8 years ago, I wrote about a tragedy in our close-knit community. A family lost their 4-year-old daughter when she was hit by a car. We didn’t know the family well, but Steve grew up with the father of the girl and their story tugged heavy on my heart.

Flash forward a few years and this family moved into our neighborhood and we became good friends and have spent a lot of time with them since all of our kids lined up in age (including the daughter who passed away).

Flash forward a few more years and the father was called to be our church leader (bishop) and we’ve grown to love and appreciate their family beyond what I could’ve imagined. Both he and his wife have shared their story of grief on multiple occasions (usually in the month of January since that is the anniversary of their child’s death) and every time I’m moved to tears.

Today, when we attended church, I was surprised to see our bishop on the program to speak. Evidently, someone bailed last minute due to illness so he was the back-up speaker.

Within seconds of standing at the pulpit, he was already in tears as he shared the marking of the 8 year anniversary of his daughter’s passing last week. I’ve heard their story too many times to count but every time I leave feeling edified from their personal experiences with grief and faith.

I found his talk today very moving. He gave very specific examples through his experiences where he found himself carrying the weight of these mountains he’s faced – but he taught mountains were never meant to be carried, they were meant to be climbed. And climbing is the only way to summit the mountain.

But we all know mountains are daunting. We stand at the base, looking up and think to ourselves, we can’t do this. We don’t have the strength. But as we continue to look up, past the peak of the mountain, we find heaven – and that is where we get our strength to climb. “Don’t give up on the Lord, in due time he will show you his power and plan.”

I’m so grateful this family has been so willing to share their story and experiences – they are a beacon of light to all who know them.

If you want to read more about their story of faith and grief and the mountains they’ve climbed, the father wrote an article a few years back and it’s one I’ve read and reread numerous times.