Friday, December 25, 2015

2015 - The Year Our Family was Saved

My husband, Shane, and I. 
15 years of marriage.

The kiddos. 

Our five beautiful, healthy, children of God gifted to us to care for, teach, and love.

We believe...



WE, THE FIRST PRESIDENCY and the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.
ALL HUMAN BEINGS—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.
IN THE PREMORTAL REALM, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT that God gave to Adam and Eve pertained to their potential for parenthood as husband and wife. We declare that God’s commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force. We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
WE DECLARE the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God’s eternal plan.
HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.
THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed.
WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets.
WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.

We have FOUGHT to save our marriage.

When Shane and I received our family pictures back from the photographer, I stared, literally, for hours at the images.  It was a miracle.  Months prior, when I had booked the appointment with the photographer, I had planned on taking the pictures with me and my children alone.  I had fully planned on divorcing my husband.  I had secured employment, I had a lawyer, my extended family had been notified and my husband was no longer living with us.  

The problem...

We were permitting a toxic dance to occur in our life.  

In order to heal I had to separate from my husband for a time. 

The miracle and the change...

 I made the decision to dance differently with my partner.

My husband recognized the dance he was doing was hurting me.

God and incredible earth angels stepped in to teach correct 'dance' technique. 

My husband and I made the choice to dance differently with each other.

Angels seen and unseen continue to come to our rescue to teach, to mentor, to give encouragement and to show us the next step.

When I looked at the picture (shown above) of our family, I felt a very profound sense of gratitude towards our Savior.

Jesus, lover to my soul, I pray that I can ALWAYS be faithful to you.  

This Christmas, I pray that YOU will listen very carefully to the directions you are given from the Lord and from the angels that surround you. Every answer is different and only God knows your particular situation.

The above picture is one that Dr. James gave me when I was in Mexico.  The top picture says "Your Plans" and the bottom picture says "The Plans God has for YOU".  

God knows my goal was for my family to be together and He wanted that for me too, but He asked that I trust Him enough to "LEAVE".  I did eventually leave after so many failed attempts to do so.  

In the time my husband and I were apart, we learned to dance differently.

Stress affects our health and makes us vulnerable to illness!

Several years ago when I confided in my grandparents about the toxic dance I was in, their advise seemed so cold-hearted.  My grandfather's message was simply to "forgive". The next morning Grandfather approached me humbly with a sorrowful countenance and a bowed head.  He told me that he had been praying the night before and the words came powerfully to him that "It was hard to forgive a horse if it is STILL STANDING ON YOUR FOOT".  

Granddaddy asked for my forgiveness.

To those of you who are dancing with someone who keeps hurting you, I want to shout out to you to "GET THAT HORSE OFF OF YOUR FOOT" and PLEASE take a good look at yourself to make sure YOU are not that horse stepping on someone else's foot.  (I had a mentor ask me if I was the horse standing on my own foot - something we all need to ask ourselves).

I took an incredible risk. I stopped dancing, for a time, with my husband - not knowing if we could ever be a family again.

Prayers have been answered.

I am so grateful for the movie The War Room.  All of us, children included, have been praying to reclaim our family and to cast out  the devil from among us and we are choosing to dance differently.

It has taken time to adjust, but as a mother and as a father, we have the solemn responsibility to learn dance steps that compliment others, are easy to follow, do not cause injury and the best dance teacher in the world is the one who knows us perfectly - the Lord.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

May the Spirit of Christ penetrate your hearts and homes deeply. 

May we all keep our eyes focused on the Savior so that we will not perish.

We must always choose to face the pain...look into the Savior's eyes...have faith.. walk on water when He asks us to... and never lose faith in your Lord and Redeemer. 

We must all choose to take His outstretched hand - again and again.

With much love,

- Steffanie and Shane (who also read this post, contributed and gave his ok to post this very personal post in this forum.)