When you were little, did you ever think about in-laws and how they would impact your life in the future? Yeah, me neither. Let's be real. Chad and Rachel got married when I was 6 1/2 years old, and since I have a few select memories from before I was 6 1/2, Chad just seems like he's been a part of the family forever.
Lately though, well, in the last few days, I have really been thinking about in-laws and their impact on my life. Two of my in-laws in particular.
My sister-in-law Staci
and my sister-in-law Hillary.
These two have had an immense impact in my life in the past week.
On Sunday, Staci taught the lesson in Relief Society. (Not familiar with my beliefs? Click here to find out more.) If any of you know Staci at all, you know she is 100% amazing. She's an excellent cook, a great mother, a great wife and she's fun and enthusiastic and hardworking. Not only is she all of those things, but she is so in tune with the Lord. Like I said, 100% amazing. Her lesson was based on a new family motto they had made for Family Home Evening a few weeks back. The motto she came up with was this, "We Can Do Hard Things". As she proceeded through her lesson, I was struck by how many times I complain when the going gets tough. I realized that I was blessed with the ability to do hard things and that I would always have my Heavenly Father on my side, no matter what. One particular scripture that she shared with us really hit home for me. It's Alma 26:12, and it reads, "but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things." Right then, I had a sudden moment of clarity that helped me to see that even though I knew hard things would come into my life, I would be totally capable of handling them, as long as I relied on the Lord. I think when we were in the pre-existence, we were told everything pretty clearly. I doubt Heavenly Father sugar coated what life would be like while we were here. But, after He told us of all the harsh realities we would face while in this mortal existence, I can't help but think He followed up with something like this- "Even though it's going to be difficult down there, don't worry. Whenever you need me, you can talk to me. I'll always be available to listen to you, no matter what time of day or night. And, your oldest brother will be here to listen to you as well. If you ever feel lonely or sad or afraid, just remember, He'll know exactly what you're going through. He's going to go through everything you're going to go through too. But His trial will be harder. He's going to have to do it by Himself, so that you won't have to." He wasn't going to send us down here and say, "well, good luck. I guess I might see you later, if you can make it through everything down there." He loved/loves us so much more than that. We're His children, and He made darn sure that we would be taken care of down here. All this insight out of one lesson. Can you see why I said she's 100% amazing now? She gets ya thinkin.
Now, onto Hillary. For those of you who know Hillary, you know she is so much fun and so talented in many aspects. Her piano playing skills amaze me (and I am totally jealous) and her love and concern for those around her is so apparent. She is always thinking of others and serving whenever and wherever she can. She also has a very hard work ethic and is a wonderful wife and mother. She is 100% amazing as well. Hillary is my living example of the things I learned from Staci's lesson on Sunday. She's going through a very hard thing right now, but she's doing it with grace. I can only imagine our Heavenly Father is looking down on her and congratulating her for being so faithful. If it were me in her shoes, I would probably be curled up in a ball in the corner of a dark room, watching the world go by. I am grateful for her strength and her faith. She has shown me what enduring looks like. But not just enduring. Enduring well.
When I was 6 1/2, I didn't think about the impact my future in-laws would have on my life. But now, 16 years later, I am starting to more fully realize the blessing they all have been. I believe in-laws are God's way of making a good family, great. And for that, I am eternally grateful.