I am the LAST person that a year ago would have thought I’d be loving family history with my whole heart. One year ago we were fresh off the heels of trauma.
The business my husband worked for & had just moved to Colorado for went under and we didn’t have a paycheck for months. Searching for a job was turning up absolutely nothing.
My husband had fallen hard on some ice that resulted in a serious concussion which led us to get a brain scan that found he had a deep-seated brain aneurysm that was unrelated to his fall.
Just weeks after this, on our way home to Colorado, our family along with our F250 truck slid off a 1000 ft. mountain cliff and were stopped only 30 feet down by an aspen tree & some heavenly assistance. Our family survived while our truck did not.
The next week we found employment!! … in Utah and one month later we landed here to start our new life.
I need to tell you here that I was barely holding things together. I felt like I was called to wade into a stormy sea & kept getting hit with waves. Each time I’d get up and catch my breath, another wave with more power and intensity would knock me off my feet, throw me into the washing machine cycle and then spit me out with sand in all the wrong places, coughing up water and sand, and gasping for air. I realize that sounds a little dramatic. But I felt like life had chewed us up and spit us out.
I had been praying for help to know how I could get my life back and figured a home improvement project would be it. I opened my Lightkeepers book for the first time & the quote with Elder Renlund’s promise about family history and temple work jumped off the page:
“You will find not only protection from the temptation and ills of the world, but you will also find personal power—power to change, power to repent, power to learn, power to be sanctified, and power to turn the hearts of your family members to each other and heal that which needs healing.”
● He promised we’d find “power
● to turn the hearts of our family together
● and heal that which needs healing.” This promise hit me with such force. As I read the words, the spirit told me: “This is your project. This will heal you.” So I pledged to figure out family history -as soon as I’d moved my family to Utah.
Once we moved to Utah a set of new challenges arose: the Utah inversion- for this Arizona girl, new job & schools, a strict budget, worries for my husband’s health, longer term effects of his concussion, and serious mom guilt over moving my kids. Again, and moving my senior for the second time this school year. Life seemed void of hope. Void of light. Even void of sleep. Garrett and I were still experiencing Post Traumatic Stress waking up in a cold sweat around 3 each morning since falling off the mountain. We were walking around in the same bodies but everything somehow seemed hollow and empty. Life moved on and we had to move along with it. It was difficult to keep up with what was expected just to run a home & run a family.
Two weeks after moving here, I was somewhat settled, and was listening to a conference talk while making breakfast. The spirit reminded me that I pledged to start family history. Panic seized my heart. Why did I promise to do that? How on earth do I do that?? It seemed an elephant of a project to take on. But how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Family history is a spiritual work.
Since last February I took small & simple steps doing what I knew how to do and as the spirit directed when I’d ask, “what next?
I started by reading the family book I’d had kicking around for years . I took a photo with my phone of short excerpts that would strengthen my own family and texted them to my kids periodically. I knew they wouldn’t pick up a 500 page book, but they would read a text.
I became familiar with and use regularly the FamilySearch mobile app, the task feature became my favorite tool ever, which we will jump into soon
I shared with family how to read & add a story in memories. While I cooked dinner I’d ask my teens to jump on & find or add a story then share it at dinner.
I continued asking “what next” and acting. In April I was sick & got stress cold sores. I found myself a doctor & while waiting for him to come in, I read the poster about mental health. I was astonished to realize I was experiencing each one of the symptoms. I told the doctor what had recently happened & how I was waiting to feel normal again. He listened and we decided to put me on a low dose of depression medication.
As a family we were mindful & prayerful about how to incorporate little bits of family history into our life. And we found that with just a few simple tweaks, it went along with what we were already doing.
I had the joy of:
•finding my first ancestor who needed her work done, and since then have discovered numerous ancestors and am still working on their saving ordinances.
•I have upped my temple attendance considerably because of the sheer volume of people that are waiting for their temple work. And that in turn has enriched my life.
•I am happier than I ever have been.
•I enjoy clarity and peace that are constant and help me see life, people, and challenges through a heavenly lens.
I share to show just how different a life can look in one year when we ask what next, trust the Lord’s guidance and His promises and then act. Everyone’s journey will look different. My husband still has the brain aneurysm. Turns out his particular case is very unique. We have even changed employment again. My situation has not changed completely, but my perspective has. My family is closer. We are happier. We feel the spirit in our home frequently. And my home now feels like it’s filled with LIGHT. As I shared this write-up with my 18 year old daughter, she nodded at each sentence. She sees it. She feels it. We are far from perfect, but we are being sanctified through this great work.
Elder Renlund promised: God will strengthen, help, and uphold us; and He will sanctify to us our deepest distress. Family History has been my life line. Truly and literally. As I engaged in it, slowly, slowly, I began to breathe a little more, to feel again, to live again. Heavenly Father knew what I needed to do to heal that which needed healing.
Written by: Amy Miles // IG: @sorellamy