A mother’s perspective
Quincy, my daughter, called one evening so excited about some wonderful insights she had received about how learning to communicate with us during COVID could be compared to learning to communicate with God. She asked me to record, from my perspective, how it was sometimes a struggle to communicate with her. The following are my thoughts.
Quincy is our youngest child and like her older siblings wanted and received the opportunity to attend Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. We had enjoyed our children being at BYU and drove to Provo and visited often. However, Quincy’s experience at BYU was different as the border between Canada and the United States became a real and challenging barrier during COVID. The pandemic made Provo, and Quincy, seem much further away.
Quincy is a talented and capable young woman and often didn’t seem to need us or have much time to visit with us. We prayed for her daily and tried to find better times and different ways to share our love and concern. Being a parent can be challenging. You love them so much and just want to communicate that love and help them through life’s challenges. Maybe that is how our Heavenly Father feels as He watches and waits for us to reach out to Him.
A daughter’s perspective
There was never a question that when I went to university I would go to BYU. If I didn’t get in, I was looking at options all over Canada. I didn’t want to stay close to home, and I never thought that my parents wanted me to. I knew they wanted their children to have experiences to learn and grow.
There have been moments when I wondered if I had made the right choice, especially when I ended up on the other side of the border during a pandemic with heavy travel restrictions. I love my parents, but am far from the perfect child, especially when it comes to communicating. I never know what to say about my life on the phone. I give too few details and like to be independent which, though not great, was fine when I could often see my parents in person.
How was I supposed to have a meaningful relationship with my parents and receive their crucial guidance if I didn’t get to see them in person? I felt the relationship weaken.
Oh, I tried to get better in my own ways at involving them and telling them more about my life and goals. I don’t know if they could tell, but I could. As I tried to reach out, I felt the love they had for me, how much they wanted to be there for me, and I could feel their support for me through this busy, challenging, and exciting time in my life.
A crucial moment happened when I was reflecting on what our relationships here on earth teaches us about God. That was my epiphany, my moment of clarity when it all came together. The light dawned and I felt like I could finally see what God was trying to teach me. I was starting to understand my Father in Heaven and how He feels about me, about us.
I know that my parents don’t want me to be far away from them, but they sent me away to learn and to have the experiences I need to fulfill my potential. They miss me and love me, but would never make choices to hold me back. They also hope I will choose to come back to them and include them in my journey.
God also wants to be with us but has sent us here to earth to gain the experiences and the growth we could never have while staying with Him. He also hopes, with all His heart, that we make the choices that bring us back to Him again.
The struggle I felt, of my parents being so physically distant from my life, is how I also feel about God at times. I know He loves me, but He can feel so far away and out of reach. Just as I had to find ways to involve my parents in my life and communicate better, the same is how I need to remedy my relationship with my God.
I always saw prayer as communication, but now I know that prayer is a foundation to my relationship with God. Just as my parents hope that I will call them with more than short updates; God is the same. Prayer can be a rote way to check off a box, or a powerful means to build a relationship with Heavenly Father. I don’t have to feel far away.
A mother’s response
I was very humbled after reading Quincy’s thoughts. I love a scripture in Ether. “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
To truly communicate with our children and our Heavenly Father we need to be humble. To me this means we need to really listen and seek to understand what they are trying to say. My oldest daughter always used to say, “It's all about you Mom and what you think,” and I have come to realize I wasn’t really trying to listen, I was just trying to say what I thought she should hear.
To really communicate with God and our children we need to come with an open mind and heart, and truly hear them. We need to be aware of our own weaknesses and let God strengthen us and thus help strengthen our relationship with Him, and with those we love.