Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Second Chances by Jenna Eakins Ayre

I can  hardly believe how time has flown by. The last time I joined you on this blog to Celebrate Family, I was newly single and struggling to find my path forward in life. 

In just four short years, my life has changed 180 degrees- what a whirlwind it has been! This year, in November, I will celebrate the third year anniversary of being married to my eternal companion. Through him, I have gained three teenage stepdaughters and together, our family of five has been blessed with a sixth- a baby boy who will turn one at the end of September. 

Even now, as I write this, I sit next to two of my girls studying for tests and I contemplate how four years ago, I could not--in my wildest dreams-have imagined what the Lord had in store for me. With this new role has come a completely new set of challenges. And as I seek to navigate the sometimes rough waters of marriage and motherhood, The Family: A Proclamation to the World has taken on a completely different meaning to me.

In this day and age, when immorality and vice seem to have overtaken society, I marvel at seeing the power of prophecy enacted in ‘real time’. This inspired Proclamation was read in 1995- twenty years ago this month! It could not be more tailored for our day. And it gets even better- this revelation was given first to the women of the church- President Hinckley read this address during his talk in the General Relief Society meeting. (You can read his remarks here.) I do not believe that this was happenstance- the Lord’s prophet could not have found a better way to convey just how much power women hold in knitting together marriage, family, and home life and the supremely important role these elements play in the Lord’s eternal plan.

As the turbulence of everyday life seems to take hold and overwhelm, I love that the Proclamation spells out the simplicity of securing our happiness. It states, ‘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.’ 

It seems so easy, yet at times, that list seems daunting to me- when children aren’t the dreams we imagine and hope them to be, when husbands just don’t seem to ‘get it’, when chores and responsibilities to work, activities, church, neighbors, friends, family, school (and the list goes on….) begin to creep in and overtake us in our daily pursuits, it’s hard to be able to freely forgive, to offer compassion, and sometimes even to find the time to kneel in quiet prayer.

The beauty in these simple principles, however, lies in our ability to ebb and flow in our focus on each one. 

At times, we may fall short in respecting others and their agency to choose for themselves, however, we can make up for that by strengthening our ability to forgive. Other times, we may lose sight of our way and feel our faith begin to waver; during those times, we can increase in our commitment to seek the Lord through personal prayer. As work begins to absorb our every energy, balance can be found in wholesome recreation. As I have been thrust into the throes of instant motherhood and navigating a new marriage, I acutely feel my failure in these aspects each and every day. What I have learned, however, is that each one of these principles is a perfect complement to the others and understanding that allows me the ability to accept my shortcomings in achieving them all.

Seeing my three teenage daughters off into the world each day, I feel the heavy responsibility that the Proclamation has declared is my (and my husband’s) obligation to prepare them ‘to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live.’ Helping these young girls to understand the principles of truth that lie in our beliefs that marriage is ‘between a man and a woman and is ordained of God’ and that ‘Gender is an essential characteristic of individual pre-mortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose’, (despite that the world today might teach them otherwise), is crucial to their understanding of the Lord’s eternal plan for each one of them and of their own future family life. 

I am so grateful for the Proclamation’s clear guidance to me in providing me a perfect pattern after which I can seek to model my marriage and my home for these girls, my son, and my future children for them to grow their testimonies and understanding deep and strong. I reiterate my beliefs from my original post four years ago- the Lord knows what I need more than I do. His plan for me is greater than I could ever imagine or create for myself. And the Proclamation tells me that my family IS eternal, in ALL its different forms!

If you enjoyed this post, thank Jenna, and please feel free to share it on Facebook! Be sure to check out the other host blogs today for more wonderful posts and testimonies about family.

You can also share your love of family by sharing photos online this month under the hashtag #ILovetheFamilyProclamation.

Here are links to the other blogs:


  1. Wow! How cool to have an update:)
    Thank you for the great insights, Jenna!

  2. Jenna, thank you for sharing! I needed this message today... I wish I had read it this morning when I first opened it instead of putting it on the back burner (because the list! It just grows!). And thanks to Jocelyn for sharing!

  3. Thanks for your testimony of the Proclamation Jenna- it strengthened mine!