BONUS: Come As You Are

Wed Jun 17 11:31:25 EDT 2020

Stories in this Father's Day bonus episode: While John admits he's not very handy, his attempts to create the perfect swing set falls short when he allows comparison to take over; Donald isn't sure he's got what it takes for fatherhood to begin with but when infertility makes that even harder, he learns that "what it takes" might be different than he imagined.


Joseph Smith Senior, father of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is a well-loved figure. Known for his humble demeanor and unfailing loyalty to his son, Joseph Senior quietly and faithfully moved through the background of the Restoration as a man devout to God.

But what of the fathers of other latter-day prophets? Perhaps their stories are lesser known, but the fathers of the prophets are diverse and influential. In a world where the role of fatherhood is increasingly maligned, marginalized, and even dismissed, this book highlights the irreplaceable role of fathers in the lives of the chosen servants of the Lord, and in the lives of children the world over. Fathers of the Prophets is filled with stories and moments that will both inspire and delight. As you come to know and love the fathers of the latter-day prophets, your testimony will be strengthened and you will witness the hand of the Lord in guiding the restoration of His Church through men called to be fathers.

John Hilton III's Book:


Over the past few years, Google searches for "anxiety" have increased by 50% and news headlines state that worry, stress, and depression are on the rise. Have you noticed this increase in your life or the lives of those you love? These challenges may be spreading, but they are not new. The scriptures speak of those who were "depressed," "greatly afraid," "worried," and experiencing "great anxiety." The scriptures also tell us that the solution to these struggles is found in Jesus Christ, "the founder of peace" (Mosiah 15:18).

Christ wants us to feel peace, hope, and even joy—and He alone is the source of true and everlasting peace. Through scriptural insights, personal experiences, modern psychological research, and illustrations, The Founder of Our Peace offers Christ-centered patterns to help us combat these challenges and invite greater peace into our lives today. New understandings of powerful scriptural phrases and stories will deepen your hope in the Savior. You will find strength in Jesus Christ to help you and those you love walk the path of peace.

Show Notes

Photos of John's Hilton III's Family:



The swing set that John built:
The swing set that John built.

Photo's of Donald Kelly's family:



LDS Living Video with Donald:


KaRyn Lay 0:03

Welcome to “This is the Gospel” and LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host KaRyn Lay. For this bonus episode, we have two stories from faithful men who are braving the wilderness of fatherhood. I think we can all agree that parenting, and its accompanying highs and lows is not for the faint of heart. It takes real courage to jump into the woods and even more humility and skill to navigate that path through the forest filled with unknowns, and so many detours. Can you tell that I'm planning a father's day camping trip this weekend? I'll cool it with the outdoor metaphors. But what I will not cool it with, is my admiration for the men in our lives who take that role of fatherhood seriously and with an eye toward the Savior, just like today's storytellers. Our first story comes from John whose attempt at an epic creation for his children is almost foiled by his own weakness. Here's John.

John 1:02

A lot of dads are really good at fixing things. But I've got to be honest, I'm not very handy. I cannot fix things is almost literally impossible. If there's a screw, I can screw something in. If there's multiple levels, or if there's an instruction manual, especially, I'm just not very good at following those instructions. It just doesn't make sense to me. Like a few years ago, one of our toilets stopped working. So I tried a few different things. I used the plunger that didn't work, I grabbed a snake. This is the tool by the way, not the animal. That didn't work. And so I gave up I was like, "Well, I guess we'll never be able to use this toilet again." I came home from work a couple days later, and here's my wife, she's rocking the toilet back and forth. She picked it up, I didn't even know you could pick up a toilet. And she threw it on the ground and "click," out popped this little jewelry box that one of our kids had shoved into it. So the good news was the toilet was fixed. But the bad news was I didn't fix it. But you know, you can only call on your ministering brothers so many times to come fix stuff for you before you start to feel like, "I should be doing this for myself."

So a couple years ago, I decided it was time for me to build a swing set for my children. So I went to a manly store, Toys R Us, and bought a swing set kit, brought it home and unwrapped it. And it turns out there were about 27 steps to building the swing set. And the first step took me eight hours. It was so painful. I talked with someone recently and they said that their family for fun over the weekend bought and built a swing set. They put the whole kit together in 48 hours. That was not my experience. It took us 12 weeks, tons of help from my brothers in law. But finally the magical day came when the swing set was completed. It was in May, weather was nice, we're eating pizza on the lawn. The only downside was that one of my daughters came up to me and she said, "Dad, I love the swing set. But there's one problem, it just has three monkey bars." And I said "Honey, you will love those three monkey bars cherish each one because I promise you I am never building another swing set." But other than that, it was great.

So right now I'm a religion professor at BYU, but at the time when I was building the swing set I was a full time seminary teacher, which meant every day I would teach high school students lessons from the Bible or the Book of Mormon. And so the day before finishing the swing set on a Friday, we had this class focused on comparison and not comparing yourself to others. One of the things that I got really excited about, a little scripture connection I hadn't noticed before was that Moroni was talking with the Lord. And Moroni was really worried that people would make fun of the Book of Mormon and not like it. And he says, Look, I'm not as good of a writer as the brother of Jared was. And I'd never noticed that Moroni was comparing himself to the brother of Jared. And that was the context in which the Lord said to Moroni, "My grace is sufficient, I can make weak things become strong unto you." And I was surprised to see that even amazing heroes from the scriptures like Moroni compared themselves and so then I gave the students a challenge over the weekend. See if you compare yourself to people like Moroni did and how it makes you feel. So that was Friday, finished the swing set on Saturday.

On Monday, I was back at seminary teaching and I handed them a little three by five card and I said write down your experience of what happened over the weekend with comparison. Collected all the three by five cards. That night, my family and I, we were driving over to our brother in law's house for a little get together. And as we're driving my wife and I are reading these three by five cards, and I could not believe how many of my students were struggling with comparison. Everyone seemed to say something like, I always compare myself to others, and it makes me feel so terrible. I felt sad. I thought, I love my students, that are high school students, are 15, 16, 17, I thought, Oh, how tender that they're going through this tough time of adolescence. And they're just struggling with comparison, I felt so bad. And I still remember, I got out of the car and I thought to myself, these people have a real problem with comparison. So we parked the car on the street and as we're walking into the backyard, I noticed I think for the first time, that my brother in law had a swing set. I don't remember ever seeing a swing set in his backyard before. I looked at it and it was obviously bigger than my swing set. And I just happened to notice the monkey bars. And I counted 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 monkey bars on that swing set. And I thought, my swing set is garbage. I think I was particularly sensitive to it because I wanted to build this awesome swing set for my kids. I never fixed anything. I never build anything. And although everyone had had a lot of fun on Saturday playing with the swing set, the one complaint that I'd received was that there were only three monkey bars. So kind of even imagining maybe my kids were looking at his swing set being like, "Oh, now this is a real swing set." Just a couple moments ago, I've been like, Oh, those teenagers have a problem with comparison. I feel so bad for them. But then I realized, I have a problem with comparison. This swing set that I cherished was my prime creation two days ago. Now I hated and the only difference was the comparison, comparing my swing set to somebody else's.

I started to notice lots of different ways in my life where I compared myself to other people, it wasn't just the fact that I couldn't fix things. Here's another real example. That probably sounds silly. It does sound silly as I look back on it. But at the moment, it was so raw. I was speaking at a girls camp with Brad Wilcox. Many of you have probably heard of Brad Wilcox, who's this incredible youth speaker. And he was going to speak second. So I was speaking first getting my stuff set up and this little 12 year old girl came up towards me with her camera, and I thought, "Oh, that's so precious. She probably wants her picture taken with me." And she looks at me with these big guys and said, "Are you, Brad Wilcox?' And I said, "Oh, no, that's the next speaker." And she just said, "Oh," turned around and walked away. And I felt so small. I'm like, I am not Brad Wilcox. And, and, then it, but again, I realized I can't be Brad Wilcox. I'm not Brad Wilcox, and I can't compare myself to Brad Wilcox. The day after seeing my brother in law's swing set when I went back to my seminary class, and we talked a little bit more about comparison. It was more real for me. It wasn't a problem that they had or something that I had to help them fix. It was something that we all were struggling with, and something that we could all be working on, hopefully, finding ways to overcome the challenge. I love going back to this phrase from Jesus though, when he says to Moroni, "My grace is sufficient." Because Moroni, I mean, he was working on a really big, important project, and he felt like his efforts weren't enough. And I can relate to that sometimes. And who knows, maybe Moroni, maybe he really wasn't as great of a writer, as the brother of Jared. And maybe I'm not as good as that other person. But the Lord has put me in this place right now. Maybe I'm not the best father in the world, but I am the father of my children. And I don't need to compare myself to other fathers out there.

For me, this idea of comparison is obviously a, an issue that I continue to struggle with. I'm struggling with as recently as today. Knowing that I was going to record this story I've been listening over and over again to some of the “This is the Gospel” podcast stories which I've heard before and I've loved but I was listening to them with a different ear today thinking about the story that I was going to be sharing. And I literally thought this morning, my story stinks. Compared to these other stories. These other stories are so inspirational, so powerful, I have nothing to share. And what's ironic is I did not even think for about until about three hours later, oh, I just compared myself again. The more I understand grace, it helps me in my fatherhood, because I realized I don't have to do it all. I want to be a super Dad, I want to be the dad that fixes the toilet. that builds the amazing swing set that does all these super cool things. But I fall short a lot. And understanding that the grace of Jesus Christ is there to strengthen me, to help me get through things that I couldn't do on my own also helps me feel a little bit more patient and understanding with myself when I don't meet my own high expectations. I'm a perfectionist and I want things to be perfect. But I realized I don't have to make things perfect. That's the job of Jesus. I do the best I can, and I don't have to worry about what others think. I don't have to look sideways; I can look up to heaven. He can take weak things and make them strong, His grace is enough. And the three monkey bars are enough. And that brings a lot of peace.

KaRyn Lay 9:20

That was professor and author John Hilton. I love the connection that John noticed between his own peace and his efforts to stop comparing himself as a swing set builder and parent. The fact that Christ's grace is sufficient to cover everything from my deepest character flaw to my poor efforts to put together an Ikea bookshelf, that's a powerful truth that can change our lives and our relationships if we let it. And I'm so glad that John with his unique talents was able to illustrate that in his story. I think all of those years researching and writing about the ways we access peace through Jesus for his book, The Founder of Our Peace have already been a huge blessing to so many and to me personally. Thanks, John. Our next storyteller Donald is a good friend of LDS Living . We featured his story in our podcast episode 23, called "How We Move Forward," which I highly recommend, even if you've listened to it before, it's worth going back and re-listening. And today he shares a story about what it takes emotionally, spiritually and mentally to prepare yourself for first time fatherhood. Here's Donald.

Donald 10:27

My relationship to fatherhood is, it's been an up and down journey. I didn't have my dad in my home for a long period of time as a kid, then a mom and dad that had separated. And then as I got older, my mom remarried when we came to the United States, and that was Jake. And Jake didn't have like a long tenure in my life. And then we, my sister's dad came into picture several years later. So, I had different individuals that were there, but over the long span of that time period my mom was a single mom, and to not have that steady father figure, it was a, it was an absence that was notable. Luckily, I was able to have the guidance from other people outside that helped me to realize what it is to be a father. And then that's where the church came in the village, so to speak, to help me to see that and now becoming a dad, it wasn't easy because of the challenges and complexities I didn't know about.

When I first met my wife, the thing I loved the most about her was that she was the opposite of me. She was quiet and reserved, and I was the outgoing talkative type and I felt that was, there's something was mysterious, and she's cute. So it was that pulled me in. When we were dating and the desire, desire to you know, to eventually get married and courting and talked about the idea of family, we both knew that's something that we wanted, we both knew we wanted to have kids. We had, we had different spectrum though. My idea was not coming from a family of three of us, I was thinking, you know what, it'd be cool to have a big family because again, those families that have friends that I've had in the church, their families were big. And you saw how much fun they had as a bunch of kids. I'm like, yeah, we can, it'd be cool to make a soccer team. Right? Cool to have a bunch of kids that could play you know, play with, at least the basketball team. Christina's idea was, well, maybe one and if there's an opportunity for twin for two, then that'd be great. So you find yourself coming to some quick compromise, but we knew we wanted kids. We, the number was, I'm a salesperson. So, I figured you just you take what you get in and you just keep upselling. But it was 2015. We've got married in September 2013.

When I was called to be a bishop, a member a couple people saying "Don't you have to have a family to be a bishop to the kids to be a bishop?" Remember people making that, that, that joke, but you know, obviously there's a little bit of jab to that. And obviously, there's nowhere in the handbook where it says anything like that. We were definitely laggers according to societal norms and the ecosystem of the Church, because Christina and I got married when we were 27. So that's, you know, my friends which, seemed like they had grandkids by then. We knew we were gonna have kids but and we knew we wanted to have kids but we just we both felt that we were on the same plane with God, spiritual like, we prayed about it and we fasted, we talked to our Bishop and so forth and you know, the before then they're like, just whenever your take your time on that, and that gives us comfort to know, you just go into when you feel right for you. So not that we were postponing a family for any other reason to just go travel or you know, to get a nice little dog or anything like that. We, we just, it was scary. And we were worried and it, it didn't feel right.

I think the biggest thing about becoming a father that made me the most nervous was, Do I have the right stuff? To take care of a tiny human? Do I, what do I not know that I don't know? Am I going to be able to raise this individual in the right way that they're going to grow up to become a righteous priesthood holder or righteous daughter of God? Or do I have what it takes to make that happen? I think that it was, it was definitely like a fear and also like the idea of taking care of somebody. I mean, the challenges with our family in the past, my mom in the situation was, we were, were poor. And it was, am I going to be able to take care of a family? Am I going to be able to always have that? It nags you in the back of your head. What if? What if that was to happen? You want the situation to be perfect, you want the scenarios to be: the planets align and Jupiter to be bright in the sun, in the sky. But the problem is, I don't think it was ever or it, ever was going to be and thats one of the things I've learned, that we're going to go down this path, and we're going to try and we're going to mess up and we're going to keep learning and growing. But for me, being sometimes a little perfectionist, I want to make sure all is right beforehand. And that freaked me out.

Donald 15:18

So let's fast forward now. And I think it was 2017 when we said, "Let's, we want to have a family, we want to start doing that." And the thing that helped us to decide that that was the right time and to overcome the fears and the challenges, I think it was just it was timing. For us just felt that it was right. It did not go as planned. At all. So we tried. My ignorance, thinking that you're, yeah, you're gonna have a baby right away when you have a desire to have a baby. But it wasn't. That was a huge upset and it was a huge setback emotionally. I mean, and to be honest, I feel like there was some, like, some guilt in that to say, did we wait too long? Now you're in your early, early 30s, you should have started right when you got married, and it's kind of like validating and everything that people have said, "You should have kids right away should have kids." And it's like, you know, did we miss a window? Do we miss an opportunity? And there was guilt on both sides, right? Because Christina was feeling guilty. Like, "Is it because of me that we're not having kids?" And spiritually, it was, "Well, I'm doing what you said, God, I am serving. Why do we have to face this struggle, and this burden if we're doing what's right, if I'm serving, and giving enough time?" and so forth. I mean, I'm just trying to be real with you. Like, that's what it felt like in, but I knew that just like with, like Abraham or Sariah and in all of those people that had children later on in their life, we had faith that we would have children. But in the moment, that's what that feeling was like. It was "Why us? "

So, we found out we were pregnant, and then went to the doctor. That was the hard part. And I remember the ultrasound specialist tech going, leaving out of the room, and she sayings she's going to get the doctor and then you're like, "Okay, so what does that mean? Maybe there's some chance, maybe there's a hope there's something that happened." And then, eventually having a meeting with a doctor, and I knew when I saw Christina's face, she knew that it wasn't, wasn't good. So then we met with a doctor and found out that it wasn't and we had to have surgery. And that was bad. Hearing that news and leaving the day but then the day when she had the surgery, to watch my wife go through that was horrible because there was absolutely nothing that I could do. And it's, it was the, you know her physically in pain and then emotionally and then spiritually in pain and I, no matter what, what can you say? What can you say? "I understand?" No, I don't I can't push a kid out of my body. I can't birth a kid. I don't understand what that feels like. But having as much empathy and love for your wife and trying to console her and take care of her in that situation and physically taking care of her, still having to go and work and running your own business that was does the pinnacle of the worst part, right? I thought that was the pinnacle, until round two. When a year later, everything happened again, the same exact way. And that, if this was a depth of your lowest, then the second time around, it was even lower. I felt physically sick, because I remember going back to work that day, and not telling noone. Not telling team member not telling, my mom didn't know anything. I think the only person that knew was her sister. And it was just like carrying that weight and that burden and then feeling that I can't help her and the guilt that she felt, was saying "That it's, you know, it's my fault," and it wasn't her fault. And I couldn't get that through, she was saying "It's twice that happened, so must be it must be me. And something I'm doing wrong." And, and trying to take that weight from her. That was hard. It was hard.

Donald 19:41

We kept it to our self into our immediate family. And it was a lot. I didn't want to validate, I mean, just speaking again, I didn't want to validate anybody's to say, "Yeah, you should have gotten, you should have had kids a lot sooner, you should have tried a lot sooner." So, even some of that was there. So it's like I'm not going to talk to anybody about it. We're not going to do anything. I did talk to my Stake President about it in my one-on-one with him, because he was just we won't know how you guys were doing how we were doing. And he gave counsel and, and was very supportive and helpful in that. And very helpful and supportive to Christina. And that meant a lot to us as well. One of my best friends, he and his wife, it took them a while before they have a kid. It took them 10 years, and came to the point where they said, "You know what, God, you just take the wheel. Really, like if there's a way that we can foster and we're going to foster." And they started preparing their home for fostering, and it was crazy. All of a sudden, they got pregnant and they had a kid. And he was vocal, I mean, he was open to talk about it. So now it gave me an opportunity to say, "I could talk about it to him, and he could then understand what I'm going through." You know, I mean, and I think that's the biggest thing with guys, we assume too much that, "He's my Bro, he knows what I'm going through," as opposed to saying, "I love you. I cannot imagine what that feels like, do you want to talk about it?" Like giving that window and maybe sometimes people are not ready to talk about it yet, but at least they know, "I have somebody that I can go to."

It gave me an outlet. It gave me an opportunity to know that I wasn't alone. It gave me an opportunity to know that there', that it wasn't. It wasn't a punishment from God, you know, others felt the same or went through similar challenges as well. It opened up a whole different side to our relationship. That helped me to minister to Christina, my wife, better, because I had hope, more hope. I mean, I had faith but then now it was even more hope, because my friend went through it. We have, we have a hope of something to look forward to, that we could still have the same blessings like he did, he and his wife. So I wish that men in general could feel, could feel comfortable to go and talk to other men, about the struggles and the difficulties that they're going through.

Donald 21:59

So my wife posted on social media for uh, nobody knew why. But she was like, "What's a talk? One of your favorite talks on, I think it was like on hope, or to get through a tough time." And then one of our friends, he posted a talk by Elder Holland, it was Elder Holland's talk, "Lord, I Believe" I think that's what it is. And it's like, "Lord, I believe, Help thou my unbelief." Maybe she can recite that talk verbatim now, because she's listened to it over and over. And the idea in that was, "that come with some faith, come with hope, come with something, and I'll carry the rest." And that was very helpful. And then all of a sudden, we had stake conference and Elder Holland came to Florida, and he came to our stake, and we visited with Elder Holland, just for like, probably like two or three minutes to explain to him what was going on. And you know how the talk was good and it helped us. But it's something about him. He looked he just looked and he said, "Don't you worry, you guys will be fine, you guys will be fine. Things will be fine for you." Yeah, so getting that from an apostle was like, "That's kind of cool." At least it gave comfort, right? And we had hope. So we said, "Let's put it back in the Lord's hand, let's just wait and not worry."

And then life went on until 2018. And Christina wasn't feeling good, the end of the year. She said, "Oh, maybe I need to do a pregnancy test." And "We're like, no, it's, that's not the situation." And then "She's like, I think I should." She did. And we were pleasantly surprised. But also equally worried because we're like the third time, if this isn't, it's going to be a huge blow. And I remember we went to the doctor's office, and because we've had two miscarriages before, the doctor wanted us instead of coming in later come in early, so we went in at I think it was six weeks. And there was like a little speck on the sonogram, just like this little, this little thing. But there was something there. And then as we kept visiting saw a little heartbeat and saw a little progress. We couldn't believe that there was something, we were excited. But we were very, very, very scared. Because before we saw stuff, so we didn't want to get the false hope that this was going to work. So we just took it with a grain of salt, and just went one day at a time. I mean, week 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. It kept going. Every week, we went back, there was a movement and kept growing and it was things were looking right. And we weren't clearly out of the woods at all. But our doctor was very excited for us. And then we got the news that yes, it's a, we're having a little boy.

We're having a little boy. And it was, um, that day was, it was a, it was, I can't think of a word to describe it. It was happiness. It was peace, that no matter what difficulty, no matter what dark moments you go through, no matter what timing you have, trust in God, and as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but if not, we still gotta have hope.

Oh, the day Caleb was born. I was the stereotypical dad because Christina was like cleaning the house and stuff. It was the craziest thing and I would fall asleep and then she screamed, it was like, "Hey, I think my water broke." I'm like, "What..what?" And I remember , I wish we videotaped it but I was running around trying to, like, "What, what?!" She tells this story better so maybe you can get her side one day. You know, I was running around, "Okay, okay, let's go. Let's get this. Let's get the car seat. Let's get the bag."

We went to the hospital and the next day, August 1, he was born. When I first saw him, I could not believe that, that was our child after that whole journey. After that whole time, after the miscarriages after the surgeries, after the emotions, after giving up, after having hope, after feeling false hope, after all of that, that now we were trusted, at this time, to be to be a dad and to be a mom. It was awe inspiring. It was just, it was it made me feel that God is mindful of us. It made me want to be the person that he desired me to be and full circle now to become the father that I didn't have, to this child to help them become the individual that Heavenly Father wants them to be.

For guys going through the same thing in the thick of this, we cannot deviate or forget that the Lord is there, and be open. Be willing to talk to somebody else about that it, it does us no good to hold it back. It liberates us when we're able to release it. And we can get ministered to in the scriptures that teaches us that we are here to minister and to help one another with their burdens. But it's kind of hard to help somebody with their burdens if we don't know they have that burden. And I feel that if you feel that way, you're more than willing to reach out to me, I'm more than willing to talk to you. Because I had a buddy and a friend that was there for me during that moment. There is hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There's a Father in heaven who is mindful of you and your wife's situation. And He's here and there to help you.

KaRyn Lay 27:44

That was Donald Kelly. I laughed out loud when he said that as a salesman his idea is to upsell his wife on the number of kids they have. I'm lucky enough to know his lovely and spirited wife Christina and I can only imagine the negotiations in the Kelly household. The thing I think I will really take from this story is that clarion call to make space for the people around me to really share what's going on in their lives, by allowing others into my life. It's not always easy to do that. Vulnerability is absolutely a risky business. But I think the rewards of this kind of true ministry is worth the calculated risk. When he was talking about this, Donald mentioned our baptismal covenant to bear one another's burdens. And I think there's something really important for us to take note of, as a community committed to discipleship. we strengthen the fathers, we strengthen the mothers, and in turn, we strengthen the children, the future Body of Christ when we allow for all people to share their authentic experiences, so that we can minister in real time to our real needs.

Lately, I've become weirdly obsessed with historical novels and books that forced me to imagine myself in a different time with different social structures. I love the creative energy it takes to look through the lens of historical context and try to find myself in the places and the stories of the past. And maybe it's because we're living in this unprecedented time with this pandemic and unrest and all of these things I, I hope someone will look back and read it and try to put themselves here before they judge me. Well, though it isn't a novel I have been reading the book Fathers of the Prophets, which has biographical sketches of you guessed it, fathers of the modern prophets of the restoration, and I have found myself absolutely transported. What strikes me in my reading is the amount of variation in the fathers who parented prophets. Some fathers had no idea their child would be anything special, while others knew by some divine guidance. Some of the fathers were really physically present to their children, while others were called to faraway places for long periods of time. Some were devoted servants of God, while others found little use in organized religion. But in all cases, these fathers and their gifts of imperfection were necessary building blocks to the unique talents and strengths that their children would use in their call to the ministry.

Most of us will not raise a capital P prophet or a Relief Society general president. In fact, some days we might even have a hard time seeing that 13 year old who just broke his arm flinging spaghetti at his brother, or that 10 year old who just refused to comb her hair for the sixth straight day in quarantine, as heirs to the throne of much of anything. But I think the lesson from our stories today and the stories of these fathers from the past are the same. God needs us to show up as ourselves in our parenting. Because these kids, they're the future of everything. He needs us to open up to a friend who's been there before, so that he'll have enough hope to keep trying to become a father. He needs us to admit that we can't fix the toilet and then trust him to tutor us on what we can actually fix. He needs us to show up in our pain and our triumph and our weakness and our power so that our children will get exactly what they need from us, as he fills in the gaps of everything else with his grace. And more importantly, he needs us to show up in our less than perfect state so that we can model for them, where to go for peace and wholeness when their own imperfections, will inevitably bring doubt and discouragement into their lives. We may not all be raising a child who will hold a high calling in church structure. But we are all raising children, all of us whether we're biological parents or not. We are all raising children, who will be disciples of the high priests of good things to come. So let's go back to the beginning. Fatherhood, and loving and caring for children is not for the faint of heart. But that's the good news because with humility, trusting God and a brave willingness to let others help us bear our burdens, our hearts, however weak will not fail us. That's the promise.

KaRyn Lay 32:31

That's it for this bonus episode of This is the Gospel. Thank you to John Hilton and Donald Kelly for sharing their stories and burdens with us today. And for helping us all to see that three monkey bars is enough. We'll have pictures of Donald's sweet baby Caleb and John's swing set masterpiece as well as a link to John's book The Founder of Our Peace in our show notes at LDSLiving.com/thisisthegospel. I'll also add a link to the book Fathers of the Prophets there. Which honestly if you're looking for a last-minute Father's Day gift. This one's so good. Every father will be able to see himself somewhere in the pages of that book. If you aren't already following us on Facebook or Instagram, you really should. We'll have more information about our storytellers there, including follow-ups with some of the stories you've connected to most on the podcast. So, go there, find us at @ThisistheGospel_ podcast on both Instagram and Facebook. Also, we're currently gathering stories for season three. So if you have a story to share about living the gospel, please call our pitch line and leave us a pitch. We often find many of our stories from that pitch line and we love to hear how the gospel has blessed your life. Call 515-519-6179 and pitch your story in three minutes or less. We also have old bonus episodes that give you some top tips on how to pitch your story in a really compelling way. So, go and listen to those on iTunes if you haven't already. This episode was produced by me KaRyn Lay, with additional story editing by Erika free. It was mixed and mastered by Mix at Six Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. You can find past episodes of this podcast and all the other LDS Living podcasts at LDLiving.com/podcasts. It's that easy. See you soon.

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