Life can be tough for a lot of reasons—health challenges, a wayward child, the loss of a loved one. Although life’s challenges may seem overwhelming, we can receive additional strength from the testimonies and examples of others. My mother was an example of one who lifted and inspired those around her through her testimony.
Although quiet and humble, my mom was motivated by a deep empathy to love and serve others. While I was struggling through my teenage years, she spent countless hours listening to me talk through the decisions I faced and helping me tame my angst. Her constant love gave me confidence and consolation that nobody else could provide. Her dedication in following Jesus Christ and His teachings blessed our home with a settling, peaceful influence.
My parents were considerably older than the parents of most of my friends. At the time I was married, I feared that my parents wouldn’t be around long enough to have much direct influence on my children. I especially wanted my children to enjoy some of the same quiet, edifying moments I had enjoyed as a child when spending time with Mom. I knew she could help build them up and give them strength they could draw on later in life.
Mom aged quickly. Five years after I was married, she suffered a stroke at the age of 63 and never fully recovered. Her last fourteen years of life were filled with additional health challenges, which culminated in her passing in 2012 after 18 months on hospice care.
Despite the frailty and physical limitations of those final years, Mom still found plenty of time to spend with her grandchildren. She also completed two projects that will strengthen her posterity for generations to come.
First was a detailed biography of her father, which she gave to her children, nieces, and nephews to help them know our grandfather better since he had died before many of us were born. This book—with its numerous photos, letters, and documents from Grandfather’s life—creates an image of a cheerful, kind, and selfless gentleman who loved his wife and family above all else.
A second project is the gift I most appreciate: a 14-page document she dictated that includes verses from the scriptures that were most meaningful to her. Each scripture is accompanied by personal experiences of how she gained her testimony of a specific gospel principle. She talks about prayer, faith, and miracles and the comfort that comes from the Holy Ghost. She bears testimony of eternal families and eternal life by relating the stories of her father’s death and the day she and Dad were sealed in the temple.
Mom’s grandchildren continue to be blessed by her words and example of faith. They have their own challenging decisions to make and fears to conquer. How wonderful to be able to refer to Mom’s testimony to see how she remained faithful and learned from similar challenges in her life!
Have you considered leaving a record of your testimony of the gospel? Here’s a sample list of gospel principles you could consider when preserving and sharing your own testimony:
- The reality of Heavenly Father and of being children of God
- The reality of Jesus Christ
- The reality of the Holy Ghost
- Joseph Smith as a prophet
- The Book of Mormon
- The Restoration
- The power of the Atonement
- Eternal families
- The power of prayer
- Finding answers in scriptures
- Faith in Christ to overcome life’s challenges
I am grateful for my mother’s example and her inspired acts of devotion that continue to bless our family.
What precious family legacy has a family member left for you?
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