September 1st has been special to me for a while. Today marks year number 11. As I woke up 11 years ago, I woke up with butterflies in my stomach, not knowing what was going to take place that day but certain that the decision I had made would change my life for the better from that day on. I woke up in my brother's home and quickly got ready so I could spend every last second I could with my family. You see, this day, eleven years ago was the day I left to serve a mission for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I had quite a ride in life to get me to the decision to serve a mission, but knew from the moment I made my decision to go, that it was the right one for me.
I grew up in a fantastic, supportive family...a family who had faith, had trials, stuck together, grew and who found happiness in being together. My parents converted to the Mormon faith when I was 4 months old and my very first memory ever, was when I was 16 months old and was sealed to my family for eternity in the Idaho Falls temple. I find it fascinating that this is my first memory. I can remember the weather outside riding to the temple. It was gray and stormy. And I remember the LIGHT that I saw and felt while in the temple with my family.
Throughout my life I can say that I saw my share of "storms", but that I always felt that light and warmth when I walked into my home. My life has been truly blessed through my membership in the church, through serving my Heavenly Father, and by doing my best each day to follow my Savior, Jesus Christ. Eleven years ago, when I found myself walking away from my family in the Missionary Training Center, I walked away with a little fear of the unknown, but full of faith that the message I would share and the service I would render in that 18 months ahead of me was in response to my testimony of my Savior and the great knowledge that my family had been given 21 years previously in a small town in Washington. Part of which is "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."(Family Proclamation, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)
This morning I again woke up with butterflies. Not because I was nervous or because I was leaving my family again. This morning I woke up with sweet memories which sparked those butterflies. And as I laid in bed and reflected on the amazing life I have been blessed with, I soon had 3 little munchkins piled in next to me, snuggling and getting warm and I remembered that those 18 months were worth every sacrifice I gave up. And though my life still has storms every now and again, my duty and privilege now as a mother, is to make a place where my kids can come home to, to feel the warmth and light of love, both from an earthly family, and from their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
This month marks the 15th anniversary of the Proclamation to the Family. A few times during the month I will be posting my thoughts and testimony of this beautiful document. A few awesome ladies are putting a celebration on all month and can be found here or here. They are having guest bloggers, giveaways and more!