I excitedly anticipated the special Sunday meeting in which President Russell M. Nelson was coming to speak to the Raymond Alberta Stake.
An apostle was coming in person and speaking in my stake!
This was a huge deal! Though my ward was not assigned to seating in the chapel and social hall where the meeting would be conducted, the cultural hall of the same building was our ward’s place to view via live broadcast.
Then the night before happened. It was a night of little sleep and lots of baby holding. Sunday morning was a bit hazy for me, but my gem of a husband got our two little ones’ breakfast and we persevered through getting all of us into our Sunday best.
We found the perfect section of metal chairs on the outside aisle. There was a line up announced of wonderful speakers, a beautiful music number, with President Nelson and his wife as the concluding speakers. Their messages were no doubt inspired and lovingly prepared; at least I assume so, as I was not able to listen to very much of it at all.
Amongst the squirminess of two small children and bathroom breaks, there was a meltdown impending. My daughter began throwing a lip balm that was shaped like a ball. It was loud and distracting. I told her to stop throwing it or I’d take it away; she threw it again, so I took it from her.
The sad whimpers started, and she had to be taken out so people would be able to continue to listen to the wonderful messages from those who were speaking.
We went outside into the somewhat warm and windy front of the church building. She wanted to go back in, but was still upset about not having the lip balm. Angry tears and screaming bursts ensued. It was semi-private as only a couple of people came through the doors going in, but, alas, the doors were soon propped open for air circulation, at the peak of the loudness my daughter was demonstrating.
We had to move elsewhere. I herded my sweet sad little girl to the big open yard where I felt she wouldn’t be a distraction for others.
I was missing those talks and beautifully sung hymns as I sat on a small concrete downspout landing, yet I felt that I wasn’t missing anything at all. An overwhelming presence of the Holy Ghost’s truthful whisperings was ever present.
I, the chosen mother to this precious spirited child, was exactly where I needed to be.
I felt the presence of a loving Heavenly Father blessing me with peace and patience instead of anxiety and frustration.
My daughter continued to scream and run while having bouts of quick quiet conversations with me and wanting to go back in. I was able to remain calm, and eventually she settled onto my lap and was soft-spoken enough to go back inside.
We happily made our journey through the doors and back to our seats. A spirit of love seemed to engulf me as I mindfully pondered the sacred role that I have been blessed with to parent these, my children.
Not long after sitting down, my fast crawling explorer (my infant son) was starting to get those tired whines. As my husband had been on heavy watch patrol with him to keep him from getting to others’ bags and snacks, I decided it was my turn to take the boy out for a hallway walkabout.
The touching gratitude I felt during this normal parenting act was ever present.
I walked slowly back from the cultural hall to the end of the social hall on the other end of the building. And yes, I did peek through the back door for a split second to get a tiny glimpse of President Nelson as he gave his talk. There were half sentences that I heard throughout my walk over the ceiling speakers, but I was not able to listen to enough of it to understand the overall message.
It was pleasant though, hearing a familiar apostle’s voice muffling through the air as I rocked and snuggled my squirmy, tired, perfect bundle of a boy. I felt a sense of humble nobility, in showing love to an infant who was in Heavenly Father’s presence not long ago.
I also felt the strong sense of sacred parental fulfillment from all the other moms and dads sharing the hallways with infants in tow. I darted to the mother’s lounge for a brief rock; still no eyes were able to stay closed. Soon the closing prayer was spoken and we made our way back to the other half of our family.
We packed up all the toys, the snacks, the blankets, and jackets and journeyed to our parked vehicle to return to our home.
I did not meet President Nelson, nor see him up close. I didn’t even get to listen to what the messages were in the carefully prepared talk he gave to our Stake. However, just a few days later on Facebook I saw what was my own personal message, worded perfectly, of the overall experience I had on that Sunday. The Sunday when President Nelson came to speak to the Raymond Stake…
My dear brothers and sisters, you have as much access to the mind and will of the Lord for your own life as we Apostles do for His Church. Just as the Lord requires us to seek and ponder, fast and pray, and study and wrestle with difficult questions, He requires you to do the same as you seek answers to your own questions.
You can learn to hear the voice of the Lord through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. As helpful as Google, Twitter, and Facebook may seem, they simply do not provide answers to your most important questions!
My dear young friends, you can know the mind and will of the Lord for your own life. You do not have to wonder if you are where the Lord needs you to be or if you are doing what He needs you to do. You can know! The Holy Ghost will tell you “all things what ye should do.” (Official Facebook page of President Russell M Nelson)
I feel so fortunate to live in a time where modern-day prophets exist, and where we can receive their messages with such ease. But I also feel even more fortunate to have a Heavenly Father who loves me so much that I am offered personal revelation through the Holy Ghost. Even in those hallways or in the front lot of the church, when I’m putting my little ones’ needs ahead of my own desires, I know he sees me, hears me, and sends down those uplifting heart touches when I need them the most.