The Spirit Will Guide

During my mission in Hawaii, I remember an experience when I was
giving a tour of the temple visitors’ center to a couple. The husband told me
he had been a member of the church and was returning to activity and his wife
was not a member. He wanted to show her the beauty of the temple and share his
testimony with her. We had a lovely discussion. They were sweet and humble, and
it felt like we were the only ones in the building. At one point during the
tour, they asked me how I know when you feel the Spirit. I started to explain
that the Spirit communicates to us all in our own unique way. I told them that
the Spirit testifies of truth, and you can feel it when you come to the temple,
or when someone shares their testimony. Then he said, “just like we can feel it
radiating from you!” At that moment, I hadn’t considered that I had that
influence on them, but as soon as he said that I felt a chill start at the
bottom of my feet and rush to the top of my head. I had a witness that the Spirit
truly was there, and that we all felt its influence.

I don’t recall a lot of instances where the Spirit guided me
toward a particular area, or to visit a particular person. Even now, I don’t
always think about it that way. But, I wonder if I don’t sometimes take these
communications for granted. I have felt the guidance of the Spirit while
teaching my children. I have also felt inspired around starting and continuing
my podcast and other projects I’ve been working on. While those things may not
directly be missionary work, I feel a strong impression that I am moving His
work forward in a way that is unique to me. Sometimes, I feel prompted to share
things on social media that are inspiring. I might feel prompted to comment on
someone’s post to share my testimony.

“While serving a mission in England in 1840, President Wilford
Woodruff (1807–98), then one of the Twelve Apostles, was prompted by the Spirit
to go to the south of England. Through his efforts and the efforts of others
serving with him, about 2,000 people were converted in the area of
Herefordshire, Worcester, and Gloucester. Reflecting on this extraordinary
period of his life, President Woodruff wrote: ‘The whole history of this
Herefordshire mission shows the importance of listening to the still small
voice of God and the revelations of the Holy Ghost. The Lord had a people there
prepared for the Gospel. They were praying for light and truth, and the Lord
sent me to them’ (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff
[2004], 91).”

It can be easy to write off promptings, to ignore them, or call
them coincidental. When we do that, we are not only limiting the Spirit’s
impact, but we are also denying the power that is within us to bring about the
Lord’s work even in our small and simple ways.

My experience has also revealed that there are times when the
Spirit will guide us to do difficult things! Back in April, Michael and I felt
very strongly that he needed to quit his job. He was miserable and insecure. We
have begged the Lord for ten years that he might be able to find a satisfying,
secure job, but one has never surfaced. The Great Recession was hard on his
field, and he just hasn’t landed on the right job somehow. The only reason we
can think of is that the Lord is designing a future for us that we just can’t
see yet.

This was a very hard decision for Michael, but multiple spiritual
promptings led us to the assurance that it was the right thing to do. Without
financial reserves or a back-up plan other than some business projects I’ve
been working on, we acted on the prompting, believing the Lord was directing us
to do the right thing. Even though the timing was right for him to leave,
things haven’t exactly panned out as we hoped, but we are still holding out
faith that Heavenly Father is aware of us and our needs, and that He has a plan
in all of this. We have felt our will purged out of us as we endeavor to align
ourselves with His. We simply cannot see the whole picture. We can only do our
best to follow. We are picking up and starting over with the assurance that we
are being guided in the right direction.

We are the Offspring of God

Just as we may minimize the impact of the Spirit in our lives, I
think it can also be easy to play small when we consider our real identity:
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the
Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device”
(Acts 17:29).

Through this journey of giving up his job and endeavoring to
align ourselves with Heavenly Father’s will, Michael and I are learning how to
define ourselves from a different perspective. It’s fascinating how often you
meet someone and the first thing they want to know is your occupation. It’s
difficult to come up with an answer when you are sort of between jobs. The
thing is, Michael and I aren’t looking for jobs. We can’t be identified by our
occupation because we are creating our own livelihood. That’s what we feel we
are being directed to do.

Something I have learned from my years of homeschooling and
entrepreneurial work is that there is rarely a script for how to accomplish
many of the things we want to do that are different from what is mainstream.
All we can do is rely on the Spirit guiding us. I’m not saying that everyone
should quit their jobs and start educating their kids at home, but I have often
felt like my role in teaching about family culture through my various platforms
is to question why we do the things we do. When something we do is leading us
away from the Savior inadvertently, then it’s time to question whether it’s
right. It’s important to figure out what defines you. Anything that does not align
with Heavenly Father’s plan is merely temporary.

In an address to the students at Brigham Young University, the
President of the school said, “The primary purpose of our mortal existence is
to help us become like our heavenly parents. One of the things we need to do in
order to accomplish that purpose is to learn and apply truth in our lives. The
Prophet Joseph Smith taught that ‘it is impossible for a man to be saved in
ignorance’ and that ‘a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge.’ Thus learning
is an essential part of not only our BYU experience but also this mortal phase
of our quest for perfection.

“The scriptures teach that there are three main ways we can
learn: one, by study; two, by faith; and, three, by experience. A lot has been
written and spoken at BYU about how we learn by study and by faith, but we talk
much less about how we learn from experience. Yet learning from experience is
one of the essential purposes of our mortal existence” (Kevin J. Worthen,
“Successfully Failing: Pursuing Our Quest for Perfection” January 6, 2015).

I can’t say yet why Michael and I were directed down this path we
are on, but I do know that we are getting a lot of experience really quickly.
Going through this experience has made the scriptures come to life in ways I
never before imagined. My prayers are more sincere, and my faith in Heavenly
Father has been crucial. I don’t expect to understand anything that He has
planned for us, and I am hopeful and faithful that anything we experience in
this life is to shape us for eternity and help us to become more like Him.

“Be careful how you characterize yourself. Don’t characterize or
define yourself by some temporary quality. The only single quality that
should characterize us is that we are a son or daughter of God. That fact
transcends all other characteristics, including race, occupation, physical
characteristics, honors, or even religious affiliation. …

“We have our agency, and we can choose any characteristic to define us. But we need to know that when we choose to define ourselves or to present ourselves by some characteristic that is temporary or trivial in eternal terms, we de-emphasize what is most important about us, and we overemphasize what is relatively unimportant. This can lead us down the wrong path and hinder our eternal progress” (President Dallin H. Oaks, “Be Wise” [devotional address given at Brigham Young University–Idaho, Nov. 7, 2006],

Paul taught the people that we are children of God in an effort
to help the polytheistic Greeks understand the role of the “Unknown God”. He
wanted them to understand that the true and living God created all things. This
God “dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s
hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath,
and all things” meaning that He can’t be appeased by crafted idols (Acts
17:24-25). He is also our Father, and we are made in His image.

Paul spent a lot of time among the Gentiles teaching them about
Christ. He also understood the principle of the gospel that all believers
become His sons and daughters. Paul’s testimony of our divine inheritance is a
powerful witness that we live through Him: “For in him we live, and move, and
have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also
his offspring“ (Acts 17:28).

Study the Scriptures daily + Law of Increasing Returns

Can you imagine hearing a profound new message from the Prophet
of God for the very first time? Think of these Greeks hearing for the first
time that they are children of God, and that Christ came to redeem them. I love
that Paul approached the Greeks by talking about something familiar to them
when he talked about this “Unknown God” just like when Ammon and Aaron taught
the Lamanites by starting where they were with the “Great Spirit” and then
teaching them the word (Alma 18, 19, 22). There are still people all over the
world hearing the doctrines of Christ for the very first time, and they are
going to start by correlating that message with doctrines they already know.
So, why would it be so important for us to study the scriptures every day? It
is the best way to become familiar with God’s word and recognize it when we
hear it.

When Paul taught the Jews in Berea, they were “more noble” and
“they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures
daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Because they studied the
scriptures every day, they were more prepared to hear the word than the

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