It’s Easter time! I love this time of year, when we can reflect on the Savior and the joy/peace that comes from embracing gospel principles. In light of the church’s #PrinceofPeace initiative, I want to share about someone in my life who I look up to as an example of faith.
Meet my Grandma, Velda Kay. She was born in the little town of Willard, Utah in 1937, the 8th of 10 children. She got married young and had nine children. Grandma’s life hasn’t always been easy. Because her husband struggled with poor health for most of their married life, she had to work part-time to help provide for their growing family. Though finances were sometimes limited, she relied on faith and raised her children in the light of the gospel, holding fast to her testimony of paying tithing and following the prophet. In 1991, she lost her husband to a heart attack, leaving her a widow at only 57 years of age. But she carried on in faith and became a shining example of optimism, knowing that she would see him again someday. Always cheerful and serving, ever bearing testimony and exhorting her posterity to keep the commandments. She’s like an anchor of faith in our family.
Though Grandma’s entire life is strewn with examples of faith, one story in particular stands out to me that I’d like to share:
I’ll Go Where You Want Me To Go
After retiring at age 65, Grandma moved to a small rural town to live next-door to several of her children who had all built homes next to each other. It was a great opportunity to be near so many of her posterity, including 27 grandchildren all still living at home. Her daughter had built her a really nice mother-in-law apartment, with a “great room” big enough to host the whole family for reunions and get-togethers. Talk about the dream set-up!
She’d only been settled in her new home for a year or two, when, at the suggestion of her bishop, she began to consider stepping away from it all to serve a full-time senior mission.
Going on a mission would mean missing special family events and activities. It would mean sacrificing precious time in her golden years that she could be spending with her loved ones. This was a woman who who always remembered birthdays and special occasions (and still does), and who loved to be actively involved and present in her children and grandchildren’s’ lives.
It would’ve been so easy for anyone in her situation to justify staying home and enjoying their retirement and that cherished time with family. She finally had the ideal situation, where she was settled quite comfortably, surrounded by her posterity. (And besides, grandchildren grow up much too quickly. Surely, this wasn’t the time for a mission.)
But not Grandma. She knew what was most important. She took it to the Lord in prayer and got a confirmation that that’s where the Lord wanted her, so she put in her papers and received her call to the Canada Vancouver mission, where she served joyfully and full-heartedly. (A few years later, she served a 2nd mission in Kansas).
The Faith That Her Family Would Receive Blessings
Grandma had faith that if she put the gospel first, the blessings her family would receive would far outweigh any sacrifice.
There’s something that makes this story more personal to me. I remember shortly before she left, Grandma shared with my parents how she had prayed that the blessings for her serving would go to her family, and she specifically requested that Heavenly Father send more children to our family (my parents had been struggling with infertility for 8 long years).
Not too long after Grandma entered the mission field, my mom found out she was miraculously expecting twins! I know that this miracle, was wrought in part, by Grandma’s faith-filled decision to serve a full-time mission.
Leaving a Legacy of Faith
Throughout her mission, Grandma sent cheery faith-filled letters every week detailing her adventures and bearing testimony of the truth of the gospel. My life was touched and blessed by her service. And my testimony was strengthened that our families will receive many blessings when we put the Lord’s plans first in our lives.
I’m sure it wasn’t always easy (especially since Grandma didn’t have the luxury of going with a full-time companion, but had to learn to adjust to living/working with lots of different companions throughout her service, just like younger missionaries do), but I know she loved every minute of it.
In fact, I think that if you were to ask her now, she wouldn’t consider it a great sacrifice, but something that she truly wanted to do because she loves the Lord.
She’s a living example to me of what it means to have faith.
How Faith has Brought Me closer to Jesus Christ
Grandma’s faith has inspired me to greater faith in my own life. It has brought me closer to Jesus Christ by helping me come to know and understand his faith a little better…Because, when you think about it, that’s exactly what Christ did- He had the faith to put his life completely in the Lord’s hands. “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (St. John 6:38) It was always ”Thy will not mine”– Heavenly Father’s plan above his own– because he had faith in it.
Every time I exercise faith, even in a small way, it strengthens my commitment to keep my covenants, follow the prophet, and obey the commandments. As a result, my faith in Jesus Christ increases.
Faith Brings Peace
There’s a certain peace that comes when you set aside your own plans & ideas of how your life should go, and fully embrace the Lord’s plan for your life. Peace knowing your life is in His hands and that everything will work together for your good. Peace that you’re doing the right thing. This kind of faith allows peace to prevail as we “let go and let God.”
Learn about the Principles of Peace
I encourage you to visit mormon.org to learn more about the principles of peace and how they can help bring you closer to the Savior. You might even share your own stories of people who live one of these principles. Who do you know who exemplifies these Christlike virtues? How have these principles brought peace into your life and brought you closer to Jesus Christ?