GUYS. Can I just take a minute here and tell you how completely wonderful and amazing God is?
Let me give you the short version...
*Des has a blog/website and loves to post things.
*Des is a wife, the mom of 4 busy children (okay 3 right now who need her attention every day and one who gets prayed for a lot while he is away from us), a part-time college student, has a part-time job, and a part to full time "job" serving with the best group of young women ever.
*Des really wants to keep blogging and sharing some of the cool things she is learning in college, but has zero time to devote to that.
*God says, "How about for this semester you take these two classes and both of those classes will give you the opportunity to blog as an assignment so you can blog AND have it count as school work.
*Des is amazed (again) at how much God knows her and loves her.
An Assignment with a Purpose...
Remember this post (my post about marriage) and this post (my first post about The Family: A Proclamation to the World)? I remember being completely terrified to write those posts because of comments that I may receive. But then I remembered that the only people who really read my posts are maybe my parents and my in-laws and a few close friends, so I probably didn't have anything to worry about, lol. I knew that they would be kind in their comments.
When I wrote those blog posts, I definitely felt inspired to do so and my motto is, "When God asks me to do something, I do it." Well now, once again, God is telling me to do something. Although there is still a little bit of anxiety that is accompanying the task, I am mostly just extremely excited to share with you the things that I have learned and am continuing to learn about God's pattern for families.
And honestly, there is no need for me to be anxious. Because...
The Doctrine of Eternal Families
From the very beginning, God has shown us the importance of families in His great plan of salvation. Here's a quick synopsis of the plan of salvation:
Isn't that the best plan ever? God created that plan for us and as part of that plan, He gave us the opportunity to live in families.
"Families are the basic organizational unit of the eternal realms, and so [God] intends for them also to be the basic unit on earth.
The experiences we can have in our families will prepare us to live with God again someday and live as He lives--in a family unit. One of the things I love most about this doctrine of eternal families is that God didn't just say, "Here. Live in a family and learn how to live like me." He has given us instructions on how to be successful in our families and in the process of learning how to be like Him.
Three Pillars- The Creation, The Fall, and The Atonement
In "Teaching the Doctrine of the Family" by Julie B. Beck, she explains how each of these pillars relate to and are important for eternal families.
"The Creation of the earth provided a place where families could live. God created a man and a woman who were the two essential halves of a family..."
The more I have studied about how to have success in family life, the more I am drawn to and believe this doctrine of the three pillars to be true. In the doctrine of each of these pillars lies the truths and instruction for us to reach our full potential individually and in our families.
From the document, "The Family: A Proclamation to the World", we learn profound truths such as:
We were created by God in His image.
These truths, once you internalize them, can strengthen you beyond what you think is possible. I mean, think about it, we have the opportunity to become as God is! Isn't that an amazing promise? The great writer C.S. Lewis once said:
"The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were "gods" and He is going to make good His words.
"If we let Him". I love that phrase. We have so much potential in us, and God can help us reach that potential as individuals and in our families, but we must turn to Him and allow Him to change us.
"The Fall of Adam and Eve allowed the Lord's plan for marriages and family to continue forward by making it possible for Adam and Eve to 'have an increase' as they added children to their family" (Hawkins et al, 344).
I admire our first parents, especially our beautiful Mother Eve. When Satan presented her with the opportunity to partake of the fruit, she knew she was at a crossroads. She did not just partake of the fruit without putting some serious thought, and dare I say, prayer, into that decision.
"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it became pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make her wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and also gave unto her husband with her, and he did eat." -Moses 4:12
The Fall was necessary for us to learn and grow--on our own and in families. Without that opportunity for growth, we would not be here.
"Adam feel that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." -2 Nephi 2:25
That joy--true joy and happiness--"is most likely to be achieved when [family life is] founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ" (Family, paragraph 7).
The doctrine of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is the most important of all the doctrines of God.
"Not only does the Atonement of Jesus Christ make forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of our bodies, and eternal family relationships possible, but the Savior is also the very embodiment of the ways of living and being by which we are to live our lives.
Our Savior. Our Redeemer. Our Champion. He has made it possible for us to live together as families for eternity! Isn't that the most amazing news ever?
Maybe you are reading those words and thinking, "I want my family to be together forever! How do I do that?" I will tell you how...temple marriage. Making covenants with your spouse and with the Savior in a temple of God.
Then it's all a matter of keeping those temple covenants and following the Savior in good times and in bad. Maybe this seems like He's asking too much--to follow His commandments for the rest of your life. But remember, it was He who bled from every pore and died for you, so asking you to keep your covenants with Him for the rest of your life sounds like a pretty small price to pay, doesn't it?
That was a lot of words...
"If we continue with present trends, we can expect to have more emotionally disturbed young people, more divorce, more depression, and more suicide" -Ezra T. Benson
We need to return to the "God-ordained fundamentals that will ensure love, stability, and happiness in our homes." -Ezra T. Benson
The Time is Now.
Thank you for enduring this lengthy post. I leave you now with a message regarding eternal families from Elder L. Tom Perry, an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beck, J. B. (2011, March). Teaching the Doctrine of the Family. Ensign, 41(3), 12-17.
Benson, E. T. (1992, July). Salvation: A Family Affair. Ensign, 22(7), 1-3.
"Family: A Proclamation to the World." (1995, November). Ensign, 25, p. 102.
Hawkins, A. J., Dollahite, D. C., & Draper, T. (2012). Successful marriages and families: Proclamation principles and research perspectives. Provo, UT: BYU Studies and School of Family Life, Brigham Young University.