Ten years ago, I met this family:
They were my dance teachers, my friends, and my introduction to the church.
They were the original Hamilton cast.
I loved this family who worked so hard to model family to me, and it is because of their friendship and sweet service that I was baptized nine years ago this October.
It is because of them that I now have my own family, too.
Just seeing them makes me cry with gratitude and laugh with memories, all mixed up together.
Now they have another little toddler son, and I got to meet him tonight when I finally saw my dear friend Cassie again:
That’s what is crazy, that it really has been ten years since I first met them!
I can’t believe it!
But that’s why I got to see them this week, because their daughter who was only seven or eight when I met her, got her Young Women Recognition this week!
Can you believe it?! I was so proud!
In our faith tradition, that’s like meeting all the scout requirements to graduate youth group, basically.
I mean, it’s a big deal. A really big deal.
And now there she is, all grown up!
I was so absolutely and entirely delighted that she invited me.
As a child, she was a friend to me when I thought I had no one. She signed to me before I had ears. She played with me until I had the courage to dance. She loved me until I believed for myself that I was worth rescuing, and it changed my life.
And now I have a daughter her age, back then, and I would be honored for her to be anything like Madison.
But when I hugged her, she said I was her hero, and it made me cry.
Because she saved my life, that little girl who is now a Young Woman.
And any good I have been able to do in this world, or in the next through temple ordinances for my family and countless others, or any talk I gave that helped someone, or anyone I counseled, any book I have written, any child I tried to help, any of all that I have tried in being a steward of what has been given me, that has been the good God did in me through this family.
They are saviors on Mount Zion, and I am forever grateful.
And I will love them for always.
But you know what else I learned from them?
That saviors on Mount Zion (Obadiah 1:21) are just regular people. They are regular people who are kind, who serve others, who are compassionate enough to smile at the world around them. They are regular people who speak truth without judging, who ask how you are doing and mean it, who share their testimonies through love and everyday moments.
It was their kindness, their time, and their friendship that taught me of the love of God, and that it was big enough even for me.
They didn’t do anything big or magical to hunt me down and drag me into the church.
And, they will die of embarrassment if they read this.
All they did was be my friend.
And that was exactly the love I needed.
Their prayers made sure I wasn’t lost, even when I ran away, and their tenacity stuck around long enough to get me home and all the way to the temple.
Their blessings healed my heart, literally, and their hands cared for my wrapped up head when I got my ears.
Their dances delighted my mother, and made my body strong enough to fight cancer.
Their home sobered me up, kept me fed, and taught me about family.
Love changes everything.
And this young woman has a heart full of love.
She is going to change the world.