Friday, March 05, 2010

Proclamations - HSF

This post comes from my friend HSF. She is one of those fabulous people that make me ecstatically happy I started blogging. She's gone from virtual to real-life friend and been a tremendous source of support and inspiration for me in this young-mothering adventure.

If you're interested in contributing my this series about the Family, please email me at readyformycloseupmrdemille@gmail.com



"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally."

Before this mortal life we lived with our Heavenly Parents and wanted to become like them. One of the fundamental differences between us and them was they had a body while we, being only spirits, did not. Heavenly Father shared a plan with us that would enable us to become like him. Through His plan we could gain knowledge as well as a physical body. If we did our best to follow Him and were willing to repent when we made poor choices we'd be able to live with Him and others we love again someday.

We all chose to follow his plan. How do I know this? Because we're all here on Earth. Had we chosen not to follow His plan we wouldn't be here. Even in heaven we were given agency. Now, in this life, we have been given a body. Our physical bodies are beautiful and divinely created. They were patterned after those of our Heavenly Parents and as such should be considered sacred. They are gifts from our Heavenly Father and we should do our best to take care of them.

Sometimes our bodies can be overwhelming. They have desires, emotions, hormones, and germs. They can get sick, break down, and wear out. This isn't because Heavenly Father made a mistake and it doesn't make our bodies are any less sacred. We live in an imperfect world and our bodies can be quite fragile sometimes. Heavenly Father allows things to happen to our bodies because it gives us an opportunity to learn and grow from new experiences.

My older brother was born with a congenital heart defect. He was able to undergo a new (at the time) surgery and his mortal life was saved. He is mentally handicapped and lives with, among other health problems, a heart condition. He's had several more surgeries throughout his life, most recently in 2001. We know his heart isn't going to last forever and my parents will most likely outlive him. It might be easy to ask why. Why was he born with this heart defect? Why does he have to suffer? Why couldn't he be blessed with a "normal" life? It might be easy to blame God for giving him, along with the rest of our family, these challenges but I believe my brother was sent to my family the way he was for a reason. Without him my family dynamic would be entirely different than it is. I don't think I'd be as compassionate without him. I wouldn't have learned some important life lessons without him. I love my brother and know, despite his challenges, he is a beloved son of our Heavenly Father. God doesn't love him any less just because he has a disability. I also believe that someday when he is resurrected his body will be made perfect and his spirit will no longer be restricted by an imperfect body.

One of the reasons we were given a physical body in this life is so we can participate in ordinances of the gospel. Without physical bodies we would not be able to repent and be baptized for remission of our sins; we wouldn't be able to participate in the washing and anointing ordinances; we wouldn't be able to receive our full temple endowment; we wouldn't be able to be sealed for eternity to those we love. Without these ordinances, which can only be done with physical bodies in holy temples, we wouldn't be able to return to our Heavenly Parents.

When my husband and I got married we didn't want "'til death do you part." We want to have one another forever. We knew the only way to get "for time and all eternity" was to live worthily and have our marriage sealed in the temple by one who holds the priesthood. Now as we have children they are born into our sealed marriaged and after we pass from this life, if we live the way Heavenly Father has asked, we can all be together again because of the ordinances and covenants we have made and kept.

My parents, as well as both sets of my grandparents were married in the temple, too, so our family can continue to be together after this life. I find this knowledge comforting because over the last twenty years three of my four grandparents have passed on. If I didn't know I would see them again someday the very idea of losing someone I love would be devastating.

This past October my dad got sick. On November 1, when my mom took him to the ER for the second or third time, he was finally admitted after coughing up blood. He was diagnosed with H1N1 and pneumonia. In my family going to the hospital is a fairly normal occurrence. My brother with the heart problem has been in and out of hospitals numerous times over the years so even with my dad being admitted for coughing up blood we weren't all that concerned. Instead of getting better over the next few days his condition worsened. On November 6, he was diagnosed with ARDS, a potentially lethal condition, and life-flighted from my parent's local hospital to a larger, better equipped hospital in Salt Lake City. It wasn't until then that we realized what a big deal this really was. My family and a few close friends gathered around my dad's bed. Through our masks and gloves we shared a lot of tears and hugs. We shared our love and faith with one another. My dad received a priesthood blessing and prayers were offered on his behalf by people, literally, all over the world. We were all worried because we didn't know if he would be able to pull through. Despite my fear of the unknown and the almost overwhelming sadness I felt at the thought of losing my dad I still had a reassuring sense of peace and comfort. I knew, even if my dad died, I'd see him again someday. He wouldn't be lost to me forever after leaving this world because he and my mom had been sealed for eternity in the temple and I had been born into their eternal family circle. If he died my family would still mourn and express our grief but we would be able to go on and things would still be okay.

My dad's stay in the hospital stretched on for a long time. He spent 40 days in the hospital, 30 of which were in the ICU, and there were several times during his admittance we thought we might lose him. In the end he pulled through and was able to go home before Christmas. He's still in recovery and it's a long process. He'll have scar tissue in his lungs for a very long time. We are so grateful and feel so blessed to still have him with us. Not everyone's story turns out that way. I am blessed with the knowledge of eternal families. I know, if I am faithful to the oaths and covenants I've made to my husband and my Heavenly Father and do my best to follow the teachings of my Savior, I can be with my family for eternity and I can't imagine a group of people I'd rather spend all eternity with. Indeed, the family is of God.

6 comments:

*Aliese* said...

Tears. Yup. Tears. I love this idea. Thanks HSF for posting the link! I love your family and definitely consider myself blessed to be a part of it. :)

Marie said...

Beautifully written, my beautiful girl. I'm so glad you're a part of our family...don't know how we'd get along without you! Our family has certainly seen many miracles, haven't we?

Tracy M said...

A, I have a complicated relationship with the Proc, and I told Em when she asked that I wasn't sure I could do this. I'm still not. But I love what you wrote, and it gives new dimension to something that has been hard (and is still hard) for me.

I appreciate your testimony, because that is surely what this is... and I am grateful. Thank you.

hairyshoefairy said...

Tracy, with some of the things you've experienced in your life I can understand why you might have a hard time. I'm happy you were able to take something positive away from this post and maybe think about some things in a new way. I love you and know you have strong faith and a strong testimony as well. Even if it isn't in this series I've seen you share parts of your testimony as well and whenever I read it I always come away edified. Thanks for sharing.

Diane said...

Wow - what a great post. Someone mentioned that keeping a journal during hard times is a good idea. I kind of disagreed thinking all the entries would be about the hard stuff and negative - who wants to read that? But to write about family and testimony and mercies - great idea. I've been going to a Strengthening Marriage class during S.S. that my friend is teaching. She has challenged us to memorize the Family Proclamation!! I've got two paragraphs down, don't think I can stuff anymore in this tiny brain - you should try it! You are amazing - so glad you are part of our family.

aubrey said...

wow. what a beautiful post, HSF. thank you for sharing your feelings and thoughts. you are amazing!

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