By Lydia Anderson
I really wanted to write a picture perfect type of story about families.
For nearly two years, the doctrine of the family was the subject of my personal study. Eternal families seemed incredibly romantic to me and when Jordan came into my life I. WAS. READY. The doctrine shined beautifully, I had 80+ saved quotes about how to build a perfect family, and we had a wonderful wedding.
Somewhere between the fairy tale, though, I remembered...
Real life is really messy.
I grew up with four amazing younger brothers. Along with the fun times, I've seen plenty of physical and emotional messes. Whether it was spilled milk... Or arguing about who spilled the milk...our family wasn't exactly the nice, quiet household modeled in homemaking magazines. (And I wouldn't have it any other way!)
On a much more serious note, I have friends who endured the difficulties of their parent's divorce and peers who lived in constant fear of abuse. For them, family could seem far from picture perfect.
Within my own life, storms of anxiety and insecurity rage inside of me. I am a wife, a sister, a daughter, and one day, I'll be a mother. I am one individual in my family unit and my life is messy!
Family is messy!
Please realize that in acknowledging these imperfections, I'm in no way suggesting that the doctrine is any less true. If anything, it is our utter lack of perfection that makes the gospel of Jesus Christ so much more valuable in our lives! In the final pages of The Book of Mormon, we read, "Come unto Christ, and be perfected in Him" (Moroni 10:32; emphasis added).
It is in Him our mess is made glorious. I may still struggle with anxiety and you might still face your old demons and bad habits. With Christ, though, even those weaknesses can be transformed into strengths (Ether 12:27).
So here's what's real cool--these imperfect, messy people come together in the faith and power of the Lord and form forever families.
For over a decade, Jordan and I prayed and prepared to meet each other. While we dated, we attended the temple every week so we could learn as much as we possibly could. When our wedding day came, we knew each other's past and present struggles. Our sealing in the temple not only represented our acceptance of the other person, but invited God's power into our marriage. What that means to me is that whatever trial life throws at us, we'll face it together and be able to overcome it by the grace of God.
Heavenly Father wants our families to succeed--he really does!--and he's given us so many resources to help us achieve that goal. Personal revelation, words of the prophets (both past and present), and divinely instituted church programs all exist to strength families!
The Family Proclamation reads, "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities."
On our own it can all appear so overwhelming, but with God nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).
So embrace, enjoy, and accept and love the imperfect and the messy--as long as God's involved it all works out in the end.
Lydia and Jordan Anderson grew up near Salt Lake City, Utah. After serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they met, fell in love, and were married in August 2018. Now they spend their days working to build their eternity together and hope to help you on your own journey back to God.