I am Sonia Valdez

It took me 50 years to come to terms with who I am.

I always introduce myself as Sonia, That is because I live where I grew up and different groups of people will know my last name based on when they met me.

The Young Valdez Family moved to Coachella in 1974 My father, mother and myself. We came as migrant workers from Mexico, except my mother had no interest in migrating, so she applied for a low income home and bought it. She still lives in that house.

We were baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a small family. My Father, my mother, myself at 10 and my brother was 8, the rest of the children were baptized when they came of age.

I graduated Indio High School and went off to Arizona and flunked out of Devry University and came home. Really who flunks out of Trade School?

One of my first of many “How in the world did I whined up here.”

 So I did what my Earthly Father taught me, and I reached down into the mud and muck that I had walked myself into and grabbed hold of my boot straps and slurped those suckers right out of there one step at a time.

Except I didn’t get far I became pregnant, Married the father of my daughter, last name number two Dickerman.

So I reached down and went to work 3 days after giving birth, (step, squish) Moved out of Mom’s (step, squish) and step squish but it soon became evident that it wasn’t going to work.

So I jumped out of those boots that were holding me back and I packed everything I owned in the back of my Chevy 1500 and moved to San Diego. I left my child with my mom worked 3 jobs and went to school. I met and married my second husband, Barton Last name number three.

He was active Navy with two boys. Instant full house. It was safe and stable for a while. Until he retired in 2001 and it became clear that he wasn’t mentally stable.

Life quickly turned into quicksand and try as I might I just couldn’t find an answer, so we moved back to Mom’s. For ten years I lived my life hunched over just holding on to those straps. Until one day my husband decided he was leaving and wasn’t sure if he was coming back. He didn’t and took half our household income.

Divorce was final in 2018. I went back to Valdez. And Just kept holding on to those straps. Worked 2 jobs, attended pathways, did as much of BYU-Idaho as I could, I lead a Self-Reliance class for Starting a Business. Step squish step squish (yup I’m still squishing).

There is one thing that I need to admit, I am a lot, a lot to deal with, a lot to handle, a lot to just know.

One day in the middle of the pandemic a sweet man I have known since I was 5 years old and had a total crush on in High School comes to my door and just says “Hi, I wanted to know how you were doing.” We were married on 10/10/2020.

Today I am Sonia Valdez hyphen Meza, but truly I am all of my past. My trials have made me who I am today. So, you can call me anything that you can remember, I embrace it all. Today I stand tall, but that is only because I am finally able to afford a pair of Waders, I put those suckers on and tied them to my waist and keep holding on for what is still to come. As I continue to step squish through the mud of life.

Sister Jean Bingham said “As women who make and keep covenants with God, we share spiritual bonds that help us meet the challenges of our day and prepare us for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. And keeping those covenants allows us to be women of influence who can draw others to the Savior.”

As I try to harness all of my muchness, I rely on the power I receive from my Covenants.

 We are endowed with the Power of the Priesthood and we need to learn how to harness and use it. I will leave you with the biggest light bulb moment of my life. It is from the book The Infinite Atonement.  “ It should be no surprise that as we become more godlike we become more powerful. Knowledge brings power; purity brings power; love brings power. The acquisition of each divine trait brings power.”

My trials have helped me work and refine some of these traits. The rest of the paragraph continues “The Savior’s life is a confirmation of this truth. He went from grace to grace until he received a fulness of the Father and then “he received all power, both in heaven and on earth.”

My hope is that as I share my triumphs and my trials they may provide you the courage to share yours. It is only by sharing our life with others that we can help, support and find peace and joy at any point in our lives and stop waiting for things to get better.