Once again... another wonderful and inspired message our Church has given us to share with those we visit teach. Isn't it great that we can relate to our sisters on a spiritual level and actually have probing and insightful gospel centered conversations? I love it!
The topic for this months Visiting Teaching message is Strengthening Families by Increasing Spirituality.
- How can I help my sisters increase in spiritual self-reliance?
- How can I improve my own ability to recognize and respond to the Holy Spirit?
I am sure that most of you have had the opportunity to move from one home to the next, even if it is simply moving out of your parents home when you get married. I have had the opportunity to move 6 times during the course of my marriage, and each move has had one common denominator.... Family. We moved from house to house with and for our family. We knew that family would fill the home and it would be a sanctuary where they always knew that they would be loved and accepted.
As our children grew, and become more involved with learning skills, talents, sports, etc., it was even more important for our home to be a that sanctuary where they would come home to for rest, feeling safe and secure. We did our best to have regular family home evening, even through the grumbles... the "I'm tireds", and the occasional fights that happened between the children, we actively tried to our best! It was important to have a home cooked meal on the table and our children looked forward to coming home to be nourished and fed. We were a family who talked at the table and enjoyed our mealtime conversation.
Being nourished and fed physically is important to our mortal body but being fed spiritually is just as important, and in fact more important in the long run. Our children needed to know this truth and we did our best to read the scriptures, attend our meetings and let our children understand that going to Young Men and Young Women was important, and they needed to put that as a priority in their busy lives.
Sundays was the Lords day and our family dedicated that day to the Lord and we did our best to keep the Sabbath day holy with the activities that we did on Sundays. It was difficult when we lived outside of Utah, because our children were constantly being invited to birthday parties, trips to Lake Tahoe, and all other fun activities that they could do on weekdays. It was hard for them to tell their friends that we don't do these things on Sunday, but we as parents had set a standard and kept to it. Yes, there were grumbles, and yes, our kids at the time felt a little picked on, but serving the Lord and keeping Spiritual things in our minds and hearts was simply more important.
Whatever we do for our children when they are young will have a huge impact on who and what they become. We understand that the Lord gives each of us the agency to choose and some of our children will not choose to follow the way that they had been taught. This brings great sorrow to faithful parents, but as the hymn goes... "God will force no man to heaven. He'll call persuade, direct a right, and bless with wisdom love and light."
It is my personal feeling that if we as parents teach our children the ways of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and keep them in our prayers, and if we as parents keep those covenants we make in the temple, that one day our lost children will return. I know that God wants all his children to return to him one day, and has inspired the leaders of our church with missionary programs in wards, stakes, and all over the world, to find them and bring them back.
How important is it that we do keep ourselves open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit? My husband recently was called to be the bishop of our ward. After he was set apart, I saw some changes he made in his life, to be more open to the promptings that he would receive. The music he listened to changed. He stopped watching TV and focused more on reading the Ensign and studying the scriptures on his Ipad. Our home began to be a more spiritual place by just making a few changes. I love it, and I don't miss TV at all! I love the peace and calm that good music brings. This is what we should do for our families, and keep our home an atmosphere that draws the spirit, instead of detracting.
Well these are my thoughts about this lesson and if I come up with any more I will revisit this message. I hope you will think about this lesson and come up with things that you can present to your sisters that will help them strengthen their own families.
Happy Visiting Teaching! Katie G.