Beyond The Checklist

030 Faith to Follow What God is Calling You To Do with Alexis Tanner


Darla: [00:00:00] Welcome to the Spiritually Minded Women podcast. This is Darla. I’m so happy that you’re here today. I have another great interview for you. And today I’m interviewing my friend, Alexis Tanner, and she is going to share some really great things about her journey on the covenant path. So Alexis, thank you so much for being here.

Alexis: [00:00:43] Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited about this. 

Darla: [00:00:46] So just go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell me a little bit about you. 

Alexis: [00:00:50] Okay I’m a wife and a mom to five kids. I live in Utah, but I was raised in Southern California. So it’s been a little bit of an adjustment going from warm winters to snowy ones.

But yeah, Y I am a stay-at-home mom with my kids and my husband and I podcast together and we just try to find different, fun things to do with our family here. 

Darla: [00:01:11] Okay. So we’ll talk about your podcast at the end, but I really love listening to you and your husband together. It’s a really fun dynamic.

It’s really great. And you did say that you have five kids and something that people should know about you is that you had those five kids in a seven year period. And it was something that you told me that you really felt like a pull from God that was his path for you and your husband was to have these kids to have them close together. So tell me about how that journey started. What did that look like for you and your husband? 

Alexis: [00:01:39] Sure. Yeah, my oldest is going to be 10 this next week and my youngest is going to be three the day after her. So they’re almost exactly seven years apart. When we, so my husband and I were first married, we both knew that we wanted to have big families. I come from a family of three, but I had a lot of friends with big families, had lots of kids. And I just loved how I felt when I was in their house. I knew that’s what I wanted.

And then my husband, he has their six kids in his family. And then his dad is one of 13. Just been around like lots of family and lots stuff. So he wanted that too. So going into our marriage, we both knew that we wanted a large family we didn’t necessarily know like when to start our family or like how, if we wanted to space them out or not, we just didn’t really think about that much.

I thought maybe we’d wait like a year after we got married and then start having kids. But after we were married for three months I was at the temple and I felt like we needed to start having kids now. And so I told my husband I think we need to start having kids now. And he was totally on board with that.

And so we got pregnant really fast. And then my first pregnancy was a miscarriage and it was devastating to me because I just thought, why would Heavenly Father tell me to have kids? And then it didn’t work out, and then I lost that baby. So that was really a big struggle. And I worked through that and I just felt we just need to try again.

And that’s just what was supposed to happen. And I was nervous trying again that maybe this would happen again, cause I, I knew of people who had multiple miscarriages and that’s really hard and I didn’t know what was going to happen to us. And so we decided to try again and I got pregnant really fast again, and I had some complications with her at the beginning.

I was bleeding heavily and I thought I have lost this baby again. I was at work and I could feel something was happening and I went to the bathroom and I was just gushing blood. And I was like, I lost this baby. I like, again, this is happening again. But somehow we went to the hospital and she was fine.

They’re like, no, there’s still heartbeat. You’re doing okay. And I was shocked because I thought for sure I was miscarrying. So I went on bedrest and for, I think it was six weeks. I was on bed rest and she ended up being okay. And was full term. And so she was our oldest, her name’s Cameron. And like I said, she’s almost 10.

And so then. Felt like we would just let things happen, how they were supposed to, and that we were just going to let, when we had kids, we were going to let God decide because when we started having kids I had just graduated from college. My husband was still in his undergraduate degree.

And so he was still in college and we started having children. And then he started working. And then it was a dead end job. And we went to MBA. He went to MBA school after that, and we had our fourth baby in MBA school. And so it was just been like crazy financially like it doesn’t make sense, that, that probably wasn’t the right thing to do from a worldly perspective.

But we knew that God was telling us that we needed to have these kids now, even though it really stretched us financially and going through school and my husband was busy with school and I was trying to juggle these kids at home, but we felt like that was the right thing for us. So after my first baby, she was only a few weeks old and I had a very strong impression that we needed to have another baby soon.

And it was a boy and I knew his, it was one of those things where like I knew his name, and I just felt okay, I’m supposed to have this little boy come. And so I, my first and my second we’re only 16 months apart, but it was a daughter. I had and ended up having a little girl and that’s Chloe.

Darla: [00:05:20] So you thought it was going to be a boy, you were sure. And then you have a girl. 

Alexis: [00:05:24] Yeah, the spirit told me a boy’s coming. So I thought for sure, this boy is coming next. And I was shocked when I found out it was a girl. And so I was like, wait, what? What’s happening? Like, why do I keep getting all these mixed messages?

But again, later, this, the spirit told me after I had my daughter there is a boy coming. He’s he is coming still. And so I’m like, okay. So I had my daughter. My first two are 16 months apart. All of my kids are less than two years apart except my last two. And we just let god decide. I would usually, it was at the temple when I was at the temple and I would just pray like, when are we supposed to have another kid and grow and saying, Hey, it’s time.

And we’d be like, okay, let’s try again. And I would get pregnant really fast. Cause it’s just what he wanted us to do. And so then my third is a boy and that’s the boy that I felt was supposed to come next. And then my fourth is another boy and then my fifth is a girl. So that’s kind of our path and how things went with all that. And didn’t always make sense. And I was tired a lot. But I did feel like God was strengthening me through the whole thing. Like I was able to keep going. And when it was time to have another baby, I felt confident about it. I didn’t feel stressed or nervous.

I’m like, okay, we can do this. This is what God wants. So he’s going to bless us. And he definitely did. And I was tired still and definitely the newborn fog and the survival mode and stuff. But I do feel like there’s a whole thing that my husband and I were both strengthened and blessed because we were doing what God wanted us to do creating our family, how he wanted us or how I wanted our family to be. 

Darla: [00:06:54] So, you’re painting this picture that it worked out well and you can see God guiding you, but I am sure that you probably had challenges along the way. Were there specific things that you can look back and say, wow, God was right there helping me through that, experiences that you had where you know, okay, we’re still on the right path.

Alexis: [00:07:12] Yeah, I think it was probably just those spiritual experiences that I was able to have where I just knew like that more children were coming. And I remember reading my scriptures after I had my fourth baby. And just trying to decide man, should we have another one or should we be done? And.

And just feeling as I was actually reading about  Nephi’s brother, Sam, and I felt like this, I’m like, yes, you need to have another one and this baby’s going to be like Sam, and so I felt like there were just certain things throughout that, through each of the pregnancies and stuff like that.

And I had other complications through pregnancy and stuff. That was a little bit scary. And like my last daughter, she was born four weeks early cause I had an abruption and I just kept having these complications through my pregnancies, but through all of them, I felt God was there walking with us.

And I knew that whatever happened, that’s what was supposed to happen. And luckily for us, they all worked out. And we all had, we had healthy babies, even though there were some scary things throughout. And so it was only challenging in that way, but I knew that God was there with us through the whole thing and helped us just keep pushing through, even though we didn’t know what was gonna happen or how things were going to turn out.

Darla: [00:08:18] I really love the amount of faith that you have had to follow what God was calling you to do. And I think of it as you were aligning your will with his, like you wanted to know his will, you wanted to follow that? What would you say to someone who is feeling in any way, whether it be with kids or any other aspect of life, like God is calling them a certain direction and wanting them to do something, but they don’t know exactly how to align their will with his, what would you say to that person?

How do they do that? 

Alexis: [00:08:47] When it comes, when it came to kids I always made sure to just always be prayerful about it and just be open to the idea of having more children, even, maybe I wasn’t quite ready yet, but just be open to the idea and be prayerful about it. And I loved attending the temple and I know we can’t do that right now, which is so hard for me.

I hate that I can’t go to the temple right now. But. Yeah, just always being prayerful about it, open-minded. Reading my scriptures was something that I did and continued to do and look for answers in the scriptures and impressions that I feel during general conference and talks and just, I think surrounding myself with things of the spirit, just allow me to better communicate with the spirit or hear those things that I need to hear at certain times.

As you have young kids and more kids like that, that can be challenging cause it’s loud all the time. And so I try to find parts of the day where I have just a few moments of quiet or when I’m in my car and I can listen to different scripture podcasts or podcasts like yours, that can just strengthen my spirit and help me feel closer to God.

And so I think anybody who is trying to figure out what to do next. And I’m at that point now in my life where now we feel like we’re done having children and I’m at that point, like what what do I do next? And I’m ready to do something next. And I feel like I haven’t quite gotten that answer yet.

And I’m so trying to figure that out. But I’m trying to just be aware of the spirit and waiting for those little promptings to help guide me in the right path. 

Darla: [00:10:14] I think that’s very good advice just to surround yourself with the things that will help you to be able to fill the spirit and recognize that when it comes.

And I think you pointed out a really great thing. Like it doesn’t always come easily or when we think it exactly should but your story illustrates well that it does come. And that, that when you have the faith and accept that, that things work out and you will be blessed.

So I think that’s really great. And I love that you’re pointing out that just because you’ve had this once doesn’t mean that you’re not experiencing it again, where you’re trying to figure out the path that the Heavenly Father is wanting you to go on. What I talk about on this podcast is your unique journey.

Everybody has their own unique journey and what you’re experiencing is not going to be what somebody else is experiencing, but sometimes we tend to judge each other. And so I would love to know how did you manage what other people thought. You’re following God’s will, and you’ve have a lot of faith and you feel like that’s good, but I can imagine that a lot of people maybe critical might not be the right word, but were maybe like questioning, what are you and your husband doing having all these kids so quickly, and you’re in school and financial, you’re not really maybe as prepared as you could be. And how did you deal with all of that? 

Alexis: [00:11:19] Yeah. I definitely got it more from people outside of the church.

I think people inside the church, usually they have a little more open to a lot of kids, but we spent three years in Wisconsin where my husband was doing MBA school and then got a job there and people in Wisconsin usually just have less kids. And I always got the, are those all your kids? Wow. I’d be walking through Costco and I have four kids on the cart and I’m super pregnant with my fifth and I just get those wide eyes like, wow.

What are you doing? And so I definitely got the comments. Luckily, I feel like my family was pretty supportive. My husband’s family is pretty supportive and in fact, my sister-in-law, she also had five kids really fast out all about the same time that we did. So I had somebody who was going through the same things that I was in.

And we could talk about that and that’s been really good for me just to have somebody else who’s experiencing the same things that I am. But yeah, overall I feel like five is large these days, and sometimes we do get the looks and sometimes I feel like, oh man, I have all these kids running around and I feel stressed, oh, I’m sorry, but we’re trying our best.

And this is what God wants us to do, but I do feel, because I think I had such strong spiritual impressions throughout the whole thing that I knew that what I was doing was the right thing. Even if maybe other people. Either don’t want that or are surprised that we would make those choices.

I felt like this is what we were just going to do. And like I said, I always, I wanted a big family and our family came quicker than sometimes other families and that’s, that was our path. And so I just stuck to that and I, this is what I wanted and this is how God asks us to do it. And so I think just really having those experiences and I’m a journal writer and I would write them down.

And that helped me a lot too, just being able to go back and look at those experiences that I had and those feelings that I felt. So that way, when I was struggling or I was doubting things, I could go back and look at it and remind myself, it was a spiritual experience that I had that kind of helped strengthen me through the whole process.

Darla: [00:13:21] I talk all the time about embrace your journey. Don’t compare to anyone else’s. I think you’re such a great example of that. Just you’ve embraced it and you just move forward and you don’t worry what other people think. I think that’s remarkable. I think that’s so great. So one thing I want to back up and talk about because you mentioned this to me before the interview and you mentioned it just a few minutes ago is that you always went to the temple.

Now I want to know how you were going to the temple when you were pregnant, breastfeeding, had all these little kids. How did you carve out the time to be able to do that? 

Alexis: [00:13:52] Yeah, it definitely wasn’t as frequently as I would’ve liked to have gone. But I made sure to, like you said, to carve out that time. So when we lived in Utah, it was a little bit easier because we, we have temples so close and so I would find times, usually Saturdays I’d have to go and my husband was home and he could watch the kids and I could go Saturday morning and do a session or other things there. And take turns going. So it was most of our beginning of our marriage we did not go together in which I would’ve liked.

But I, we needed somebody to watch the kids. Take turns going. It was harder when we lived in Wisconsin because our closest temple was in Chicago, which was three and a half hours away. And so that became an all-day family event. So we would drive to Chicago take turns and and it would be like going to the parks with kids and stuff, and then we’d drive all the way back. 

Darla: [00:14:43] Okay. So you’re saying you and your husband would drive to the temple and one would go in and watch the kids and the other would stay out or go in and the other would stay out and watch the kids and then you’d switch.

Alexis: [00:14:55] Yeah. One would go to the park or take them to Chick-fil-A or we would try to find, or they had an Ikea nearby. So I even went to Ikea and, they have a play area and stuff, so we would just find something to do while the other person was in the temple and. And yeah, so it was a long day for the kids.

Darla: [00:15:14] I think that is like total dedication. And it just shows how much you were wanting to be close to the spirit and follow the Lord because it could have been really easy to say this isn’t the season for us to do this. We’re just going to wait until our kids are older or we live somewhere different or whatever you could have easily said that and you made it a priority. I think that is really great. What were the blessings for you in that time when you’re in that young motherhood with having kids, what were the blessings of the temple brought to you at that time? 

Alexis: [00:15:41] I definitely feel a closeness to the spirit in the temple, and I just feel like that veil is so thin and I just love being there.

And it just, it gives me that strength to keep going and it gives me that peace and that quiet, which isn’t always happening when you have little kids running around, but I just feel like having that closeness to the spirit just allowed me to keep going through the week and keep working with my kids.

And it helped me feel closer to my husband cause  we were sealed in the temple so I could remind myself of those covenants that we made and that was strengthened me and I also have a lot of family history work to do. My mom was a convert to the church and my dad’s family hasn’t been in the church for very long. And and I love. Doing family history work. And so that’s one of my favorite things I love to do at the temple too, is just bring my family names and do the work for them. And then I feel close to my ancestors and it gives me purpose too, for being in the temple that it’s just, it’s not just for me, but I’m helping my ancestors get the work done as well. 

Darla: [00:16:39] Yeah, those are great blessings of being able to do that. And if we have missed the temple right in the last year it has been hard. It really has, but I think I’ve also gained a better appreciation for the temple is more than just a place.

It’s the covenants that I’ve made and learning how to cling to those. So in some ways I’m grateful that I’ve had this time away and I think I will appreciate it a whole lot more when we do finally get to go back. Alexis, this has been so great. I have loved talking to you and hearing just how much faith you have and the great example that you are to so many people of aligning yourself with God and going forward.

Continuing to move forward on your own journey and not letting other people sway you. And so I think that is really great. 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? 

Alexis: [00:17:26] For me, I was thinking about this question and there were two things that stood out to me and the first one was just strength.

I feel like I was strengthened through all these years, having kids, which is physically and emotionally challenging. And I don’t think I would have been able to push through it like I did without Christ strengthening me. And then the second part is I’ve just felt like he’s kind of been a gentle nudger to keep going forward and keep challenging myself.

And I think that’s part of the reason why I had these kids so quickly. And I think he wanted me to have something that would challenge me a little bit and help me grow. And he’s just always been nudging me like, Hey, try this and keep doing this. And I think you should do this next. And I haven’t always known what I’ve wanted to do or what it is that he wants me to do.

And sometimes that’s been hard as I’ve been praying, but that’s also allowed me to just wrestle with him a little bit, and come closer to him because I’m trying to figure it out and help me get, help me know what I’m supposed to do next, and so I feel like he’s just always he’s there and just always just pushing me forward a little bit and helping me on the path that he wants me to.

Darla: [00:18:38] I love that you said that you sometimes wrestle with him. And I think that is a really important piece. And I think sometimes if we are in that wrestle, we think that, oh, this isn’t right, or this isn’t normal. And. It’s okay. It’s okay to have that and to be able to figure things out. And it’s part of the process of why we’re here to learn and to grow.

So thank you so much for being willing to share, you’re part of the journey, your journey on the covenant path. If people want to find out more about you, I know you have a podcast with your husband. Tell us where we can go and find out more. 

Alexis: [00:19:08] Sure. So my husband and I podcast at parenting in real life.

And it’s a parenting podcast. We talk about all things parenting and then you can find me on Instagram @alexistannerlane. I also have a website, but with the same name, but mostly I’m on Instagram and then our podcast. 

Darla: [00:19:24] Great. I can say your podcast is really fun to listen to.

It’s not when she says it’s parenting in real life, like they are keeping it real, for sure. So definitely go and check that out and thank you so much for being here, Alexis. I appreciate it. 

Alexis: [00:19:35] Thank you so much for having me. This has been great.  

And now here are this week’s journal questions. Think of the faith building experiences you have had that have helped you to embrace your own journey on the covenant path. Write those experiences down so you can go back and draw on them. When you need to remind yourself of your spiritual experiences. 

Darla: [00:20:03] Alexis shared how the temple has been a blessing in her life by helping her to be close to the spirit and her ancestors. What blessings has a temple brought into your life? 

Ponder your answer and record it. 

What do you feel God calling you to do in your life? 

What do you need to do to have the faith to follow him?