Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Gift of Family

1 March 2011: Elder Gregory and Elder Carter at Zone Conference

I love zone conference time in northern California! When I see that Sister Bunker has added a new post about a zone conference to her Santa Rosa Mission blog, I immediately scroll through the photos of a gazillion enthusiastic, clean-cut young missionaries, looking for that one familar face I miss.

I wasn't disappointed.  There was my son Jacob's smiling face, in a photo near the bottom of the page (see above), looking happy and healthy.  The "healthy" part was particularly important to me, since he'd been sick for about 3 weeks with some nasty congestion.  That kind of news is hard on a mom, especially when her son is so far away.  Even though he's an adult and quite capable of caring for himself, I worry.

It was fun to get a look at his second companion, too.  Jacob thinks very highly of Elder Gregory.  He tells us he is a great missionary and that he's learned a lot from him about missionary work and the scriptures.  Now, that's the kind of news that brings a mother joy! 

Speaking of missionaries, I'm happy to announce that my nephew Marcus, Jacob's cousin, recently received his mission call.  He will be serving in the Argentina Resistencia Mission!  He reports to the Mission Training Center in Provo, Utah, on July 6th.  Last night, Ed and I joined Marcus and his family and friends as he attended the temple for his first time.

19 Feb 2011: Chris (age 32), Sarah (age 21), and Dylan (age 13)

I can't even imagine my life without the blessings of family. There was a time when I worried that I might never have a family of my own, but thankfully my whole world changed for the better when I was 35 and Sarah was born.  And it only improved when Jacob and Dylan arrived over the next several years.
3 Feb 2011: Ed and Dylan bond over Guitar Hero

Not that being part of a family is always easy.  There aren't too many things that can be as frustrating and difficult as raising children.  In our family, it has become a huge challenge due to the major changes we've undergone over the past 10 months.  Peace, harmony, patience, kindness, obedience, mutual respect...  Those qualities have sometimes seemed in short supply.

And yet, when all is said and done, there is nothing that can bring about greater joy than family. Especially when we work together to find the peace, the harmony, the patience, the obedience, and the mutual respect that bring our hearts together and unite us forever.

Believe it or not, Mom is pretty good at Guitar Hero!

We're not all the way there yet.  We are a work in progress, with more difficult times ahead as we forge our forever family.  Still, I've already had a sweet taste of the joy that lies in store if we endure it well and find success in the all-important task of family-building. 

I've tasted it in the joy of seeing my older son become a young man who chose to leave home and serve the Lord for two years.  I've tasted it in the joy on the faces of my daughter and her beloved as they prepare to enter the temple and become united for eternity.  I've tasted the joy of seeing my thirteen-year-old son bear his testimony in church, barely holding back tears as he expressed love for his step-father.  And, perhaps most of all, I've tasted the sweet joy of loving a man who chose to leave behind his calm and quiet life in order to sacrifice and serve the new family he loves.

How very blessed we are by the gift of family!

1 comment:

Grandma Honey said...

Your blessings as a family have runneth over this year!

btw, how wonderful you can get pictures of your missionary son via the internet!