seven generations

Mar 3, 2014

Yesterday we had a special stake conference with Elder Godoy of the Quorum of the Seventy. He talked a lot about family relationships. He asked us how long our family had been in the church…what generation of church members we are. I counted back and figured out I am the seventh generation member.

Oh my.

My heart swelled up with joy at the thought of being seventh. Keziah Keturah Van Bethuysen Rollins, James Henry Rollins, James Watson Rollins, George Leon Rollins, Myrtle Easton Rollins, Dorothy (my mama), and me!

Seven is my favorite number. It is sacred and oh, so very dear to my heart. I was born on the 7th at 7:00, weighed 7 lbs. and my mom was in the delivery room for seven minutes. In Hebrew, another one of my great loves, seven/sheva means holy, complete, covenant, fulfilled, perfection and basically everything good and wonderful you could ever think of. I am so in love with seven I gave one of my children the middle name of Sheva…really Elisheva…but we call her Sheva.

I have always been in awe of my seventh generation grandma on my mom’s side, Keziah. She lived a hard life of hard work, sacrifice, and great faith. I grew up hearing of her struggles and triumphs and decided early on to be just like her. She raised brave children willing to do hard things…she is the mother of James Henry, one of the Joseph Smith’s bodyguards who was with him at Richmond jail and on the Zion’s Camp march, and the mother of Mary Elizabeth and Caroline, the girls who rescued copies of scripture from an angry, violent mob and hid for hours in a corn field while the mob searched for them. I wanted to be a mother like Keziah who would raise righteous children who loved the Lord and would do whatever He asked of them.

I have a pretty strong spiritual connection to the seventh generation mama on my dad’s side, Barbara Bortner. I feel all warm and squishy towards her and can’t wait to meet her. Her two daughters, Anna Marie and Jane are grandmas of mine on both my dad’s paternal and maternal side.

So here I am. The seventh generation of people who sacrificed all they had to follow the direction of God. My deep-thoughts-with-Tracy has me asking myself these types of questions:

  • What legacy am I giving my children?
  • What is my duty to my ancestors?
  • What stories do my children need to hear to prepare them for their futures?
  • What character traits do I want my grandchildren raised with and what can I do now to pave the way for that to happen?
  • What can I do to nurture my children’s faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ?
  • How can I strengthen our family relationships?
  • What traditions will bind our family together?
  • How can I more fully bless Richard’s life?
  • What daily practices need to change in our home?
  • Why did God place me in these family lines?
  • Why did God give our children to us?
  • What does he want us to do with this sacred gift?
  • Do my children see love in my eyes?
  • Do they feel my love in their hearts?
  • What skills do they need to raise healthy, functioning families?
  • How can I more fully involve my children in family history?
  • Are my children being guided by the Holy Ghost?

I am going to spend some time pondering these questions and any more that come to my mind. Then I am going to act on the promptings I receive. Investing in my family is high priority for me. I am done surviving. I am done getting by. It is time to thrive as a family.

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