4: Love Notes from God
Stories in this episode: A trip to the temple reveals the six words that help Danielle remember who she is to God; Two strangers on rollerblades give Robyn the miraculous answer to her prayers; A moment of pure revelation helps Spencer navigate a painful divorce with grace.
KARYN LAY: Welcome to This is the Gospel, an LDS Living podcast where we feature real stories from real people who are practicing and living their faith every day. I'm your host, KaRyn Lay.
For today's episode, we've gathered three stories that illustrate the different ways we receive answers and guidance from God directly and personally, and maybe, more importantly, how those moments of revelation can remind us that we're known and loved, even in hard times.
Our first story comes from Danielle. Danielle originally shared this story on LDSliving.com and we loved it so much that we asked her to tell it to us live in our studio. Here's Danielle.
DANIELLE: I'm the kind of person who does not receive lightning bolt revelation. I wish that I did. I wish I had amazing dreams that told me where to go for college and who to marry, that's just not the way God works in my life. I've never heard a voice in my mind, except twice in my life, and both times the Savior said the same exact six words to me. And those words have come to embody, my entire testimony.
The first time I heard those words, was when I was receiving my patriarchal blessing at 16. The patriarch was telling me about the pre-mortal life, and that I knew my savior and I had felt his love for me. And all of a sudden, I heard these words in my mind, "I know you." And then they said, "You know me."
And suddenly I was awakened to this whole other knowledge and I was just flooded with this love. I've never felt so close to anyone in my life. And even though he wasn't present in the room, I just felt embraced by my Savior and His love for me. And it just completely embodied the gospel. Well, as it happens, life started and got in the way and I went on to college and became distracted with other things. And those words faded a little bit for me until I had another experience that made sure that I would never forget them. My first time in the temple, when I was receiving my initiatory ordinances, I heard the same exact words, "I know you, and you know me." And again, I was just flooded with this overwhelming love. And it felt like I had a little glimpse into what heaven will be like.
And I wanted so badly to have my savior there with me so I could see his face. But in my heart, I knew that didn't matter because I already knew him and he was my brother. And he still is. And though I can tend to complicate things and try and fixate on the intricacies of the gospel, I keep coming back to those six words. Because I think that's all that really matters. It's the simple things that count. And as long as I know my Savior, and I know that he knows me, nothing else matters.
KARYN LAY: I love that Danielle has found this common thread, a phrase that has significant meaning to her personally, running through her spiritual life.
Our next storyteller is Robyn, and she shares a deeply personal story that reminds us that sometimes just knowing God loves us can feel like it's a matter of life or death. Here's Robyn.
ROBYN: It was February of 2013 when I was sitting in a stake conference. And I was sitting there and I looked up and I saw the patriarch, sitting on the stand, and my spirit, like jumped. And the Spirit spoke to me and said, Robyn, he's someone you can talk to.
I started feeling like really nervous like my heart started pounding. And I look at the clock, and there's only like, five minutes until stake conference started.
I just stood up and booked it to the front. And I get up to the stand, and the patriarch sees me and he leans forward to shake my hand and I said, "I need to talk to you," and I bolted out the side of the chapel. And he kind of sat there like okay, so he got up and followed me. And I then just said, "The Spirit spoke to me just now and said, you are someone that I could talk to. Please give me a blessing. Will you please talk to me? I'm having a rough time in my life, I don't know how I got here. I was just barely stake camp director like, I don't know how I got here." And so he said, "Okay, meet me at my house at four today," like he felt the urgency of this.
So I went to his house that afternoon and he sat with me for over an hour. And we spoke about everything that I was going through, all the choices that I'd made. My husband and I were separated and I was not doing things that I should have been doing. So I was having a rough go at life. And then he gave me a powerful blessing.
But even then, you know, it was the hardest year of my life. And I had an experience where I was very angry, I was just angry, right? Just because you're willing to change, doesn't mean that it's easy, or that you don't want it. But I was very angry and I ended up just raging and yelling at my husband this one Sunday morning. And I ended up just leaving, I stormed out of the house. And the question formed in my mind, "Heavenly Father, do you love me?" Because I didn't love myself, you know, and it was really, really hard for me to be even okay with myself or tolerate myself. And so how could someone else love me? But I didn't get an answer at the time. So I got up and I went to the Jordan Parkway and I started walking. And I just had my hands in my pockets, had my head down, like it was like my head was magnetized toward the ground, I could not look up. And I was walking slowly and heavily, just thinking Heavenly Father, do you love me? I honestly didn't know. And again, I just, I received no answer. I just kept walking. And all of the sudden these two rollerblades come by. And the first one said, "Morning," cheerfully as they rollerbladed away. And I just, I think I mumble, "Morning," you know? And I asked again, "Heavenly Father, I need to know. Do you love me?"
And then these two women came blading toward me again, and they passed me, and I guess the first lady noticed me. And their blades stopped behind me, but I just kept walking. And I heard, "Hey," I was like, what do they want?
So I stopped and the lady said, "Are you okay?" And I just looked at them and I said, "I'm fine." And she said, "Come have breakfast with us." So I just said, "I'm fine," and I just walked away.
And then, it was minutes later, I hear this huffing and puffing behind me, you know, and it's rollerblades. And I'm like, seriously, what does she want? Like why? Just let me walk in my misery. But she came up behind me and said, "Hey," and she said, "listen, I don't know what you're going through. But I looked up to God and I said, 'What do you want me to do for this girl?' And you know what he told me? He said, 'Go after her. Go get that girl. And you tell her that God loves her."
And we stood there and wept, two strangers. And she said, "He loves you so much."
And I was in complete shock. Like, he actually answered me? Like through someone else? I'm usually the one who answers, you know, like, it was just crazy to me. I've never received such a profound answer to where I knew for sure that that was the answer to my prayer. I'm sure that that woman gained a greater testimony from that, from that moment, as well, of God, that He knows his children, that he loves his children. Doesn't matter where we are, doesn't matter what we're going through or how deep of a pit we've dug for ourselves, he will get down into that pit and he will get us out. So, I was thinking about it, I love how in John, in the New Testament, John himself refers to himself as the disciple that the Lord loveth. John knew that the Lord loved him, he knew it. And he could say it, you know, I'm the disciple that the Lord loveth. And my hope is that I can say that, you know. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ. And the Lord loves me. I am Robyn, whom the Lord loveth.
KARYN LAY: You may actually recognize Robyn's voice from her video of that story that went viral from our "This Is the Gospel" video series. The message of that story, that God knows us and loves us and is actively seeking ways to tell us that, has really hit a chord with a lot of people. And it's already reached one and a half million people all around the world. It's a perfect example of the power that our stories have to reach each other in a way that nothing else can.
The final story in this episode comes from Spencer. I've known Spencer for almost 20 years, and it never ceases to amaze me, his singular ability to take his real-life experiences and find the lesson in it. This story comes from a particularly challenging time in his life, his divorce. I think many of us can relate to the lesson he learned about how to move forward after a hard experience. Here's Spencer.
SPENCER: Nobody in my family had ever been through a divorce. So I didn't know what divorce looked like. It wasn't even in my, it wasn't in my you know, it wasn't like ever in my wheelhouse. And it wasn't something that I ever even thought about. Kind of in our family it was always like, you just don't do that.
So, a few years ago, kind of out of nowhere, my marriage came to an end. I didn't realize how easy it was to get divorced. In fact, I stress that to people a lot, like you might not think you're a candidate for divorce, but guess what, it can happen really easily.
Anyways, it wasn't something that I'd ever thought would actually happen. I mean, I knew we didn't have a perfect marriage, and there's times when I felt like, maybe afraid to even think to myself like, man, is this ever going to change? You know It's been 10 years, and we had three kids. And so I think, I mean, even though I knew we had our stuff, there wasn't anything major. And it was it just kind of happened one day where it was like, Hey, this is over. And so we separated.
So it was new, it was new territory for me. But I remember like I was driving, and like this reality of like, oh my gosh, something's happening. And I said a prayer, and you know, like side note here, I'm not like somebody who's always praying and getting all kinds of inspiration. But, I was praying and I was like, "What am I supposed to do now? Like, really, what should I do?" And I got an answer almost immediately. And that's again, I don't know if that's ever happened, maybe a couple of times, when I think back. And it wasn't like that I just felt good about something kind of confirmation, kind of answer that we hear about. I got an answer. And then it said, straight and clear to me, like, "Just love her." And it was the most like, kind of lightning bolt answer because it wasn't even what I expected, but it made everything clear. Like it was like, so simple and yet, everything opened up after that. I was like, oh, that's right. I'm just going to love her. No matter what the nature of your relationship. It wasn't like you're going to love her, and then you'll get back together. It was no matter what happens, you're gonna love her.
And that like single answer, that kind of principle has, you know, since that day, has made my life, like incredibly easy in some way, in this regard. Like every time I'm confronted with an opportunity to get hurt, or to get bitter or to get anything, I kind of remind myself of that, or I'm reminded of it. And, or even if I'm facing a decision, like what do I do here? I weigh it against that kind of command, like to love her, and then it makes the answer and the path I should take really obvious. By choosing love, I was capable of approaching every situation in a way that naturally I wouldn't have, right? And the natural side of me, it would have been easy to grow and bitter and angry and blame and play a victim, which I'm prone to do sometimes. So choosing love was really the way to lead, almost like a liberated, free life where there was nothing I had to worry about anymore.
And so when I see others with love, I see them clearly. And when I'm seeing them through my own thoughts and own selfish needs, everything gets hard and ugly and difficult. And that's maybe the most amazing part, that the Savior cuts through all of that through his perfect love.
KARYN LAY: That was Spencer. And I think his story and all the stories in this episode are such an important reminder that sometimes the answer to our prayers will come to us in totally unexpected ways. I don't know about you, but I think I'm going to keep my heart just a little more open this week to hear what God has to say.
So that's it for this episode of This Is the Gospel. Thanks to all of our storytellers and thank you for listening. To hear more real stories from this podcast or our video series, or to pitch your own story, visit us at LDSliving.com/thisisthegospel. And don't forget, if you love the stories we've shared, rate us on iTunes or anywhere that you find your podcasts. It will help more people to find us. Have a great week!