Celebrate the Family!

Tonight is the night that families all over the world will be gathering together to celebrate the FAMILY!!!
We hope your family will join us by heading outside at 7:30 PM and shining your lights (flashlight, lantern, etc) into the night sky as a symbol of how your family lights the world!
A special family home evening packet is available for your use and can be downloaded here
Don’t forget to light up social media with pictures, videos and stories about your family. Use ‪#‎FamilyLightstheWorld‬

For more information, follow this link….

Even The Tiniest Lights Shine

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It wasn’t too long ago that I read of a young mother who, at the time, couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by some of the darker circumstances surrounding her life. She was unbelievably strong and faithful but, like most young mothers, she had moments where she felt spread too thin and incapable of providing the strength and support each of her beloved friends and family needed from her. It was during one such time that she turned her concerns to prayer. Her answer came immediately in the form of an image: a single birthday candle lit at the end of a large, darkened and windowless hall. She was overcome by how that tiny, seemingly insignificant, candle was able to completely overpower and replace the heavy darkness.

Of her experience, she explained, “That was my answer! The quantity of darkness surrounding us in the world simply does not matter. Light is eternal and is vastly more powerful than darkness (see 2 Corinthians 4:6; Mosiah 16:9; D&C 14:9). If we remain worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit, our souls can reflect sufficient light to displace any amount of darkness, and others will be drawn to that light within us.” (Susan Wyman, “Our Light in Darkness” Ensign Feb 2014)

The significance of her experience struck me. We are certainly living during times when it seems the darkness surrounding us is insurmountable. Darkness is trying harder than ever to snuff out the light brought to us through God, Christ, religion, prayers, faith, morality and even family. Now, more than ever, we need to let our lights shine. We need to illuminate the world with exactly the things of God, Christ, religion, prayers, faith, morality and family! When doing so, others will be drawn to the brightness and glory that such things bring!

Next week, our family is participating in the “Family Lights the World” event. We, like this young mother, know that protecting and shining our own lights is the only way to combat and overcome any looming darkness. Our small, seemingly insignificant, family of five will be celebrating the joy and light that families bring to the world as a way of expressing our gratitude for the gift of eternal families. We know that families are of God and it’s our hope that our lights can be a reflection of His goodness. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts” and, through Him, our family can be a beacon unto the world of His goodness and love.

By: Shelby Rodgers

Join Us!!!

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“I get to attend the 9th World Congress of Families. It has never been held in the U.S., and it will be in Salt Lake City October 27-30.
The night before the event starts – October 26 – another group that supports families is having a supporting event called “Family Lights the World”.

I wanted to invite you to support this event, even if you can’t do it as a part of your nuclear family. It’s not hard. All you have to do is Monday night – October 26 – @ 7:30 p.m. – go outside with a flashlight, a candle, a lamp, anything – and shine it up into the night sky.

It’s a show of support of families – and I think it’s deeply symbolic that at exactly the same time, families will be doing this in cities all over the world.
I hope you have a moment to feel what it has meant to you to be a part of the family you belong to. It launched you into this world. On that night, I hope you feel gratitude for that brief space of eternity where you got to be together, and that it mattered.

There is no set time limit. Just at 7:30 p.m., your time, send up a light for your little family – remember, and feel glad – glad that we’re all doing it together. The link on the poster, below, has suggestions for Family Home Evening activities to prepare children to have a memory-making experience participating in this event.

I owe my sure knowledge of the reality of Jesus Christ and His cleansing, healing, enabling Atonement – to the fact that I became a mother. Besides joining His church, becoming a wife and mother was the best and most important decision that I have made.
The Savior came to change the world one individual heart at a time. The darkness that we sometimes feel encroaching in this world can only be overcome in our little individual spheres of influence. Our light only extends so far, but everyone’s individual light – combined – can change the world by chasing the darkness away.

I love the image in the Harry Potter 6 film after Dumbledore dies. Everyone is so devastated at his loss, and their faltering hope shows in every face. Then, Professor McGonagall thrusts her wand into the dark sky and illuminates it. All the Hogwarts teachers and students see her, and join her. It is a powerful visual image to me of what the planners of this event have in mind.

I hope you will join me @ 7:30 next Monday night – and invite everyone in your own families to join us as well – please feel free to spread the word. The changes we hope for in this world will not come from a large organizations or law makers. It will come from our homes. I hope, as you shine your light into the sky, you will take a moment to feel gratitude that your life started in a family – and that the place where it ultimately has the most meaning is within that context – most especially – the human family, as a beloved son or daughter of the Creator.” -Laureen Simper (United Women’s Forum)

Light our Individual Candles

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“Men’s and nations’ finest hour consist of those moments when extraordinary challenge is met by extraordinary response. Hence in those darkest hours, we must light our individual candles rather than vying with others to call attention to the enveloping darkness. Our indignation about injustice should lead to illumination, for if it does not, we are only adding to the despair – and the moment of gravest danger is when there is so little light that the darkness seems normal!”
– Neal A. Maxwell

The “Family Lights the World” event is fast approaching! I cannot tell you have excited I am to participate in this monumental event! It has been difficult to keep hope in my heart as I have watched recent current events unfold. It truly feels like we are living in the darkest hours.

My natural reaction to these terrible events would be to yell and scream to the world and warn them they are going down the wrong path, and to be honest, I wouldn’t mind strangling a few necks until they submit to my logic….I wouldn’t do that….but I might entertain the idea for a minute or two. But if we look throughout history, this path has seldom worked. History shows that those who bring light to the world are the most effective.

But how can we bring light to this ever darkening world? I believe it has to start with the family. Imagine the light that exists in your home. Siblings laughing together, parents teaching patience and love, the beauty of the music, art and conversation that resonates through our hallways. The family is an endless source of light that is able to influence the whole world for the better!

It is time for families to “light our individual candles” and show the world a better path! We need to spend more time together and be more intentional in our efforts to strengthen our family.

“Family Lights the World” provides a synchronized time for ALL FAMILIES to share their lights! Please help spread the word to your family and friends about this opportunity to be part of such a monumental event! NOW IS THE TIME TO LIGHT THE WORLD!!!!!

A Mother’s Love!

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No love in mortality comes closer to approximating the pure love of Jesus Christ than the selfless love a devoted mother has for her child”. I never thought a statement could impact me so profoundly.

As a mother, I knew I would experience heartbreak, I just didn’t know how that heartbreak would come. About eight months ago we learned that our son had an addiction to pornography. He had first been exposed to it at the age of eight and he continued to be lured to it. His addiction had escalated to the point that he was viewing pornography consistently for two years. He was actively engaged in finding ways to view it and how to hide it from his family. Satan had him in a stranglehold and he later told us, “I honestly believed there was no way out.” It was during one of his moments of struggle when, the desire to view pornography came at a head with his desire to stop, that we learned of his problem. So great was his struggle that for the first time in years he prayed for help, and to his relief help came. I awoke that same night with an urgency to check the house. The feeling that something wasn’t right was so strong. That was the night I first encountered our sons pornography addiction. One week later we would learn the full extent of his struggle.

As parents we didn’t know what we were facing. No words can adequately describe the anguish and that you feel. It was in those first moments that our faith in Christ began to be tested. I will never forget holding my son in my arms as he cried, “I’m so glad you know. I want to stop but I can’t do it by myself”. My son had exercised the small amount of faith he had managed to hold onto to cry out to his loving Heavenly Father for help. Now it was up to us as his parents to use our faith to help rebuild his. In the days, weeks, and months that followed our families desires and perspective became that of helping our son and brother heal.

There is no way to adequately describe the anguish you feel when a child has broken your heart. However, it was through that heartbreak that I saw glimpses of the divine. I saw first hand the redemptive power of the atonement! I saw a loving Father in Heaven lead my husband and me ever so carefully. He guided our speech and our actions toward our fragile and broken son during those first vital months. I witnessed miracles, beautiful miracles! I know first hand the wisdom in the council for mothers to stay in the home. If both my husband and I had to worry about an early morning job who would have been there on the hard nights our son faced and continues to face? He needed me there to help bear him up. How grateful I am that he did not and does not face those nights alone!

I have often sat in wonder as I realized that it is through this hard trial that my love for my son grew in ways I never imagined. The love between son and father grew and the love between siblings grew. In short, our heartbreak is turning out to be beautiful.

I know that as my son continues to climb this mountain, there will be times when he will slip and fall. It will be during those times that I will be there to carry him. To hold him and remind him how much he is loved by his family and God. He isn’t perfect, but our Savior Jesus Christ is and through him we may become perfect.

There may be many more heartbreaks, heartbreaks that come with this mortal experience. I know that God loves me. I am a mother to His precious children. I know miracles happen! Most importantly, I have faith in my Heavenly Father and I know that He will guide me if I but chose to follow Him.

To the mothers out there who are in the trenches: It may seem dark and hopeless at times, but hold on and don’t let go. There is hope! There is peace! There are miracles!

-submitted to Gathering Families by anonymous. (Thank you for sharing such a tender message of hope!)

YOUR Family Lights the World

How can YOUR FAMILY join with families around the world for a world-wide kick-off celebration for the World Congress of Families IX? It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
1- Gather your family together on Monday, Oct 26 at 7:30P.M.
2- Grab your lights (flashlights, lanterns, beams, etc)
3- Shine your lights into the night sky as a symbol of family celebration!
Don’t miss out on this monumental event!
It’s time for families to LIGHT THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!
For more information, go to www.GatheringFamilies.com

Building a Better Family…..Today!

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Perhaps the full importance of a family has been lost through the generations of mortal life. No one truly remembers how the family was established and what laws govern this fundamental unit of society. If we could remember, we would probably leave behind the enticing societal pulls and return, whole-heartedly, to the full devotion of family.

Our lives are filled with loved ones who have abandoned family at various levels. Many have lost hope in finding happiness within a familial setting. They pick and choose what they like out of the family menu..some take children, but not marriage; others pick marriage, but choose not to accept children; some even have children, but may unfortunately find themselves only able to hold their children every-other weekend and a few months during the summer. The menu combinations are endless with new menu items appearing daily. Each individual who orders a piece-meal choice on this menu takes on the name of “family”, but is this possible? Can you enjoy a nibble here and there at a Thanksgiving dinner and call it a full feast? Obviously not, but many are missing out on a whole family either by choice or unfortunate circumstances.

I have been pondering on the what the full description of family could be over the past year. I’ve always been a fierce defender of the family, but as I consciously pondered and researched the subject, I found that even the most whole, modern families are falling short on the complete blessings and power that a family can generate. I know that each family and circumstance is different from the next and that finding a perfect way for all may not be as easy as choosing from a set menu. It is only through personal study, reflection, and prayer that we can each find the power and blessing that are in store for our family. Now is the time for mothers and fathers to be more intentional in their role as family leaders. We must seriously seek for something better instead of drifting off to the modern definitions of family or blindly doing what other families have chosen to do. As our individual families hold our ground and seek to regain what we have lost, and as we seek to know the will of God concerning our own family, we will create a firmer foundation for the generations to build upon….and perhaps that is what a family is truly all about.

Build a better family foundation for tomorrow….but start today!

Even the Smallest Family Member can Light the World

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I hope everyone has felt the pure joy that comes from holding a newborn baby. There is no other feeling that can match the pure love and joy that radiates from such a tiny human! It is interesting that we feel this way…. after all, a newborn baby is a lot of work…..They demand constant care, they deprive us of sleep, they are messy and noisy and they are hard to communicate with. They are so helpless that there is literally nothing that a tiny infant can give another human….or is there?

I remember when my first born child smiled at my husband and me. I melted! This awkward, toothless grin made every fiber of my being rejoice! My husband and I then spent every waking moment making silly faces and acting like total fools just for the chance of another smile! How could a simple smile bring so much light to our world?

As our family became larger, our older children welcomed each new sibling into the family with the most tender love and devotion. A new baby can even soften the heart of the most rambunctious two-year-old and the most stubborn pre-teen. Who could imagine that this new arrival would command such attention and respect and immediately rule the home? I can remember a big sister telling her neighborhood friends that they were no longer allowed to ring the doorbell so that her little sister could sleep. I also remember another sibling chastising the pediatrician for making her baby cry. Having a baby in our home enlightened the soul of each sibling and stirred feelings of care and protection.

Now that our family is older and grandchildren are still far in the future, I miss the light that a newborn can bring. I am grateful to have had the experience of basking in the radiance of a tiny baby….it’s one of the greatest honors that Heavenly Father has given me.