Beyond The Checklist

050: How You Can Drop Expectations and See God Show Up in the Perfect Way || Taylor Ricks


[00:00:00] Darla: Welcome to the Spiritually Minded Women podcast. If you’re a woman who is ready and willing to be a follower of Jesus, you’re in the right place. Join me as we dive in deep to learn how to embrace your journey on the covenant path with checkpoints instead of checklists. I’m your host Darla Trendler and I’m cheering you on. Welcome to your journey.

 Welcom to the Spiritually Minded Women podcast. This is Darla. I’m thrilled to be here today doing my favorite thing. And that is interviewing women and talking about how they have seen Jesus show up in their life. And today I have Taylor Rick’s sitting across from me. I have followed Taylor on Instagram and.

She is just I light and I’m very excited to be able to share part of her journey on the podcast today. Taylor, welcome. 

Thank you so much. 

[00:00:55] Taylor: Hi, thank you for having me. It’s fun to be here with you. I’ve enjoy following you too. And learning from me. It’s exciting to finally be connecting. 

[00:01:03] Darla: It really is exciting. I’m so thrilled. One of my favorite things. I love connecting with other women. So would you start off by just telling me a little bit more about you? 

[00:01:13] Taylor: Sure. I, my husband and I met when we were really young and grew up together. And so we’ve been married almost 13 years and we have four little kids They age in range from 11 to six.

I’m like, how old are they? I almost forgot. And we live in Stansbury, Utah, which is just outside of Salt Lake City and we just love to spend time together, spend time in the outdoors and things like that. And and I love to write and share the gospel through writing and just share my testimony in different perspectives on the scriptures with people and encourage people to dive into their scriptures is one of my favorite things.

[00:01:50] Darla: Yes, I think you do it in such a great way. I really you’ve encouraged me many times, so I really am excited to share. When you applied for the podcast and it’s been awhile, we had a mix up with an email address. So we’re just getting to this interview. But I always say that the interview happens exactly at the perfect time.

And so I know that this is the right time for this to happen, but what you wrote just touched me so much. Just the way that you have trusted in the Lord and moved forward with faith. What we’re going to talk about today is your journey with your third child, right? His name is Zane and you adopted him through the foster system.

And so can you just paint the picture of what was going on in your life at that time when Zane came into your life and what did all of that look like? 


[00:02:33] Taylor: We got married pretty young. Like when my husband got home from his mission and started our family pretty quickly and we had our first son Tate and he was just fun and sweet.

And then when he was two, we had our next daughter. And so when they were three and one year old, we were considering, should we continue to expand our family or what should we do? And my husband is in the military. And so he was gone for like his weekend drill or whatever. And I was thinking about it and praying about it had been on our minds and he was thinking about it and praying about it when he was gone.

And I just kept getting this strong impression that we needed to do foster care. And I’m like, that’s really weird. How am I going to bring that up to him? We had talked about adopting long before we were married, but never thought it would be while we’re in the thick of a small young family. We thought maybe we’d have our kids be teenagers and then do foster care or something like that.

And so he came home on a Sunday afternoon and I was like, ah, I had a weird thought while you were gone. I thought maybe we should do foster care. And his mouth just dropped. Cause he was like, I had the same impression when I was gone. One of his sergeants or somebody that he was with over the weekend was a foster parent.

And they had been talking about it all weekend. And so the way I operate is if I get like a thought or an impression, like I just do it right then, cause I will chicken out if I don’t. And so that was a Sunday and we called the foster care placement people, Utah Foster Care on Monday.

They were visiting with us on Thursday. And by the next Thursday we were starting foster care classes to become licensed foster parents. So it was just like this whirlwind and our families were like, what are you doing? This crazy thing? Why are we doing it? And we were like, we don’t know. We’re just following what we feel prompted to do.

And so it took a few months and we did all the classes and got her house ready, which I didn’t realize how extensive all of that really truly is. And we got our first couple placements, we got some older kids and they were just sweet and everything. And it was just we were just thrown into the thick of it and weren’t really prepared for what came our way, but we just did the best that we could. 

And they ended up going and living with family. So that was our first placement with some kids and it was good placement, but it wasn’t meant to be our adoption placement. So then after we had them, they were gone for about a month and we get this phone call for a tiny baby in the NICU, which we were so surprised by because we were willing to take kids up to the age of nine.

And so usually if you’re willing to take older kids, they don’t usually call you for infants. And through this whole time, we were actually starting to try to have our own baby too. And it just wasn’t working out and we were like, okay, that’s okay. We’ll be foster parents. And we. I took a pregnancy test.

It wasn’t negative again. And we were just so sad. And then we get this phone call about this baby boy the same day that was in the NICU. And they’re like, will you take this baby boy? And they said, he’s perfect. There’s nothing wrong with him. He had, he just needs oxygen. That’s why he’s in the NICU. And they said, but he also has cataracts in his eyes.

It’s just like one surgery and he’ll be fine. And they’re like, oh, but he was also born with some cocaine in his system, but it’s fine. Like he, he’s not withdrawing or anything, but they’re like, but otherwise he’s so perfect. And so we we always do, when we get a foster phone call, we ask for a few minutes and we think about it and we pray about it.

And so we prayed about it and we felt really strongly that we needed to take this baby boy. And so I called them back and said, yes, we’ll take him. And they said, okay since he’s still in the NICU, you can’t take him right away. He has to stay here obviously for the NICU, but we also couldn’t come see him.

Like he wasn’t technically in the state custody. He was because he was in the hospital still. So we couldn’t have anything to do with him. And that was really hard because I didn’t know if he was alone, if he was being loved on by a mama or what was happening. And that was just tough. And so we were preparing our house and excited to go meet him.

And then finally they called and said we finally got approval for you guys to come meet him. And so we were so excited. I don’t know why, but I was so nervous. I was like, I hope he likes me like this. I was so nervous. I would say that it’s almost like when you have your own baby, how you’re like nervous and excited and like the anticipation and you just love that child so much already.

And I felt that exact same lane when it was going time to go meet him, actually, any time that I’ve met with foster child, you just already love them and feel that for them and a little bit of their story and have that compassion for them. So we went in and there he was, and he was just this tiny, precious little peanut with this black straight, crazy hair poking out of the top of the, his little bed. 

And I just picked him up and it was just, oh, it was just so in love with him. And he was just so perfect. But the spirit was telling me think there’s something a little bit different about this baby. And I don’t know what it is.

I don’t know if it’s the cocaine in his system. I don’t know what his birth parents look like, but I can feel like there was something different about him. But we just loved him and held him and then they told us we could bring him home the next day. So we had to leave him there one more night and then we go back the next day and we pick him up.

And the nurses he has a line in the middle of his hand and his toes spread apart and his eyes are a different shape. I think he has down syndrome. So I sent in the test. We had no idea down syndrome was a possibility. But we were just like, okay, we’ll just go, we’ll go with it.

We’re here to bring him home. And so we took him home and we introduced him to our little kids. So now we had three-year-old, one-year-old in this newborn and it was just so sweet and they loved him right away too, and just cuddled him. And I remember everyone that would hold him would just start sobbing and like they’re just like, I just feel so close to heaven when I hold him even more so than any other newborn I’d ever held and maybe cause I’m biased, but there was just a light in his sweet little face. And so we had it for a few weeks. We took him to his eye doctor appointments to get the cataracts removed.

And at that point we learned that was going to be many surgeries throughout his life. It wasn’t just going to be a one-time thing. And and then we found out that we were expecting, and so now we were like, oh my gosh, what are we going to do? We have all these kids and that same afternoon, we got a phone call

from the NICU nurse. And she’s we got the test back and he does have down syndrome. So now we’re like, okay, we found out we’re expecting. And we found out that he has down syndrome. This is a lot to carry in a day. So I go and I call the caseworker to let her know that he was diagnosed with down syndrome and it changes how we approach things with the foster care system.

And she said I have to let you know, we originally said you could adopt him right away, right away. But we’ve decided to give his mom a chance to get him back. So all in one day we found out we’re expecting and that he has down syndrome and that we might have to give him back. He was just so sweet. I just, I held him always every nap, everything. I never put him down. So all in one day we find out that he’s going back to his birth mom, potentially that she has this opportunity to get him back and that we’re pregnant.

And that he has down syndrome. And so in all of that, which, what is interesting is that down syndrome was all the sudden, not even a concern, really our biggest concern was are we going to be able to keep all of these kids and keep them in our home and take and have what it takes to take care of them.

Cause that meant I was going to have four kids under the age of four and I just didn’t, and one of them with a disability, actually, two of them, my oldest son has some disabilities too. So I was just like, how are we going to do this? And that was just the biggest concern. And but we did, we just pressed forward anyway.

And so Zane got his first eye surgery. They only do one at a time so that they’re not like completely bandaged and blind. And he got his first eye surgery and it went pretty well, but on the second eye surgery, he also needed a surgery to fix his trachea. He had a condition that made it difficult for him to pass air through his trachea.

Because kids with down syndrome often have weakened muscle tone. And because of his weakened muscle tone, he needed that surgery. And so they did both procedures at the same time. And during the surgery, he did not do well. There were some scary moments where they didn’t think he was going to make it. And he was only about three and a half, four weeks old at that time.

So a very tiny baby. When we got him out of the NICU, he was two weeks old and five pounds at that point. So he was just really an itty bitty baby going through this major procedure. And so we had been told it was just going to be a one day procedure, like in and out, take him home that afternoon.

Like his first surgery had been. And so my husband stayed home with my other kids. And I went to the hospital with his birth mom for the surgery. But instead he was in ICU after the PICU and they took us in there and he was hooked up to everything. And sedated and they said they didn’t know how long he was going to have to be there.

And I was just overwhelmed with the worry and the fear of what was going to happen. And so I had to go all the way out of the hospital to get cell phone service. And I run down to call my husband and let him know that Zane was going to have to be there for a long time. And, it didn’t go well.

And I could hear this hesitation in his voice as I was talking to him. And I was like, what is going on? And while Zane was in surgery, he had gotten a phone call from his commander that said he had to leave the next day for some military service. And it was only supposed to be about six weeks, but the timing of those six weeks was awful. Normally 

[00:12:49] Darla: Because we have to remember you were also pregnant.

[00:12:51] Taylor: Yeah. And I hadn’t told anybody. No, I barely knew I was pregant. I had not told my mom or anything, anybody. And so I’m like I have these three little kids. I don’t feel good. And now he’s going to be stuck in the hospital for who knows how long we live about an hour from that particular hospital. So just the commuting alone to be there with him, it was difficult.

And I just was like, and also my husband never, he’s been in the military now 13, over 13 years. He has never before or since been called out that quickly. We’ve always had months and months of warning. And so this is I don’t want to jinx it. And that time that it has never happened and here he had to leave the very next day.

And so I was just. Just overwhelmed. I think, right at first I just went into let’s conquer this mode and let’s just do it. So thankfully at the time my in-laws lived close by. My parents lived pretty close by as well, and they all just pitched in to help. Watch kids or come with me to the hospital.

Because he was in foster care they couldn’t go for me and like trade-off but they would come with me or whatever and we powered through and he was in the hospital for about a week. But right before he was to come home, they decided that because of that surgery on his trachea, that he needed a feeding tube that went through his nose, it’s called an NG tube and it goes through his nose and it goes down into the stomach and it will pump the milk in, at a very slow rate, like a drop a second. 

It was like an ounce an hour. So it was very slow. And the parent is supposed to be the one who puts that tube in and cares for it and does all of that. And that I think is when I thought this is beyond what I can do. They brought in this video for me to watch, and I felt like they were speaking Chinese.

I had no idea what to do. And they’re like if you put it in the wrong place you could get it in his lungs and drown him and I’m like, I can not do this. I cannot do this. And they’re like, oh, you’ll be fine. You’ll be fine. And they just sent me on my way and sent me home. And they said, okay, later tonight, once you get home and get settled a lady is going to come from the home health and she’ll bring you all the supplies.

So they sent me with just the tube in his nose, but nothing to pump the milk into his body or anything else, just that tube in his face. And so it was late. I got home really late and my mother-in-law had put my older kids to bed, which was so sweet and cleaned up my house and left when I got home.

And I just remember, probably four or five weeks pregnant. And I was so hungry and so tired and this baby was so hungry. At this point, he had no food in his body for hours, and I was just sitting there like crying and praying that this home health lady would come. And I remember just praying and praying that somebody, I lived at an awesome neighborhood and ward, and I was just like, please bless somebody to just bring me their leftover dinner or something.

And it was like seven o’clock at night. And I’m like, I know you’re going to have to yell at the person because they’re going to think that’s really weird to want to bring like leftovers at eight o’clock at night. But please send somebody. And so I just I, cause I didn’t even have the wherewithal to like even pour myself a bowl of cereal.

I was just at my limit at that point. And you know how, when that happens, sometimes you just don’t even think about it. You don’t think about normal things, and so that’s all, I was just like, I know that I know you can do it. And I know that these people would do it if they felt inspired to. And so please just send me a casserole or something.

And so I just was sitting there waiting and waiting for this lady and for my casserole that I had ordered via prayer, and neither was coming. And it was getting later and later, and I think around like 11 o’clock at night, I was like, I don’t think my casserole is coming. I don’t think anyone’s going to bring it.

And finally, the lady came and I was just so tired that everything she said, it made no sense. I didn’t know how to work the machine. I don’t know what took her so long. And by now Zane was so hungry. I think it had been like eight hours since he had gotten any food and he was just crying and crying.

And I got her out of my house and I just said a prayer. Help me figure this out. She got me set for the night. They, it runs on like an eight hour cycle. So she got me set for the next eight hours. And I was like, just help me figure it out in the morning. And I sent her out the door and I just rocked that little baby.

And I just started praying and I was like, Heavenly Father, I can’t do it. I said, maybe I should. Maybe I should give him to a family, like a nice young couple that is just sweet. And that could just like, love on him and just take care of him. And maybe that would be better for him. And I can give up that selfishly, but, selfishly, I didn’t want to do that, if that’s what’s best for him, please help me know that, help me know that’s what’s best.

And give me the courage to do it. And as I was praying and the spirit speaks in our language and he and I can be sarcastic. And as I was saying that I got this impression. You’re young and you can sometimes be nice.

And you can do it. Throughout that whole night. I just rocked him. And to my mind just came memory after memory of every person I had ever met with down syndrome. And it was like, I had a cousin that was the same age as my son, my oldest son who has down syndrome and how much he’s blessed our family and all these adults that were in my word growing up that had down syndrome and their families and how much I learned from them.

And just the whole night, I was just reminded of all these amazing people I had met. And I had this strongest thought this is one of my most sacred children. You would be so heartbroken to have turned your back on him. Don’t turn your back on him. And I thought, in that moment, my husband was still gone.

I was still really hungry. I still had no clue how to work this machine. I still was going to have four kids under the age of four, and I had no idea how that was going to work. I like all of the problems were still there, but all of a sudden as I sat there in that rocking chair all night with this sad, hungry baby, I knew that it was going to be okay. That we could do it.

There was just this overwhelming peace that, that this was supposed to be my son, even if it’s only for a few weeks or only for a few months or forever. But regardless, I had this very sacred opportunity and that I needed to take that opportunity. And I think what I learned from that is I was praying really hard for a casserole, like really hard that, that didn’t come.

And it’s not because Heavenly Father didn’t send somebody with it. I don’t think it’s that. I had amazing people around me. I think if someone would have been prompted to do it, they would have. I don’t think it’s because he didn’t care either. I think it’s because he had something that I needed more than a casserole.

The Castro would have fed me for that evening and I would’ve been like, oh, he cares and listens and hears my prayers. But it wouldn’t have helped me know that this is what I needed to do. And that, that this was going to be a hard road and a long journey, but that he was never going to make me carry it or face it alone.

And I think that he just needed me. I needed that time with the spirit and essentially with our Heavenly Father to know that’s what I needed. And I think that I’ve looked at that many times throughout our lives. I think sometimes we pray for things like casseroles and Heavenly Father has something so much greater.

And I’m glad I didn’t miss that blessing because I’m so busy looking for leftover casserole. If that makes sense. 

[00:21:01] Darla: It totally does. And so many times we’re praying for something because we think we have the perfect plan. We have it all figured out. Like you just needed that you just needed to eat.

That was the only thing that you could see, but he could see so much more. He could see that you needed an experience that was going to sustain you much longer than a few hours from a meal that you needed so much more. So I would love to know what have you learned? I’m sure this is not the only time that you have had this lesson, but what have you learned about trusting God’s plan for you?

[00:21:31] Taylor: Yeah, it’s not the only time that was seven years ago. Zane is seven now. And he has provided a lot of opportunities for me to learn to trust. 

[00:21:41] Darla: And we should back up to say that you were able to adopt him. Cause you mentioned that maybe the family is going to be reunited and, but you were able to adopt. 

[00:21:49] Taylor: Yes, we were. We I should say we adopted him at eight months old. And my baby Drake was born two weeks later. And then a couple months, the next month we were able to go and all six of us be in the sealing room while Zane was sealed to my husband and I, and then the babies got their little baby blessings that evening.

It was very sweet. And I was just praying for it all to be figured out before my baby was born and Heavenly Father was like, Hey, we’re going to take it down to the last, the very last minute.

Be very specific in what you pray for because it came down to the wire, but it did it worked out. And I think to answer your question where I’ve seen the Lord in my story is that I think that I just always see that he shows up in unexpected ways and but the perfect way that I need every single time.

And so I’ve tried to be better about not putting an expectation on how I need him to show up in my story and just trust that he will. And just trust that he’ll be there. Because over and over again, sometimes it’s through people that come with a casserole, sometimes it’s through just comforting me or often it’s just through an idea, like here’s a problem that you’re facing when you have kids with disabilities or whatever.

And he’ll just, he’ll come with an idea that I never thought before, but just allowing space to know that he’s going to come and then trusting it might be different every time, but that he always comes, I think, is how I’ve seen him. 

[00:23:26] Darla: Yeah, I think trust is a good way to describe that. And it just to know that he will be there and I love what you said about dropping the expectations.

Like I was thinking when you said that, don’t put God in a box. Like we, I do that so often in my life, especially when I’m overwhelmed or, I feel like I have so many things. He will show up and it’s just a matter of having that faith and trust. One of the things I always do when I have people apply to be on the podcast is just write one word that they feel like represents their journey.

And you wrote the word love, which I love. I love that you wrote love. W hat have you learned about love?

[00:24:03] Taylor: I think that love It covers .Everything like when there’s love, present you can overcome anything, any obstacle, because there’s that foundation there, whether it’s love of the people that you’re called to serve or love of your Savior, or at times I’ve had, I’ve found more recently that you also have to have a love for yourself and a relationship with that, that you’re a child of God and that you, he loves you, but you need to love you too.

And I just feel like whenever there’s a hard spot in life where I can find love. It heals that hard spot and makes it manageable. 

[00:24:44] Darla: That is a very wise advice to love yourself as well as everyone around you, to love God, but loving yourself is such an important thing. I think that you were full of faith and I know that you will inspire someone else. And we all have those times in our life where it just feels like everything is mounting against us. There’s just so much, but I love the way that you’re able to express that he was there and that he will be there for all of us. He’ll show up uniquely.

He knows us each individually. And that I think that’s just really beautiful. And I do have one final question for you, and that is how have you seen and felt the Savior in your journey on the covenant path?

[00:25:21] Taylor: I think I have seen and felt the Savior in the ways he creates opportunities for me to do the things that are important to me and also praise him at the same time. And that might sound a little bit weird, but as I go throughout life, we’ve all have goals and dreams and aspirations.

And I’ve found that as I dedicate those things to him, he opens all these doors and these opportunities that I never dreamed would be possible and never imagined I would be able to realize. And I think that just reminds me how much he really cares about me. Like he wants me to do. And he wants me to teach the gospel, and he wants me to follow him, but he also wants me to have joy in it and to do it in a way that speaks to my personality and all of those things. And so I’ve just seen where he allows me to, whether it’s through writing or whether it’s through music or whether it’s through all these things that I love, that he’s allowed me to be able to use those to be a disciple and to draw closer to him.

And it just makes me feel so known that, that he allows me to do what I love, but also to fulfill his purpose and his work. And so that’s where I see them over and over again, just those opportunities to do what I love and also to be his disciple. 

[00:26:41] Darla: Oh, I think I really liked the way you express that.

And that is something that I have felt, but you just articulated it in a way that I’ve never been able to. We do have these gifts and abilities and talents and things that we’ve been given and he wants us to use those and they will bring us so much joy. And you’re doing that so remarkably well using them to bring light to him.

So I know that what you said is true, I’m really grateful for that perspective. And I know that people are going to want to come find you. And so where can people find you? And will you please tell everyone about your book that you have coming out? I think it is going to be remarkable. So can you just share a little bit about that before we wrap up?

[00:27:20] Taylor: Sure. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram @to_cheer_and_to_bless like the Relief Society song, As Sisters in Zion.

And I do have a book coming out at the end of February with Deseret Book. It is called Everyday Disciples: Lessons Learned from Unnamed Scripture Heroes. So it just goes over different people in the scriptures that I think we normally just read right past. And we don’t even notice and how their stories are important and how we might feel very unneeded and very unimportant.

And. Like our contribution doesn’t mean a whole lot, but how it takes their stories and shows us how we and our lives are so similar to them and that they’re needed and that we’re needed. And the Savior needs all of us. 

[00:28:08] Darla: Oh, so great. And you really do your Instagram handle is perfect for you to cheer and to bless because I have seen you share things that have done that exact thing for me so many times.

So I will put all of that information in the show notes and people can go and find out about more about your book and everything that you share. Taylor, this has been wonderful. I am so grateful for you that you would take the time to come and share. And thank you so much. 

[00:28:34] Taylor: Thank you so much. It was so fun to visit with you.

[00:28:40] Darla: And now here are this week’s journal questions. Have you ever had an experience similar to Taylor’s praying for a casserole that didn’t come? What did you learn from this time? How did you see the Savior show up in ways you weren’t expecting. Record your thoughts. 

Taylor shared the thought that when love is present you can overcome anything. How have you seen love from God for yourself or someone else help you through challenging times?

What are the things in your life that are important to you and that you love to do? How can you use these things to find joy and bring praise to God? 

I hope you enjoyed the podcast and if you did, please share it with a friend. I would love it if you would leave a review and rate it on Apple Podcasts. This actually helps more women find the podcast and embrace their own journey on the covenant path. To find more ways to be a part of the Spiritually Minded Women community, head over to spiritually minded For more inspiration follow along on Instagram @spirituallymindedwomen. Have an amazing day. I’m cheering you on in your journey.