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Sleeping in the Temple Parking Lot

A few of the details may have been a little fuzzy when I dropped out of school at BYU and the two of us drove off into the sunset, headed for the Pacific Northwest. And perhaps sleeping in the temple parking lot (which I DON'T recommend) wasn't quite what Heavenly Father had in mind. (minor technicalities...)

But we were trying our best to follow the Lord's counsel to move to Seattle and start our family. That part I know we did right.

The photo of the two of us in front of the Seattle temple on our special day says a lot. There was no money for a professional photographer. No money for a wedding dress. No family to surround us in the temple sealing room (although Wes's family joined us outside). We had no family tradition of temple marriage to follow. But legacies have to start somewhere and the privilege of being a part of that was not lost on us.

Perhaps our wedding day looked a little different from yours or, for that matter, most of our friends. But look at our faces. Those are the happy faces of two people, who despite a mountain of obstacles, were following God's plan of happiness TOGETHER.
Inauspicious? Probably to the rest of the world, yes. But the Lord continued to go before us and guide our family as it grew.

We felt the Lord's approval as we invited each of our children to join our family. I still remember the strong impression I had when it came time for our fourth child. In retrospect, we appreciate the Lord's foresight. Only He could have know the difficulties that laid ahead for our family and how the timing of Halle's birth would be so important.

Later, deep in the trenches of our thriving business, we felt more guidance. It began as a preparatory nudging, progressed to a persistent nagging, and then as soon as we put everything in order, the Lord helped us sell our business almost overnight. It came as a surprise to even the closest of our friends, but because we trusted the Lord, our family has been tremendously blessed with more time and resources to focus on each other.

In our fourteen years of marriage we've had the opportunity to make many decisions together. Sometimes we've felt specific guidance from the Lord. Other times, we've prayerfully followed His general counsel, wishing we had a few more details. (That last bit might be how we ended up sleeping in the Seattle Temple parking lot.)

We've also learned how, at times, we could have better sought and followed the Lord's guidance. It was while enduring the consequences of those decisions that we found tremendous comfort in the story of the people of Zeniff (see Mosiah 9-10 and 21-22), who the Lord preserved as they humbled themselves and learned to more fully rely on Him. Oh, how we can testify of such preservation as we have worked through those weak times and become a stronger family!

And it hasn't just been at the crossroads of important decisions that we have recognized the Lord's hand.

Often it's been the timing that has helped us recognize His tender mercies. When the right job opportunity came along just in time to provide for the needs of our family, we said a prayer of thanks. When our oldest son was diagnosed with OCD, I recognized the Lord's hand in preparing me spiritually so I could be the most help to my then six-year-old son. We have seen the Lord in the details of our family.

And now, as I read the first paragraph of the Family Proclamation, I understand not only the Lord's powerful doctrine concerning families, but His doctrine concerning OUR family.

We, the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles...solemnly proclaim that [OUR] marriage... is ordained of God and that [OUR] family is central the the Creator's plan for [OUR] eternal destiny...

The Lord's intimate involvement in our family's success is REAL. It is as we learn to rely on Him and recognize His hand that our family can enjoy the greatest happiness.

Head on over to A Well Behaved Mormon Woman or Chocolate on My Cranium and see what they have to say during our Family Proclamation Celebration!

Are you participating? Link up your posts in the comments below!

Michele and her husband, Wes, live in western Washington where they sometimes bring their five children to walk the grounds of the Seattle Temple. The children might not be able to see it, but if the lighting is just right, Wes and Michele still see that small U-Haul trailer behind their old car. And they want to tell those two young people clinging to opposite sides of the car, "Hang on. Keep doing your best to follow God's plan. It will all be worth it."

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