It’s been an interesting few weeks. I am ready to get back into my routines a little bit better. Christmas break is always chaotic, the days blur together, and the sleep schedule falls by the wayside. This Christmas break, and my break from writing my blog however wasn’t for those reasons. My Mother-in-law had a stroke on December 21 and died on December 25. The subsequent week after Christmas was spent taking care of funeral preparations and looking into all the things that need to be done like canceling different services and notifying insurances and pensions of her passing. It’s been an interesting week and I am grateful for how prepared she was, with all her paperwork in order along with account numbers, phone numbers, people to notify, etc. I know we all hate to think about our own death, but a little bit of preparation on our part ahead of time is so helpful for those trying to figure out what needs to be done afterward.

I am grateful for those who have offered condolences, which have been heartfelt and greatly appreciated. I have found it interesting however, the number of people who assume that her passing would ruin Christmas both now and for the foreseeable future, especially for our children. We are fortunate that our children are all older, our youngest being 15. They have had many years of teaching and time to understand the purpose of life, the plan of salvation, and our eternal nature. And, while we will deeply miss Grandma, not just at Christmas, but all through the year, they understand that just because she isn’t physically with us, doesn’t mean she isn’t here watching over each one of us, interested in our progress while we are still here.

Today I thought I would briefly share what I know to be true, not just because I read it in the scriptures, but because I have had the truthfulness of it confirmed to my heart by the Holy Ghost many times throughout my life. It is called The Plan of Salvation. This is a concept that I think if Christians as a whole sat down and really thought about it, they too believe at least in part what I believe, but I’ll share a brief synopsis here. We were created before we came to this earth by a loving Heavenly Father. We were created in His image, and we were taught many things while we were still spirits. But we couldn’t fully progress as spirits which is why the earth was created, so that we could gain bodies and be tested. We were sent to earth where we would have the opportunity to learn and grow.

Here on earth, we have the opportunity to learn many things and be tested. Testing is one of the key parts of the plan. None of us were sent here to float along through life in a comfortable manner. We learn best when we have challenges, and this life was designed to give us those challenging opportunities to grow. Without opposition there is no progress. I often hear people say, “If God is real bad things wouldn’t happen to good people.” That is the furthest thing from the truth. Bad things are going to happen to everyone, simply because there is no test if there is no challenge. The purpose of being here however is to see if we will willingly choose to follow our Savior Jesus Christ and have faith in Him, even when things get hard. The cool thing about Heavenly Father’s plan, however, is that when we choose to follow our Savior, we get help. When we choose to accept and persevere in faith, the Lord does not leave us comfortless, He does not make us walk to path alone.

But the plan doesn’t end when we die. This life, and our passing through death, is just a necessary steppingstone in eternity. Because of Jesus Christ we all will be resurrected and, depending on our choices and the desires of our hearts, we will continue to progress when we step from this life into eternity. I also believe that those who have gone on before us, our family members especially, are interested in those who are still here. I believe that they can, if we allow them to, help us along the way to hopefully make better choices and progress further while we are here.

Christmas is about Christ, and because of Jesus Christ death has no sting, and life has greater purpose. We miss all those whom we love, who aren’t here with us now, but we also look forward to the day when we will see them, reunited, never to be separated again. For those of us left behind it can seem like a long time, but until then, we can trust in the Lord, trust in His plan, and have faith in the Savior and His willingness to walk with us, comfort us, and lead and guide us home. I am so grateful for the peace that has permeated my life during difficult times. I am grateful for a Savior who made this whole plan possible, and for the grace that He gives me to fail and rise again, and to trust even when it’s hard. If you are going through a difficult time, look to Jesus Christ, for His burden is light, and He is help.

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