Becoming a Fortress Family

What does a fortress family feel like?

This morning as I sat in my little corner of the couch, I was reading; “Build a Fortress of Spirituality and Protection” from Elder Ronald A. Rasband, which led me to consider  what a fortress family feels like to me.

In my version we are close–weird close (the kind where others would see us as a little peculiar.  We play boardgames (that was a dream of mine from when I was little–you should see the collection we have now). We laugh and have dance parties in the kitchen. We also love Jesus Christ–the kind of love that permeates all of our actions. A fortress family prays together, serves together, learns together, grows together, and forgives together. A fortress family puts its highest priority on higher laws and living.

In my ultimate fantasy, my kids are even pleading to have a family history Saturday marathon! Can you hear it? “Please mom and dad, just a little longer?” (A mom can dream!)

I also believe that a fortress family is NOT perfect. “We still make mistakes,”  we might argue.  We’ll have plenty of opportunities to say, “I’m sorry.” But when it comes to good, better, best, as a fortress family, our sights are unitedly set on “best!”

I did not grow up in a home filled with spiritual strength. We were less a fortress and more on the tempest-tossed side of things. That left me with a lot of questions . . . .

How would I know how to be a good mom?
Was a happy marriage a real possibility for me? Did they even exist?
How would I know what to do?

There was a time when I even questioned getting married and having kids at all–I was leaning toward it being a bad idea. No one who was married seemed happy through my teenager eyes. But then I saw the beautiful example a peculiar family; they were like nothing I’d ever seen. They loved, and laughed, and played and seemed genuinely happy. I wanted to know why.

Eventually that family became my family when I married Taylor and the secret to their happiness became my own answer when I was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. While my perspective today is as far on the pendulum shift as possible

Once I knew happy families were real, I wanted to learn and know how to make my own. I’ve spent the last 18 years trying to watch and emulate the people around me and study and implement the council of our prophets.

So, how do we create our own fortress families?

Fortress Families focus on Jesus Christ.   They continually work to be a CHRIST-centered home. “Christ-centered homes are fortresses for the Kingdom of God on earth in a day when, as prophesied, the devil rages in the hearts of the children of men, and stirs them up to anger against that which is good.” (source)

Fortress Families help one another stay on the covenant path. “In our homes we come unto Christ by learning to follow His commandments, by studying the scriptures and praying together, and by helping one another stay on the covenant path. The new emphasis on personal and family study in the home through the curriculum Come, Follow Me is designed “to deepen our conversion and help us become more like Jesus Christ.” (source)

Fortress Families seek and live by the Holy Ghost. President Russell M. Nelson has taught, “In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”6

Fortress Families love one another no matter what. “Put your arms around those who stumble and, with the strength of the Spirit within you, lead them lovingly back to the fortress of spirituality and protection.” – Elder Rasband (source)
Here’s what I know, building a fortress family is a process. Just as the Nephites built their fortresses in stages, so will we. I also know that we will have to stay diligent if we want our fortress to continue protecting us.  Just as the Nephites learned of weaknesses through attack, so will we. But we can follow their example of seeking guidance and then taking action.

Elder Rasband shared:  “For our safety, we must build a fortress of spirituality and protection for our very souls, a fortress that will not be penetrated by the evil one.”

We can each become fortress families, and in the process, draw closer to our Savior. It will be an on-going effort,  but one that is ever-increasingly more critical and definitely always worth the effort it requires.