nelson:

Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death. Prior to our birth we dwelled as spirit children with our Father in Heaven. There we eagerly anticipated the possibility of coming to earth and obtaining a physical body. Knowingly we wanted the risks of mortality, which would allow the exercise of agency and accountability. “This life (was to become) a probationary state; a time to prepare to meet God.” But we regarded the returning home as the best part of that long-awaited trip, just as we do now. Before embarking on any journey, we like to have some assurance of a round-trip ticket. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through – and not around – the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven. 


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Like on that dreadful January morning, almost instantaneously in the moments and hours of need the clouds part. I am rescued, I am warm, I know, I hope, and I rededicate myself and my life to the Savior and His glorious plan.  My flickering faith in His everlasting light ignites my soul. I kneel down as it warms me from head to toe and squint to see my little sprout one inch taller.

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A huge thank you to Sara Harding. She not only created a stunning print for all of you, but she made it in black and white, peach, and mint (you can download these using the link at the end of the post). You can also connect with Sara on Instagram @avintageposter and at her website here.

Thank you again Mary, for sharing your heart with us. We have been blessed by your light, and are also rededicated to the nurturing of our own garden of faith. We love you! You can connect with Mary on her blog here, and on instagram @marydstaples. 

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10 Comments

  • Reply Janvier May 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    This touched me deeply, thank you. Prayers to the Staples family.

  • Reply Lizzie May 8, 2015 at 8:15 pm

    Incredible faith. Incredible mom. Incredible Marjorie.

  • Reply missy May 9, 2015 at 12:03 am

    What a beautiful child and incredible testimony. Thank you.

  • Reply Nicole S May 9, 2015 at 12:55 am

    Her faith, and these words, will forever remain in my heart. Such power to feel God’s encircling arms about us. Thank you!

  • Reply Hilary May 9, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Thank you for sharing… touched my heart and spirit.

  • Reply Lauren May 9, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Beautifully written, in word and spirit. What an incredible woman you are, Mary. May your garden of faith continue to grow and inspire others. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply Jeni June 12, 2015 at 12:26 am

    This post brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. The courage to carry on imbued in these words is more than inspiring. The perspective and strength of the testimony — thank you for writing, Mary, and for being a lighthouse to so very many. I am grateful for you and that angel Marjorie!

  • Reply LAURA June 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    This story brought me to tears and inspired me so much. Thank you for your faith and light! You are an incredible disciple, mother, and woman. No doubt your story has already brought and will continue to bring light, comfort and inspiration to so many others.

  • Reply Kristen August 27, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I recently lost a child during pregnancy. I have struggled with my faith and conviction that what I am living, what I am teaching my older daughter, is true. As I read this story of little Marjorie and her mom, I was caught between feelings of grieving empathy for their situation and the spark of faith their story ignites. I am so deeply grateful for this website, for this woman who was brave enough to share her experience, and for the testimonies here. It is hard to think about moving forward (even a whole year after it happened) but the words from that quote really affected my heart this morning. “Life does not begin with birth, nor does it end with death…. Returning from earth to life in our heavenly home requires passage through – and not around – the doors of death. We were born to die, and we die to live. As seedlings of God, we barely blossom on earth; we fully flower in heaven.” I see the image of my son in heaven laughing with head back and little body shaking from the joy of it all. I see him in my minds eye “flowering in heaven” and I have to choke back the tears of lightness and joy I feel in that sweet picture. I’ve turned to the scriptures and to writing to sort out all the emotions that have awoken in me since that fateful day, and I do find myself discovering faith there. Sometimes it is a barely flickering light and other times, like today, it is blazing. I hope that in time I can find a steady and sure light that is stable and constantly burning (one that can endure to the end) instead of one extreme or another. I know, that with places like this for me to go, I can find Christ and a tranquil and sure flame of faith in time.

    • Reply Mary August 28, 2015 at 4:55 am

      Hi Kristen,

      Your comment is honest and beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. Before Marjorie we lost a baby girl at 22 weeks and that was followed by two miscarriages. I know something of mourning the unknown and “what could/would have beens.” After we lost our first pregnancy writing helped me immensely. It also connected me with other women who have had similar tragedies. I’m now a part of an incredibly painful club, but I am honored to know other hearts that have felt what I have felt. So thank you for reaching out.

      Also, a lot of people have “comforted” me by saying aren’t you glad we have the gospel? Of course I am glad, I’m functioning because of the gospel. However, having the gospel makes me struggle and fight for what I believe every single day. Ultimately at the end of a difficult day those visions of where Marjorie is and the hope that I have to be with her again is all that I have and all that brings me some (at times) tiny amount of peace. So keep fighting for what you believe. Struggle with it, think about it, pray for it. Let yourself go places you haven’t been before. Over the last few months my testimony has felt like tacky glue. It has been pulled and stretched in more ways I could ever imagine. I don’t know what it’s molding into, but I don’t doubt it’s keeping me together at this point. Good luck, dear friend.

      xo,
      Mary

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