Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Family Proclamation Includes Everyone by Jenna Eakins

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life."

When I was first asked to write a guest post on the family, I thought- 'What on earth could I possibly have to share with others about the family??' 

After all, I'm just 27 years old.  I live alone.  I have no children.  And more to the point, I just went through a divorce earlier this year from my husband of three years.  We had been married in the temple.

It was devastating, to say the least, to see my dreams of an eternal marriage dashed just as I thought they were taking flight.  

As I continue to work my way through the heartbreaking effects of this experience, I still believe, that somewhere in my future, an eternal family is waiting for me.

In the midst of and despite my disappointments early on in life, I hold the hope and divine counsel offered in the Family Proclamation close to my heart and find its contents specifically relative to myself.

I fear that many people believe that the Family Proclamation is just for married people or "picture-perfect" families.  I now know that the principles found in the Family Proclamation are for everyone, even single, childless, divorced, young women like me!

Let me share some of the truths from the Family Proclamation that bring me hope and strength in my trials:

The Family Proclamation confirms that before coming to earth we knew and worshiped God as our eternal Heavenly Father and accepted his plan by which we could gain and physical body and gain earthly experience.  I believe that we knew that that plan would include heartaches and sorrow, joys and pains, but this would be a small price to pay for the privilege of gaining a physical body and earthly experience that would help us become more like our Heavenly Parents.

When my trials get tough, and life feels mercilessly unfair, I think back to this knowledge.  I wonder just how much I knew I would endure in this life.  Did I know and accept that I would lose my husband to the throes of the adversary?  Did I know that I would have to fight with every ounce of spirit that I had to save myself and my testimony?  Did I foresee that the spiritual growth and refining power of these trials would elevate me beyond what I ever thought myself otherwise capable of?  Did I accept the temporary despair, knowing that greater blessings would come?

I believe that I did.

I believe that I told my Heavenly Father that I was strong enough to experience everything that Satan would throw at me in this life, and that I would return to Him in the end, having given my all to fighting for His cause.  (In fact, I believe that we all made a similar promise.)

Insight into the relationship that we had with God before coming to earth is just one of the gems of truth that I have found in the Family Proclamation that helps me put the difficult twists that life throws my way in their proper perspective.

Another thing that the Family Proclamation has helped me to do is to look for the divine within each human being.  Because we were all created in the image of God, we don't have to search far to find it. However, knowing that we are all trying to realize our divine destiny has helped me to remember to look for the good, even in those who have caused me pain, and has helped me to more readily forgive.

Through my divorce, I have come to realize the precious gems that I have been given:  my trials. By seeing my trials through the light of The Family Proclamation, I have come to realize that gaining "earthly experience to progress toward perfection" often includes hiccups and major bumps in the road.  And that is OK.

Our time here on earth can be likened to school.  The more experience that we gain here, the more we progress towards the life that really matters, the one that is to come!  And the more hiccups that I experience along the way, the more prepared I will be for the grand, final test.  It seems like an odd thing to say, that I wouldn't trade my experience of divorce, or the measures of worth that it has taught me, for anything else, but it's true. 

It's true because I have gained a far greater insight into my individual purpose in God's plan for me, than I ever would have otherwise. What a wonderful blessing our experiences are!  After all, they are given to us by a Father who knows and loves us! 

I am so very grateful to know that The Family: A Proclamation to the World includes everyone- married and single alike. 

It gives me hope to know that our Father's plan is all-encompassing, and that He is aware of each of our individual, unique circumstances in life. That knowledge offers to me a purpose in my trials. It offers me hope to face what comes.  It reminds me that there is a plan for me, even if it's not the one that I expected for myself.  It helps me to trust in the Lord, knowing that ultimately, He knows what I need more than I do. And it promises me that my family is eternal, in all its different forms!

Jenna Eakins practices commercial interior design in Sandy, Utah.  She received a BA from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia (where we became best buds!) and has had the honor of doing design work for the LDS Temples in Mexico City and Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  When she is not working, she loves to run, ski, travel, and spend time with family and friends.  Interested in hearing more from Jenna?  Visit her at her blog...Because Life Moves On.

Please stop by and comment on all of today's posts:

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  1. This was so well written. I really enjoyed reading it. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. I was also divorced after three years married to my first husband. We had no children. I ,too, am grateful now for that experience. I learned so much about myself and I am so much stronger now.
    I wondered at the time if I would ever have that eternal family I had dreamed of too. I had faith that I would. Now I am married to a great guy (coming up on eight years) and we have two beautiful little girls.

  2. heartbreaking and inspiring. this will be one blog I will gladly add to my list. i think she's got a lot to teach others. thanx for knowing her and adding her to your guest list.

  3. Wow! Amazing insights. Thank you.

  4. Our families (whatever they may look like) truly are a blessing aren't they? I loved reading your insights and thoughts. Our divine nature is something I too treasure. Thank you.

  5. I can relate to this young women having been divorced after a temple marriage also. Looking back from the age of 71 now, I can see all of my life's experiences helped me grow into the person of faith that I am today. Hang in there, blessings await. Read my stories on my blogs under articles or in my new book-Find Your Voice: Read Your Life Story.

  6. Thank you for this amazing post and being willing to share your testimony. I am going to send this on to one of my dear friends.

  7. This post is exactly what I am going through right now- exactly. I'll be sharing it with my niece who started the summer married and ended it divorced.

  8. Thank you for sharing this tender part of your life. What a strong woman you are. And what a blessing the Family Proclamation is to everyone. It's all inclusive, isn't it? ♥

  9. Such a beautiful testimony. It breaks my heart when i hear women who feel like the family and motherhood somehow excludes them keep bearing your testimony there are so many who need to hear it!

  10. This was a beautiful post on personal trials and families.

  11. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience in your life and what you learned from it. I know many will benefit from your humility and openness.


  12. This is such a touching post. I never really thought of knowing ahead of time of what particular challenges I would have. It's passed my mind but really sat down and thought of it. I think that's what I am going to do tonight.

  13. I love this perspective! Thank you for sharing!!

  14. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with all of us

  15. Thank you for sharing! I really enjoyed reading your post. I too have your blog bookmarked. I enjoy blogs like yours that helps to uplift and make my day better.

  16. Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. We can gain so much from one another.

  17. Thank you for sharing your perspective here. I appreciated your heartfelt testimony. There is so much wonderful doctrine in the Proclamation, and you have brought some of that to life in a beautiful way.

  18. I enjoyed reading this. Quite person too, so thanks for sharing.

  19. What a wonderful, faith-filled testimony. Thank you for sharing!

  20. Thank you for the insight that knowing INDIVIDUALLY who you are and the relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can be marvelous! Our relationship with our Father in Heaven is life sustaining - spiritually and physically.

    Best to you in your journey and you are given the comfort in the moments you need it.

  21. This post just broke my heart. Two of my very best friends got divorced after only three years of marriage, but unlike you, they didn't turn to the truths in the Proclamation. Now I feel like I hardly know them because of the choices they've been making. I admire you so much, and you are a talented writer.

  22. Thank you for posting this. I am going through a similar situation. After 5 years I'm going through a divorce by similar means. I do have children and this proclamation means more to me now than ever before.

  23. Such great insights, Jenna! Thanks for sharing your inspired thoughts.

  24. Jenna, this was an amazing post. I spent some time reading your personal blog and I wish I could give you a hug right now! I suppose a virtual one will just have to do. :) My best girlfriend from high school went through a similar experience when she and her husband divorced several years ago. I know how horrifyingly gut-wrenching that can be, albeit only second hand. You are an amazing, strong, beautiful woman! Hang in there. Lots of love & best wishes to you.

  25. Jocelyn,

    I stumbled upon your blog two nights ago and really enjoy your thoughts. I saw Jenna's picture and immediately recognized her as one of my Virginia EFY friends (summer of 2001, I think)! :) I want to get in contact with her and was wondering if you knew of how I could reach her (her personal blog is private and I'm not aware of her email address). Thanks for your help!


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