“The ability to qualify for, receive, and act upon personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life” (Julie B. Beck, “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days will I Pour out my Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010), but between dirty diapers and fruit snacks, it often feels like an impossible feat.
I have said my fair share of prayers for patience while changing my son’s diaper as my daughter is climbing up my leg. But it didn’t take long for me to realize prayers of desperation shouldn’t be the only type of communication I had with God. I needed real time with Him. And I needed better access to the power of personal revelation as a woman, a wife, and a mother.
After all, Julie B. Beck also said, “Mothers can feel help from the Spirit even when tired, noisy children are clamoring for attention” (Julie B. Beck, “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour out my Spirit,” Ensign, May 2010).
Never did I crave this more than just months after having twins, when I realized that I was running on empty. I needed help. If I could find the time to rely more on the guiding influence of the Holy Ghost in my life, I could be filled both spiritually and emotionally, because when we care for ourselves first, we have more to give to our children. So I did some life evaluation and was inspired with different ideas. While everyone can and should receive revelation in their own way, here are nine ways I have found to foster more revelation in my busy mom life:
1. Rejoice over five minutes.
“I promise you that as you consistently give the Lord a generous portion of your time, He will multiply the remainder.”—Pres. Russell M. Nelson (“Stand as True Millennials,” Ensign, October 2016)
You don’t have to sacrifice large chunks of time to show the Lord you are serious about following Him.
In this season of your life, five minutes may be a generous amount of your time. And that is okay. The widow’s mite was enough. The mother’s minutes can be enough, too.
I can’t hear every word a speaker says in sacrament meeting, but five minutes of focused listening and the resulting application can be better than one hour of straining to hear every word.
2. Plan ahead how you will use spare time.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28
The first year of my twins’ lives, I napped while they napped. I knew I would have that time to myself, so I planned to use it wisely. But as I began to feel my closeness with the Spirit dwindling, I looked for more ways to grow closer to Christ. I didn’t want to give up the whole nap time, but as I took five minutes to pray before napping it changed my days. I went to my room, knelt, and spoke out loud. I poured my heart out to my Father. Sometimes as women we forget we don’t have to carry all our burdens, all our worries. And when I give my burdens to Him, there is more room in my heart to better hear the voice of the Spirit.
3. Don’t overlook the power in the sacrament.
One of the most stressful parts of being a young mother is wrangling children during sacrament meeting, but using the sacrament as a “focal point of our weekly worship experience” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Behold the Lamb of God,” Ensign, May 2019) can change our church worship and our entire week.
Parenthood has a way of showing us our faults. But luckily the power of the sacrament can help us leave them behind each week. I prepare toys and treats for my kids during sacrament. I time their most focused (and quiet) play for the sacrament. If I give my daughter a sticker book while I pray and ponder during the sacrament, she will sit still so I can take the time I need to focus on Jesus Christ.
Instead of focusing on all the guilt and shame that often come with motherhood, I can use both the cleansing power and the enabling power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to leave behind mistakes and faults and embrace a new week full of promise. When we cleanse ourselves from sins our spirits are more ready to receive revelation.
4. Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of studying scriptures.
“[If we] prayerfully study and ponder the Book of Mormon each day . . . we will be in the position to hear the voice of the Lord, resist temptation, overcome doubt and fear, and receive heaven’s help in our lives.” —Pres. Thomas S. Monson (“The Power of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, May 2017, emphasis added.)
Between the Come, Follow Me program, studying conference talks, and the invitation to read the Book of Mormon daily, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. We can often resort to perfectionism, which favors all-or-nothing thinking; if we can’t do everything the right way, we may not do it at all.
But God has never asked us to be perfect, only to have a willing heart. Some days you will read a verse, others a chapter. Some days you will read just what you needed to hear and others you will be slowly adding oil to your lamp of faith.
5. Take advantage of technology to foster and record personal revelation.
“Knowledge carefully recorded . . . enhances the likelihood of your receiving more revelation.” —Richard G. Scott (Acquiring Spiritual Knowledge," Ensign, Nov 1993)
This one seems counterintuitive, but as a busy mother, technology can be a gift. Listen to the scriptures, conference talks, or scripture study podcasts at home or while in the car. Use apps like Notes to write down impressions, or use the dictation function on your phone keyboard or the voice memo app to record thoughts.
6. Seek a fresh perspective.
It can be important to seek God first when looking for answers, but prayers can just as easily be answered by those around us. Reach out to close friends or family for advice, encouragement or support. They could help you see something from a new perspective, point you toward a resource, or bring comfort.
Getting out of your house can be just as clarifying. I enjoy taking walks outside with my children in the early evenings. They do well in our double jogging stroller and we can all enjoy the quiet evening air. Something about moving my body, being in the beautiful outdoors and focusing on something else can help foster more personal revelation.
7. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
It can be easy as a mother to continue to be the caregiver for everyone but yourself. If you need babysitting provided so you can attend an activity, ask your spouse, a family member, or a neighbor. If you need alone time outside the home, let your spouse know.
I knew I needed time in the temple, but with nursing two babies, it felt impossible. Our solution was to all drive to the temple and my husband watched the children I did initiatory work. I nursed them before and after, and it worked for us. That time in the temple was recharging and helpful.
8. Act on even the smallest prompting you get.
“If we let the Lord know… that we are ready, He will call on us to respond. If we respond, He will call on us time and time again.” —Ronald A. Rasband (“Let the Holy Spirit Guide,” Ensign, May 2017)
One night I heard the Spirit say, “Go check on your daughter.” I had just gone to bed, and it was inconvenient, but I recognized Whose voice it was. When I went to check on her, her swaddle had loosened enough to be potentially dangerous and her mouth was covered.
As mothers, we all hope nothing happens to our children, but this is one of the reasons personal revelation is the most valuable gift I have as a parent. I cannot do it alone. The Spirit can guide, comfort, testify, and even warn.
9. Ask God to help you remember who you are.
“Learn for yourselves who you really are. Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions and review them often, and follow through with exactness. I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same.” —Pres. Russell M. Nelson (“Stand as True Millennials,” Ensign, October 2016)
Motherhood can be all-consuming. We can get caught up in the busy-ness and the variety of responsibilities that fall on us, but when I have taken time to be still and ask for God’s love and guidance, He always shows me a better way.
Motherhood can feel like we are always being asked to do everything. And we can falsely assume that means we have to do it alone. We can do all things…through Christ! (Philippians 4:13) As we busily care for children, we can still find time to foster personal revelation. We only need to take time to nurture our ability to use its power.