Sunday, February 14, 2016

a different kind of valentines day ❤ [in memory of sister jeppson]

I always write for Valentines Day. Not really sure why--I actually don't "love" the holiday of love. I mean, it's fine--I don't refuse to celebrate or anything like that, but it's not something I choose to put a lot of weight into. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally a romantic and for those of you that do get into the traditions and celebrating of St. Valentine, Cupid, and all those lovely sentiments I 100% support it! It's endearing and there is nothing wrong with it at all. In fact, I think it is why I always feel inspired to write.

Even though I may not get into it, I really do love the idea of a day when we all go the extra mile to show love to one another.

Looking back on my past Valentine blog posts is both embarrassing and comical. It's entertaining at how different I sounded from year to year. Some years it was just simple/standard words talking about love, other years you can sense the bitterness in my valentine-hating-single-girl rants, and then other years you can hear my hope for the future and belief that I will find that kind of love one day. I like those ones.

More than ever before, my life is overflowing in love. I have my best friend, husband and number one supporter. He's my rock. He'll always be mine--forever and a day--as we like to say. I have my baby girl, whose pure love I can feel daily. Her love is the closest feeling I've ever known to magic. It's perfect. And on top of that, I'm also surrounded by a solid support system of family, friends, neighbors, and individuals that I love and who love me. I can honestly say, I feel very loved and have the opportunity to give love daily. It's a beautiful life, and a definite reason to celebrate.

However, today I want to talk about something different-- well different from anything I have ever written before. It's personal and a little heavy, but I promise the message is a good one.

Recently my ward (another name for our church congregation) lost an individual who had a profound impact on many of our members. She had just recently returned home to Utah from an LDS mission here in Houston, where she had served in our ward and brought many hearts to Christ and His gospel. You can read about her story here. It's tragic and heartbreaking. A beautiful soul taken from this world so quick and unexpectedly.


I only had a few small conversations with Sister Jeppson myself--two of which were while giving rides to her and her missionary companion. I didn't know her. I didn't know anything about her life story, only that she was a good person who made a noble choice to serve our Heavenly Father and share His gospel. News of her passing hit our ward quite hard.

It was difficult but also heart-warming to hear the different stories of how she had touched so many hearts, bringing love into their lives. Our ward alone is proof that she was an incredible missionary. And though her time on this earth was cut short, I feel strongly that she served a remarkable purpose here on this earth.

When I think about love this Valentines Day, that is the kind of love I'm thinking about.

The love that so many of our ward members are feeling--that so many of them felt from Sister Jeppson.

It may sound funny, but her example has been my driving force this week. It's been pushing and motivating me to share that same kind of love with others.

To give you some background leading up to this (on a more personal note) -- January was...rough...and drained me both emotionally and physically. I won't go into details, but it definitely took a toll on me, my husband, and my family. And I will admit that towards the end of the month I hit a breaking point. Yeah....I hit it and I broke. With tears streaming down my face, I desperately asked my husband "Why?"

None of it made sense to me. My whoa's seemed to be drowning me, and my heart ached not only for me but for people I loved that were also hurting (I'm a feeler--it's the best and the worst)

Sweet Robert reminded me that there were never any promises made to us that it'd all make sense or that life would always seem fair. He also reminded me that God has a plan, and He loves us.

A few days passed, and we got word of Sister Jeppson's passing. Again, I felt unsettled and questioned "why" once again. As Robert and I discussed it, I remember exclaiming to him that if God knew this was going to happen--why couldn't he have changed the course? He could of had her drive a different way home...or stop the criminal from crashing into her. He could control that. So why  not? Robert reminded me--once again--that our Heavenly Father has a plan and more often than not, it won't make sense to us right away but that one day we will understand.

This weighed heavily on my mind. I felt confused.

And as the week went on, I continued to hear more and more sincere and heartfelt stories of lives that this beautiful girl had an impact on. And with every story I heard, my confused and heavy heart seemed to lighten. The burden slowly eased, and I came to the realization (and what I think Heavenly Father was trying to remind me of all along) that no matter the length or duration of your life--no matter what trials or heartaches you will experience--there is one thing that truly and eternally matters more than anything....


The kind of love that sweet Sister Jeppson shared with the people of our ward. The love that she changed so many lives with. She left behind a legacy of love, good works, faith, and lives changed forever. That's pretty incredible.

So, this Valentines Day I'm celebrating that kind of love.

It's a selfless and sincere love. The kind where we look out for each other and for those in need. Look beyond ourselves, our problems, worries and wants, and find even the simplest of ways to serve. The kind that can not be found in a box of chocolates or new jewelry. It is charitable and never-failing.

It's a Christlike love.

This love is described in one of my favorite passages of scripture, "...if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto chairty, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail-- But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever..." [Moroni 7:46-47]

Charity is the pure love of Christ--and that is what Sister Jeppson shared with our people here in Houston. Through her simple and great acts of service, she changed the world.

"Charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not puffed up...seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things..." [1 Corinthians 13: 4-7]

I love those scriptures so much. They inspire me to examine my life and my priorities. We often get so distracted with the craziness of our every day lives--trying to be it all and have it all--and though our motives may be good and true, it is still very easy to lose sight of the eternal picture. But if we have that kind of Christlike love in our lives, everything else will fall into place. And just as Robert reminded me in my dark hours--it might not be easy or always make sense but it will all work out because God has a plan and He loves us.

Sister Jeppson has now joined our Father in Heaven and will carry on her work from the otherside, but her love and lasting influence can still be felt here in mortality--by the individuals and lives that she touched.

That right there is the kind of love I want to celebrate this Valentines Day.

Thank you Sister Jeppson.

Happy Valentines Day everyone