I am often asked why I moved to Arizona. I usually tell people, it was because of school. That is partially true but here is the rest of the story. The last several years have been crazily hard. I expected the divorce to be hard yet I hadn’t anticipated everything that happened. It was definitely a test, not only of my faith and spirituality, but also of my emotional health and physical well being.
A couple of years ago, almost a year and a half into my separation, I went on a little overnight trip to Manti with my mom and sisters. It was good to get away and have some fun. It was during a really hard time when my older kids were unhappy with me and I was hardly seeing them. My ex husband was doing everything he could to stall the divorce. I was struggling, grieving my loss, feeling very burdened and sad.
The last night of our trip I had a terrible dream where I was in a car that went out of control. It went off the road and was crashing down a hill through the trees and shrubbery, eventually crashing into a big tree. The final crash killed me and then I woke up. It was incredibly disturbing. I had never died in a dream before. I didn’t even think that was possible. Don’t you always wake up just before then and realize it was just a dream? I told my sisters about the dream, asking for interpretation. Googling for a dream interpreter and what it might mean they all said the same thing. It meant a rebirth or starting a new story. That made sense to me but it was still disturbing. I didn’t want to die, or start over.
As we all packed up and headed to the Manti temple for our last day. I was so overwhelmed. I had so many things on my mind that needed answers. Was I handling the divorce right? How do I do a better job helping my children with this? What should I do about work and the stress of my new work assignment? What was the dream telling me? I decided I would just ask my Father in Heaven what’s the most important thing for me to focus on right now. What is my highest priority? As I sat in the temple and prayed for guidance, a quiet voice clearly told me to go back to school and move to Arizona. I instantly wanted to argue and question the guidance. While I love school and I knew it was part of my future, someday, it wasn’t right then. It was the furthest thing from my mind and moving wasn’t on my radar at all. Yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was what I had to do. I came out of the temple and told my sis, “I have to go back to school and move to Arizona. She said are you sure? “No!”, I said. “I’m sure about school but the move part doesn’t sound right”. I had lived all my life in Salt Lake City. I love the mountains, being outdoors and the seasons. I never thought I would leave Salt Lake. Yet I couldn’t deny the guidance I had been given.
There were so many obstacles to following this prompting. I was in the middle of a divorce and couldn’t responsibly pick up and leave. My children, grandchildren, parents, brothers and sisters, friends, essentially my entire support system were all in Utah! Yet one of the things I had been keenly tuned into since I had taken out my endowments, only a couple of years earlier, was learning how to have faith, trust my Heavenly Father, and act on promptings. I had denied this for so many years in my life that it took a lot of courage to trust and act when given guidance by the Holy Ghost. I was relearning that taking action is the only way to grow in faith and build my spiritual confidence.
So I came home from that trip and started looking for doctoral programs I could start online. I found a program that perfectly aligned with my desires and background at Arizona State University. I added applying for the doctoral program to my already overwhelming list. I was accepted. Yet it had never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be accepted. Later, I found out it is hard to find an online accredited doctoral program and be accepted. I had planned to start in spring of 2020, thinking by then my divorce would surely be finished. I also started researching jobs that were remote or Arizona based with my current company. Unfortunately, all of them would have been at a lower grade and not aligned with my skills or interests.
For years I had been preparing for my dream retirement job. I was taking courses to become a coach and EFT (emotional freedom technique) practitioner. Yet this kind of change would mean starting over from a financial perspective and with the pending divorce I had no idea what my financial future would look like. I didn’t know how I would move, start a new career, and financially take care of myself after the divorce. At the same time I was struggling with work and all the required travel. I eventually had to take a six week leave from work. The emotional and physical demands were too much. During this time I prayed over and over often thinking I must have gotten this all wrong. But I was consistently told this was the thing to do. As I continued to move forward and act with faith I was watched over. Little-by-little I was getting the help I needed. I was offered a new role when I came back to work with less stress and no travel. Meanwhile the divorce continued to stall.
One day as I was pouring my heart out to my parents, my Dad said why don’t you retire so you can start your coaching business. It was like he had handed me a gift. Just like that, he had lifted the burden of my self-doubt, I had been carrying for so long, off my shoulders. It showed he had confidence in me and my ability, and it was reassurance that I deserved to go after my dreams. I also knew God had confidence in me, so the day I turned 55, I announced my retirement. In February of 2020 I retired and started my coaching business full time. The pandemic hit and I was able to stay home, go to school, and coach. Yet all the while I was wondering how I would get to Arizona. If I would even like it there. Because of the pandemic I couldn’t travel to check out the area or explore.
My Ex was unhappy I had retired and filed an order to try and get me to go back to work, threatening I was destroying marital assets. Thankfully the judge found no grounds for that and dismissed it. But he continued to fight for more money while at the same time delaying every court date. I began wondering if I would ever be divorced and decided I had better plan to go to Arizona divorced or not. Yet I was still hoping our next court negotiation in November would finalize the divorce. However another delay was filed and it went into December. The December negotiation failed and as a new court date grew near, I grew more and more stressed. Again I found myself completely broken and ultimately decided no amount of money was worth my mental health. So I had my lawyer write a proposal giving my Ex what he wanted in hopes to settle out of court. Perhaps that’s what my Heavenly Father was waiting for. Ultimately, letting go of my ego and humbly recognizing that no amount of money should get in the way of the guidance and direction I had been given, the divorce was settled. Finally on Dec 23rd, exactly 38 years from the day I was engaged to be married, I received my divorce decree and on January 1st, 2021 I signed a lease for a condo in Scottsdale. A new beginning.
Arizona already feels very much like home. It seems every day I am here I experience a small tender mercy that reassures me my Heavenly Father is still watching over me and I am following God’s plan for me. Do I still have doubts? Yes. In Fact just the other day I was struggling with self-doubt and as I prayed and turned to my scriptures I was taken to Romans 15:13 “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost”.
I am filled with hope and steeped in His love as I continue to have faith that he will guide and direct me on this new journey. I am in God’s hands, learning to turn my will over to him and trust more. Energized by the knowledge God is watching over me, I gratefully and humbly coach to inspire others to embrace their power, grow their spiritual confidence and achieve their dreams.