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The Power of Everyday Scripture with Emily Belle Freeman

Tue Jan 31 11:28:22 EST 2023

The scriptures provide us with the relief and peace we are seeking. We are promised that our testimony of the Savior will come through reading the word of God, and the scriptures will give us steadiness in an increasingly unstable world. Sometimes, it takes effort to get into the scriptures, but any effort we make is always worth it! 

He is concerned with the little details that are making up my life.
Emily Belle Freeman

Kathryn and today's guest Emily Belle Freeman continue the conversation about scripture. Emily is a woman who loves scripture and has from an early age! She's a beloved gospel teacher who has discovered how to incorporate the scriptures into her everyday life.

Top takeaways from this episode:

  1. It's okay if your love for the scriptures comes over time! It's similar to developing a relationship with a person. It takes time and work.
  2. Learn how to harness the power that the scriptures have to provide counsel and guidance.
  3. Find what you need from the scriptures and then go to them with that need in mind. It really can be so simple!
  4. You don't always need to set aside a lot of time. You can read one verse a day and it will gradually build upon itself.

Small & Simple Challenge
Wherever you go this week, take your scriptures with you and try to keep them open. As you are cleaning, making lunch, sitting at your desk, or just having a quiet moment alone in your room, keep the scriptures open to the same page you were reading in your studies and wait for what will stand out to you.


Kathryn Davis 00:00

What help could you use in your life right now more clarity, fresh perspective, relief from your worries? Hi and welcome to magnify an LDS Living podcast where we cheer, inspire and embolden each other as women and followers of Jesus Christ, we hope to use our influence to make a difference in the world. I'm your host, Kathryn Davis, a mom, a seminary teacher and a big football fan who loves God. The scriptures provide us with the relief and peace we are seeking. We are promised that our testimony of the Savior will come to reading the Word of God, and the scriptures will give us steadiness in an increasingly unstable world. Sometimes it takes effort to get into the scriptures, but any effort we make will always be worth it. In fact, this month we've been focusing on that effort by making time for the Lord every day. And to help with this last week, we introduced what we called the make time challenge. Each day, there was a daily redirect to help us transform an everyday task that we're already doing into something that creates space for God in our lives. And one of the challenges was to switch the scroll. The idea being that when you found yourself Mindlessly scrolling, you would switch over to the gospel Library app and read scripture for just two minutes. So many of you participated and shared your aha's with us. I just want to talk about some of those. Paige said, I noticed that making the intentional switch to create a little more time with gospel topics and spiritual things helped remind me that God cares about me. Sometimes social media can lead me to feel rather insignificant. Even though I tried to fill my feed with friends and funny clips. Switching my scroll to make sure I was scrolling through the scriptures or conference talks for a few minutes each day helped provide a reminder that God is aware of me. And that's what matters most. I felt like I could celebrate others instead of fall into the comparison trap as easily. Heather said I was more intentional about how I was using my downtime, I definitely have room for improvement. But it was nice to have a challenge that was short term and feel some improvement. I will add. I like the feeling of a group of women being challenged together. The feeling of maybe this is something we can all do better at was helpful to me and committing myself to try a little harder. Thanks for the experience. I felt the same Heather. Anna said I did notice that because I was trying to switch the scroll, I was more mindful about the time I spent scrolling, especially while spending time with people I love. I actually just ended up skipping the scroll altogether, I would open up the Instagram app and then just immediately close it because I would remember my goal to be more intentional with my time. Instead of scrolling. I connected with my family members, and we had a lot of meaningful gospel conversation. Anna that is so awesome. I love that. Nikki said, my experience really helped me be more intentional and giving time to the Lord each day. By the end of the week, I found myself spending more time on the gospel Library app than on social media. I also noticed that it helped me prepare for Sunday, I felt more connected in sacrament meeting and the young woman lesson. This experience helped me conclude that many times I go to social media first before the real truths that bring the most joy and satisfaction. This experience has helped me set a habit that I want to continue. Thanks for the experience. I love that turning to the things that will truly bring the most joy and satisfaction. We love hearing from you. So thank you for sharing your experiences with us. And please keep it up. I love to learn from you. And I know we can all learn from each other. Well, I'm excited to continue the conversation about Scripture with today's guest Emily Belle Freeman. She is a woman who loves scripture and has from an early age. She's a beloved gospel teacher who has discovered how to incorporate the scriptures into her everyday life. And today, we're going to pick her brain about how Scripture makes all the difference in her life. Well, Emily, it's become one of our favorite things here on magnify to throw some rapid fire questions at our guests to get to know them a little bit better. So I'm going to throw a couple rapid fire questions at you. Are you ready? Yep. You do this awesome thing with your Scriptures where you tape a flower in if you ever visit a spot that is mentioned in the scriptures. So what is your favorite flower that you've got taped in your scriptures right now?

Emily Belle Freeman 04:46

Okay, my favorite one is going to be a lily from Jerusalem from Israel that actually Michael Wilcox got for me. And it's in my scriptures in Matthew in that part that talks about consider the lilies of the field. And I think that is probably my most favorite flower. In all of my scriptures. I have a whole bunch. But I think that is hands down the one I love the most.

Kathryn Davis 05:13

How come? Is it the lily? Or is it the Scripture? Both?

Emily Belle Freeman 05:17

It's actually Michael Wilcox. I love Michael Wilcox so much. And he said to me, I went on a tour with him in Israel. And he had carried it around because he was worried there weren't going to be any when I got there, he was on a tour right before I came. And so he had carried it with him to make sure I didn't miss out on seeing Lily Lily, while I was there. And so the gift of the flower for me is as important as the flower itself.

Kathryn Davis 05:47

I love that. I also know you are a girl mom, to both your daughters, your daughters in law and to your granddaughters. So do you have any fun traditions or favorite outings with your girls that you love to do?

Emily Belle Freeman 06:03

Okay, so a really fun tradition that we have that actually started with my grandma, and then my mom, and then me, and now my girls, and my grand girls is in the most important family gathering times of our life, we buy something matching to all wear together for that thing. whatever it is. So if it's a trip, we always get a matching sweatshirt at General Conference, we all get matching girl pajamas. It's only the girls get to be involved in the tradition. But it is one of my favorite traditions. And even my like new daughter in laws know. They just know if we go on a trip, they'll just start looking. They're like, this could be the sweatshirt or this could be the sweatshirt. Like everybody just knows there's something about unity. And even the little girls know to be so excited about what are we all wearing that is matching together?

Kathryn Davis 06:57

Because it makes you feel a part of something. Yeah. And you're a part of a family. Yeah, I love that.

Emily Belle Freeman 07:02

And it's so fun when we go back and look at pictures of my grandma, when like, my mom was my age. And they have pictures of a matching outfit from wherever they were and if I don't know why, but it's like, you know, when you read that scripture about connecting the hearts of the children to their fathers and the fathers to their children, like there is such a Connect for me when I'm like, Oh, we do that too. We do that same thing that you did with your mom, it just is a sweet thing to pass down.

Kathryn Davis 07:31

Beautiful. Okay, my last question for you is, what is a song that you will never forget the lyrics to?

Emily Belle Freeman 07:39

Oh, well, this is terrible to say. There are just some that you just know, right? When you when someone starts singing You're like, like the Star Spangled Banner. I'm never gonna forget that. The Utah fight song. What about the Oreo commercial? Did you ever hear that one when you were growing up? The one that goes oh oh oh ice cold milk and an oreo cookie? Do you remember that one? Yes, I know that. That's it. Girls camp songs. Why not all the girls camp songs. You know, when people start singing? You're like, Oh, I know.

Kathryn Davis 08:13

You're like, I remember that one. Yeah, yeah. I know that. I'll join in. Yep. Well, Emily, I am kind of excited to have a conversation with you today. Because raising families and working and navigating all the complicated and intense things of life can be tiring and soul-wearying. All of this can contribute to a lack of desire to even open the Scriptures. And yet I think the clarity and understanding and relief we need is in the Scriptures. And I want to talk to you today about studying the scriptures and, and some of your experiences and how you have developed a love for the scriptures. How does spending time in the Scriptures steady you?

Emily Belle Freeman 08:54

Okay, well, I love being in my scriptures. And I think it's important for people to know, it's something that comes over time that love. The same way Like you create a relationship with a person. Yeah, has been true for me with my scriptures that as I'm willing to invest into that study. That's how it has become steadying for me. So I think for anyone who's like, it, just it's not steadying for me to study my scriptures should not frighten you. Because it just means that they feel new to you. It's like a new relationship. It's like the first time you go out to lunch with someone you're like, there are things I liked about that. But I was nervous the whole time we were at lunch, you know? And I think there's something sweet about realizing you are building a relationship and not with Scripture, with the Lord. That's who you're building the relationship with, but getting into the Scripture allows you to recognize him and his voice better, and because every time then you open your scriptures, what is the steadying force is actually him. That's what the force becomes. And so I just love that it's like a direct connect to him in our life.

Kathryn Davis 10:16

To him. And I think kind of like any small actions we take, there's a compounding effect over time, maybe being consistent in our efforts to just open it up. If it doesn't feel studying at first, there can be a compounding effect over time.

Emily Belle Freeman 10:33

Yes. And I think also your purpose for going in. That's something that made a really big difference in my life, because I grew up in the era where we did things like read the whole Book of Mormon in a summer, or we would we would have these challenges. And so reading it became like an assignment or a checklist, or I just have to get through this many, you know, things before I'm done, and you kind of ran out as fast as you could, because you had other things that maybe were, you know, you were trying to get to. And so it just was a task to be done, like brushing your teeth, like, do you feel closer to anyone when you brush your teeth, because I don't, you know, it's just a job to be done. And it was as I got older, and someone introduced me to the idea that the scriptures could actually provide answers and guidance and counsel real life Council into my real life situation. And then I was like, I don't know if I've ever experienced that before. So whatever that is, I want to learn how to harness that in my life. So I started going into the scriptures for a different reason, not for a checklist, or a chore or a task. But I went in actually looking for answers. And as soon as I started doing that, everything shifted in my brain because actually started receiving answers. And then they started being really direct answers where I could say, okay, he actually really is speaking to me, when I open up the words of this book, and I do want that, and I want it every single day of my life.

Kathryn Davis 12:23

So switching the focus. Yeah, that kind of opened that up for you a little bit. Your purpose?

Emily Belle Freeman 12:28

Yeah, switching the reason why I was going in is what changed my scripture reading.

Kathryn Davis 12:33

And I like how you said, I think growing up, it was always a checklist or a task or a competition, or something to win. Yeah, you know, to hurry in and read through the scriptures. What do you think aren't things that keep women today from opening up those scriptures?

Emily Belle Freeman 12:49

So I think the biggest one is time, like, yeah, we wake up going, I don't know if that is true for everyone who's listening. But like, what, I opened up my eyes. And my first inclination is, what day is it? What do I have to do today? My brain just immediately when my eyes open, that's where I start going, because then I'm going to think, do I eat breakfast? First? Do I get dressed first? Do I like what do I do first, because what's coming next. And I feel like we actually live in a world where we are so bombarded with information, and Calendars, and expectations, that there really is not a whole lot of time for quiet. And scripture reading really does go to that part of your brain that needs quiet, you know, it just it needs reflection. And then in our mind, we're like, oh, I don't actually have time to do that right now. And so I think time is a huge factor. I think exhaustion, weariness, just not having the capacity at the end of the day to do it. And maybe not having the time at the beginning of the day plays into that. I think too, sometimes inadequacy plays in that we're like, I don't think I'm going to understand what I read when I get in there. And so it's like, it's not really worth my time getting in, because it doesn't really make sense to me when I get in there. And those are all tactics of Satan, to distract us from the place that we can go to maybe get some of the most relevant answers of our life and none of them are true. Like you don't need a lot of time. Sometimes for me, one verse a day is all I get it, that's just the way that day goes. But one verse is one verse, you know, at the end of seven days, that's seven verses. So it's all going to add up. That's the beauty about the scriptures is it's always going to add up. It's just time spent in there.

Kathryn Davis 14:48

So when you are stressed for time, or you're weary, and you turn to the scriptures for one verse, how does God Change you with that one verse or how does it satisfy your soul?

Emily Belle Freeman 15:03

Okay, that's such a good question. So it kind of helps maybe if you look at, like a life led by Scripture makes it easier to then have those moments of just one verse. So when I can read a whole chapter, usually what I'll do is go through and there will be things that stand out to me, maybe this is true for you. But usually a word, or a phrase will stand out to me. And I don't read straight through hardly ever, unless it's part of a curriculum that I'm studying. But like, when it's my own personal study, I tend to just open up just like what am I in the mood for? Am I in the mood for Helaman? I'm gonna go to Helaman. Am I in the mood for Jacob? I'll go into Jacob. Do I want something from the saints? I'll just start flying through the Doctrine and Covenants. Sometimes I pick my lucky number. Sometimes I just pick the first two numbers that come to my mind. I like am a very spontaneous scripture study, or I don't love to go in order. I like him to surprise me. If I start reading, and I'm bored. I don't finish. Like if I'm like, this is nothing here is connecting with me, then I'll be like, I messed up. I didn't want Helaman today, I have to go with Moroni, and I'll open up to him instead. No one gets their feelings hurt. So it's fine. Usually, when I read, just something will like... I can just feel the spirit settle in me like, oh, yeah, this is a good one for you today. And I'll read through. And sometimes I just need that I just need like, Oh, that is exactly what I needed today. But sometimes, one verse will like, jump out at me, then I will be like, Oh, I actually really did need that. Right. And it's super common, if you were to come to my house and walk through to find verses spread out around my house of like, something that was a standout that I was like, oh, I want to actually think about that more. I don't have time right now, I usually never have time. Like if I read a chapter, I'm not going to have time to think about the verse, I chose a chapter, right? But I do want to think about that first. So I'll hang it on my mirror, or I'll put it on the fridge. And usually it's not pretty. I just am like, I got to think more about this. So on the days when it's been the whole day, and it's 1030 at night, and I'm going to bed and I haven't done anything, there are several places in my house that I can walk and just be like, oh, yeah, I want to think about that verse. And I'll just read it from my paper. I won't even open my scriptures. But I'll just read it for my paper. And I'll be like, Okay, what is the spirit trying to teach me about that verse right now?

Kathryn Davis 17:38

I think so many people struggle with when they get into their scriptures, or think about studying the scriptures is they don't just really have a desire. And so what would you share with someone who kind of lacks the desire?

Emily Belle Freeman 17:53

I would say two things, first of all, checking that intention for why you're going in? And if you can think of a need. So what is it circumstance that you're in that maybe is uncomfortable? Or what is it something you're praying for an answer, or maybe even a miracle that you're praying for, or who is someone that you're praying about or you wish you could resolve a relationship with or any of those things. I think one of the most powerful things you can do before you even open the pages, is figure out what your need is. And if you can figure out what your need is, that will give you a desire to then go in and hope for an answer or for communication or for connection of some kind. So I think if you're not having desire to just sit down and think what is my need right now? I think the other thing too, is sometimes for me, I just need a heaven pick me up. That's what I need. I just need like somebody to reset my perspective. And so sometimes I know my desire is not in the right place, I can feel it, you know, when you just can feel that uncomfortable place that your soul is in. And sometimes for me, it's just recognizing my soul is in an uncomfortable spot. So I might not desire to get in my scriptures. And all the more reason to just like, I like the competition in that I like the challenge of it. I just want to be like, because I actually don't feel like opening up my scriptures, I'm going to just to prove to myself that I can. That I'm capable of that.

Kathryn Davis 19:44

That's so good that figuring out your need. Yeah. Such a good question to ask yourself before you open up the Scriptures. And even if you're not super familiar with the Scriptures, and I think some of it like you said earlier some people can be a little intimidated with what they perceive as a lack of understanding of scriptures or being able to understand what a verse is saying. And you and I have both spent a lot of time in Scripture. And it's the compounding effect. It's taken time and time and time to learn and understand the scriptures. But I really love Elder Christofferson gave a great talk about the blessing of Scripture. And whether you're really familiar with scripture or not, I think he gives some amazing points that can help all of us, the first thing he says is that scriptures enlarge our memory by helping us always to remember the Lord and our relationship to Him and the Father. And so I want to ask you kind of your experiences with that. In a world that has a lot to say about who we are and what we should be doing and who we should be looking like, how does Scripture help you remember who you really are?

Emily Belle Freeman 20:55

Oh I love that so much. In fact, I've been studying just this past week, moments where other people in Scripture have felt inadequate with the situation that they're in, or the circumstance that they're in. And one of my favorites to go to is Moses. But I also love Joseph Smith does something really similar. And it happens for Samuel and for Gideon, and there's so many places where someone is just like, not up to the task at hand or where they are. And one of my favorite things in Moses, right in that very first chapter is when the Lord shows up into his story and says, I am the Lord. And you are my son, and I have a work for you to do. And then I love when you turn the page, there is this moment when he says and you will be made stronger. And one of the things that I love about Scripture reminding us who we are, is when we actually put ourselves into the shoes of someone who's felt really similar to what we're feeling in that moment. And for me, I look at that Moses story. And I go back to it regularly. Because I want to imagine him saying to me, I am God. And you are my daughter, and I have a work for you. And then what do I need in that moment? You will be made stronger, you will be made more compassionate, you will be made whatever I need in that moment. And I love that scripture is just someone else's story of how God worked in their life. And so if you can find someone's story who you're like, Oh, I actually know exactly what they're going through. That's what I feel like I'm going through right now. Yeah. And get in there and put yourself in their shoes. All the sudden there are beautiful lessons that will be revealed.

Kathryn Davis 22:52

And I think it's interesting. You said you go back to that Moses story frequently to hear God's saying that to you. In Moses, his story, how many times does God have to repeat that to Moses? Moses, my son? Yes, my son, and we need to hear that message again. And again. Yeah, and we can hear it when we turn to the Scripture. I love that. Okay, the second thing Elder Christofferson said is this, he says, scriptures are the standard for distinguishing truth and error. And I think in a world of instant communication, there is so much confusion and misinformation everywhere we look. So how does Scripture help you navigate the confusion?

Emily Belle Freeman 23:35

So again, I really love looking back. For example, one of the things that I'm fascinated with right now is what should our church community look like? And our sacrament meetings, what should they look like? And there's so much talk about all the social injustices and changes and things that are happening in the world right now. And you hear a lot of different voices saying a lot of different things. And I'm super interested in what did the church look like that would have been at a time that was similar? And what can we learn from them? And what one of my favorite places to go is Third Nephi 18. They're asking that same question, like who can come in and who can worship with us? And what would that look like? And I love when he just says flat out you should not turn anyone away from your synagogues or your places of worship. But you should let everyone come in and you should continue to Minister he says and pray for them. Yeah. Because you don't know whether they will eventually return and repent and turn to me. He says, and I will heal them. And you will be the means. And I love that like that was written 1000s of years ago, but it's super applicable to me right now and how I choose to interact with people who walk in the doors of my congregation. And what should I be doing? Continue to minister and pray for them. And I don't know whether one day they will return and repent, and he will be able to heal whatever it is they're carrying. But I can be the means.

Kathryn Davis 25:16

Don't you love that? I want to be the means. Like that is powerful. I do too. Right. Okay, the last thing Elder Christofferson said is this, the central purpose of all scripture is to fill our souls with faith in God the Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ. So like he said, coming to know God, the Father and Jesus Christ is the central purpose of the scriptures. And I want to ask you, this is probably one of my favorite questions is what have you learned about God the Father in Jesus Christ through the Scriptures?

Emily Belle Freeman 25:48

One of my favorite places to turn to when I think about that question happens to be the New Testament. And one of the reasons why I love it so much, particularly the first four books, the Gospels, is because Jesus tells us, I came here to reveal the Father to you. So if you want to know what the Father looks like, loves like, acts like you just need to watch me. And then you will know what the father is like. And so for four books of Scripture, we actually get to watch him, we get to see how he interacts with people, we get to see how he loves, we get to see how he weeps and why he weeps. We see the people who we ate lunch with, who we had conversations with, we watch how he lived out a day. I love thinking that what I see in him, I would also see in the Father, and I think if you are someone who's struggling with the character of Christ, or you know, with who the father is, that that's one of the most beautiful places to turn is to the Gospels to the New Testament. And to just start looking for, what do you learn about Jesus on those pages, that maybe might feel unexpected, that might feel different than the God you grew up believing in? That maybe he's a little more tender, maybe he's a little more welcoming. Maybe he is against injustices, you know, maybe he, he sees where you are, and he will meet you in that place. Maybe there's something about him that you missed, and the only place you're ever going to find it is actually in the pages of Scripture.

Kathryn Davis 27:37

So what is something unexpected about Jesus Christ that you've learned, even in this month of studying the New Testament? Is there something that you've kind of stood out to you?

Emily Belle Freeman 27:48

Yeah, so one of the things that I've been doing this year that is different than any other year, and I just felt compelled to do it in January, was to read all four of the Gospels in one month, which I've never done before. And one of the things that it's helped me to see is how individual his ministry is to people. Like when you start reading the same story, two different times, or three different times, and you start looking at the little details in those stories. And all of a sudden, you think to yourself, Wait, he really is concerned about the conditions and the particulars of a life. Like he knows the number of years, he knows what needs to happen next, like the little tiny details, he actually was very aware of those little details. And I think we forget that about him. And what I have loved is realizing that if he really is that concerned about the little details, as you go through the Gospels, then he's probably concerned about my little details also, that are making up my life. And so when I'm thinking, at the end of the day, or in the morning, what should I pray about? Like, what does he even care to know about? And then I think about the Gospels, and I'm like, Oh, he cares that the parents fed the daughter of Jairus, right when she got up because he's like, she's probably hungry, gave her someone should feed her. It mattered to the leper, that Jesus actually touched Him when He healed him, because he probably hadn't been touched for years. Like there's just little tiny things about Jesus that you're like, oh, he actually cares about those tiny details that some of us might have forgotten, and I love that about him.

Kathryn Davis 29:48

I love that. It just goes back to Nathaniel right at his moment of questioning and God Do you see me? And then Jesus responds, I saw Are you under the fig tree? Yes. Like that he sees us in all of our moments, in our happy moments in our sad moments in our cars and our homes in our kitchens. He sees us. Yeah. I love knowing that about him also, like what we were saying it changes when I pray, I think, Oh, he is interested. And he does want to hear and he knows me. Yes. Okay, Emily, each episode, we like to end with a small and simple invitation, some simple action that we can take on for the day or for the week. So what is your small and simple thing we might try this week to draw upon the power of Scripture?

Emily Belle Freeman 30:39

Okay, I'm going to give you the best suggestion that ever worked in my life. And it's so easy, I'm going to give you an invitation for the next seven days to leave your scriptures open. Don't shut them. Just leave them open all the time, wherever you were reading last. Stay open to that page, and let your scriptures move with you. Wherever you are. In your home. If you're doing your laundry, take him to the laundry, leave him open wherever you were reading last. And if you're making lunch, set them on the kitchen counter. One of the things that I learned if my scriptures are open, it's a really easy invitation to jump back in. So just leave them open for a week and see what happens.

Kathryn Davis 31:28

And that's so good when we're at different stages in our life. Right? Like as a young mom, or as if you're working just to leave them open. It makes it that much easier to be in there. To read the scriptures.

Emily Belle Freeman 31:44

Yeah, and I will give this word of caution. I am a leave your scriptures open all the time personality. And one thing I've learned about toddlers is if there's an open book, they're super interested in what is going on there. And if you were to get into my scriptures, you will see a lot of scribbles and even some ripped pages that I put back together with scotch tape. Because when the scriptures are open, little hands are trying to discover what is going on in there. And in my life. I'm like, I want my kids to know I read the scriptures. I want my grandkids to know, I read the scriptures. And if that means there's going to be scribbles and ripped pages. I don't even care because my kids will know. Oh, our mom always had her scriptures open. Always. And for me, there's nothing I wish they knew more. So it's worth all the scribbles and the ripped pages to let them know I actually love being in my scriptures.

Kathryn Davis 32:45

Don't you love looking back at those ripped pages and little scribbles?

Unknown Speaker 32:49

Yes, I actually do. I actually do love that.

Kathryn Davis 32:52

I love that. Emily, thank you so much for being here today. You are welcome. One thing that I really loved about today's conversation is this idea that we can go into our scriptures looking for a need to be filled that we have. I don't think I do that as often as I should. But I truly believe the answers will come that if we have a need and we can identify that need, it can increase our desire and our motivation to get in the scriptures and stay in the scriptures. Thank you for being here and hop on over to Instagram at magnify community for more inspiration and conversation. And of course subscribe and listen to the Magnify podcast wherever you get your shows. See you next week.

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