“Fight For Family” with Melissa from The Intentional Family: Synthesizing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with Family Theory

Melissa Lamping is one of those people who radiates sunshine. Do you ever wonder how people can do that?? Well, in this article she shares some of her secrets, so BUCKLE. UP.

Melissa is a wife and a mama of three adorable little girls. She is a fellow graduate of Utah State University (Go Aggies FOREVER), with a bachelor’s degree in family life studies and a minor in psychology. Randomly, we have visited Mexico City together with our cute Spanish-speaking husbands! She is a violinist, she loves to travel (especially to national parks), she loves hiking, playing with her girls, dreaming up big plans with her husband, Josh, and making and eating food from places they hope to visit someday. She is very passionate about families, especially her own! She started a project called The Intentional Family, where she focuses on improving families and sharing examples of families who are striving to live intentionally. So if you want some quality content on your Instagram feed, follow her at @the.intentional.family. Also, Melissa and I both love a good waffle, which I feel is a very important detail to add.

Fight For Family: A Life Calling (and maybe one that’s different than you thought!)

Something I think makes Melissa so happy and radiant is her confidence in her life purpose. She knows why she is here and what God wants her to do. She shared with me how The Intentional Family was “born” and how she followed the Spirit to learn what one of her life callings needed to be.

It started in 2012, when she was at Utah State University, majoring in violin performance. She went on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in July 2013 and returned home in February 2014– just seven months after she left. She needed to come home early because of a constant pain in her hip.

“This was before it was fairly common for missionaries to come home early, and I really struggled,” Melissa said. “I was in so much pain physically, mentally, and at times spiritually. Along with my hip pain was excruciating back pain. I would try to play my violin but I could last only five minutes (at school, I’d play for about six hours a day).”

She started to feel that she should change her major, which was a very difficult decision since she had dreamed of playing violin at Utah State since she was 12 years old.

“What was I going to do with my life now?!” she thought.

One morning she was studying the scriptures and read about Captain Moroni and his people, and their responsibility to protect their wives and children (Alma 46).

“I stopped to ponder on this, and saw a little plaque my grandma had made that has an ‘FFF’ on it,” Melissa said. “In our family this stands for “Family Faith Forever,” and has always been very significant for us. However, in this moment the distinct thought and feeling came to me that FFF meant, “Fight For Family.” I knew then that that was what I was going to do with my life – though I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like yet!”

It was another five years until Melissa was able to find the right program for her, which has placed her on a path that has brought her so much purpose and drive.

“It will be many more years of prayer that I hope will lead me down the path He wants me to be on in this fight,” she said. “I have been able to hear Him as I constantly pray, all day, everyday to be the mother and wife my family needs. Especially when I’m feeling impatient or irritated.”

The Intentional Family + The Gospel of Jesus Christ = Focus on the family of God

Through her family life studies, Melissa researched families and what makes them happy and successful. By learning, study and prayer, this research led her to create The Intentional Family.

“I have come closer to Christ through The Intentional Family by synthesizing His doctrines with family theory,” Melissa said. “It has been so cool to learn and study research on families, what makes them happy and successful and to see how perfectly it lines up with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has also helped me to have a bigger heart for the family of God, rather than just focusing on the ideal, traditional family.”

Recently, Melissa and her husband went to a gathering for two boys from her hometown in West Valley, Utah, who were shot, to give support to the grieving families.

“I knew no one would know us,” she said. “I guess I wanted to show God and myself that color, religion, gender, even earthly relationships, don’t matter to me. What matters is that we are all His, and that if we are human, we are connected eternally as His spirit children. Brothers and Sisters. A Family.”

We are all a part of the family of God, and that is significant.

Finding Refuge From the Storm Through Consistent Scripture Study

Another secret to Melissa’s sunny disposition is her focus on a consistent scripture study routine, both for herself and for her family.

“Personally, I have recently been able to come closer to Christ by doing Come Follow Me (a scripture study program from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints),” she said. “I have never been super consistent with this, and I thought as long as I was studying my scriptures in some capacity that was good enough. However, as I have put forth the effort to really follow the prophet’s counsel to study Come Follow Me with my family and as a couple, I have felt a difference in our home. The spirit is more palpable, and I want it to be that way every day. I want to feel Christ’s presence in our home. Then it can truly be a refuge from the storm.”

Melissa has found that family and personal scripture study has helped to improve her family relationships overall.

“As we come closer to Christ as a couple and family, we become closer as a family and couple,” she said. “It is like a chemical reaction, a law of Heaven– we cannot improve our relationship with Christ without improving our familial relationships simultaneously! This is just another testimony to me of how important families are to God.”

Step Outside Your Selfie to Bless Others Through Social Media

Finally, Melissa shared her wisdom in regards to social media. Oh, social media. So many of us have such a love-hate relationship with it. However, it really can be used for so much good and can be a blessing for so many! Melissa shared how she has recently felt very empowered by others’ positive use of social media.

“I think social media can be used for good if it is focused on others, rather than ourselves,” she said. “For example, think of the impact of a selfie on someone’s life, as opposed to a post highlighting someone’s love and appreciation for a friend. Or sharing an experience that strengthened your relationship with Christ. So, I guess my advice would be to step outside your selfie!”

Boom. Okay is that not the cutest advice ever?? “Step outside your selfie!!” I love it. And Melissa definitely practices what she preaches. I can tell she has such a healthy relationship with social media because she really thinks about how what she posts can bless others.

So, to recap, here are Melissa’s suggestions to strengthen you and your family:

  1. Pray to know what God wants for you and your life. The answer might not be immediate or what you previously thought it would be, but if you are striving to know what His will is for you, you will find satisfaction and purpose.
  2. Establish a scripture study routine for yourself and for your family. The closer you become to God through studying His word, the closer your family members can become to one another.
  3. Step out of your selfie! This applies on and off of social media. I love what Melissa said about the family of God and how we are all brothers and sisters. When we see others as family, we can think of them with greater love and compassion.

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