I have recently had some thoughts weighing deeply on my mind. Have you ever had a sort of a vision? I mean - just something that you picture in your head? I think it is somewhat like a metaphor or a physical example of things that I can relate to.
I was thinking of experiencing a really severe storm. You know the kind where you are outside and walking somewhere and all of a sudden it begins to POUR, I mean really dump on you. Then the winds pick up. Then it gets so chilly that it turns to hail. Pelting you. Then a gust nearly blows you over. You are so cold you can't feel your face. Every breath you take in freezes your snot instantly inside your nose. All you can do is try to get to SHELTER as soon as possible...to get out of the STORM.
I finally get to the car and open the door and jump in and shut the door. Instant relief. Instant comfort. Instant SHELTER from that storm. Aaaah.
Do you remember that feeling? No wind on your face? You can start to breath normally and defrost a little? It is quiet and calm? Well, the crazy thing is that even though you are feeling that way, feeling all sheltered and protected and peaceful, the STORM is still raging on outside of your little car.
So you start it up and begin the journey home. HOME! Home...where the family is. Where there is food and a warm shower and dry clothes. Where you can cuddle up with your loved ones, enjoy a drink of hot cocoa and relax. Where there is WiFi!
Here is where my little metaphor or visual that I kept seeing comes in.
To me, when a person is baptized and receives the gift of the Holy Ghost, they are essentially getting into the car. They have a shelter from the storms of life. Although it is still raging out there, they have the Holy Ghost to protect and warm them.
And when you finally get into your home, it is like going to the temple and making sacred covenants with the Lord. Covenants that give you a sense of eternal belonging and peace, that carry you through the worst of storms possible. Being part of an eternal family gives you a sense of shelter like no other physical thing I can describe or even think of.
This idea and these images that have been floating around in my mind and heart lately were confirmed the other day when I was attending the baptism of my son's friend. His sweet mother got up to bear her testimony and as this was their youngest child who just received the Holy Ghost, she looked over at her husband and said, "We've made it!" with a smile of relief and happiness. I could instantly relate to what it must feel like to have all of your children safely in the path that leads to God. Then I thought of how I long to feel that same thing one day. Then I thought of what a sense of relief and gratitude must accompany the feelings of joy when all of your children choose to make eternal covenants in the temple. It is not like a sense of pride or wanting to wear a 'badge of honor' or anything, but more of a sense of safety and peace knowing that your children have the protection and shelter available and ready for them if they only chose to obey.
Of course there are still huge snowflakes and howling winds that will hit our cars and the windowpanes of our homes, but we have SHELTER from them. Having the Holy Ghost doesn't make our drive home rain-free. Making covenants with God doesn't make our marriages and families wind-free and full of sunshine. But it does make it BEARABLE. It does make it DOABLE. It does make it POSSIBLE to get through not only all the little rain storms that will inevitably come, but also the most severe TORNADOS and HURRICANES that threaten to destroy us.
So - what then is the solution for an ESCAPE from the storms of mortality? Only sweet death will bring that to our souls...but until that day, I feel utterly grateful to have the shelters provided to me that I have in place. I physically feel a sense of relief from the storms of life every time that I walk in to the temple. Every time that I have all of my family surrounding me and we have scriptures and prayer together. Every time I tuck in and kiss my little ones good night in their warm beds. Every time I lay down next to my sweet, snoring husband and know that tomorrow will come with it's storms and chaos and I will still have him by my side as we face it together.
While Satan is having a hay-day playing with people's hearts and minds and destroying the very foundations of families throughout the world ---
While the hearts of men and women begin to wax cold and they increasingly hurt others as they seek for something to fill their empty souls---
While those from within our own safe cars and houses use their free-agency to open the door and walk away --
While at times I may forget the safety of the shelter I am in and in a rebellious moment chose to roll down the windows and get hit in the face with some hail --
I am so happy and blessed to know that Jesus Christ is my ultimate shelter from ALL storms.
Every. Single. Kind.
"For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy."