One night as I was going to sleep all alone in my room, I heard something making a mysterious noise in the cistern. I was frightened. For several nights I got my mom, and then my dad, to come and listen to see if they could hear anything strange. But neither could hear anything unusual—nor could I at those times. After several days (and a large amount of teasing from my brother about my imagination) I coaxed my grandma, who was living with us at the time, to come into my bedroom and sit on my bed with me for quite some time. She tried to comfort me by telling me after quite a lengthy period that she thought she could hear something in the cistern. But at that time, I couldn’t hear the scary sound, and besides, Grandma was very hard of hearing, so that was not much comfort to me. My concern persisted. I knew I had heard something. Just because no one else could hear the sound did not change what I knew I had heard.
Finally, my dad had a plan. He agreed to hold me by my ankles and let me down through a hole at the top of the cistern, which was just big enough for me to squeeze through. I was given a flashlight to help put this imaginary problem to rest. Headfirst, I was lowered into the cistern. I was concerned. What if there was something there? And then I became more concerned: What if there wasn’t? I began shining the rays of the flashlight along the water’s edge. After several minutes, there was a loud splashing sound—the sound I had heard so often at night that no one else had heard. This time my brother, who had been teasing me, heard the sound. My father heard the sound. And I saw the source of that sound. In some unexplainable way, a big muskrat had gotten into our water supply. Now everyone would believe me. I had credibility.
It was on that occasion that I came to trust what I heard and what seemed reasonable to me. Just because no one else heard what I heard didn’t mean that I could not hear. From that time, I began to believe that you and I can hear things in our mind and in our heart—reminders, or whisperings, or promptings, or inspiration—that others may not hear. Just because others haven’t heard them doesn’t mean that we can’t hear them. Maybe some of those messages are just for us personally. Our Father will hold us firmly and safely and give us a light to see what others may not see. When we are living in tune with the Spirit, Satan’s attempts to distract us are not a concern. The Lord tells us, “Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you” (D&C 19:38).
Just after I had been called to serve as the Young Women general president, I remember vividly how I yearned for a direct line of communication immediately. I had lots of questions and felt the need for immediate answers. Of course, it wasn’t the first time I had prayed with real intent, but I remember how on that occasion an immediate answer came. I was reading the Book of Mormon, and words that I had read before came into my mind and my heart as a personal revelation to me, like a sound I could hear. I marked that date in the margin of my scriptures and drew strength from it during those eight years of my service, and I still do. I heard those words in my mind and in my heart, “Yea, and cry unto God for all thy support; yea, let all thy doings be unto the Lord, and whithersoever thou goest let it be in the Lord; yea, . . . let the affections of thy heart be placed upon the Lord forever.” As if that weren’t enough, we are encouraged to go even further: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:36–37).
I testify there is a great peace and insight that comes from counseling with the Lord. Let us continue practicing that invitation and strive to keep the lines of communication open.
In today’s world, we as women must take a stand. We must defend the values and principles that are most precious. We will be guided and directed, prompted and inspired. Opposition may not always be popular, but we must have courage to defend the promptings we receive from the Spirit of the Lord.
I remember on one occasion when I felt to take a stand that was not initially popular. The leader of the committee I was serving on spoke to me privately following the meeting and explained, in kindness, “You have courage, but you lack judgment.” Of course, I felt uncomfortable—until a couple of weeks later, when the recommendation that I had supported was approved as correct. There was agreement and the feeling of unity after all.
As we counsel with the Lord and listen carefully to the Spirit, we not only hear but look and see with an eternal perspective.