It wasn’t for a house, or for a car. It had a great deal to do with education, but would not result in a Bachelors, Masters, or PhD.
For us, this loan was the second of its kind and instantly it became one of our most prized possessions.
We had a long nine months to wait to close—much longer than our house, car, or education had taken. And when the deal closed, it wasn’t in a fancy bank or title office shaking hands with well-dressed business men who represented our lenders. It took place in a simple hospital room with scrub clad individuals who had also taken it upon themselves to represent our Lender.
I watched rather helplessly as my wife endured the pains that come with closing this kind of deal. My contribution compared to hers was small. I offered encouragement and strength through simple words and gentle touches as I watched her body being racked with the greatest pain she had experienced in her life.
And then it happened.
In a special and beautiful way, God gave us a little dark haired daughter that would be ours for as long as he saw fit. A loan from Him which would bless us, try us, teach us, and help us as parents to learn the skills necessary to become more like our Heavenly Parents. The conditions of the loan were unspoken, but in my heart I knew them: care for, protect, and teach this little one that the Great Lender had placed in my care and in return, she would be bound to me for eternity.
Such responsibility initially felt overwhelming. How could I ever live up to the expectation to fill this wonderful deal that God has let me be a part of? He has lent me the opportunity to be a parent to a precious little one with the stipulations that I do all I can do to get her back to Him—a stipulation that is at times extremely daunting and frequently discouraging. I know it isn’t a matter of if I fail to do everything asked of me but a matter of when and how often I will make mistakes. My little dark haired girl and my little red-haired boy will be counting on me to lead, guide, and walk beside them, but what about the days when I myself feel lost and unsure of where to go?
Doubts often muddle my thinking, but not for long. Uncertainty is replaced as peace settles into my heart reassuring me that though these children may have features that can be traced back to their mother and I, deeper in their reflections is the echo, “I, God, created man in mine own image, in the image of mine Only Begotten created I him; male and female created I them.” Before they were mine, this little girl and this little boy were His. And, regardless of the role I play in their lives as dad, and regardless of the times I will stumble and fall in that role, He is their Father. He is my Father. And He doesn’t stumble.
Gratefully, there is interest associated with this loan—but not of a financial kind. Heaven has a deeply eternal interest in the learning, growth, and success in the little one that has been loaned to me. The Lender intends to give me every tool I need to be successful. Through the scriptures, I have been provided an instruction manual with a multitude of examples on what to do and what not to do to raise children. Through prophets and apostles, He has given me helpers that seek to help me understand that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Through temple, I am reminded of the contracts and covenants I have entered into with him that will allow me to receive all that He has. Through prayer, He has given me a direct channel to speak and receive direction from Him. I speak to Him daily both thanking him for the loan of these two precious little ones, and asking for the help I know I need to guide them to discover and live up to their “divine nature and destiny.” I acknowledge to Him that I need his help in knowing how to play my part to help get them back to where they belong: home in His care.
"All human beings, male and female, are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and as such, each has a divine nature and destiny."
Ryan is simply, a great guy. He devotes much of his time, online, sharing inspirational quotes, that strengthen many, as they reflect on the uplifting messages that he shares on the Internet. Many of his memes are quotes by LDS prophets and leaders. When I think of what Ryan does, in sharing the words of Christ, in this manner, I think of one of my favorite verses in all of scripture, Alma 31:5.
"And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God."
While I was recently in Europe, gone for three week, Ryan offered to help me out with my WBMW Facebook page, by posting some of the memes he has created. When I had a chance to take a quick peek at the page, as Internet access was limited, I could see how well these were received, and I was so happy to know that our little community was being cared for, by someone I trust. I hope you all will LIKE his Facebook page, if you haven't already.
Thanks, Ryan, for all the good that you do!
I can't think of a more beautiful way to conclude our Family Proclamation Celebration, than with Ryan's tender reflections on what it means to create a family, and the incredible stewardship that our Heavenly Father has entrusted to parents, in order to bring all of His children, back into His Presence.
Is this understanding, alone, not a testimony of the importance of the Proclamation, and the doctrines taught within, and of the vital need that we, as individuals, rise up in defense of these truths, in order to preserve the family as God has ordained? I believe that it is.
I feel so blessed to have been invited to participate in this year's Celebration, and host some of the finest LDS writers on the Internet, here on A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman. Each one, during the past two weeks+ have testified with power the importance of revealed truth, pertaining to the family. I have been inspired, uplifted, and taught, every single day.
Thank you, to each of our guests', for making this Celebration, an exceptional event!
Until next year...