“In the beginning“. . .these famous words commence the account of the creation. God did not rest until His crowning creation, the family unit of Adam and Eve, was organized. From the very beginning it was ordained that the children of God would come into this world as part of a family unit with a mother and a father providing the best opportunity for us to grow in happiness and safety. An ideal had been set.
Throughout the ages and history of the world, through the downfalls of kingdoms, the collapse of cultures, the deterioration of nations, one thing remains ensuring the survival of civilization – the traditional family structure. Today it is being attacked even more relentlessly than it has ever been. There is rampant pornography, legalization of same-sex marriage, out-of-wedlock births on dramatically increasing, and yet, studies show a person has a serious advantage in life if they come from a loving, supportive home consisting of a mother and a father.
Earlier this year I came across a gem of an article. I’d like to share the first section of it with you for several reasons: the language and imagery it uses are beautiful, it details why our homes are so important, it explains how our homes can be a refuge in the increasing turmoil of today’s world.
Lofty, beautiful, and serene, a celestial orb glistens in a luminescent sky. Far below on the frontier of a dark wilderness in a tiny fortress live some strangers from the splendid place above. Their home is an outpost, reflecting some of the glory of the celestial homeland but surrounded by darkness and constantly under attack.
Now as day dawns, a woman in the outpost arises from sleep and on her knees opens the communication lines between her home and the orb above. A conduit sheds light and strength upon her, and serenity fills her heart, peace floods her soul, and light overflows from within her. The wilderness pulls away from her bastion, overwhelmed by the light. She turns to her sacred books, seeking guidance from the holy home above.
A baby cries; she closes the books and turns away. Children’s voices intrude on her thoughts. Diapers, breakfast, lost socks to find, lunches to prepare. “I’m late, honey; hurry and gather the children for family prayer.” “Why is that boy always late? He’s keeping the whole family waiting.” “Brent had his eyes open during the prayer.” “How do you know? You peeked.” The conduit of light from above begins to fade. The wilderness moves closer to the little outpost; black tendrils slither around the doors, seeking a tiny opening, testing, probing.
Stacks of dishes, mountains of laundry, baskets of mending, jars and cans and boxes and pots of food. Machines humming, stove cooking, children playing, baby crying. Television on—loud laughter, funny situations, chastity ridiculed, adultery commonplace, screams, shots, violence, more laughter, pretty clothes, expensive houses, very witty little children, unhappy families, drinking, laughing, knives, guns, blood. Black tendrils wrap around and around the TV antenna.
The children become bored; the woman draws them around her and teaches them, reads stories, gives hugs and kisses. Later, when the children are napping, she has time for some reading. “Parents have no right to impose their ideas on children.” “Never say ‘no.’” “Never punish a child.” “If the child is not successful, it is the parents who have failed.”
She pushes away the darkness by turning to other books: “Train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6). “They shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord” (D&C 68:28). “Teach them to love one another, and to serve one another” (Mosiah 4:15).
“Oh, Johnny, are you writing on the walls again?”
Family members come back to the outpost from their excursions into the wilderness. Some of them still have darkness clinging to them. “But everyone else gets to.” “I’m too dumb to do this math.” “Sorry I can’t do my chores—I’ve got tons of homework.” Parents work to dispel the darkness and to help their family return to the light. A friend calls: “I’m discouraged and you make me feel guilty. I don’t see why you try so hard when it’s not worth it. What do you expect, perfection?”
With evening comes more darkness. “Hurry, hurry, no time to talk.” “So much to do, not enough time.” “More money—we need more things.” The woman goes about searching out shadows and tendrils, pushing them out, locking the doors and windows against them. She makes room for light, strengthens her defenses, and stockpiles ammunition for another day of battle. “Let’s read a story from the Bible.” “Tell me what you did today that made you happy.” “What do you think you can do tomorrow that will help you and Johnny get along better?” “Time for family prayer.” “Could I listen to your prayers?” “I’ll tuck you in bed when you’re ready.” “Of course I have time to listen to you.”
In the dark of the night, the woman and her husband look out and note that the wilderness is a fraction of an inch farther away than yesterday. They kneel again and catch a tiny glimmer of the splendor they have part in creating, and they are dazzled by the glory.
Science fiction? Not exactly, for scattered about the earth are small outposts of the kingdom of God where men and women join with God in creation—not just the creation that ends with the birth of a child, but the ongoing creation of celestial homes that begins at the altar and continues throughout eternity. Read the rest here…
Isn’t that beautiful? I am more inspired to be the “keeper” of my home, the lioness at the gate, guarding and protecting all that abide here, giving refuge and safety to all who come.
“We need to make our homes a place of refuge from the storm, which is increasing in intensity all about us. Even if the smallest openings are left unattended, negative influences can penetrate the very walls of our homes.” Elder L. Tom Perry, The Importance of Family
Many people still succeed though they come from less-than-ideal family situations but the fact remains it is easier to succeed when the basics – a loving mother and father – are provided. Begin today with what you have, even if it less than the ideal, to provide the most loving home you can. I fully believe as we sincerely try to do our best the Lord makes up where we lack. His grace is there to fill in the cracks.
Tell your family you love them. Spend some time with them this weekend: talking, eating, playing, worshiping, reading, being together.
Well we are at the end of yet another annual celebration for The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Thanks so much to Kathryn at A Well Behaved Mormon Woman and Caroline and Elisa at Mormon Mommy Blogs for helping me host the celebration! Go give them a big thank you too. ☺
Link up your Family Proclamation posts below!