In August 2011, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Breast Cancer. To say we were surprised would be a huge understatement. It was a phone call that changed our family's lives forever and a crucible that "purged away impurities and [unified us] into an entirely new final product" (Hawkins et al 237).
One of the things that helped our family face this challenging time was keeping an eternal perspective in mind. This was easier said than done, especially considering the fact that my children were so young at the time. "Perspective is our frame of reference, our beginning assumptions, our way of seeing, or our way of thinking" (Hawkins et al 238). It took a lot of work to maintain an eternal perspective while going through this crucible, but I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ in our lives. It was the anchor we held on to and the biggest tool in helping us maintain an healthy, eternal perspective. We knew that this moment of adversity, as hard as it was, had a purpose and, if we stayed close to the Savior, He would help us come out the other side stronger.
"The [Family] proclamation teaches that the cumulative purpose of all experiences in this life is to help us 'progress toward perfection' (para 3) and realize our 'destiny as heirs of eternal life'. Having faith in God and in His 'divine plan of happiness' (para 3) is the first principle of a perspective that recognizes meaning and growth as coming from life's crucibles" (Hawkins et al 238).
I remember pleading with my Heavenly Father to please allow me to stay here with my kids and not let the cancer win. This was my prayer for most of the beginning stages of treatment. Then, the Lord blessed me with a few sacred, personal experiences in which I learned that it did not matter if I lived or died after fighting that cancer. What mattered is that I needed to let go of my will and align it with His. I needed to recognize that there was a bigger picture. Bigger than being here for birthdays, graduations, weddings, and grand kids. It was about trusting in the Savior and believing that His sacrifice and suffering meant something.
"Our understanding of the Atonement is hardly a shield against sorrow; rather, it is a rich source of strength to deal productively with the disappointments and heartbreaks that form the deliberate fabric of mortal life. The gospel helps us to heal our pain, not necessarily to prevent it" -Elder Bruce C. Hafen (Hawkins et al 239).
The Atonement of our Savior helped me to heal my pain, calm my fears, and strengthen me and my family to endure the months of treatments, surgeries, and recovery, both physical and mental. It was the key to facing our crucible and allowing it to change us for the better.
THE SAVIOR IS THE KEY
"Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities" (Family para 7).
I don't know where my family would be without the Savior and His everlasting gospel in our lives. Having His gospel in our lives helps us to forgive one another, to be patient with one another, and to remember that it is through Him that we will be able to live together forever.
"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.
WHY ETERNAL FAMILIES?
This page is dedicated to sharing information regarding God's plan for families, how we can strengthen our family relationships, and how the Savior can heal even the most broken of hearts.