I'm so grateful for President Eyring's words from this last general conference, when he said, "God has devised means to save each of His children. For many, that involves being placed with a brother or sister or grandparent who loves them no matter what they do. Years ago a friend of mine spoke of his grandmother. She has lived a full life, always faithful to the Lord and to His Church. Yet one of her grandsons chose a life of crime. He was finally sentenced to prison. My friend recalled that his grandmother, as she drove along a highway to visit her grandson in prison, had tears in her eyes as she prayed with anguish, "I've tried to live a good life. Why, why do I have this tragedy of a grandson who seems to have destroyed his life?" THE ANSWER CAME TO HER MIND IN THESE WORDS: "I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did."
What comforting words. President Eyring reminded me that the Lord has put me in my family because He knew I "could and would love them no matter what they've done" or what I've done. The countless mistakes I have made that have easily been forgotten by them; they have "loved me no matter what..." Our past should never define us, and our future is always as bright as our faith!
I'm reminded of our Savior's patience and love every time I see somebody walk into the waters of baptism. I have seen individuals who have been to prison, eventually change, and have since devoted their lives to Christ and this work. I have seen meth addicts (one for 25 years), turn their lives around by accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ. One of them I recently met, soon to be sealed in the Holy Temple to his companion for time and all eternity. He now spends his days giving motivational speeches to troubled juveniles. "We need to bear in mind that people can change. They can put behind them bad habits. They can repent from transgressions. They can bear the priesthood worthily. And they can serve the Lord diligently" (President Thomas S. Monson).
As a product of change, I testify that individuals and families can change. That through the Infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ, sin can be perfectly forgiven and forgotten by a perfect Savior. I know that He has the power to remember our sins no more. I also know that all of God's children matter to Him. That He is not a God who sits around in His Heavens hoping some of His angles will do all the work...NO...He is involved. This world is carefully watched over by His all seeing eye. He who know's when a sparrow falls, knows exactly when His children stumble. I know that families can be together forever. Our Father in Heaven desires that ALL His children be saved in His kingdom. He will never cease striving to make this happen. Though my family, myself included, be very weak... I know we can be made strong. The Lord has prepared us for these challenging times, and He is preparing our future eternal companions, families, and friends as well. I know that He has given us agency, the ability to choose. What will we choose and whom will we choose? The worth of souls are always great and precious in the sight of God. We are worth it! We can do it! Look up! Look forward! Rise up! Trust Him! In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
My wonderful grandma Ann with my two incredible uncles. Both mighty products of change. They've come so far! They are two men placed in the hands of this trusted woman, whom the Lord knew would always love them. They have had their down falls, but have risen triumphantly, becoming men of sound understanding.
This is my mom's side of the family: Uncle Dave on the left, Uncle John, Aunt LeighAnn, Uncle Steve, then back up to Aunt Jacki, my beautiful mother Lani, and then finally Aunt Lori. I love them so much! Some of the sweetest, most charitable people I know!
My incredible father, sister, and niece. I love them so much. I could spend hours talking about how much they have changed. I have a family here on earth...Oh, how good they are to me!