"Come, Follow Me" by President Russell M. Nelson
Content by Ashley Ziegler
Cancer. I lost my dad to cancer. When President Nelson started to share his thoughts and feelings regarding his daughter who also passed away from cancer, he had my full attention. I was blessed to have a similar conversation with my dad before he passed on from this life. I was able to express my love for him and how grateful I was for all that he did to provide and protect me as his daughter. It was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had but I felt the love of my Savior and I knew exactly where my dad was going when he passed.
My dad and I were very close. He was one of my very best friends. We shared a lot of similar interests and I was told time and time again how similar I was to him. I miss him greatly and it feels like it has been a lifetime since his passing, but I have a testimony, like President Nelson, that as I continue to honor my covenants with God, I live in anticipation of being with my dad again.
Losing my dad to cancer at such a young age really changed my perspective on life and tested my faith in life after death. I took a good look at where I was in my discipleship and pondered what my Heavenly Father and Savior must think of me and how I was living my life. My dad was a faithful man, attended church and fulfilled his callings. He gave me many priesthood blessings, baptized me, and witnessed my marriage sealing in the temple. I didn’t worry about his salvation, but I did start to worry about mine.
What was I doing to make sure that I could be with him again? What changes did I need to make in my life so that I could hug my dad again? As I worked hard to start reading my scriptures daily, say my morning and night prayers, attend the temple when I could and partake of the sacrament each week, I soon realized just how important it is to live my covenants and stay on the path that Jesus Christ has asked us to walk. Nothing in this world was worth the sacrifice to be with my dad again. Any doubts or questions I have or may have, I know the Lord will assist me in my efforts to seeking truth and comfort in the answers I receive. He will not forsake me because he wants me to be with my dad again, too. Cancer may have separated us in this life, but cancer cannot touch eternal life.
FAITH IN ACTION
In this weeks Come, Follow Me lesson, we are encouraged not to judge those who choose different paths in life and to refrain from being spiritual stumbling blocks. It is hard when family members do not choose to stay on the covenant path. It is hard when family members are not sealed in the temple. We worry about them and what will happen to them in the next life. As we pray for strength to love and support those who choose a different path, it is important to remember to live our life as an example of our Savior and to serve and love them. I challenge you to think about someone you know who may have chosen not to make covenants with God and ask yourself what you can do to show your love and support for them.
ACTIVITY / LESSON IDEA
Take your family to the temple. You do not have to go inside the temple to enjoy the Spirit and blessings of the temple. Walk the grounds with your family and talk to them about the temple, the blessings we can receive when we enter and the different ordinances that take place. Explain that in the temple, those who have passed on without receiving these ordinances, are given the opportunity to accept them when we do the work in the temple for them. Share with your family the importance of the temple in your life and how much you love them.
I know how hard it can be to worry about where your loved one is going when they pass away or if you will see them again. It has been comforting to hear messages from our leaders who testify of eternal life and how it is possible to be with our loved ones again. If you know someone who has recently experienced loss or may be looking for some peace in life, share with them your thoughts and feelings on eternal life and being with our families again. Share with them the love of our Savior and how that love has helped you remain strong through difficult times. You can do this through a text message, email, social media post or in person. Pray for an opportunity to share your testimony whether that be in-person, or in a larger setting like a fast and testimony meeting.