Finding peace and comfort when a loved one has turned away from the Gospel can make the holidays extremely difficult.
“When a child has left the Church, you learn quickly it isn’t about me, my pride, or what anybody else thinks. It’s about how we react to our trial. It’s about trusting Heavenly Father,” says Donna, a mother of an inactive son.
“At first the relationship was strained, but then I prayed and received the answer that Heavenly Father is in charge and all I need to do is love my son and be accepting of him.”
Donna says, “My dear friend Lynda counselled, ‘Our children have their agency, and we can’t take that away. Everyone gets to create their own story. Heavenly Father knows what that story is. Think about how great their comeback story will be someday.’ This brings me so much comfort. The only control you have is how you react. I choose love.”
Lisa, mother of six, three of whom have left the Church, says, “Never give up! Live faithful, study the scriptures, attend meetings and the temple. The Savior will give you a portion of His peace. This allows us to go about our everyday lives without being upset all the time. It’s important to pray about when to share and invite. The Lord knows when their hearts are open or closed.”
Jeff, father of an inactive returned missionary, says, “The scripture, Moses 1:39: ‘For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man,’ teaches us that come what may, if we have faith in Christ, trials we and our loved ones face can prepare us for exaltation. He knows each of us and can bless us so these trials strengthen us.”
President Henry B. Eyring shared the following in his testimony during the April 2019 General Conference: “My promise to you is one that a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles once made to me. I had said to him that because of choices some in our extended family had made, I doubted that we should be together in the world to come. He said, as well as I can remember, ‘You are worrying about the wrong problem. You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine.’ I believe that he would extend that happy home to any of us in mortality who have done all we can to qualify ourselves and our family members for eternal life.”
Peace and comfort during the holidays and all year around are available if we choose to live by faith, not fear. Accept agency and the atonement and turn this heavy burden over to our Heavenly Father. Fortify yourself with good works. Love unconditionally.