Shortly after my husband and I moved into a new ward, I had a prompting that I should ask one of the ladies in the ward if she would like me to type up her memoir/journal/whatever-you-call-it. She had somewhat severe arthritis so it wasn’t totally unjustified, but still, I thought, “That is a ‘beyond-the-boundaries question.” (Seriously . . . if someone asked me that, I would be a bit concerned—especially if it was someone I didn’t know very well.)
I tried to put the thought on the backburner, but it stuck with me. Months later, I was bringing this sweet sister some cookies. She invited me into her house and we chatted a bit. The prompting came back. I thought to myself “I’m not going to bring it up . . . it just sounds too crazy.” However, the prompting was persistent and so I said, “I have kind of an odd question for you.” She looked a bit concerned and said “Okay . . .” I asked her if she kept a journal or if she had a memoir or anything.
She said that she had been a diligent journal writer since her teens and that she believed it to be important. With that, I had the thought, “See . . . she has a journal. I’ve fulfilled my part of the prompting.” Quickly, a reprimanding spirit came upon me and I knew I needed to continue with following through on the prompting. I explained that the reason I asked was that I had felt prompted to ask her if she would like help in typing up her history. Instantly, the Spirit filled the room.
She teared up a bit and said that she had been trying to figure out how to compile her journals and stories and put them on the computer. Her arthritis made it very difficult and painful to write or type and she had been praying for a way to make it work. I finally understood what the Spirit was trying to convey and the way in which I could be a ministering angel. We made up a schedule and got started on our project right away.
Even though it took me a few times to get the message, following this prompting, which made me feel foolish, not only did I provide a service for someone, but I made an amazing friend. During our weekly visits, I came to know an absolutely amazing person. When I brought Connie Jean cookies that first morning, I’d included a note that emphasized my admiration for her continued optimism—even through her difficulties with arthritis. I will always hold dear those memories of sitting at her computer on a Sunday afternoon while she told me about her life and I would l draw upon her example of strength in the face of adversity for all my life. You see, frequently the Lord doesn’t just bless those we serve but those that do the serving seem to get a large portion of blessings as well. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father that knows what we need and provides it for us, (even though sometimes we need to get out of our comfort zone to get it).
Frequently, we will receive promptings to go to the temple. It can be easy to rationalize our way out of it as we are busy and have many demands on our time but it is pertinent that we make time for the quietness of the temple and the ability to feel the Spirit in abundance there. However, there is no better place to learn the language of the Spirit.
In 1987, Vaughn J. Featherstone made this statement at a Manti temple meeting: “As the evil night darkens upon this generation, we must come to the temple for light and safety. In our temples, we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us. . . . Angels attend every door. . . .Those who attend will feel their strength and feel their companionship.”
Isaiah calls the temple a “place of refuge.” In life, we fight daily against the forces of Satan and temptation. When we feel we are about to be swept away by the adversary’s powerful advance, the Lord tells us to come into his temple for refuge. In the temple we can rest and be strengthened and invigorated for the battle does not rage within those walls. Then we can return to the battle and wield our swords with confidence and the assurance of ultimate victory. It is no coincidence that the walls of the Salt Lake Temple are crowned with battlements. They suggest a fortress where the forces of evil cannot penetrate and where the righteous can seek the safety of unconquerable walls.
Doctrine and Covenants 88:67-68 states, “And if your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you; and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.”
I love this scripture and read frequently to help me keep my eternal goals in mind. I know that I cannot achieve any of those things without the help of the Holy Ghost. I know that to have that help, I have to conscientiously make choices that will allow His companionship and I have to pray to know how to recognize His promptings. As we set aside our plans and follow the Holy Ghost, he helps us to understand the “why” of life—why did I have an extremely difficult childhood, why did I start two Ph.D. programs, why did I move to five states in five years, why did I ask about typing up a family history, why did I not get that job that I really, really wanted, why didn’t that relationship work out? As we contemplate our many options in life, we will find the path that Heavenly Father needs us to take. He will guide us to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord—in our homes and families, in our communities and schools.
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