Family is Forever

This past Sunday Dave and I were asked to speak. I was asked to speak on Family and Dave was asked to speak on Missionary work. I was so nervous! But both our talks went well. The first speaker was a no-show but we both were able to make up the time! I was amazed! I didn't think I had talked nearly 20 minutes, it hardly felt like 5! 

But in my studying I loved what came together so I can't help but share.

I really love how the Spirit works sometimes. I kept putting off preparing this talk, with being sick the week before, and our trip this week I didn't have much time. And really I figured it was a broad easy topic so I wouldn't need a lot of time to prepare it. And so when I had free time Friday I just busied myself doing other things. But I found that I was having a hard time focusing on the things I was trying to do. Finally I became responsible, closed all the shopping and Pinterest tabs I had open and went to the church website. Immediately I was clear and able to easily focus on what really needed to get done.  I couldn't help but laugh and roll my eyes at myself and say a silent thank you to the Lord for redirecting me.

As stated in the Family, a Proclimation; All human beings - male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

In a broadcast from January 2012 titled the DoctrinalImportance of Marriage and Children from Elder Russell M Nelson he stated;
Marriage brings two very different and imperfect people together. Husbands and wives deal with their imperfections best with patience and a sense of humor. Each should stand ready to say, “I’m sorry! Please forgive me.” And each should be a peacemaker.
Marriage is sanctified by family prayer morning and night and daily scripture study. Marriage is stabilized by careful financial planning, avoiding debt, and living within a budget with willing obedience to the Lord’s law of tithing. Marriage is energized by making prime time together. Marriage is protected by an absolute commitment to make it successful.

I love what he says there that marriage is energized by making prime time together. I can attest to that just from this past week! Although our trip to Virginia beach had imperfections and was short, it was perfect and so revitalizing! I encourage everyone to spend prime time with each other, whether just a drive to somewhere new, or an overnight trip, get out and make new memories!

For each married bearer of the priesthood his highest duty is to care for his wife. She enables him to qualify for his greatest blessings. And when the children leave the nest, a husband and wife will have each other in what can be a wonderful and exciting phase of life together.

The Lord so taught;
“In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
“And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
“And if he does not, he cannot obtain it” (D&;C 131:1–3).

God’s plan of happiness is perfect. As we teach it in our homes, quorums, councils, and classes, we bless all with love, hope, peace, and joy, here and hereafter. It is up to us to share that light with the world.

An article I came across was from March 2012 New Era titled; Be a Defender of theFamily. Although it was a quite short article it had so many great tips on what we can do to defend the family unit today. 

It started off by saying;

We each have the power to stand up for eternal truths that are being attacked in one of Satan’s biggest battles. You can make a huge difference by being a defender of the family and letting those around you know that “the family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity

Robert D Hales stated in the Ensign article The Eternal Family from November 1996;
“Because of the importance of the family to the eternal plan of happiness, Satan makes a major effort to destroy the sanctity of the family, demean the importance of the role of men and women, encourage moral uncleanliness and violations of the sacred law of chastity, and to discourage parents from placing the bearing and rearing of children as one of their highest priorities”

Put family time first. 

With so many sporting events, parties, school functions, and other activities in your schedule, it’s easy to say, “I’ll spend time with my family later—when things slow down.” But you’ll soon find that life will never slow down, so it’s important to give high priority to family activities now. Don’t underestimate the way you can defend the family unit just by participating in your family unit.

The First Presidency has taught: “We counsel parents and children to give highest priority to family prayer, family home evening, gospel study and instruction, and wholesome family activities. However worthy and appropriate other demands or activities may be, they must not be permitted to displace the divinely-appointed duties that only parents and families can adequately perform” (First Presidency letter, Feb. 11, 1999).

Strengthen your family members. 

Look for ways to make life easier for those in your family. Find something they need help with and do it, such as giving a hug to a brother who had a hard day at school or helping your sister when it’s her turn to do the dishes. When you support one another in your needs, your family will grow stronger as one. Remember that family happiness is a team effort. We will find our lives most blessed only when we are in the service of others.

Elder Robert D. Hales said "We need to understand that we are each an important and integral part of a family and the highest blessings can be received only within an eternal family. … Being one in a family carries a great responsibility of caring, loving, lifting, and strengthening each member of the family so that all can righteously endure to the end in mortality and dwell together throughout eternity. … The eternal nature of an individual becomes the eternal nature of the family (“The Eternal Family,” Ensign, Nov. 1996).

Be an example of good family life. 

Do your part to make your home a holy place where others can feel the Spirit and where they can see what God’s plan for families is all about. Consider inviting friends over when your family spends time together so they can see the joy of family friendships.  

D&C 88:119 Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.

In my opinion the best place we can show the beauty and importance of the family is in our own homes. Our church buildings always say “Visitors Welcome” and I would hope that goes the same for our homes. Obviously not in the sense that anyone can just walk in as they please, but what better a place to befriend and teach an investigator then in our own homes? Our home should be a place where anyone who enters can feel the spirit.

My husband will probably roll his eyes for even mentioning this in my talk, but I can’t help it! In preparing this talk I couldn’t help but think of the ShayTards. If you are not familiar with them, they are an LDS family who have been vlogging – doing video diaries of their lives every day for the past five years and posting them on YouTube. I found them because they did an interview with someone and I just had a feeling they were LDS and sure enough they were. I have been following them for about two years now. They have over 2 million followers and each video they post average 500,000 views per video. They only vlog a total of 20 minutes out of each day, but they are inviting the world into their home, into their family home evenings. They seem like just really wonderful down to earth people. With how many viewers they have I have no doubt that they are helping spread the gospel just by their example of being a happy, loving family. 

So many people watch their videos and comment things like; you have such a wonderful family. I wish I had a family like yours. There is just something so different about your family. Or even, I never cared for having a family but seeing yours makes me want to have one.

That’s the beauty of a righteous LDS family in my mind. There is always a light to them. A happiness that other’s just don’t understand. And I hope that through our examples we can help bring more people and more families to that light and happiness.
Back to the article – just a few more things is lists to help defend the family;

Up next, I’m going to combine two tips here;

Beware of how the media defines families and Stand up for the family in your conversations;

Much in the media today does not support God’s definition of marriage and families. It might endorse or glorify alternatives to wholesome family life that are contrary to God’s plan. The counsel in For the Strength of Youth can apply to teachings about the family:

 “Satan uses media to deceive you by making what is wrong and evil look normal, humorous, or exciting. He tries to mislead you into thinking that breaking God’s commandments is acceptable and has no negative consequences for you or others. … Have the courage to walk out of a movie, change your music, or turn off a computer, television, or mobile device if what you see or hear drives away the Spirit”.

When conversations come up in school, work, and other activities—or even in text messages, e-mails, social networking sites, or online articles—where truths about the family are attacked, have the courage to defend the doctrines about Heavenly Father’s plan for families. The world continues to attack these eternal doctrines, and it’s up to you to be a voice of truth. The Spirit will help you know what to say. When you support the principles of an eternal family, it will be easier to strengthen the family and also prepare for a future temple marriage.

A few weeks ago an actress came out saying she supported the traditional family unit. She simply said something along the lines that she was grateful to her mother for being a stay at home mom and raising her in that environment. She also stated that the individual roles of a man and a women working together in a family unit were important in helping a family be successful.

To me this was something I full heartedly agreed with. But I was appalled by the back lash she was getting. It became very clear to me that the world is not okay with the traditional family unit and that more than ever we need to be as open as can be about what we believe is right and what we know will help lead others to a happy life.

Do temple work. 

Many of your ancestors have not received the essential ordinances that seal them together as families. Remember that defending the family isn’t just about the families on the earth today, but it’s also about all families. With, it’s easy to prepare names for temple work to help deceased family members receive the sealing ordinances. 

Develop habits today that you want in your future family

Even if you don’t come from a strong family, you can make your future family strong as you prepare for and worthily marry in the temple and seek to raise a righteous family of your own. Think about the types of things you want to do in your future family, and start those habits today. For example, even if your family doesn’t have daily scripture study, you can study the scriptures on your own each day. By forming that habit now, it will be easy to hold family scripture study when you get married.

You can also defend the family by deciding now that when you are older you will marry in the temple and then strive to have children and raise them in righteousness. We have been counseled: “All members, even if they are without family in the Church, should strive for the ideal of living in an eternal family. This means preparing to become worthy spouses and loving fathers or mothers”

In Ensign, March 2011, Sister Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president, said to the young members of the Church, “This generation will be called upon to defend the doctrine of the family as never before.  When you do this and live as a defender of the family, you can change your future and your family’s future and also be a part of a generation that can change the future of the world as you protect the family together. Even if you don’t see immediate results, your actions will be an influence for good in supporting Heavenly Father’s plan for eternal families."

That to me was such an amazingly powerful quote. More then anything we need to do all we can to be strong examples, and with today's technology we are blessed with the ability to share our voice with the world unlike never before.

As difficult as what is asked of us may seem at times, help is always available. If we allow the Lord to be part of our marriages, our families, we will never be alone in our pursuit of a forever family.

President Henry B. Eyring, stated; “As we read what the proclamation tells us about the family, we can expect—in fact, we must expect—impressions to come to our minds as to what we are to do. And we can be confident it is possible for us to do according to those impressions. We can start now to ‘promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family. I pray that you will ask, ‘Father, how can I prepare?’ Tell [Him] how much you want what He desires to give you. You will receive impressions, and if you act on them, I promise you the help of the powers of heaven.”

It is only with the companionship of the Holy Ghost that we can hope to be equally yoked in a marriage free from discord. I have seen how that companionship is crucial for felicity in a marriage. The miracle of becoming one requires the help of heaven, and it takes time. Our goal is to live together forever in the presence of Heavenly Father and our Savior.

The family a proclamation states; 
We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

That is for all of us. Each and everyone of us. As the world changes, and will keep changing we must be constant, constant in our faith, constant in our pursuit of being good examples. Spreading the light to all we come in contact with, in any way, big or small we can. In the end, we don’t get to take our money, our belongings, anything along with us when we pass away. The only thing we can take is our family. Our family is the beginning and the end. Family is everything. And the Lord will certainly bless us if we strive to ensure that is always our focus.  

I am so grateful for my parents having raised me in this gospel and being constant in their faith and attendance of the church, even during the times in my youth when I may not have wanted to go. I am also so grateful for my in-laws and the sacrifices they made to become converted to this church so that my husband could also be raised in the gospel and could be here with me today. 

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