Hey, I’m Juliea Huffaker
I am a wife, mother of six, REALTOR®, home designer, blogger, aspiring gardner, a dreamer, and a Believer!
There have been a LOT of people, and experiences, that have influenced my life. However, one of the most profound happened way back when I was a teenager.
It’s taken me years to be able to talk about this without getting too emotional. After losing someone you love too soon, the feelings remain raw for years.
When U2 music plays, as I’m driving alone, I think about Rachel – my closest sister. Rachel was about 18 months older than me, and my childhood bestie. She died three days before her eighteenth birthday in a car accident right in front of me. But I didn’t know for hours.
I was too interested in my friends to see what was happening. I wish I wouldn’t of fought with her minutes before, or treated her badly. I wish I would have been paying attention to her, like a good sister would. I wish I would of seen her cars headlights as they rolled off the road into the desert. I wish I ran to her and told her that I was sorry, and that I loved her one more time.
I will never forget a few days after Rachel died, I had a dream… But, it wasn’t just a dream. Rachel came to me as I was sleeping in my bed and gave me a really GOOD hug. It was one of those hugs that feels sooo good and comforting. She was looking at me, and without moving her mouth, she told me that she loved me and that she wasn’t mad at me. I know that Rachels spirit is alive, and that she understands my feelings. I know she is close at times and watches us – her family.
I think of what she would say if she could. I think about what she KNOWS now, and how she must feel.
I was only sixteen years old.
I had a deep longing to know if our (Rachels and my) sins could really be forgiven through Jesus Christs Atonement. I really wanted to know if we would actually be resurrected, and live in our bodies, after we die. Was that kind of miracle really possible? Rachel died too soon, she was too young, and it wasn’t fair. She didn’t get to grow up, move out, get married, have kids, or even get braces! I really wanted to know if Rachel would actually be resurrected and live in her body again. I wanted to know if she would be able to enjoy all the living that she missed out on.
Rachel died in November and about five months later, Easter was coming. Saturday night (the night before Easter) I prayed asking all those questions. I didn’t get an answer that night. I woke up on Easter Sunday morning… April 6th 1995, in the hot Yucca Valley California desert. The house was quieter than normal. I could see the light of the sun shining through my blinds. It seemed brighter than normal, so I opened them. To my complete astonishment, the entire desert was bright WHITE…
EVERY rock and cactus was completely COVERED in several inches of bright white snow. (Unlike the picture I found above.) Then the words came into my mind, “Though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be WHITE as snow.” And I KNEW! I knew that Jesus Christ has the power to, and willingly, FORGIVES our sins. That wasn’t all… I KNEW that God is a God of MIRACLES! He can make it snow, out of nowhere, in the middle of the hot mojave desert IN APRIL. And if he can make it snow on Easter morning in hot Yucca Valley, He can do anything! I knew He can bring the dead back to life – Resurrection. Heavenly father loving answered my sincere prayer on that Easter morning after Rachel died.
Despite the miraculous answer to my prayers, I was still struggling with what kind of life I wanted to live, and who I wanted to be.
After high school I went to live in BEAUTIFUL Placerville California. This place always felt like HOME to me. When I was about nine years old we lived here in my Grandma and Grandpa Perry’s house while they were on a mission. Even the road made me feel home, “Perry Hill Dr.” This was where my Dad grew up. Where my Grandpa taught high school english, and where Grandma and Grandpa raised TEN kids. This is where all the stories we heard about Dads childhood happened. This was where we went whenever we could go on vacation, and for holidays. When Grandma Perry died, my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Harold bought their house. And it still feels like home.
One night, when I was staying at my Aunt Kathy’s and Uncle Harold house in Placerville, I had an intense and troubling dream. I dreamt that Rachel was desperately trying to talk to me through fuzz. (Like the fuzz on an old black and white TV, before cable or satellite came along.) I could barely make out her face, and that she wanted me to do something FOR HER. I was trying really hard to see through the fuzz and then I woke up.
For several days I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I felt sad for Rachel, and felt like there was something she really wanted me to do for her. BUT, for that entire week I couldn’t understand what it was. I didn’t think I could do ANYTHING for her… She was dead. It was consuming my thoughts in every spare moment. I was feeling sad and hopeless because in the Book of Mormon we learn that “this life is the time to prepare to meet God.” I knew her life was over and there was nothing else she could do.
That Saturday I had the day off work, and I went out onto the trampoline in the backyard by myself. I was thinking about that dream, and what Rachel would want me to do for her. The thought came into my mind, “The only thing You can do for Rachel is to live a good life, and choose the right.” If I lived a good life and choose the right, I could be with her again. I could do that for her!
About a year later, Janess (my younger sister) and I were eating at our favorite Greek restaurant. I was talking to her about a guy (not a very good guy) who I was spending a lot of time with. Janess started crying and getting upset. I got embarrassed because everyone in that restaurant could see her crying, and they were looking at us. Then she said, “Then it’s like Rachel died for nothing!” That was something I really needed to hear. It was enough to bring me back to reality. The reality that Rachels’ death brought me to God, and I wanted (and needed) to live my life in a way so I would be worthy to be with her again.
So, that week I talked to my Bishop, left all my friends, quit my job, and moved home to Yucca Valley. I knew that there was NO ONE in Yucca Valley (or surrounding areas) that I would want to date or hang out with. I knew I was giving up all my friends and all the fun. I was going to be lonely. I decided to go to the community college and get ready to serve a mission.
A few months later Dad was inspired, in the Las Vegas Temple, to tell Darin that he needed to meet his daughter. (And That’s Another Story!)
I’ve Had Many Hard Experiences Since & They Have Strengthened Me.
I know that Jesus Christ still performs miracles, heals the sick, delivers us from spiritual and temporal bondage, changes our hearts and nurtures, answers our prayers, strengthens us, blesses us with angels in this world (and in spirit) to help and strengthen us. He protects us spiritually and physically. And when we stay close to Him, He inspires us and increases our understandings through his Holy Spirit.
I know these things because he has done them all, at different times in my life, FOR ME!
He has answered my prayers in the moment. HE has HEALED my heart, physically and emotionally, when life was excruciatingly stressful and there was no other help. He has blessed us to be able to pay off debts and delivered us from BONDAGE.
Over the years, HE has changed my heart and MY nature. HE answers MY prayers, and He will answer yours! HE strengthens me everyday to physically be healthy, and take care of all my responsibilities (which are many). HE strengthens me to LOVE those who rub me the wrong way. HE strengthens me to FORGIVE those who offend me. HE blesses me with Angels in this world who are the best of friends and help bear my burdens. He makes my burdens light and my life easier.
HE has blessed me with Angels from the spirit world who have protected me and my family in car accidents, and from animal attacks. He has blessed me to feel Rachel and Grandparents who have passed on. I am protected and blessed daily as I stay close to Him by keeping His commandments and my promise; Remembering Jesus Christ and trying to follow HIS perfect example (even though I always fall short).
I KNOW that Jesus Christ is NO ORDINARY man. In fact, I know that he is the living SON of GOD our Heavenly Father. He is our PERFECT eldest Brother in our Heavenly Fathers family. He is our BROTHER who LOVES us perfectly AS WE ARE. He KNOWS us perfectly, and better than we know ourselves. He has all POWER to help us as we come unto him… For he has said, “Come unto me all ye that labor, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and Ye shall find REST unto your souls!”
I know He gives peace to our hearts and minds in the most troubled times, and blesses our lives in so many ways. In fact, I believe that all good comes from, through, and because of Him.
He was, and is, the ONLY man on this earth with the ability to pay for our sins, and overcome death FOR US because he was the LITERAL Son of God. He has the POWER to FORGIVE our sins and mistakes! Because He is the living Son of God, and has PAID the price for our sins, (no matter how bad) He has overcome all sin, addiction, death, and weaknesses for us! Because He is our PERFECT Big Brother, and because we couldn’t do it for ourselves. It had to be done by someone PERFECT… The Son of God. It had to be DIVINE and eternal sacrifice.
Because He has risen from death and lives now, He has OVERCOME DEATH for every person who has ever (and will ever) lived! That is so exciting to me! I will live after I die, so will Rachel, and so will You!
Even though our mistakes may be as dark as scarlet red blood, they can be as white and SOFT and COVERED by HIS perfection and power like a deep white SNOW covering. And because he is the literal Son of God, He had the POWER to give his life and take it up again! He willingly, and literally, GAVE his life to GIVE everyone LIFE in the flesh AFTER we die.
It breaks my heart when anyone makes a comment to discredit OUR Savior. Im heartbroken when I see my family breaking their promise to always remember Him, keep His commandments and follow His example.
We are all God’s children. Although we do not remember life before we were born, Jesus Christ IS our oldest Brother. And like the PERFECT big brother that He is, HE LOVES us dearly! That is WHY He suffered more than man can suffer. But he didn’t just suffer and die for our sins… He suffered our sicknesses, sorrows, and our weaknesses so that He would know how to SUCCOR us (Help Us).
I feel a BIG responsibility to open my mouth, and share my experiences with you. I know Rachel would want me to.
“One LOVE, one BLOOD, One LIFE, You got to do what you should. One life with each other Sisters, brothers. One life, but we’re not the same. We get to carry each other, carry each other. One.” (U2 – One)
LOVE, Juliea Huffaker