This past Sunday at church was fast and testimony meeting. Everyone was talking about the things they were grateful for and how much family has influenced their lives, helping them to reach new understandings and to grow in their faith. I was just sitting in my seat the whole time thinking that I should get up and share my testimony and then time was up. We were ending the meeting and I lost my chance. Well, since I missed the opportunity on Sunday I will share what I believe to be true, what I am incredible grateful for, and how much the gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed my life thus far.
I’ll take a step back first. I am a Mormon. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On the first Sunday of every month (unless it’s General Conference weekend – more on that in another post) we have what’s called Fast and Testimony meeting. That’s the day that all members are encouraged to fast for two meals (as they are able) and donate the money that would have been spent on those meals to those in need. It is also the meeting where we are given the opportunity to share what we know to be true about the Church, our faith, the word of God, whatever we feel inspired to share that week. It is an incredibly powerful meeting each week. I am always amazed at the experiences shared by others, how they have grown in their faith of Heavenly Father and His plan for us here on earth. I am grateful that we are given this opportunity. We are able to expand our knowledge of the gospel and increase our faith by hearing the testimony of others. And when we share our own, our faith increases.
Since I joined the church my faith has grown exponentially. And the one point of the gospel that I will never question and will always have true faith in is the promise of an eternal family. Our Heavenly Father promises us that if we follow His commandments and are sealed in the temple that we will remain a family for time and all eternity. An incredible gift for me because my family is everything. My childhood wasn’t picture perfect. There were trials – particularly after my parents divorced – and we argued a lot, but I will always love them. They are a part of me, and not just because of our shared blood. They are a part of my heart and I cannot imagine a time when I will be without them. With the gospel I know that even when they are gone I will get to see them when I return to live with my Heavenly Father.
I also know that my future family – more children, grandchildren, nieces, in-laws – will be a part of that eternal family as well. Because I was sealed to BJ in the temple our children and all future family will be sealed to us for time and all eternity. What an incredible gift our Heavenly Father has given to us. The opportunity to be with our loved ones forever.
Tattoos are kind of my thing. I currently have six and five of them are for my family (the sixth is just for me). The tattoo you see above is the most recent. I got this about a year after I married BJ. I contemplated for months how I could represent how important he and our future family together are to me. The end result was a family tree. My family tree. On one of the lower branches are two little birds – one for me, one for BJ. Beneath is the word eternity. This is the beginning of our small family. As we add to our family I will add more birds to represent them. (I haven’t added one for Roly Poly yet because I am still breastfeeding.) This is my constant reminder of the eternal family I am building in this life. And every time someone asks to see it and wonders what it is for I can share my testimony. That Heavenly Father has created a Plan of Happiness. In this plan, the family is central. We are promised that if we live by His commandments and follow in faith we can be an eternal family. I am so grateful for this Plan. I am grateful for BJ. I am grateful for Roly Poly. I am grateful for my future family. I am grateful for my family that came before. And I am grateful to have a constant reminder, painted on my skin for all to see, that I will be with my family, forever, on earth and in heaven.