Beyond The Checklist

015 Being Converted to Jesus Christ Through Small and Simple Experiences with Courtney Lee


Darla: [00:00:00]  Welcome to the Spiritually Minded Women podcast. This is Darla and I’m so happy that you’re here today. I have a great guest for you today. Her name is Courtney Lee, and I’m just really happy to have you, Courtney. I’m so glad you’re here because I think that you have some really important messages to share.

And will you just take a minute and introduce yourself? Tell me a little bit more about you. 

Courtney: [00:00:46] Sure. My name is Courtney Lee. I am a wife. We’ve been married about 11 years, almost 11. And I have three kids, six, almost three, and about nine months. We currently live in Northern Alabama, but I grew up in Arizona. I am an artist. I started out drawing horses in about fifth grade, so that started me on my art journey, really. But lately I’ve been doing a lot of religious art, just trying to focus on the Savior more. 

Darla: [00:01:17] Your art is beautiful and we’ll link up in the show notes your Instagram account, so that people can go and see what you do.

And It’s just amazing. I think that you are so gifted and have such a talent. That is a great way to share your testimony of the Savior through art. I really love that.  Today I wanted to talk to you, Courtney, about your journey on the covenant path. And I’m just trying to talk to all different kinds of women and share different experiences because I believe so much that when we hear other people’s experiences, it helps us to know we’re not alone.

It helps us to know that we’re all in this together. And so I just think it is so important to hear each other’s stories. So let’s just start out, just tell me some things that you’ve experienced on your journey on the covenant path. 

Courtney: [00:02:01] So I grew up a member of the church. My dad’s side has been members forever.

So I’m one of those people that feel like I don’t have that magical miracle amazing experience. And I think it’s important to hear that not everybody does have those big events that happen. So growing up, it was a pretty normal life. I had one experience that kind of pushed me to be a little more perfectionist on the daily things like scripture and prayers and things.

That really helped build my testimony at that time. And then I got married and kept doing what I needed to do. And then, I taught second grade actually for three years. And that was hard. That was a very difficult experience, but it helped me. And then I had my first and right after, or right before I had her, my husband accepted a new job in Virginia.

We ended up moving with a three month old baby across the country with no family. And that was hard. But the entire time I kept doing what I needed to do. I was the Relief Society teacher, so that was fun. I got to teach the ladies in the ward. And my daughter was a little angel and I’d set her on the floor and she’d play with toys while I taught.

So that kind of shocked everybody. We were only there for about 18 months and then my husband, it was a rough schedule. So he decided we needed to look for a new job. And there were a few interviews that he had, but nothing really stuck. So we were okay, what are we supposed to do? So he did open it, up and got a job offer here in Alabama.

And we’re very much, we’ll just put feelers out and if it happens, then it’s meant to happen. So that’s how my trust in the Lord is too. Like everything, it may not be what I want, but I know it’s what’s supposed to happen. So I don’t doubt as much as I think a lot of people do or would.

But the year that we moved was really rough for a lot of reasons because that was the year I had my two miscarriages. I had one in March. And I didn’t take a test until after everything. But that was very physically and emotionally difficult. And then six months later in September, I had another one and sandwiched in between that we moved from Virginia to Alabama.

So it was a busy year. 

Darla: [00:04:40] So you were talking about, this trust, you just have this natural trust in Heavenly Father. How did that play out when you were dealing with this really hard thing of two miscarriages in such a short amount of time? 

Courtney: [00:04:51] I will say blessings, getting priesthood blessings really helped, but It was hard. I was feeling very broken. But I really, I really, I don’t know. It’s just, a trust. Like I know that Heavenly Father and Christ really want the best for us and having been through hard experiences, I knew that I would see the blessings someday. So I did write in my journal around the second miscarriage about how I, I did have to turn to Christ to carry me through because I had a little two year old at the time and she needed me, but it was hard to not,  feel that weight of, not being able to hold another pregnancy. 

Darla: [00:05:43] Yeah. I’m sure that must’ve been a difficult time and that trust that natural trust that you have, it sounds, is it really strengthened you and helped you to get through that? Another thing that you, that we talked about before we, we were recording is you mentioned that you’ve seen a lot of tender mercies in your life. And some experiences that you know were from God that helped get you through some of those things. Could you share one of those with us? 

Courtney: [00:06:08] Let’s see. I know every time we’ve moved it’s been hard, but it’s been right. One that comes to mind was when we moved from Virginia to Alabama I, it just felt right. We needed to get out of his last job. And I still don’t know why exactly we’re here. I don’t know if it’s because we needed to have two more little babies join us, and we got the help we needed here, or if it’s something my husband needs to learn, but even not knowing anybody here when we first moved it felt right. And, so another tender mercy that I saw was during my second miscarriage, our local area, or our stake had a relief society retreat. Actually I wrote it in my journal. So I had been going through the miscarriage as at, I think the end of the second week. And. I didn’t know if I wanted to go because physically I was in a rough spot. Emotionally I was having a hard time, but I chose to go because I wanted to make friends. And I knew that just sitting at home wouldn’t help. So I did end up going, it was overnight. I got to know a lot of the ladies in the ward and the stake, and I actually ended up making a video for that one. They asked me to edit together a video to share but the entire weekend was about faith and faith in, in God, and  in the timings, and it was just that bomb that my soul needed that weekend to recenter and think about how he is in control. And it reaffirmed that trust that I have, that he knows me. He knows what I’m going through. And he knows that I will be stronger for it. 

Darla: [00:08:07] Yeah. That’s great. So when you were at the retreat, did you share with any of the people around you? Like I’m going through a miscarriage, I’m new here? I don’t know anyone. What did that look like? 

Courtney: [00:08:18] So I did tell the people that I rode down with. And then that night they had testimony meeting and I did bear my testimony.

I was like, I am in the middle of a miscarriage right now. I didn’t know if I was going to come or not, but I said I was so glad that I did it really was a blessing to be able to go, even in the discomfort. 

Darla: [00:08:37] I think your story illustrates something so well that it, it’s hard to do it, but when we open up and when we share the trials that we’re going through and the things that we’re going through, we receive more light and we receive blessings and, it would have been easy for you to sit at home and not tell anyone and how much better things turned out because you were willing to put that trust in Him and just to go and to share with other women what was happening for you. So what would you say to someone who maybe is going through something hard and wants to pull in and, what would you say to help them to share with someone around them? What they’re going through, how did you do that?

Courtney: [00:09:16] I’m an introvert. And so it’s a little out of character for me to be open sometimes, but I think relying on kind of the spirit to give you that push. And I think especially with miscarriages, it’s something that people do try to hide for whatever reason. And I think being able to be courageous and share about it is important. Because it’s like something you don’t want to share because you may not have shared the world that you were expecting. So it’s like a secret already. But for me, just the trusting, I just, yeah. And knowing that people have gone through it, maybe not the same details, but people have gone through it and they’ll be there to support.

Darla: [00:10:06] Yeah, totally. I think that is such an important thing to remember that people we want to care about you and want to help you. And it’s one of the ways that Heavenly Father blesses us on our journey is through each other. And when we reach out, maybe who knows, maybe by you sharing that in your testimony that night you helped someone else to feel something or to have an experience that they needed. One of the things I really loved that you shared when you were applying to be on the podcast is you said I don’t have huge spiritual experiences. I just have quiet, constant trust that hopefully I will learn what I need to. I really love that, it resonated with me because I think sometimes we tend to- in General Conference, we hear about these big spiritual experiences that people have. And I, or we hear someone sharing about it on Instagram or on a podcast or whatever. And we think if we don’t feel things exactly that way all the time, we think maybe there’s something wrong with me or, so I love that you’re being that you’re so willing to share that you’re being guided in small, quiet ways and, I want people to know that’s okay. Like we don’t, we’re not all the same. We don’t all have these big spiritual experiences. How have you come to, to know that’s how he communicates with you and that’s where you’re at on your journey?

Courtney: [00:11:16] Really, it’s just the trust that I have in him that he will do what is right for me and bless me in the way that I need to be blessed. This year already has been an experience in trusting him. We actually own a rental property that burned down on New Year’s Day. 

Darla: [00:11:33] So this is very fresh. So we’re recording this in February. So this is, this just barely happened. Wow. 

Courtney: [00:11:40] Okay. Yup. And it was in Arizona. It was on the news. But even with that, I’ve seen just the little things. It’s all worked out smoothly. Not necessarily in the way that we thought or that we originally wanted, but it’s all worked out.

So it’s just, and I’ll be honest. I do not read my scriptures every day. I don’t pray every day anymore. It’s really hard with three little kids, especially the youngest who loves mom. 

Darla: [00:12:08] And your youngest is like nine months, right? Yeah. There’s lots of people that can relate to that. It’s really hard to do those spiritual things when you have little kids always around you. 

Courtney: [00:12:17] So that’s where that trust really helps. And knowing that I built the testimony, it helps me carry through the times where I’m not doing it every day. To know I had that feeling. I can get it again. I just, I will have to work at it. But in the meantime, I’m not left alone. He’s still there. I can still see His hand in even the little things like the little hugs, my little almost three-year-old gives, even though he tries my patience. 

Darla: [00:12:48] I love it. I love that trust. And I think you’re bringing up a really good point that we don’t have to, everything doesn’t have to be this perfect scenario. And I talk all the time. It’s like my mantra. There’s no checklist to living the gospel. Because if there was, then we would all be, we could all just do the same thing and get to the same place. And that wasn’t Heavenly Father’s plan. That wasn’t what Christ came for. That was somebody else’s plan. And I love what you’re saying is because it shows how Heavenly Father is aware of us and the situation that we’re in right now. And you won’t be in that situation forever and your life will change and you’ll have, you just do what you can do right now. And know in your heart that Heavenly Father, he cares about you and that the Savior is there and that you just do the best that you can do where you’re at right now. And it’s not going to stay that way forever. But, I love how you can use that trust and that you understand that He is there and that you don’t, you said that you started out with these perfectionist tendencies, but it sounds to me like you’ve, you’ve evolved from that. And you’ve learned to just trust and not, and to know that He’s there no matter what. Yeah, I really love that. I also want to talk about your art and because your art is beautiful and the way that you depict the Savior and just people and everything that you do. How does creating art of the Savior, how does that help you in your journey? 

Courtney: [00:14:08] For me because I don’t take the time to do scriptures as well as I should. It gives me, especially on pieces of the Savior, it really gives me a chance to ponder on what I know about him and how I’ve come to know him. I’m gonna show you a sneak peek of something I’m working on.

Darla: [00:14:29] Okay. So this is going to be on YouTube. If you’re listening to the audio, you can’t see this, but it’s on YouTube. 

Courtney: [00:14:33] I’ve, I’m working on a sketch and it’s a picture of the Savior collecting flowers because we’re all, kind of flowers, we’re all different. We all have our own specialties, our own experiences. Nothing is more or less important than another flower. Even a dandelion. They are some of the heartiest strongest flowers there are. And then there are other flowers that are not as, as physically strong, but offer their own beauty. And I wanted to, I’m working on trying to show that everything is special. And when we come to Christ who he’ll make us more than we think we are. 

Darla: [00:15:15] That’s beautiful. Like you’re sharing your testimony of Him through your art. And I appreciate that you, I just love that we all have different ways of expressing our love for the Savior. And we’ve all been given different gifts and talents and abilities. I certainly don’t have the gift of being able to sketch something like you did of the Savior, but when we all share our gifts and talents and our abilities, and then it all comes together. We become women who are united and who are a force to be reckoned with in the world and our testimonies of the Savior will matter. And we just you illustrate so perfectly that we just need to live in the gifts that he’s given us and use those to help and bless other people. And you’re doing that through your art. I love that. Love, love how you’re, that’s your testimony and how you’re sharing that with other people. So I’m really excited to point people to your art because of that. Courtney, is there anything else that you would like to share about your journey on the covenant path? 

Courtney: [00:16:08] I just know that as we trust and it’s hard sometimes eventually things will work out how they’re supposed to, not always how we want, but after my two miscarriages, I have two more beautiful little kids. And it doesn’t happen that way for everyone. But I really believe that as we trust in the Lord that we, we’re blessed in ways that we may not see until the next life. And it’s hard, but I know that he’s with us every step of the way. 

Darla: [00:16:40] Oh, that is so beautiful. I have one final question for you and that is how have you seen and felt the Savior in your journey on the covenant path? 

Courtney: [00:16:48] I love that question. So through all of all the things that have been really hard in my life I truly feel like He has been there for me. In the darkest moments I’ve honestly felt He hugs me like, you’ve got this. During my second miscarriage, I did write a poem. I am willing to share it. I actually shared it in a talk that I gave in the ward after the whole experience was done. 

Darla: [00:17:15] I would love to hear it. 

Courtney: [00:17:17] But I think it, it perfectly, that kind of answers the question of how I’ve seen Him with me. It’s called My God. 

 My God is very mindful of the person that I am. He’s pushing me to do the very best that I can. Sometimes this life is harder than I ever thought it would be, but my God who watches over blesses and cares for me. I don’t always get the answers that I asked for when I pray, but God knows what I need before I even say. And when I come to him in tears, he holds me in his arms and tells me that he loves me. And makes me feel so warm. I know that he is watching. I know he feels my pain, but even through the sorrow, there is so much to gain. Patience in my trials, courage to stand tall, love to give to others, my God is Lord of all. 

Darla: [00:18:11] That is so beautiful. I don’t even think I want to add anything to that. That was so great. And Courtney, thank you so much for being here today and being willing to share your journey on the covenant path. I know it will help someone else. 

Courtney: [00:18:24] Thank you for having me.