Wow it’s been a hot minute hasn’t it? I really did not plan it to be like this however, I did take a 10 day trip to visit my family in Utah when my daughter had a new baby girl! It was so much fun and a much needed break out of the pandemic routine. And for those of you wondering about travel. Rest assured that the airlines are doing everything they possibly can to keep everybody safe while traveling and everyone that I saw was masked and being super careful to keep their social distance. I’ve been home since the 10th and have not gotten ill, so I feel like I’m in the clear. But I have missed you guys so much or at least missed writing and talking to you all. And I felt moved this week to get back on it and hopefully I haven’t missed out on too many opportunities to help you grow closer to your Savior over these past weeks.
With that said, we will just jump right in to this week’s show. When I was visiting Utah I had the chance to reflect on this past year and what I have learned and how I have grown. I am choosing to look at it, not as a terrible, awful situation. Although, losing a loved one to this virus is definitely awful, and I if that is you, I want to send you my sincere condolences and please know that I am not diminishing those losses in any way. I was reflecting on how all of the Latter Day Saint temples around the world have been closed. And just thinking about how much I have missed the strength and peace that comes from regular temple attendance.
My husband was asked to speak in church on the blessings of the temple and when he practiced it for me, I was so touched by the spirit telling me that I can have that peace and strength that comes from the temple, within the walls of my own home. I can find it in my own personal space, be it through meditation, scripture study, or just a moment of quiet time to myself. I was reminded of the quote that President Nelson shared in the April 2019 conference when he said “in coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
One of the blessings of attending the temple is the increased influence of the Spirit in our daily lives. We are able to renew ordinances and strengthen our testimonies through attendance at the temple. But can we find those same blessings in times like this when we are unable to attend the temple? The answer is an unequivocal yes!
Absolutely! We can receive those same blessings of comfort, strength, and testimony building, within the walls of our own home. But….. we have to want it. We have to prioritize it. We have to work for it. And it’s not easy. Especially if you have young children who constantly demand attention. If you live in a part member home. If you are caring for loved ones who are ill. If you struggle with mental illness or other ailments. The list goes on. We have so many challenges pulling at us from all directions. And it can become quite daunting to find moments of peace and clarity from the spirit amongst it all. But not impossible!
So let’s just talk about a few of the ways that we can make our homes a little bit of Heaven on Earth and fill them up with what I like to call “holy moments” or “holy minutes” for most of us.
I am going to plug an app here just because I have found it to be so helpful for me in inviting the spirit to be with me more readily. It is called “come follow me”. It’s icon is just a gold square with the words come follow me in white. My daughter told me about this one when I was visiting and oh boy, I love it so much! One, because it is right on my phone so I see it everytime I open my phone. And two because it is just a quick dose of two of the most important things that I feel we can be doing to keep the spirit with us during these times. The first one being, following along with the Come Follow Me lessons that the church puts out. And second, read the Book of Mormon daily.
But what I have loved about this app is that it is bite sized doses! Like, I am talking, a question prompt, a couple of verses and a quote or two. So easy to get a 2-3 minute slice of study in. Because let’s face it, for some of us this pandemic has made things even crazier than before and 2-3 minutes sometimes is a “holy moment”. Generally I just use it for the Come Follow Me section and the Book of Mormon section. But there is also a section for kids, and a section for general conference. Seriously, it’s the best daily dose of goodness, and I highly recommend trying it! And it’s FREE.
So let’s just go back and talk about these two things, following along with the Come Follow Me lessons and reading the Book of Mormon daily.
I have never had it testified to me more clearly that we indeed have a living prophet on the Earth today than when the pandemic hit and we already had the Come Follow me program in place. In fact, we’d been studying it for over a year! Not to mention many other changes that had taken place before, to help prepare us to make our homes more holy places. And many of us had already found ways to implement these programs into our lives and homes so it was a smooth transition. I can’t even tell you what a sweet experience it was when we were able to partake of the holy sacrament in our own home. And I know that many of you have had that same experience.
Having the come follow me program available to us at our very fingertips has been such an amazing tool to help us bring “holy moments” into our lives on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons that I love the app so much is because it really does make it so easy. Instead of scrolling mindlessly on Instagram or Facebook or pinterest or any of the other apps, just open this one and take a few short minutes to fill your cup. With all of the distractions that we are bombarded with daily, our spirits really need, crave actually, a dose of “holy moments” on the regular.
That got me thinking about daily doses and I am a big supplement freak. I am one of those crazy people that is going to go kicking and screaming into old age, lol. I mean, age has it’s advantages for sure. But I just don’t want all the crazy stuff that goes along with it. So I take about a million supplements everyday, kidding, not kidding. And I am vigilent in this! I have my little daily pill container and each week I go through and fill up all the days and I am always on the lookout for new and better supplements. My vitamin cupboard looks like a drug store shelf! But enough about that. What I’m trying to say is that these “daily doses” or “holy moments” can literally be lifesaving and life extending if we allow them to be. So what I encourage you to do is to try to implement “supplements” daily, from the Come Follow Me lessons.
Read just a paragraph with your family. Or one or two verses of scripture. Trying to do an entire lesson all at once can sometimes be overwhelming, for the giver as well as the receiver (especially if they are children). Plus I believe it brings the lesson into focus each day allowing us to look for opportunities with our family to “create” holy moments.
Think of the great promise that President Nelson gave us in that same general conference. “I promise that as you continue to be obedient, expressing gratitude for every blessing the Lord gives you, and as you patiently honor the Lord’s timetable, you will be given the knowledge and understanding you seek. Every blessing the Lord has for you—even miracles—will follow. I just love that promise so much and I have truly witnessed the miracles that he speaks of.
The second important way that we can increase our faith in Jesus Christ and have those holy moments is to put our face in the Book of Mormon every day. I remember when Joe, my husband, was being taught by the missionaries before he was baptized. They told of an experience where Elder Bednar of the 12 apostles came to speak with them. They said he spoke for like 2 hours straight without any notes!!!! Crazy! Anyway, at the end he left all of the missionaries with an apostolic blessing. He promised them that if they would read the Book of Mormon everyday that they would never fall away from the church when they returned home. Since I had gone through my own faith crisis shortly before that, I vowed that I would try to read the Book of Mormon every day so that I would never fall away again. And I can truly testify that this has been such a strength to my testimony of the Savior and of his love for each of us. There have been so many times that I have been struggling and have opened up the Book of Mormon to exactly the passage that I needed at that particular moment.
For example, right before the pandemic hit, we had a tornado here in Nashville. I was so distraught over it and I was constantly thinking about it and having anxiety about it happening again. Luckily we did not receive any damage but lots of people we knew well did. The temples were still open, so I decided that I’d go to see if I could find some personal peace. I’m so glad I did because the temples closed the next week. That day it was so peaceful as it always is. The cares of the world just melted away. But after the service, I grabbed the Book of Mormon and randomly opened it. I believe that this was one of the holy moments that I’ve been talking about, I am not even kidding when I say this is the exact spot I opened to.
Heleman 5:12 It reads, And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
That scripture became such a strength to me as a few days later we were told to shelter in place… for who knew how long, as this virus would overtake the world.
This experience is not singular. I have had so many times since I first heard that promise of reading daily, that I have had scriptures come into my mind at the exact time I needed them. Or when my daily reading included something that was important to whatever I was experiencing that day. Since I have been doing this I have felt my testimony of our Savior and of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon increase. I love the Book of Mormon so much because it draws me closer to my Savior with every page.
So I encourage you to put a dose of the Book of Mormon into your daily habits. It doesn’t have to be long or drawn out. Just one verse a day and I promise your faith will grow and your life will be impacted in a positive way. I thought of another promise that Dale G Renlund shared in a recent conference address about temple and family history work. He said of the blessings that can come to us, one is increased faith, so that conversion to the Savior becomes deep and abiding.” I love that word “abiding”. It means that it STAYS or LASTS A LONG TIME. So essentially our conversion to the Savior becomes deeper and stays with us longer when we are taking the time to bring the spirit into our lives daily. And isn’t that what our ultimate goal should be?
So there it is. Two ways that you can increase the spirit and make your home more of a temple. Study the Come Follow Me lessons daily and put your face in the Book of Mormon every day!