Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Our Family Journal

It was almost a year ago when my husband and I took some advice and guidance from general conference and applied it to our family. I never thought that a General Conference talk could still impact my life this much a year later. As the first talk in the Sunday Morning session of the October 2007 General Conference of the Church, President Eyring taught the members of the Church by example “to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness” (Ensign, Nov. 2007, 67). As President Eyring related to us the account of his first inspiration to begin keeping a family journal and how keeping the family journal was a daily blessing for him as he “became ever more certain that our Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers” and “felt more gratitude for the softening and refining that [came] because of the Atonement of the Savior Jesus Christ,” President Eyring also shared that that his family journal has since been a blessing years later to his sons as “reading of what happened long ago helped [them] notice something God had done in [their] day.”

After hearing President Eyring’s talk, I knew that this was the perfect use for a wedding gift that had been dormant for months. One of my former Young Women’s advisors had given us a beautiful wedding gift: a leather-bound journal with gold-edged pages and an artistically textured cover. She also pasted our wedding announcement in the inside cover of the book to make it especially ours. I knew that such a wonderful gift deserved a wonderful purpose and all summer I had been brainstorming how we could use the journal and put the gift to good use. I toyed with a lot of ideas in my mind, but nothing ever stuck or gave me enough motivation to begin writing in the journal. The summer ended and we were well into autumn before the answer of what to do with the beautiful journal came where I least expected it, in President Eyring’s talk.

After General Conference, my husband and I prayerfully decided that we should follow President Eyring’s example and use our wedding gift to start our own family journal. While President Eyring used his family journal to write down “evidence of what God had done” for his family each day, we decided that we needed to use our family journal to write down a moment when we were happy each day. Every night we take turns and each write a sentence or two in our family journal about a happy event that day. We have found that by writing in our family journal we have been more grateful for the many blessings that Heavenly Father gives us each day. As we approach General Conference this year, I’m excited to have a year’s worth of entries in our family journal. Soon I’ll be able to look back and see what blessings had come into our lives exactly a year ago. This exercise has been important in motivating us to keep important family records and has helped us draw closer as a family as we seek to recognize the daily blessings that the Lord gives to us.

In beginning a family journal of your own, you could do as President Eyring did and ask: “Have I seen the hand of God reaching out to touch us or our children or our family today?” Or, you could personalize the idea of a family journal and prayerfully adapt it to your own family’s needs. This could mean a happiness journal, a gratitude journal, a journal of family spiritual experiences, or a blessings journal. As you seek his inspiration, the Lord will bless you with promptings of how you can better keep baptismal covenants as a family to always remember him. President Eyring has promised us that as we “will find a way to preserve [memories of God’s messages] for the day that [we], and those that [we] love, will need to remember how much God loves us how much we need Him,” these memories “will soften [our] hearts to allow the Holy Ghost to testify to [us].”

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