After my great adventure in Idaho last week I was happy to come back home. (These pictures are of my trip to Idaho and then what happened on Saturday night after I got home). Reentry was painful though as I had to unpack, put away groceries I picked up on the way home, and do Saturday work with the kids after being gone for two days, on top of staying with my family until the bitter end at the ward swim party. Translation: we had a lot of work to do cleaning and putting away. A motivation for me to get all this done was to go on a date Saturday night with my husband to a meeting for homeschooling parents about Gospel-Centered Education, then to a wedding reception of my friend Amy’s son.
in Primary yesterday my friend Rebecca led singing time. She had us sing I Know My Father Lives. Every time there was a reference to “me, my, or I” she had us stand up and then sit down. We got some great exercise with all that standing up and sitting down! We realized that God really does know us and speaks to us through His Spirit.
So I have a story to tell about this. I feel God is watching over me and giving me personal guidance and blessings. A few weeks ago I got an email from a homeschooling friend inviting me to a meeting about Gospel-centered Education in West Haven with a woman I met when we used to live in Provo, Jill Bigelow. After I read the email, I thought, I already know what she is going to talk about. I don’t need to go. It’s just going to be about the Family School, a curriculum that American Heritage school has published for homeschoolers. It was released at the conference last year at American Heritage school.
But I felt the Spirit telling me to go anyway. So I went. I felt that God spoke to me through Sister Bigelow telling me what was needed for our family to have increased blessings in our home and have a more “gospel-centered education” in our home.
Here is a bit of background about that:
Lately we have had a lot of arguing with two of my boys. We are still struggling financially. I have been wondering what we can do to solve these problems. In my Mothers Who Know class my great friend Becky has been a great example to me of the power of doing the PoWeR actions (Pray, Write in your journal, and Read your scriptures) first thing in the morning. And she was inspired by another mom, Tracey, who said she gets up when her alarm rings, sits up in bed, says her prayer, then starts reading her scriptures on her iPad.
Becky testified that doing the PoWeR actions in the morning gives her the “fruits of the Spirit” for the rest of the day. I was already good at doing the Power Actions every day, but not in the morning. I did my morning prayer every day but the others I did at night. I decided I would follow her example and do my reading and writing first thing after I say my morning prayer. I have gotten really good at saying my prayers in the morning but as you know I like to blog and do computer stuff in the morning before people wake up and have family prayer.
So this was a sacrifice for me but I did it anyway. I have had an increase in peace and an ability to better recognize when satan is talking to me with his whisperings disguised as my voice and I have been better at casting him out of my head. While I was in Idaho I called home and found out something awful had happened at home. satan immediately started to do the chemical spills we talk about in Eternal Warriors/ Mothers Who Know (a course that Aneladee Milne wrote with Maurice Harker) where I was feeling stress and anger and frustration.
But because I had laid the foundation for the day with prayer, writing, and reading (even though I was on “vacation” in Rexburg, just hanging out while my daughter was going to different classes), I was able to have the presence of mind to remember to pray and ask God to help me feel His love and forgive and feel peace and joy.
So back to the story about Sister Bigelow. She said that the biggest key that has been shown to keep children in the gospel with strong testimonies is that they develop personal worship habits. Aha, I thought, she is talking about PoWeR actions. I immediately knew it was true. I got my testimony when I was 12 when I finished reading the Book of Mormon and I asked God to know if it was true. Then I felt a burning witness inside of me telling me it was true. I continued the scripture reading habit, almost daily all through my youth, and have created a daily habit out of it. My testimony has stayed strong all these years.
But then Sister Bigelow went on to say that she knows a family who wakes up early before Church and they gather for Personal Family Worship. This provides a time and space for individuals to do their PoWeR actions personally. Then the family shares what they learned and then they do their Family Worship, or family prayer and family scripture study.
I immediately knew that this is what our family needs to do to have increased harmony and prosperity in our home. I have faith that by literally putting God first in our lives, by worshipping Him first thing in the day, through PoWeR actions, individually and as a family, we will have more peace and love and even money.
I proposed this to my family today at family dinner before they all headed off to Grammie’s. I am so glad I remembered to say something about it before they left. That was God guiding me as well. I was about to ask Honor about his week at Ballroom Dance camp and any kids showing flirtatious behavior but then I thought, wait, i don’t want to talk about people, I want to talk about great ideas. Hmmm, what is a great Idea? I know, the great idea God gave me about implementing Personal Family Worship before Family Worship time every day in our home. So I proposed to the family that we start doing this and they didn’t say anything negative so I take that as agreement and we will start tomorrow!
This actually fits in with a story that our high councilor shared with us yesterday in sacrament meeting for high council Sunday. Brother D said that he asked someone how she was doing at his work and she said, “Awful,” so he stopped to talk to listen to her. After a long time of listening to her problems, he asked her if she ever prays. She said no, I don’t do that “church stuff.” He said, “Praying doesn’t have to have anything to do with church. Praying is connecting with God. You can do it every day, whenever you want. You don’t have to be in church.” He then said he did the “missionary step” of asking someone “Will you pray?” only this time it wasn’t to pray about the Book of Mormon, it was for her to pray about her problem. She said she would and when he saw her two weeks later she was doing much better.
I know that great power comes by praying every day, and even more importantly, greater power from God comes by praying the first thing every day, and then combining that with reading the scriptures and then writing down our thoughts and feelings that come while we read the scriptures. To do this before I touch a computer to check email messages or exercise shows I am putting God first. This is the way we can lay the foundation every day to feel His direction even more, and feel the “fruits of the Spirit” even more for the whole day. Then at night after our evening prayer we can also write about how God directed us that day and acknowledge the hand of God in our lives, as President Eyring has instructed us. I have been doing more of that too and I am feeling that more peace and happiness are coming into my life.
Sister Bigelow quoted Elder Neal Maxwell who said, “Only the Highest One can lead us to the Highest Good.” By doing PoWeR actions first thing in the morning, we can better be in tune to the Highest One and get even more of the Highest Good.