Today is Pioneer Day. Even still, pioneers are not what heavily occupy my thoughts… However, I do have something on my mind which relates. I suppose one could call it raising a first generation family to the Lord, or in other words... Latter Day Pioneering in Gospel Living.
My husband was baptized in his youth, right alongside his parents and brothers. My parents were among the first few members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in their families. And the children my husband and I are raising are the first generation in which both parents were baptized BEFORE getting married and having children.
As I think about the blessings of the gospel in my life - I have on my mind today the reminiscence of all the ups and downs my husband and experience along our journey of establishing an infrastructure of family life built upon our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
Learning to live certain gospel principles has been an ongoing challenge. We are not perfect at it BY ANY MEANS! In fact, I’m so thankful for the opportunity I had to teach the RS lesson Families Can Be Eternal a week ago because of the reminders I needed to help me to be a better wife and mother to my family. I hope and pray that the Lord and our ancestors will all be very pleased with the family progress… :)
Now, please bear with me as I change subjects for a moment to that of my garden; it really will tie in…
Due to being out of town at planting time for nearly a month... and still having a spot picked out for a third raised bed which still needed to be built... I planted quite late. As I look at my tiny plants in my garden this year the thought has crossed my mind a time or two; is it worth it? Between planting late and the growing season here being so short, the fruits of my labors may not be in great abundance this year (especially in the raised bed that I just finished building a week ago!).
I decided as I contemplated these things that I need not be at all discouraged. I decided that if it is too late this year to get a very abundant garden, at least I am pioneering for next year. I am laying down infrastructure. And if it takes time for the infrastructure to get laid down in a solid fruitful manner… that’s OK. If most of the blessings from all my work come in a subsequent year or season; the ground work is still being laid and blessings will eventually come.
Now, back to thoughts about my family… My mind is equating all of this to raising my children. Though we had the gospel in our home since before our children were born, I still see much that I have yet to teach these wonderful children. I’m learning that I need to stop and look at the progress and revel in it… I need to focus not only on work yet to be done, but on appreciating and enjoying all that IS done…
Here I am, raising teenagers who will all soon be leaving home – I’m still learning; and maintaining and solidifying infrastructure of righteous living for my children is an ongoing effort. As I go through life I continue to become aware of more principles that I can teach my children better. I could not teach them what I did not know until after I learned it - any more than I could plant my seeds before creating the garden beds.
In both cases I worked hard and do the best that I could with what I had. And in both cases, though I may not be as far along as some, I feel confident that should the Lord visit my garden and family, He would say to me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
I believe this to be true of every family who finds the gospel of Jesus Christ and really strives to incorporate the principles of the gospel into their lives and very beings. It matters not how old they are or how old their children are when they find the gospel or how long it takes to get good at really living it (does anyone ever really feel that they are GREAT at it?) – Though we all may find ourselves wondering from time to time, “Is it worth it?” I pray we all will search for and believe the answer found in our hearts that tells us this simple truth… LIVING and TEACHING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST to the best of one’s ability IS ALWAYS WORTH IT!
It may not be this very decade that my children and I will benefit most from the life I am striving to teach them to live (though the benefits are HUGE even now!); it may be the next decade, OR EVEN MANY DECADES LATER after the roots of testimony have had time to grow deep and strong; it may be while they find themselves raising the next generation, or even while they are touching the lives of their own grandchildren that the blessings of gospel living are most noticeable in their lives. But I know in time… the growth will be beautifully evident. And when my eyes are opened, I find my jaw dropping at the realization of the beauty and growth that is already present. I am realizing more and more as time goes on that there is no need to put too much emphasis on correcting my children... But there is a need to simply ENJOY THEM...
Change and growth, the ability to see truth and experience true happiness are always taking place in our daily journey of living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as we can not usually see the growth take place in our gardens, growth is still taking place.
Last Sunday my husband sang Because I Have Been Given Much in church... I had no idea that he could sing that song so beautifully. My jaw dropped several times as I listened, as did my daughters. We both kept looking at each other like, "did you hear that?" Thinking about this has caused me to wonder, "What else am I unaware of in the lives of myself and my loved ones?" It is so easy to see the weeds or to compare current size with that of mature size... and so difficult to see the growth. We need to train ourselves to not fret, and see and focus on the growth in other people's lives - as well as in our own.
Some of you have family members or loved ones who may wander for a time and seem to let go of or loosen their grip on the gospel of Jesus Christ – then one day be blessed to have the testimony stirred within them bringing them back to the fold.
If you ever see a loved one wander, remember that your children are not annuals; they are perennials. Keep on loving them. Keep believing in them! Keep providing a home life infrastructure of righteous living to the best of your ability… Even if they are not yet in the habit of living a gospel principle… when they need it most, they will remember the things they were taught and they will know what to do to cultivate an abundance of happiness, peace, prosperity, and joy.
We should never give up, even when the planting of a testimony seems late in the season...
May we continue to fortify and beautify through loving hope and kindness - not only our gardens, but also our families and homes…
If the blessings come later; so be it! And God-bless each family who harvests late - for having a late harvest rather than none at all!!!
PS. I REALLY ENJOY MY FAMILY! :D I am SO PROUD of them!!!!
UPDATE - Addition: I just found a MODERN PIONEER video!