Nine years ago today my dad passed away.
Whenever I mention my dad, I’m not looking for sympathy. It has actually been the greatest blessing of my life.
This really bothers people.
When my dad first died, I mourned. More for my life than his. I would no longer have a dad. Even though we fought like none else, having someone with that title and stewardship over me meant something. I would no longer have the potential of being a “daddy’s girl” like all of my other friends. I would no longer have someone to walk me down the aisle when I got married. I was 11 at the time, but in my 11 year old mind, I was devastated. These were just a few of the things I thought of. I hadn’t even considered the effects it would have on insurance, work hours for my mom, and life at home alone. I remember sobbing for hours, months after my dads passing. Mourning the life I wanted to have, but never could.
Since then, a miracle has taken place in my family. My family became active in the church again. I started making friends. I developed and understanding of my Heavenly Father, someone who knows me personally and loves me infinitely, despite my experiences and shortcomings. My brother received the priesthood. We had the priesthood in our home for the first time ever. My parents received their endowments. My family was sealed in the temple. My brother received his endowment and served a mission. I received my endowment and go to the temple often to speak to my Father.
And the culmination off all these miracles. Tomorrow, my brother will be sealed for time and eternity to his sweet fiancé.
God has said that men are that they might have joy.
When I was in my darkest pit of self-loathing, I couldn’t understand the concept of joy. Joy comes only through God and Jesus Christ. We can be happy doing a lot of things. Some good, some bad. But joy is a blessing.
Today, as I look forward to seeing my first sealing tomorrow, I feel I have a glimpse of what it means to have a fullness of joy.
I know I have a father. Two, in fact. I know my dad still exists. I believe he has accepted the proxy work for the dead we have done in his behalf. I believe that when I get married someday, he will be there watching. That is the power of the temple. I believe tomorrow when my brother gets married, our dad will be there. I believe he will be celebrating, crying for joy and beaming with pride for the righteous choices is son has made. I hope to be able to feel and experience that.
I’ve had the opportunity to become a “daddy’s girl”. I have become BFFs with my Heavenly Father. I talk to Him about everything. We disagree sometimes, but I try and trust in His counsel. I know He wants what is best for me. When I talk about Him, my whole soul swells with the love I feel for Him, a love that still doesn’t compare to His feelings for me. I talk to Him about boys. Always. I ask Him for help when I need Him. I do my best to honor and respect Him.
Please don’t give me sympathy. If anything, I often feel bad for others who haven’t had experiences like mine. I have been so blessed.
If you are having a hard time, an intense trial, or feel as if life cannot possibly go on, remember this: God has a plan. Speed bumps happen. But there is no ending. There is no finish line to life. We are children of God. Our souls will live on forever. No matter what could happen to you, it is not the end. Look to God. Pray in faith. Even if that faith is just a desperate hope.
I am grateful, and I’m sure my dad is, for all the wonderful men in my life who have taken on the role of being my dad. Because of you, I want nothing less than a temple marriage to a kind, loving priesthood holder. On behalf of me and my posterity, thank you.