Last week we read Elder Anderson’s “Spiritually Defining Memories“, to open our Relief Society Presidency meeting. As we discussed the talk, one of my spiritually defining memories came back to me over and over since then. I keep thinking how choice it is when God teaches us to remember. Remember!
I was sitting in the audience at my son’s farewell in December of 2018. He gave a fine talk, and I was proud of him. Afterward, our high councilman, Steve Peterson, got up and started talking about the “bread boy,” which is my son, Cameron, the very speaker at this farewell. I had completely forgotten about those four years, from age 12-16, when Cameron made and baked bread for 10-13 people a week to earn money for his mission. His years from 16-18 had been stressful, and at that moment, sitting in the chapel, the “bread boy” was the last thing on my mind.
The tears started slipping out of my eyes. I sat and thought, “How did I do that for 4 years?” Four years of cajoling, encouraging, and reinforcing how to show up for a child who wasn’t conscientious at all. I was trying to build those diligence muscles and it was a deep breath for me every week to plunge in and help him follow through on his commitment. He was good about doing all the physical work it took, but the emotional work to get him started and the discussion before would make me want to throw in the towel. It was hard and I am an old mother. I was tired of the endless encouragement and the redirecting it took to deliver that bread.
That day the Spirit witnessed to me that those 4 years made a difference in helping Cameron to decide to go on a mission. God said to me right then, “Your effort mattered! I am reminding you that what you are doing as a mother, counts!”
I remember sitting in silent gratitude and relief and feeling such a powerful wave of God’s love wash over me. It was if I had climbed a tall mountain, and was surveying my journey behind me and my Guide was there to validate and celebrate my climb in the very best of ways. These experiences remind me why I am religious. The fruit is the sweetest there is. It is indescribable! This experience blessed me then and cocooned me with the Spirit this whole week, as I have pondered and treasured it.
Elder Anderson said:
“There is a lesson for us in the Prophet Joseph’s example. Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly. Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.’
“Think of your own life. Over the years, I have listened to thousands of profoundly spiritual experiences from Latter-day Saints all across the world, confirming to me beyond any question that God knows and loves each of us and that He eagerly desires to reveal Himself to us. These experiences may come at pivotal times in our lives or in what may at first seem as uneventful happenings, but they are always accompanied by an exceptionally strong spiritual confirmation of the love of God.’
Elder Anderson tells of a missionary experience that he had and he said:
“In a seemingly ordinary moment, at a door much like hundreds of other doors, I had felt the power of heaven. And I knew that God knew that I knew that a window of heaven had been opened.”
As we parent in these turbulent times, hang on. What we are doing matters so much! Our steadiness, keeping our covenants, helping our children build a foundation of character and self-reliance–it all accrues to helping them reach their potential. Heaven is watching, strengthening and cheering us on. We can have these spiritually defining memories and once again, we will be reminded that God is right there in the trenches with us.