Grown in the Foothills of Northern California, Kaelie loves all things nature, peanut butter, and gospel related. She is passionate about adventure, service, creativity, and spreading smiles. In just a few short months she will be transplanted to the Texas San Antonio Mission where she looks forward to combining all of her favorite things.
As a little girl I neglected planning my dream wedding. I was really busy playing Pokemon and riding bikes so I figured that when the time came I would just marry one of my best friends. I figured marriage was something that would just sort of happen. I didn’t spend my time thinking about becoming engaged. Fast forward 10 years and at age 20 I have separate Pinterest boards for my wedding and engagement dreams (I’m willing to bet that a few of you do too). I spend plenty of time talking and thinking about being engaged, but recently it’s a different sort of engagement that has occupied my mind.
Doctrine and Covenants 58:27 counsels “Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness.”
My first year of college I was working full-time, a full-time student, had a few church callings, and wanted to balance a social life too. I felt that I wasn’t truly engaged in much of anything. I was just spread thin. I wanted to wholeheartedly devote myself to a “good cause” but I felt confused as to what that meant for me personally. As I prayed about how I could progress I felt prompted to focus on family. At the time there wasn’t anyone in my life that I wanted to focus on any sort of new family with, so I pushed that definition of engagement out of my mind and dove into every other family focus I could imagine. That is when I really became engaged.
I found a love for genealogy and temple work. I was able to go through the temple and receive my endowments. I read many talks and devotionals from church leaders about family and the roles of a mother, father, and children. I invested more time into my relationship with my parents and siblings. Through all of this I gained a greater understanding of the doctrine of the family. All of this helped me to feel that I was successful and healed wounds that I had left unaddressed.
After about a year I started this quest for engagement, I began to feel disconnected again. Work got busier, classes got harder, I faced unexpected sorrow in some of my friendships. Finally, everything reached a point where I knew that I could not handle my trials alone. Instead of trying to fix things myself, I spent more time in sincere prayer. And an answer did come, but not as I expected.
I live 3 hours away from the nearest temple so often people will try to arrange carpools. A friend of a friend asked me if I could give their sister a ride to temple so that they could meet and spend the day together in the city and then I would drive her sister home after I was done at the temple. I happily agreed. As we drove I learned that this sister was struggling with many trials in her own family. When we arrived at the temple, I asked her if she would like a tour of the visitors center and she agreed. In this visitors center there is a video called God’s Plan for His Family. The video displays how much Heavenly Father loves His children and how he gave us families to help us have joy, even if there are times of trial. After the video I bore testimony to my new friend of how loved she was and that Heavenly Father knew her needs and the needs of her family. As I spoke I drew upon all that I had learned as I studied family for myself. In that moment I knew Heavenly Father wanted me to be engaged. He wanted me to seek learning and share truth and He had shown me the pattern by which it was to be done.
And so I choose to be engaged. As I do my part the Lord answers prayers and guides me to new experiences and greater faith.
Everyday you must choose to engage. Making that choice opens you up to beautiful, and sometimes painful, learning experiences. But those experiences are exactly what life is all about. By being engaged you learn about yourself, your Savior, and the world around in greater detail than you may even know is there.
So my beautiful sisters, please remember, engagement is about more than just who you will marry. It’s also about who you will choose to be.
How can you become more engaged in your life? In your community? In your family?