Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving will never be the same

Well I don't need to tell you that Thanksgiving is this week. Our church already celebrated with a dinner on Saturday; I was grateful for that so I could still  participate in the church activity but also go out of town to visit family for the actual holiday. I made this cake for the dinner, I'm pretty proud of it.
That's all cake and buttercream frosting :)

While I have always loved Thanksgiving dinner and watching the parades and football and whatnot, they (obviously) aren't the meaning of Thanksgiving. As we enter this holiday I can't help but think back to what I was doing on Thanksgiving Day last year.  On Thanksgiving morning, after Ben and I had been up all night taking care of her and making sure she was comfortable, I watched my Grandmother (who's maiden name is actually my first name, but spelled "Gauchat") take her last breath.  We knew it would happen soon, and we got to spend several days with her before it happened, but it still changed Thanksgiving for me.  We didn't eat a huge meal or really even celebrate. In fact we went home and slept for the more part of the day (since we had been up all night taking care of Grandma).  When we did have energy, all we wanted to do was go be with family.

It didn't matter that we had spent the week leading up to Thanksgiving around our family.  Grandma's house was small and she had 8 kids, most of whom came to visit. Most of her grandchildren either flew or drove to see her before she passed, and several of her great-grand children as well.  People came from all over (from Canada to Hawaii) and we were all in Grandma's little double-wide for a week (coming and going, but still, it was a huge crowd).  Most of the time I would be so overwhelmed with that amount of people for so long that I would want to just be alone for a while, but the feeling of wanting to be with family was amazing that day.

Before this I looked at Thanksgiving as a day when I should think about all the things that I have to be grateful for, but really I was thinking about the pie and rolls and how good my dad's mashed potatoes were going to taste.  Now, I can't stop thinking about just being with family.  I could care less about the food, heck we could eat pizza and I would happy, as long as I got to spend time with family.  I do think that the time spent with family in preparation for Thanksgiving is a fantastic use of my time (you can't beat memories in the kitchen), and I hope that this Thanksgiving you all use the activities of Thanksgiving to really enjoy being with your loved ones.  Don't worry so much about the Black Friday sales and whether or not your cranberry sauce will turn out as perfectly as you want. Just enjoy being with your family. That's what matters most.

Being thankful in both heart and deed

What does it mean to be thankful?  We talk about it every year, we go around the table at Thanksgiving and share things that we're thankful for, but what does it really mean?  Is being thankful a passive verb?  Or does it actually imply action?  I have the feeling that true thankfulness, true gratitude, requires action.

Let me explain.  I don't think that it's a bad thing to recognize the many things we're grateful for.  In fact, we should be doing that.  We should be counting our blessings and thanking God for them every day.  But I think that gratitude also means we actually have to do something.  I think when we experience true gratitude, we want to go out and specifically find the person who deserves our thanks. 

 A couple weeks ago for our Family Home Evening (for those that don't know what that is, follow this link) Gauchay had us do an activity where we contacted someone and thanked them for something they'd done.  I thought of a dear friend who has had a major impact on my life and on Gauchay's.  He was a part of God's work to bring Gauchay and I together.  And while I was grateful for that, I didn't think I ever had sat down to express it to him.  So I wrote him a note of gratitude and tried to put my actual feelings into it.  It was an amazing experience.  The feelings that came over me as I expressed thanks to someone who had blessed my life were sweet and precious.  Showing gratitude is essential to living the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So this Thanksgiving I want to give you all a special challenge: instead of just recognizing what you're thankful for, be sure to go out and express that gratitude to whoever made it possible, whether it be someone in your family, Heavenly Father, a friend, or someone you barely know.  I promise that the feelings that will come over you and the recipient of your gratitude will be sweet and tender and be something that you will cherish forever.  I think this lies at the heart of what Thanksgiving really is, and I know that as we express that thanks and teach our families to express gratitude, that we will grow closer to our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The meaning behind the pain

Everybody has struggles and trials, they are a part of life that we just can't avoid.  My personal struggles are different from yours, and in a sense, they are the same as yours too. It's easy to complain about them because they make life more difficult.  Some of our personal trials leave us in darkness feeling like we have no way out and we just want to find the exit.

I read a really great article this week about finding light and hope during depression, and while I don't agree 100% with everything it said, I love the idea that it is based on. It talks about a sermon given by a pastor who addresses light and darkness as it deals with depression (although I think it can be applied to the darkness we feel during any trial). The article can be found here:

Oftentimes I think we expect that if we are living our lives the way we think God wants us to, then we should be happy and have an easy time of things, I mean after all, doesn't God reward us with blessings when we do good?  Of course that would lead us to believe that if we are doing something wrong, then God will punish us, and therefore we will be miserable.

But surprisingly, scripture doesn't support that.  Look at all the good people in the scriptures who are amazing examples of righteousness: they all suffered.  There is an entire book devoted to the lamentations of Jeremiah.  Job wasn't a sinner, but he lost everything (his family, home, money, and eventually his good health). Abraham was possibly the only Prophet in the scriptures who we don't have a record of being chastised by God, and yet he was asked to ritually sacrifice his own son. Jesus himself is the perfect example of someone who never did anything wrong (in fact he did EVERYTHING right 100% of the time), and he suffered more than anyone in the history of the world will ever suffer.  So we can't assume that suffering is a punishment.

What the pastor in this article brings up (and what really caught my attention) is that trials and suffering put us in darkness, and it is up to us to find the light.  Trials put us in the perfect situation to seek God's light, and by seeking Him we are coming to know Him better. As we search for Him we study His words, we speak to Him in prayer, and we search within ourselves to find the deepest most secret part of ourselves and offer it to God as we try to understand our situation. Being in the darkness is an invitation to come to know God better.

And in truth, since Christ "bowed beneath all things" and suffered all the pains of everyone everywhere, the darkness of our suffering invites us to walk where He walked. As we seek the light we become as He is. So whether your struggle is depression or financial hardship or that your health is failing, remember that it's not a curse.  It's an invitation to come to know God better by seeking His light.

Husbands, love your children's mother

I've had a few experiences this past week that have caused me to reflect on how incredible women, particularly mothers, are.  I'm sure that most if not all of us have very fond memories of our mothers.  Mom was the one that seemed to always be there for us, no matter what.  She always listened and seemed to rarely get angry with us.  She was always caring for us and would do anything to help us.  Mom was at all of our games, all of our practices, and all of our concerts.  She would drive anywhere, talk to anyone, or make anything for us.  Mothers are incredible.

I've been reminded of this this week as I've watched Gauchay take care of Luke.  I do not know where she gets all of the stamina, all of the love, and all of the patience that she puts into his care every hour of every day.  I like to tell myself that I also work really hard, what with 9 hours of classes, 25+ hours of homework, and 15 hours of work every week. But then I look at Gauchay and all that she sacrifices for Luke, and I realize that my offering may seem kind of paltry in comparison.
My post today comes as kind of a follow-up to a post I made a year or so ago called Husbands, love your wives.  When I wrote it, we did not yet have a child, and so extolling the virtues of motherhood in our wives was not a topic I fully addressed.  I'd like to do that here.

First, to those brethren that are married but do not yet have children.  I'm assuming you realize just how amazing your wife is, right?  She is ever-patient, full of love, and willing to do almost anything for you.  She is a woman among women and you love her more than anything else.  Well let me give you a heads up: you ain't seen nothing yet.  The amazingness of women that shines through as wives is just a small glimmer compared to the shining example they are as mothers.  If you think you love your wife now because of how she treats you, wait until you feel love for her when you see how she treats your children.  She operates on little to no sleep; she somehow has more muscle than we do because she spends almost the entire day carrying a 10-20 pound weight on her shoulder, and bounces it the whole time; she sacrifices her body, which in today's world is apparently the defining characteristic of women, so that she can create and care for your child.  You will truly see how incredible women are when you see your wife being a mother.  So husbands, love your wives.  And especially, take advantage now while you don't have kids.

Second, to those brethren out there that already have children.  I'm assuming that you are in 100% agreeance with everything I said above to those husbands that do not yet have children.  Aren't our wives the most incredible creatures we have ever beheld?  So my question to you is this: are you just admiring the work that she does, complementing her on the amazing mother she is, and letting her do the majority of the work of taking care of your child?  Is the only time you ever interact with your child the times when he/she is happy and you get to play with them?  Do you hand off your baby to your wife when they get fussy, when they need a diaper change, or when they need to be put to sleep?  Even when the baby is happy and calm, do you take the baby so your wife can have some time to herself, some time to do things for herself?  Brethren, we have to do more than that.  We can't just leave the child-rearing to our wives.  We can't just enjoy the easy times and let our wives take care of the hard times.  That is not God's plan for our families.  Brethren, you should be up to your armpits in dirty diapers; you should know what it feels like to stay up until 3 in the morning trying to calm your baby down and put him to sleep; you should know what it feels like to have your arm go numb from holding a baby in the same position for hours on end; most of all, you should recognize and experience the same love towards your child that you see reflected in the eyes and smile of your wife whenever she cares for your child.  Parenthood is a team effort.  True, your wife is definitely the MVP of this team, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't give your best effort.

So, brethren, I invite you to take the time today to watch your wife; note all the little things she does for you or for the children; log away in your memory, or on a piece of paper, all the things she does for you and the family.  Because I promise you, brethren, that you will never find an earthly being as incredible as the woman you sleep next to every night, the woman that bore your children, the woman that sacrifices everything she has for your children.  Brethren, love your children's mother.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Never say your prayers...seriously

 This week I found myself in a discussion about prayer that I found quite refreshing. Prayer has always been a big part of my life and I have often found many answers that I've been seeking as I kneel before God and pour out my soul.  By definition prayer is a two way communication with God. When I want to talk to Him for whatever reason all I have to do is start talking to Him, either out loud or in my mind, and He hears and answers me. That's easier and more convenient than calling up my mom or Facebooking my best friend to ask questions or tell them about my day.  Prayer truly is amazing!

So being in this conversation about prayer, I noticed a disturbing trend. Everyone talked about "saying your prayers".  It's a common phrase that we use without thinking about it, but I think it sends the wrong message about prayer.  When I call my husband on the phone, I TALK to him, I don't SAY to him. Saying something implies only one person is involved. I don't need someone to talk to in order to say something.  So if we think of it as "saying" our prayers, I wonder if we think of it as heartfelt communication with God, or if we just think of it as rambling off a list of "please" and "thank you's" at the end of the day (or beginning, or at mealtimes, or whenever you might "say" your prayers). 

How would you feel if your Dad called you every day and just talked without listening, and everything he said was completely generalized, like "I'm grateful for today" and "I hope my family is safe and happy".  Would you feel like you ever really knew what was going on in his life? Would you feel like he actually wanted to talk to you or would you feel like he was just doing something out of habit? Would you feel like he wanted to understand you?

Obviously our prayers aren't always like that, but I worry that if we always refer to it as "saying" our prayers, then we aren't taking advantage of what prayer can really mean for us. Would you think differently before you prayed if someone asked "Have you expressed your feelings to God today?" instead of "Have you said your prayers today?".  Or what about "Would you thank Heavenly Father for this meal for us?" instead of "Would you say the blessing on the food?"  I'm sure you would put a lot more thought and meaning into prayer if you were to say to your spouse "I'll be there in a minute, I need to ask God a few questions first." Instead of "I'll be right down, I gotta say my prayers real quick."

I really believe that if we refer to prayer differently that we'll pray differently. It's not something easy, but it is something simple. Prayer requires work, and it should.  Don't expect that by saying a variation of the same thing over and over that you're actually going to get to know God.  Treat talking to Him the same you would talking to any other person, except with even more respect.  I'm willing to bet that if you change the way you refer to prayer, you'll find that you pray with more meaning and that you will feel you have really communicated with God. You'll get out of it what you put into it, and I promise that God will answer you. He always answers, even if we don't recognize it.  But then again, it's hard to recognize His part of the conversation if all you're doing is "saying" at Him. 

I'm not strong enough to make the right choice

Let me give you a few scenarios of events that may happen in your life.  I'll try and make them varied, so hopefully one of them applies to you.
- You're watching a TV show and all of a sudden things turn a little dirty and crass.  This has never happened before on this particular show so you figure it must be just a short part of the show.  You decide that you might as well just wait it out since it will be over soon enough.  Plus, the remote is all the way up on the TV stand.
-You're walking through the store and see a woman struggling with a bunch of kids.  All of a sudden her kids bump a shelf and a whole bunch of merchandise falls down.  You think to yourself that since you're in so much of a hurry you'll have to let this lady take care of herself, so you quickly walk past.
-You're at home sitting on your couch, reading a book.  Next thing you know you wake up and it's like 1 in the morning.  You quickly toss on your pajamas and roll into bed.  You can pray in the morning, and if you haven't studied your scriptures yet, that's okay.  Heavenly Father will understand.
-You're walking down the sidewalk on campus and you see a girl with a puzzled look on her face studying a piece of paper, then glancing around, seemingly lost.  You decide that you've only got a few minutes to get to class, so you'd better hurry up.  Someone else will probably stop and help her.
-You're sitting at home reading the newspaper, and all of a sudden you get the thought that you should call your son.  You remember that last night when you talked to him, he seemed kind of down, but you couldn't get him to tell you anything.  However, you decide, he's probably gotten over whatever it was by now, he didn't seem to be doing too bad.  Besides, it's already 10:30 and he's probably out with friends or just relaxing.  He won't want to talk to me.

Do any of these seem familiar to any of you?  Have you ever had any of this happen in your life?  I know that I sure have.  Most of these have happened to me at some point or another.  So the question is, why, when the moment to make a right choice approaches, do we not seem to be able to make the right choice?  Why does it seem impossible to exercise the willpower to do what we know we should do?
I don't pretend to know the end-all be-all answer to this question.  But I have learned a thing or two that have helped me, and are helping me right now, to realize how I can do the right at all times.  Because the number one thing I've learned is this: I of myself am not strong enough to make the right choice when it comes down to it.
We are mortal men and women.  We are subject to an imperfect body that we're still trying to get the hang of.  Our spirits are learning and growing, that is true, but we cannot do it all on our own.  In fact, without divine help, we'll never become what God needs us to be.  A prophet named King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon said this:

"For the natural man is an enemey to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord..." - Mosiah 3:19

As mortal beings, we are subject to the natural man.  The natural man is that part of us that seems to want to do everything bad.  It's the desire to be dishonest, the part of us that resists helping others, the thing makes us focus on ourselves.  It's basically the root of all base and inappropriate desires or wants we ever feel.  And you and I came here to earth to learn how to subject the natural man to our spiritual selves.  That is the true test of our lives.
So the key to overcoming the natural man in the moment when it most matters, the key to feeling the desire and being able to make right choices, can only come through one source: our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Now you may be thinking, "Ben, I already know this.  But that answer is kind of vague.  How can I access the atonement in my life so that I can make the right choices?"  If you're asking yourself that question, then you've started down the right path.  Let me just share with you one thought, one idea, that I feel impressed to share with you all that I know makes a difference in my life.
You need to start your day out right.
That's it.  If you look at all of the scenarios listed above, All of them take place after we wake up in the morning.  (That should be kind of obvious).  On any given day, when we face a difficult decision, we have probably already chosen, hours before, what choice we would make.  When you got out of bed and decided to mumble a half-asleep prayer before getting ready for school, you decided that you didn't want help making your tough decisions today.  When you reached that point during the morning where you usually read your scriptures, instead of reading your scriptures, you decided that you didn't want help during the tough times in the day.
Those are the two key things: start out your day with a prayer and with some time alone with your scriptures.  And not just any prayer, and not just any time with your scriptures.  It needs to be a heartfelt, open and honest prayer with your Father in Heaven, in which you tell him about your day and implore his help in the hard times and his spirit at all times.  Your scripture study needs to be an active searching and yearning for truth.  The nuggets of truth that you find are your sword and shield for the day against Satan's followers.  Those truths will instill in your soul and strengthen you.
I know this to be true.  I have seen in my own life that when I choose to ignore the promptings to read the scriptures and when I choose to say a half-hearted prayer, I feel the effects later on.  I notice that it's easier for me to give in to temptation during the day.  It's easier for me to ignore promptings.  But when I start out my day right, I feel the Spirit with me throughout the whole day.  I feel Him guiding me and giving me the push that I need to do the right thing when the tough decision comes.  This is the power of the Atonement.  Christ himself suffered for all of your temptations.  He suffered everything that you would suffer, and he overcame it.  He knows what you need to overcome temptation, and he will give it to you when you need it.  This I know to be true.
So my challenge to everyone is to make your choices in the morning, instead of in the moment.  Choose in the morning to start your day off right.  Choose to invoke heaven's blessings and heaven's help upon yourself every morning.  I promise that as you do so, you'll be able to change the channel, help the woman with the fallen merchandise, pray when you don't feel like it, help the lost girl, and be a positive influence in your kid's lives.  This is what God promises us as we live the gospel of Jesus Christ, and this is what he needs us to do, and what he needs us to teach to our families.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

When will I be happy?

Every Sunday in church there is a meeting for the women called "Relief Society".  It lasts an hour long and usually consists of someone leading a planned discussion or lesson about some aspect of the gospel. Today (and most Sundays), I got to hear only the last 10 minutes, as Luke is consistently deciding that he needs to eat at exactly the time the meeting usually starts. Thank goodness there is a separate room in the church set aside just for mothers to feed and care for their babies!

By the time I actually get to the meeting, I have no idea what the topic is, and everything is usually winding down. Today I think the topic was on true happiness; at least that was where the discussion was when I sat down. The teacher asked for us to think about and share a memory we have of a time when we were really truly happy. The first thing that came to my mind was my wedding day. Best. Day. Ever.

There were other memories that came flooding in, like the birth of my son, when we found out we were pregnant, when I finally graduated college, the day I opened the letter telling me where I would be serving as a missionary, the first time I went through the temple, every time someone I taught in Argentina entered the waters of baptism, and I could probably go on and on.

Most of the people who actually raised their hands and shared their "happy memories" had similar stories. One woman talked about the day her parents and siblings were sealed together as a family in the temple. Another talked about when she was finally able to forgive her mother for bad things that happened in her childhood and how much joy she feels at the new relationship they have established. Another shared some memories about her and her husband.

Then the woman leading the discussion pointed out something that I found really interesting. No one shared a happy memory about "that one time I bought a boat" or "every time I drive my fancy car" or "when I buy that new video game I've been waiting for".  They didn't even say "that one time I had my house spotless clean when people came to visit" or "when I finally lost those last 10 pounds I had been trying to lose". The things that really make us happy involve people and relationships.  How many times have we sat and thought "Once I acquire ______, then I will be happy"?  This shouldn't be. We all have family and friends and a perfect God in heaven who care about us and love us more than we could hope for. Even if our circumstances aren't ideal (like if we have a lot of debt, or we are overwhelmed with responsibilities, or we have bad health, etc...) we shouldn't let those things get in the way of our being happy. We have all that we need to be happy right now.

Happiness is something you choose, not something that happens to you. I'm sure we can all agree that there are times when life is hard and we don't like what is happening to us or around us. Despite the hard times, we still need to focus on those things that we know bring true happiness, like family, friends, and God.  I will have difficult trials regardless if I focus on what makes me happy or not, but my happiness does not depend on if I'm going through a trial, it depends on what I choose to focus on and when I choose to focus on it. Happiness is a choice.

I'm sure someone out there reading this is thinking "Sure, easy for you to say, but I have _________(insert emotional struggle)". I totally understand emotional struggles that sometimes make it impossible to see the light in life.  Last year my husband finally convinced me to see a doctor about my frequent and sudden "shut downs" as we called them. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and I was relieved to find that taking a pill every day prevented most of my debilitating breakdowns that periodically left me completely unable to see the good in anything until it had passed. But once I got pregnant my doctor and I decided that the best thing for my situation was for me to go unmedicated throughout the pregnancy and wait to start again until I finish nursing my son. Some days it is really hard, some days have tears and some don't, and some days I don't even get dressed. I'm not suggesting that focusing on family and friends and God makes the trials go away, because it doesn't. What it does do is give me perspective. It reminds me that there is joy in the journey, that the rainbow is just as beautiful as the pot of gold at the end, and that I have much to be grateful for even if my current situation feels miserable.

I know that God wants us to be happy, that is why He put us here! But we have to choose to be happy. Don't expect to find happiness at the end of something, because you'll be missing out on the joy that surrounds you right now! And don't be fooled into thinking that happiness comes from material things; money can't buy happiness. Happiness comes from being with the ones you love, and from doing good things with your life. If you don't believe me, just try it. I promise that God will show you what real happiness is and that it's not as complicated as you think.

Giving our all for the ones we love

I've decided that being a husband and father is hard work.  However, I have also decided that no matter how hard it gets, it is more than worth it.  After being married to Gauchay for over a year and a half before Luke was born, I thought I was getting the whole "being a family man" thing down.  I thought I was a good husband, that I was learning how to take care of Gauchay and fulfill my responsibilities as a husband.
Then Luke was born and I learned about a whole other side to being the man of the family: being a dad.  Being a husband is so much different than being a dad, and in some instances it's even easier.  All of a sudden the sleep in my life disappeared, I got replaced as the one who spends the most time with Gauchay, and I feel like my body is training new muscles involved in bouncing, carrying, and rocking babies.  While before I was partnered with a beautiful, talented woman, I now am in charge of a beautiful, uncoordinated, completely helpless baby.
And so I've been trying to figure things out.  I've been trying to figure out what matters most and where I find true happiness in my life.  Even though life is getting more difficult, I'm finding it more and more fulfilling every day I look into the face of my son.
So what is the key?  I think there are many keys to having a happy home and especially a happy family.  Something that is of supreme importance, something that if it isn't present in a family, the family won't survive, something that will bring your family closer to God than almost anything else, is serving each other and sacrificing for each other.
Men, how much do you sacrifice for your wives?  Is it really a sacrifice to help her and watch over her, especially when she's a beautiful woman that consented to live with you?  No, not really.  At least not most of the time.
Women, how much do you sacrifice for your husbands?  He seems so strong and self-confident, you may feel like there's nothing you can do to help him or give him comfort.
And parents, how much do you really sacrifice for your kids?  How much love and care do you show them, love and care that doesn't come from rote parental duties and tasks, but love and care that comes from your heart and goes above and beyond what a "normal" parent does?
I humbly submit the idea that many of us are truly not sacrificing as much as we think we are for our families.  We are not serving them nearly as much as we need to.  Sacrifice and service are an essential part of family life.
Gordon B. Hinckley, a former prophet of the LDS church, said this:

"Without sacrifice there is no true worship of God. … ‘The Father gave his Son, and the Son gave his  life,’ and we do not worship unless we give—give of our substance, … our time, … strength, … talent, … faith, [and] testimonies"

If we are not sacrificing for our families, then we are not teaching them to worship God.  Sacrifice and service lie at the core of Christian belief.  If we wish to teach our children correct principles, if we wish to teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to live it.  We need to show in everything that we do that we are disciples of Christ.  We need to be willing to set down our controller and go help our wife do the dishes.  We need to be willing to set aside the computer and play on the floor with our son.  We need to be willing to stay up all night to take care of a fussy baby, and not get mad at him.  We need to be willing to give up what we think is vital to our existence in order to help someone else that is in need.
Ponder on the story of the young man who came to Christ and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life:
Speaking of the commandments, the young man told Christ:
"All these things have kept from my youth up: what lack yet?" 
And this is the response that Christ gave him:  "If thou wilt be perfectgo and sell that thou hast, and give to the poorand thou shalt have treasure in heaven:and come and follow me."
"But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
We don't know any of the back story of this young man.  Perhaps he was born to very poor parents.  Perhaps at a young age he struck out on his own and worked hard for years to build up a sizable business.  Perhaps he had given his all to create his small fortune.  Maybe his wealth was the way he reminded himself that he could do anything.  But then the Savior asked him to give it all up.  Can you think of how hard that might have been for the young man?  
But that is what is required of us.  If we are willing to sacrifice anything for our families, for Christ, then we will be able to teach our children how to truly worship God, to echo the words of President Hinckley.  
I'd like to end with one thought that President Hinckley also shared.  I invite you to think of it and decide how you can apply it to everything you do in your families, as a child, as a parent, and as a spouse:
"It is not sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never sacrifice when you get back more   than you give. It is an investment, … greater investment than any.… Its dividends are eternal and everlasting."
I think it is the same for families.  Can we really consider loving and serving our families a sacrifice, when in reality we get out more than we put in?  Eternal life with our family is greater than any sacrifice we can make in this life.  
I know that as we strive to give our all to live the gospel of Jesus Christ and to sacrifice for our family, we will truly be living as God would have us live, and even more importantly, we will be creating a foundation of Christlike love, service, and discipleship that our family will build upon for the rest of their lives.