“Waiting for an Eternal Family,” Ensign, June 2017
I stopped attending church as a teenager, so when I married Jared, whose religious beliefs were different from mine, I wasn’t too concerned. But that changed when our first child was born. I realized that because I was not active in the Church, our daughter wouldn’t grow up learning the things I had been taught as a child. “How will she know where she came from?” I asked myself. “How will she know she is a child of God?” I still knew that those things were true, and I wanted her to learn them both at home and in Primary. That gave me the motivation I needed to go back to church.
I had a good visiting teacher who sent me notes and called me occasionally, so I knew whom to call to find out what time Church meetings were held. Because I would need to nurse our daughter, Jared agreed to let me take her with me. This was a great blessing. I felt an overwhelming happiness and warmth each time I attended, confirming that I was on the path I needed to follow.
I decided to read the Book of Mormon on my own for the first time. After I had read it, I prayed to know of its truth. Just as I had felt the Spirit affirm my decision to go back to church, I received a personal witness of the truth of the Book of Mormon.
I then started preparing to go to the temple and receive my endowment. I was concerned that going to the temple would put additional strain on our marriage, but my strong desire and the companionship of the Spirit kept me going. I never doubted my decision and was blessed when Jared supported me in receiving my endowment.
After I went to the temple, I had a greater desire to be sealed to my family. I knew that Jared might never choose to be baptized, but I still prayed for his heart to be softened. I felt that I could not expect a change in his heart until I was truly living the gospel, so I made it part of my everyday life. We visited temples while we were on vacations. We listened to general conference. I initially thought those activities were for only me, to strengthen my faith. But now I know that Jared felt the Spirit at times, and I believe he was being prepared to accept the gospel.
We were blessed with more children over the years, and in 2004 we moved to a new home and into a new ward. Our new home teacher took an interest in our family from the beginning. He visited regularly and became Jared’s friend. He helped with our landscaping, invited Jared to play softball with ward members, and invited him to join in other activities. Most important, he loved our family.
As Jared’s feelings toward the Church continued to grow, he began to have spiritual experiences that I was not aware of. Then, one Sunday morning three years after we had moved to our new home, Jared came to me while I was getting myself and the children ready. He asked, “Can I go to church with you?”
I was shocked but said, “Yes!”
Soon he began meeting with the missionaries and accepted the invitation to be baptized.
As much as I’d like to say that our lives were perfect after Jared decided to be baptized, I can’t. The time leading up to his baptism was difficult for both of us. We were faced with many trials and obstacles. Yet with the help of our loving bishop, home teacher, family, and most of all, our Father in Heaven, we overcame personal challenges that otherwise could have destroyed our marriage.
My husband was baptized on June 23, 2007, 10 years after we had met. I couldn’t believe it—I had come to accept that he might never get baptized. But the Lord knew exactly how to help my husband.
Though we still had trials to overcome, now we faced them with a united viewpoint. Through that difficult year following my husband’s baptism, there were times that I wondered if we’d ever get to the temple. But, as our Heavenly Father always does, He helped us. Shortly after the birth of our fifth child, we were sealed together as a family for time and all eternity.
The covenants Jared and I made in the temple have put us on the same path. With our journey to the temple complete, our goal now is to continue to endure to the end and live worthy of our covenants.
I know that our Heavenly Father hears and answers our prayers, even if it isn’t always in the way we expect. He is eagerly waiting to help us achieve our righteous desires. He loves us and wants us to be happy. Although it may require patience and faith, our Father in Heaven will help us—often in ways we cannot even imagine.