Thursday, April 18, 2013

LDS Writer Blogfest: Families Can Be Together Forever

I started this post last weekend, but the words weren't coming out as smoothly as I wanted them to. Like a lot of bloggers, I don't usually struggle with blog posts, so this was frustrating. Now I'm glad they didn't, as this last week has put a completely different spin on everything, including this post.

I had a lot of thrills and frills initially, but what I really wanted to say can be boiled down to these five little words: Families can be together forever. God sent us to this earth as families and asked us to love and serve each other because He knew this simple truth.

I don't know why tragedy strikes some families but misses others. I don't know why some people die young while others live with broken bodies that may or may not function properly. But I do know that all that is unfair in life--and all that is just plain hard--will be made right eventually through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And I know that in the meantime, His grace is there to lift and heal us.

Almost eight years ago, my aunt died suddenly. She'd battled multiple sclerosis for many years, but none of us expected her to deteriorate so rapidly. My mom didn't even find out she was fading until after she'd already passed away. That was a hard time for our family and especially for my mom, who felt like she'd somehow failed her little sister.

Several years later, I was sitting in the temple, reflecting quietly on life and things, when I got the distinct impression that my aunt wanted to be there , that she wanted to feel the same peace and contentment I was feeling in that moment. At that point, I had never done any family history, but I knew I needed to learn. So I went into my local family history center, the same place I now volunteer every Tuesday night, and asked the little old ladies there what I needed to do so Susan could receive the same temple blessings I had.

This is why I'm so obsessed with family history--because I know that families can be together forever and that this is the way God has prepared for EVERY family to receive that blessing. He knows that the vast majority of His children never had the opportunity to go to the temple during their mortal lives, so He lets their descendants receive those ordinances for them (like the sealing ordinance, which is what binds families together on earth and in heaven). The first time I went to the temple, I received these ordinances for myself. Now every time I go back, I receive them on behalf of one of my ancestors.

I believe in God and His Son, Jesus Christ. I believe that Their whole goal is to lift us up to where They are. I believe They love us and are aware of us and want in every way to bless us. I believe Their ways are higher than our ways and that, even if we don't understand why certain things are happening, we will understand eventually.

I won't be online much for the rest of the week, but if you have a question you think I can answer, feel free to leave it in the comments. I'll respond as soon as I can. (And if you have specific questions about temples, you might check out this post, which at least covers the basics.)


Heather Senter said...

Thank you - that was lovely. I struggle with family history, but this re-inspires me to get to the temple and bring that happiness to my ancestors.

Take care.

Donna Nolan said...

A beautiful, inspiring post. I need to make an effort to get to the temple more regularly.

Ryan said...

How refreshing to hear someone share their feelings about Christ without fear of offending non-Christians. Thanks for uplifting us all with this post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for having the boldness to speak about God and Jesus in your post. I have a main character who prays, even though it's not labeled a 'Christian' novel . . . and am happy to report that the majority of people found that aspect refreshing:-) People don't need another episode of Oprah, or a 'shoot for the stars' poster . . . they need a connection with God:-)

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Heather, as with most things, I've found that if you only start with a sincere desire to work on your family history, God will lead you along from there. Also, every ward should have family history consultants who will be more than happy to help you, so definitely make use of that resource.

Donna, I'm in the same boat--I've done a lot of family history work but gotten a little lax in going to the temple. (FamilySearch gives you the option to submit names to the temple file, which is what I've been doing lately, since I still have a stack of printed cards I'm working through.) Getting to the temple more often is one of my goals for this year; I think temple work should require a bit of a sacrifice on our part.

I'm glad you found it uplifting, Ryan. And I've found that most people are pretty kind and respectful when it comes to posts like this, at least in the online writing community.

Totally agree, Jamie. If more people made an effort to have a relationship with God nowadays, the world would only be that much better.