A short video posted on Youtube by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titled “My New Life” features the touching story of wife and mother Stephanie Nielson. She, along with her husband Christian, survived a near-fatal plane crash in August 2008. Stephanie suffered from burns covering eighty percent of her body and was in a coma for three months. Her road to a recovery has not been easy, but she’s dubbed the process as both a trial and a blessing.
Missing the Old Stephanie But Keeping Perspective
While introducing herself in the short segment, the courageous survivor is quick to say, “I am Stephanie Nielson, and I am not my body.” Recounting one particularly trying day, Stephanie remembers going to the closet and touching all of the clothes, being filled with a wave of emotion. “I missed me again; I mourned for that woman again. I felt that familiar sadness.” The old photographs of Stephanie and Christian featured in the video shed light on what Mrs. Nielson no longer sees in the mirror. The fair skin and stunning features that once combined for a breathtaking view are less prominent. Her charming personality clearly comes through, but physically she is changed.
“As women we want to be beautiful and attractive, and . . . I struggle with that, but I also know that it’s not everything. I’m just grateful that I’m here on this earth and I have the opportunity to be a mother and do the things that I love and enjoy.” After all, “It is still me.” Admittedly, Stephanie finds it hard to do things like go to the grocery store or pick up her children from school, having all the other kids stare. But, she doesn’t let her circumstances control her.
Redefining Beauty & Magnifying Motherhood
“To me, beauty and motherhood are one; they’re the same thing,” she explains. “I view my role now as more divine.” Feeding mouths and doing chores isn’t what her job is about. Rather, her calling is as “a mother who enriches and teaches about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and it’s a privilege.” Being with her children and her husband reminds her she is the luckiest girl. “Life has a different meaning to me than it did before.”
Relying on her faith, Mrs. Nielson knows Heavenly Father has a plan of happiness for each of us, made possible only through Jesus Christ. Although she had a solid relationship with God before her plane crash, she explains what has changed: “spiritually now I have a better sense of who I am.” Having had meaningful spiritual confirmations about her situation, she feels she can truly say her new life is good. “It is oh so good.”
The Video’s Closing Remarks
The closing words are those of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taken from a fireside address titled “Lessons from Liberty Jail.” The inspired leader explains, “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.”
“Regarding our earthly journey, the Lord has promised: ‘I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up’ (Doctrine & Covenants 84:88). That is an everlasting declaration of God’s love and care for us, including–and perhaps especially–in times of trouble.”
Stephanie Nielson Online
Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson pens “The NieNie Dialogues”–a popular Blogspot detailing her life as a wife, mommy and survivor. She’s also on Twitter (nieniedialogues) and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Burn Victim from Utah Blogs her Recovery for Thousands.” ABC4News.com.
Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lessons from Liberty Jail.” Speeches.BYU.edu.
“My New Life – MormonMessages.” Youtube.com.
“Stephanie Nielson’s Message of Motherhood Attracting Attention.” LDSNewsroom.