I taught a Young Women’s called “Why was a restoration necessary” and it really put into perspective the significance of the restoration of the Gospel. It is so exciting that truths, revelation, ordinances, authority and prophets that were available when Jesus Christ originally set up His church is once again here on earth to guide and bless our lives!!
I LOVED Elder Robert D. Hales talk, “Prepartions for the Restoration and Second Coming” because it was a clear and personal witness to me that God is willing and eager to bless His children with TRUTH anytime we are willing and ready to receive it. Even though the fullness of Christ Gospel was taken from the earth, Heavenly Father’s hand in guiding and inspiring mankind to receive it once again is evident throughout history.
It is interesting to me that there had to be lots of things set IN MOTION as mankind grew, matured and developed (just as we do individually) to bring about the right circumstances for a young boy to ask God which church he should join. There had to be a spiritual maturity in mankind itself for the Gospel to return in a sustainable way. This maturity was brought about by curiosity and a strong desire to know TRUTH. This included secular learning and questioning current social norms and widely accepted beliefs. Above all, a fierce trust in something and someone greater than themselves. Many gave up their LIVES for the sake of truth, after all!
To illustrate the chain of events that happened to bring about the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ I brought these toy gears–once again my kid’s toys serving as inspiration 🙂 — I explained that there had to be certain events, inventions, exploration and mentalities put in MOTION that led the way to the restoration.
If you’ve noticed at all, many of my post are LDS Young Women lessons. To be honest, I didn’t create this blog to post about YW lessons. I intended it to focus on tricks that I find help me with my motherhood life that could hopefully help others (Oh. Maybe thats why I titled the blog “Tricks of the Motherhood Trade”).
The thing is, my faith is a HUGE component of my life, in fact it is not just a component, it is something that is seamlessly integrated into who I am and why I choose to do and think what I do. It affects everything. The principles I share are part of my bags of ‘tricks’ for motherhood and life.
It has been a huge blessing that I was called into the YW a little after I started this blog. Since I was planning, thinking and creating material for my lesson anyway, this blog became the perfect outlet to share what I was already doing. It also gave me the chance to share the dearest part of my heart and life-my testimony of the reality of Jesus Christ. Teaching YW provided topics and resources and became the perfect ground to talk about, share and fine tune for myself the beliefs I had.
Having said that, I hope these lessons, although initially intended to teach teenaged girls in a church group, can be read and applied to anyone’s life. Mothers, girls, women, boys and men. These are principles of a happy, fulfilling life.
With that said, the things I share are true feelings, beliefs and stories that I share with my YW but I share them to also hopefully help anyone else along too.
The lesson was I teaching on was Why do we have adversity? Which was timely for me. The last couple weeks I’ve been pretty sick. I had a fever higher than I can ever remember having. It was 103-104 degrees for 4 days. I was weak and exhausted. I somehow still had to take care of my 3 sick kids on top of that. I knew complaining and getting frustrated at my situation would only make things worse so I did what I could to redirect my focus to what I COULD do and think (not to say I didn’t have my weak moments of utter defeat!). I thought of the YW lesson I was preparing to teach and thought, “Oh perfect. There is no better way to learn about why we have adversity than to go through this.” My thinking shifted to “What can I learn from this? and “How can this experience help me grow?”
That mental shift changed everything.
Here some of the things I learned.
Tribulations brings a softening and humbling of spirit and heart. When I was so physically weak from illness, I was reminded of how I feel when I fast. The physical weakness and lack of energy can be turned to a precious moments of humility and direct one to a different power beyond physical strength-spiritual strength.
I have learned every experience, evening if unpleasant at the moment, can be used to create more room in ones soul to allow greater strength and experience deeper peace and joy later.
Feeling spiritually disconnected and alone The most difficult moments for me are not the physically weak ones but the moments when I feel alone, left in the dark and disconnect from the source of peace and joy. The most trying challenge comes when I can hardly feel that spiritual strength and power within myself.
Being sick for that length of time combined with the demands of parenthood left me unbalanced in all sorts of ways. Despite my efforts, I wasn’t getting enough rest for what my body needed to recover. I didn’t leave for the gym in the mornings because I felt too sick. Which meant I didn’t get the exercise I usually get which helps keep me emotionally, mentally and physically afloat. This threw me for a mental/spiritual/emotional spin off. It left me feeling really down casted, unmotivated, depressed and easily discouraged by everything. It was that familiar dark place where it feel like something inside me has died. Life feels dismal and meaningless. Everything I was once excited about–my passions, my ideas, my insights– all seem to disappear. Thinking about things like that at the time of gloom seemed like foolish nonsense.
Having gone through this several times before (see “dealing with mommy blues“) I have learned that this is actually part of the test. It is the most difficult testing point for me. It is where I must make good choices when I feel no motivation for them. It is a slippery time when I feel my very faith and sentiment toward God seems dim and waning. It is where the darkness of doubt, fear and insecurities creep in again to confuse everything inside me.
I have learned that however seemingly illogical, I must still continue to seek the God I can no longer feel and the light that seems like is no longer there to guide me. I must make good choices for myself and respect others even when I don’t feel like it. It is the only way to get out the dark.
It is a moment where my FAITH becomes a principle of deliberate DECISION and ACTION instead of a genuine sentiment or feeling.
I thought of Joseph Smith and how he must have also felt abandoned when he cried out, “Oh God, where art thou?” in Carthrage Jail. I know my experience is not nearly as dramatic and devastating as that of the prophet but I believe that no matter our outer challenges it is the inner workings and battles of the soul in each of us that are the most challenging and ultimately where our character is built.
Heavenly Father answers Joseph’s plea with, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;” (D&C 121:7) I thought, “This too shall pass and I will enjoy greater happiness once I am able to overcome this yucky time!”
What is happening TO you is happening FOR you.
I used to stay in the dumps for a long time before I was able to climb out. I used to panic and condemn myself for what I was experiencing and it would start a vicious cycle that made it difficult to climb out of. Now I know to not freakout. I am getting quicker and better because of what I have learned. Doom and gloom are lies from the adversary we must learn to not believe. It is not because God has abandoned us. He is ALWAYS there, even in and especially during the times we can’t feel Him. He lets us experience dark moments and soul shaking attacks from the adversary because He knows we grow tremendously every time we can conquer those times with His strength. It is pressing forward in faith and continuing to make positive choices even when we don’t feel like it. Overcoming the dark cavities within ourselves create greater room for the Spirit to dwell with in us. It is preparatory for us to enjoy greater joy and peace and connection to God later. He allows these sorts of things FOR OUR OWN GROWTH and GOODNESS. Trust.
“Almost three years ago a devastating fire gutted the interior of the beloved, historic tabernacle in Provo, Utah. Its loss was deemed a great tragedy by both the community and Church members. Many wondered, “Why did the Lord let this happen? Surely He could have prevented the fire or stopped its destruction.”
Ten months later, during the October 2011 general conference, there was an audible gasp when President Thomas S. Monson announced that the nearly destroyed tabernacle was to become a holy temple—a house of the Lord! Suddenly we could see what the Lord had always known! He didn’t cause the fire, but He allowed the fire to strip away the interior. He saw the tabernacle as a magnificent temple—a permanent home for making sacred, eternal covenants.4
My dear sisters, the Lord allows us to be tried and tested, sometimes to our maximum capacity. We have seen the lives of loved ones—and maybe our own—figuratively burned to the ground and have wondered why a loving and caring Heavenly Father would allow such things to happen. But He does not leave us in the ashes; He stands with open arms, eagerly inviting us to come to Him. He is building our lives into magnificent temples where His Spirit can dwell eternally.
If you would like to use this analogy to teach your family, or church group, here is the download of the pictures in a PDF. It can be printed on paper (or cardstock) to display as you tell the story.
[Download not found]
I’ve had this comes to my mind often:
I think it is important to write down our thoughts and impressions we receive in moment of clarity and wisdom. Quotes and scriptures that touch us and help us through are essential to write down so we have positive references when life isn’t looking or feeling good. It’s all about REMEMBERING. I created this handout for anyone to use to help them remember the good stuff that will pull us through!
I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!
A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable on Becoming
I’m guessing’ you are looking for a printable for your lesson or some inspiration?? Great news, All faith building content has moved to SeekingEternalTruth.com!!
A site created by yours truly (Sariah Tate) jam packed with all the feel good, inspiring, faith building content, printables you are looking for! Yay. Click here for this specific printable on Christlike love.
I’m preparing a YW lesson for this month’s theme of Priesthood and priesthood keys. So I’ve been mulling over in my brain and heart how I feel about the priesthood (the power of God given to man on earth, read more about it here.). I’ve also been thinking about the great blessing it is in my life and for everyone that participates in the ordinances involved.
I know it can become a sensitive subject to some since there are those that feel like they never had the priesthood in their homes. There are others that feel it an injustice since “women don’t hold the priesthood.” The reality, however, is that ALL MEMBERS of THE CHURCH– guys, girls, kids, old and young– get to receive and participate in priesthood blessings (Read this ).
As Elder Oaks said, “While we sometimes refer to priesthood holders as ‘the priesthood,’ we must never forget that the priesthood is not owned by or embodied in those who hold it. It is held in a sacred trust to be used for the benefit of men, women, and children alike.”
Here is an analogy depicting our individual role, responsibility and blessings within the priesthood.
What is more important in helping a car run and move forward? The steering wheel or the wheels?
I like to think of the priesthood (the power of God given to man on earth) as a complete car and the members as different vital components that help the whole car function. All members can ride, benefit, receive and contribute to the priesthood, but each person has different responsibilities to build and operate it smoothly. We all are vital components needed to make it run; the whole couldn’t operate without the individual parts.
Just because one person is called to be the ‘steering wheel’ doesn’t make him better or worse or more important than those who serve as the ‘wheels’. A steering wheel is useless to the whole function of the car without the rest of the parts. Comparing and arguing who has what part or what responsibility and feeling resentful of the difference instead of focusing on the performance of the whole results in an unsatisfying, dysfunctional and divided effort. Focusing on doing our part, keeping our end of the covenant, trusting and allowing the car and work of the Lord to move forward brings satisfaction, blessings and progress to the whole and individuals involved.
That is what helps brings the power of God (or priesthood) into our personal lives. Sister Sherry Dew said, “The power of the priesthood heals, protects, and inoculates all of the righteous against the powers of darkness.” Think of the ‘priesthood car’ as a vehicle on the way to eternal life protected against the thick and luring powers of Satan all around.
That is awesome power to have, if you ask me. AND we can ALL have that personal power of the priesthood in our lives as we make and stay true to our sacred covenants! Yay!
Sister Dew continues, “Most significantly, the fullness of the priesthood contained in the highest ordinances of the house of the Lord can be received only by a man and woman together.” It is a power that is then increased as men and women come together and complete each other in the priesthood. One part cannot fully function without the other. There is humility required in understanding that we depend on one another and to achieve unity.
This analogy can be perpetuated to a large scale to encompass the entire ‘vehicle’ of The Church of Jesus Christ as we trust the ordained leaders in our church. This includes callings in our local wards and family units. We must trust that our part is moving the Lord’s work forward, whatever that may be. We are all full partakers of the blessings of the priesthood as we make promises with God and receive awesome blessings and power like the Holy Ghost to lead us. It opens up our eyes to how precious we are in producing a lot of good in this church, in our own personal lives, and in this world to glorify God.
I trust that Heavenly Father is the master ‘car engineer.’ He is not only the engineer but the DRIVER Himself. Man is not the one ‘driving the priesthood,’ He is only operating through God.
Heavenly Father knows our divine capacities and where we will serve best. He also understands we need to learn to rely on each other and Him. I’m so happy He lends to all His children His power of the priesthood to direct and protect us in this life so we can return back to Him. Its a beautiful thing.
Scripture to tie into car analogy: D&C: 84:109-110
109 Therefore, let every man stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet; for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand?
110 Also the body hath need of every member, that all may beedified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Love this quote because we are really all in this together:
Here is the file to download to use as a handout (4 on a pg) [Download not found]
I believe our souls are inherently seeking divine guidance that will lead us personally to true and lasting peace, happiness and success in all areas of our lives.
The great news is that we are not alone in this earthly journey! We are children of a God that is happy and eager to impart His wisdom, light and guidance that will lead us along our way to become beings greater than we could have even imagined ourselves!! He wants to lead us to success–most likely not in the way our puny human minds imagine it, but only as a deeply loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Father understands it. Success in a far greater and deeper way than we even thought possible!!
How is this done? How in the world do we tap into that Heavenly knowledge that can direct us back to spiritual success? How do we train our mind, body and soul to seek out the living water of truth available to us instead of accepting and following every other voice, impulse and direction that is fighting for our attention? How do learn to LISTEN? To that sweet, gentle, still small voice of the Spirit that will guide us to truth and righteous? ” And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your atrust in that bSpirit which leadeth to do dgood—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to gjudge righteously; and this is my Spirit. Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall aenlighten your bmind, which shall fill your soul with cjoy; And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.” D&C 11:12-14
I’m teaching the YW lesson “How Do I Receive Personal Revelation?” and I’m excited to share insight I have learned through studying the lesson and the wise words of apostles and prophets on this topic!! I created this worksheet for personal or classroom use as a guide to finding answers in our lives. Below is a worksheet of my personal elaboration on each section of the worksheet.
[Download not found] First, We Gotta Ask QUESTIONS!! You know that scripture that says, “Ask, and it shall be bgiven you; cseek, and ye shall find;dknock, and it shall be opened unto you:” It is FOR REAL. It is real because Heavenly Father seriously desires to and does reveal and open the gates of Heaven for us. But it is contingent upon our efforts to seek those answers! Posing big or small questions engages our mind and spirit to receive answers! When we sincerely and continually ponder and seek divine direction in our lives, we become OPEN. Our eyes see what we otherwise would not have seen, our ears hear what we otherwise would not have heard and our hearts take in what would have otherwise passed by us. It is a conscious effort on our part, but receiving nuggets of wisdom and understanding from our Father in Heaven can be a constant and infinitely rewarding prize.
Removing Spiritual Blocks We need to remember that God’s plan is NOT to hold back guidance that will lead us to greater happiness. But He simply CANNOT communicate what is needed if we are unwilling to listen or not in a position to listen. Think ‘spiritual toddler.’ If we are having a ‘tantrum’ over a trial, we most likely won’t listen to a loving parent who genuinely wants to assist us. This happen much more than we are probably willing to admit. Just like it would be like in leading a small child we gotta be that calm child, who is finally eager to listen, who isn’t crying wildly in frantic panic, who isn’t just concerned about getting ‘her way’. Elder Henry B. Eyring said, “Many of us, in moments of personal anguish, feel that God is far from us. The pavilion that seems to intercept divine aid does not cover God but occasionally covers us. God is never hidden, yet sometimes we are, covered by a pavilion of motivations that draw us away from God and make Him seem distant and inaccessible. Our own desires, rather than a feeling of “Thy will be done,”2 create the feeling of a pavilion blocking God.” Read his talk.
Living a life to have a connection with the Spirit. I cannot think of better way to receiving guidance from God than to revolve our daily efforts in striving to keep and listen to the Spirit. It means being humble enough to listen to that quiet voice that speaks right into our hearts to practice patience, to forgive oneself and others, that feeling that sweetly nudges us to listen closer and more empathically to our loved ones, that split second thought that says to know not indulge in gossip when the moment arises, that gentle feeling that encourages us to let go of our anger or frustration over someone or a situation. It tries to communicate with us ALL DAY LONG but if we are too distracted, too stressed, too busy, too tired, too consumed with worldly pursuits and entertainment it is SO easy to miss, so easy to be totally desensitized and disconnected from it. But if we but make small efforts day by day to invite the Spirit, to keep it in the forefront of our hearts and minds, to take care of our bodies, to read the truths found in scriptures, and talks and church magazines, to manage our emotions, to keep a clean mind and heart, then we will open communication from heaven to help us with our questions, concerns, decisions and it is AMAZING the feeling and life we can have for ourselves. “It is important that our daily activities do not distract us from listening to the Spirit.” -Richard G. Scott, read his talk about “Obtaining personal revelation and inspiration for your life”
Understanding what it feels like and what it means to receive revelation and divine guidance. I believe that when we speak of REVELATION, we can make it out to seem to so big and sometimes so sensationalized that we can miss that we have already received guidance or miss the answer that Heavenly Father is trying to communicate with us. Even though there are incredible stories of faith found in the scriptures and even in our church culture of receiving answers to prayers, most of the most miraculous experiences are quiet, personal, and seemingly undramatic. The truth is that our seemingly anticlimactic answer to our long time pleas and prayers, if we open our hearts of understanding, can hold even more deep and much more powerful influence in our personal lives and lives of others than the most sensationalized, awe inspiring, mouth dropping answers and miracles performed in history!!
“And it came to pass when they heard this voice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—” -Heleman 5:30
My personal experience with receiving inspiration and guidance I think and ponder about a subject and that I’m curious about/ have questions about or need direction with. When I am connected to the spirit, I feel like my thoughts are heighten, my mind is expanded to understand things in a broader eternal perspective. But it is not with my continual and conscience desire to know, ponder and understand truth.
Heavenly father rarely just dumps revelation out of nowhere (though at times it may seem sudden). He wants to direct us to the answer thought by thought, feeling by feeling, process by process, line upon line as it says. It is like a treasure hunt where we continually gather evidence, clues along the way as make decisions and press forward. We learn bit by bit as we are willing and ready to receive it. As we receive it we can feel the truthfulness of a principle.
God allows for this type of learning because when we come upon the answers through our own diligent seeking and willingness to receive, those answers become a PART of us. We have made an effort to be taught by the Holy Ghost. When it communicates with us it goes straight to the heart, not as an external passing thought but to the deep and spiritual part of our being that swallows and accepts truth for itself and becomes an integral part of our nature as we continue to apply the truth we have learned. It is receiving and experimenting by putting it to the test, trusting in God and in ourselves. It is a learning process, it is a journey.
I love Elder Bednar’s analogy (here is a great vid on it) on receiving light. I believe that revelation be sometimes received in all three ways that he explains (light switch, sunrise, and foggy day). We can have a light ‘switch moment’ or aha moment of what we should do. Then we have to move forward to make that decision in our lives step by step, noticing more and more guidance and understanding (like a sunrise). Yet we may be traveling as what may seem a fog day, not know everything ahead of us, trusting with each step with what we can see and having faith that are moving in the right direction.
I was searching my brain on how I could represent what happens to us spiritually when we sin and how repentance is such a beautiful gift that is given to us to cleanse and help us come to know greater levels of happiness and come to know our Father in Heaven. I’m excited to share this object lesson that came to my mind as I was pondering ways to illustrate this concept. Enjoy! This goes with this YW lesson, here are my additional thoughts, insight and handout that goes with the lesson.
Here is what you need for the object lesson:
Stress Ball or Sponge (cut out like a heart if desired)
Here is the basic written out from of the video: I’m going to attempt to illustrate to you with an object lesson how repentance can help us everyday and how it is a key part of feeling and living in an abundance of real peace love and happiness.
This foamy stress ball heart represents our heart. (if you are try to do this object lesson you can use a sponge–cut out like heart even)
In its purest form it is moldable, teachable, humble and clean which makes it totally receptive to the spirit, inspiration and communication from God. It is happy, free and at peace.
The fact is that our hearts don’t always remain as such because we are human and that makes us selfish and mistake prone.
Our Heavenly Father wants us to grow in varying degrees to change, develop learn and use our agency wisely.
He allows life to present us with many opportunities for us to experience growth.
But who knows why exactly we do this but in our fear, pride, limited understanding, want to protect ourselves, our resistance against change, selfishness our impulse to do it our way we place barriers between us and the spirit by hardening our hearts (i’m using playdoh here and putting it over the heart)
We refuse to listen to what is best for us for all those reasons.
But in our rebellion we have blocked that communication from our Father in Heaven and our true happiness.
The hardening of our hearts invites sin. Those hard parts have block us from spiritual understanding. ‘
Our hearts still long to ‘feel’ something so selfishly we start to do things that bring some temportary satisfaction but bring great sadness to our Heavenly Father and ultimately ourselves.
Little things like gossip we do because he feel like we are at least better than someone else. (place a bean in the play dough after each statement)
We treat with others with anger because it helps us feel dominion over someone else
We hold grudges because we feel some kind of symbolic victory.
We may even turn to putting harmful things into our bodies because we feel momentary relief or satisfaction.
Or may even comprise our moral standard because we want to feel something with someone.
But all those things have only created a greater barrier against our true happiness and receiptiveness to the light and love of our Heavenly Father
“Wickedness was never happiness”
I heard someone once add, “But people often don’t do wicked things for wickedness sake but because they confuse it for happiness.
All those ‘sins’ are just cheap substitutes for happiness.
The awesome new is that we can be cleansed of all these yucky sins, these behaviors and attitudes that weigh us down and block us from feeling real happiness.
God wants so badly for us to feel His love but it cannot penetrate our souls if we have but barrier around our hearts.
The scriptures speak of His arms being open, 2 extended, 3 stretched out, 4and encircling. 5 They are described as mighty 6 and holy, 7 arms of mercy, 8arms of safety, 9 arms of love, 10 “lengthened out all the day long.” 11
He wants us to repent, turn around, come back, change, be clean so he can communicate his love, guide us, strengthen us and empower us.
Once we are humble enough to realize we have offend God and made choices that have blocked his spirit and we have gain a desire to return, Christ can come in. If we do our part to repair the harm we’ve caused, He can simultaneously come in a repair and heal our hearts from sins with the power of His Atonement. We can be purified, cleansed and sanctified (become as saints only through the power of Christ). YAY!!! (Remove play Dough until clean)
When are hearts are clean, we can be more fully receptive to the spirit, guidance and feel greater happiness, peace and love.
I’m finding that Daily repentance is not a feeling of continually feeling guilty and weigh down by my less than perfect efforts but it having a penitent heart that is eager to improve and willing to change. So during my day I notice that my heart and mind do get hard and unwilling by things I may think or do but a penitent heart is one that is quick to come back, to remove pride, throw away thoughts and behaviors that and ‘blue barriers’ that prevent feeling the spirit. To realign, repent, change, forgive and move forward toward God because that is where I can best enjoy an abundance of peace and happiness.