Josephine went out for the first time today to her first official outing... church. Normally, I don't take newborns to church for the first couple of weeks, but knowing that her time with us is short, I felt it important that Marian and James (and Jon and me) experience church together as a family. (Plus, I know a number of ladies that would hurt me if they didn't get to lay their eyes on her at least once! :P) It was wonderful to sit together as a family and listen to the testimonies of the congregation today. I've been struggling the last few days with some awful thoughts and feelings of hoping and wondering if I had truly done all that I could to make sure that we were, in fact, an eternal family. Isn't it awful how Satan will tempt us and try us even when we are already in the midst of adversity? As soon as I walked into the chapel today, I felt a rush of the Spirit that remained with me throughout the entire meeting. It was wonderful to feel my Heavenly Father answering my prayer that yes, indeed, I was doing everything required of me to have my eternal family.
Our Relief Society lesson was on expressing gratitude, and at one point, we discussed expressing gratitude to our Father in heaven even in adversity. If it hadn't been for this week, I'm sure I wouldn't have given this topic much thought. But, today I realized just how much this week has helped increase my faith, testimony, and gratitude. My relationship with my Heavenly Father and in my Savior, Jesus Christ, has strengthened. My relationship with my husband has strengthened, and my relationship to my older two children has strengthened. I am grateful to have the opportunity to strengthen these relationships. They are truly the most important relationships in my life. I am grateful that my eyes have been opened to the reminder of how important these relationships are to me. I am grateful that in my adversity, Heavenly Father has blessed me to be able to see the wonderful things that are happening as well. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to increase my faith by having to so fully rely on my Father in heaven. I just reinforces the knowledge that my Heavenly Father in aware of my happiness and my trials, and wants to be in both parts of my life.
I had planned to bear my testimony during church today, but once the time came, decided not to. So I hope you all don't mind if I take a few lines to share my thoughts with all of you.
I know that my Heavenly Father loves each of us, and bears our burdens with us. He is truly our Father in heaven. I know that we have been blessed with the fullness of the gospel. I know that in this restoration we have been given the opportunity and privilege to participate in sacred ordinances in the temple, and that it is only through these sacred sealing ordinances that we are able to have the blessings of eternal marriage and an eternal family.
I have a testimony of the priesthood. I am thankful that there are worthy priesthood holders in my life that can administer to my children and to me. It was such a wonderful experience to have those wonderful men show up or call at just the right time that they were needed to perform those blessings. It happened on more than one occasion this week. We needed to administer to Josephine before she went to Columbia, and Mike Lawhead called exactly at the right time to be able to do that. I needed a blessing once I was in Columbia, and Jon's old roommate, Eric Downs, called and visited out of the blue. We were afraid that Josephine wouldn't be coming home, and our other college friend, Clark Andelin, was there so he and Jon could give Josephine a name and a blessing. Each time, we were blessed with exactly what we needed. With this, I know also with utmost surety that our Heavenly Father is aware of our needs and answers our prayers and blesses us with exactly what we need, exactly when we need it. What a wonderful blessing!
I pray that each of you who read this will be blessed with the Spirit, even the Spirit of comfort and know what joy the gospel of Jesus Christ will bring into your life. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.