I love being a mother. I love homemaking. I got to a place where it was my passion and my project, I got so organized and it was beautiful. And then my husband had his stroke and everything changed overnight.

Luckily, he recovered, but the “way things were” changed forever and I had to redefine my role. I started getting promptings to go back to school for I may need to help with the providing in the future. It has been a hard transition for me. I love being at home. I love being 100% focused on that role. Now, I go to school full time, I’m a music major, I graduate in the fall of 2022. I’m just trying to put my head down and plow through it.

My mother is one of eight children and I have always loved the relationships she has with her siblings. Their family culture was just so rich. They were so solid in the gospel and so close. We all did so much together and I wanted all of that. However, my family, we’re not just big – we’re mega sized! Russell and I have thirteen children – 8 girls and 5 boys. They are all our biological kids and all single births. Our oldest is 27 and our youngest is almost 7. Two are married, one is engaged, we have two grandchildren. Two of our kids are on the autistic spectrum. Both are high-functioning; one is our married daughter. Though fully talking at the age of two, she lost her speech by the age of six. That’s when she received a very powerful priesthood blessing from her father. She was promised the “mists of darkness” would be removed from her mind. The results were miraculous. She still has her little issues, but that has been a real faith building experience in our family.

The Family: A Proclamation to the World” was announced right at the point when we were deciding what our family was going to be. We were newly married, had a couple of kids, and this is when my definition of big changed. The family proclamation reinforced that for me. The other thing that really impacted us from the proclamation (and this is not a cool thing to talk about) was that it helped my husband and I decide that we would put the size of our family in the Lord’s hands. I would get revelation, very powerful spiritual experiences with spirits that wanted to come to our family. They were very profound and I am so grateful that I listened to each one. I’ve had seven miscarriages, but I have this great peace because I know I have given each of those spirits an opportunity to come. I have been open, and it was hard sometimes. There were a few times I was overwhelmed and I did not want to submit to the spiritual promptings, but in the end I proved faithful and I will always be so grateful for the proclamation for that.

One very real thing that has come from us having such a large family and putting the Lord in charge of when those babies came was that it was like a covenant that the Lord made with us. As long as we welcomed those babies into our home we were provided for. There was this understanding between us that He would provide if we would be willing. That has been a long-term promise that has lasted and lasted even though I stopped having babies six years ago. The Lord keeps his promises when we do what he asks us to do and we have never, never gone without. He has always provided for us and that’s still in power, that’s still the promise. Even though my husband is without a job right now, I know that the Lord will provide for us because He has told us he will take care of us.

I really have felt like the family proclamation was a gift I never had to struggle with. It is so clear to me. It is such a huge influence in my life and who I am and it defined my family culture. I can’t imagine not following it. I feel like it is a clarion call in the wilderness of so many voices that are confusing and it’s not. It’s very clear. I am so grateful for it. It changed our lives. It made our family who we are. The family is ordained of God. It is eternal. Those relationships we have are so important. They’re important here, they’re important beyond the veil, and they will always be important. I’m so grateful for the clear, concise, words of the proclamation.

Don’t miss this week’s episode of The Raising Family podcast, where hosts David Steele and Linda Hill interview experts on issues involving the family, culture and society. The show airs every week wherever you get your podcasts.

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