'No burden we need bear alone'

Build stronger families by building a stronger you - strong in your faith of the Savior, counseled Chieko N. Okazaki, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency. "That's where strong families come from - from strong individuals."

Speaking at the General Relief Society Meeting Sept. 25, Sister Okazaki explained: "All of us women have an image of the ideal family - a marriage in the temple to an active priesthood holder, and children who are obedient and faithful. But President [Ezra Taft] Benson has pointed out that only 14 percent of American households in 1980 match the traditional image of a couple with children still in the home."Sister Okazaki remarked: "All of us face different family circumstances and home situations. All of us need strength in dealing with them. The strength comes from faith in the Savior's love and in the power of His atonement.

"Through faith in the Savior, we can magnify our opportunities, cope with our problems and keep both of them in perspective. Strong families build strong individuals who, in turn, strengthen other family members. We take turns in lifting each other. I have seen this process at work in my own life.

"When my husband and I married," she explained, "I was a Latter-day Saint and he was a Congregationalist. I was concerned about marrying a non-member, but we shared a strong faith in the Savior, and I felt that Ed would continue to seek and accept truth. Ten months after our marriage, he was baptized.

"Ed and I loved growing in the gospel as a family. We were grateful we had the strength to care for our sons and grateful to see them become self-reliant people with the strength to help others."

Sister Okazaki related that she never appreciated the strength of her two sons more than last year, when her husband died. "All three of us sustained each other and consulted with each other.

"I have used the example of my own family because I have seen for myself that it is to our families that we first turn in such crises. But whatever your family circumstances, I believe the strength we need can always be there because it comes from the Savior and His love.

"Sisters," Sister Okazaki exhorted, "strengthen yourselves by seeking the source of true strength - the Savior. Come unto Him. He loves you. He desires your happiness and exults in your desires for righteousness. Make Him your strength, your daily companion, your rod and your staff. Let Him comfort you. There is no burden we need bear alone."

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