Happy Father's Day!
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The Fathers in my Life
Father's Day is a time to reflect upon and show gratitude for the fathers and father figures in our lives. I hope you will reflect upon the men who have blessed your life for good.
I am grateful for Bishops.
I've had many a bishop in my day, Fathers of the Ward, to which they are sometimes referred. I've visited with these "fathers" on numerous occasions: for temple recommend interviews, for callings and releases, for tithing settlements. And while I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for these men, I've never had cause to visit specifically with the bishop.
Not too long ago, however, I found myself in a situation that I could not reconcile. Even after discussing it with my husband, I still felt unsettled and anxious. I prayed for an answer from Heavenly Father. And the answer came, "You need to see the Bishop." The bishop? But I knew the matter was NOT a bishop matter. Stubbornly I insisted to myself that I would not bother the bishop on something I felt I could resolve on my own. But the feeling to visit with him was so persistent that I knew if I didn't I would be rejecting an answer from the Lord. So finally after dragging my feet for a full week, I went to see the Bishop.
Immediately, upon seeing him, the peace and comfort I prayed to have was rewarded to me simply because of my obedience. My bishop gave me the counsel and direction my soul needed. That single experience enables me to testify that the Father of the Ward, the Bishop, is there for each one of us in our hour of need and we will be directed by the Spirit to seek his help and guidance.
I am grateful for my earthly father and his love for the gospel.
Growing up, my father saw to it that we had family prayer, family scriptures, family home evening. We attended church together, and every six months we sat down as a family and watched General Conference together in our living room. His guidance always led me to search the scriptures and teachings of latter-day prophets. I remember vividly the fireside talk President Benson gave in February 1987. It was about mothers staying home. Honestly, that talk would have been erased from my memory if it hadn't been for a high school teacher, who, the very next morning who singled me out and asked me in front of the whole class, "So, what are you going to do with what President Benson counseled?" I marveled at his question because he didn't even go to church!! Why would he care? Except that it was his class that was the catalyst of what I wanted to do for the rest. of. my. life.
I began pondering my teacher's question and pondering President Benson's talk for days. Heavenly Father certainly wouldn't expect me to choose between a family and a profession! Couldn't I have two cute kids and a great career? When my pondering mind wore out I took the matter and discussed it with my dad. He knew how much I loved this career choice . . . but he also knew there were blessings to be had by being obedient to the prophet. My dad's final words on our discussion were these, "When the time comes, you'll know what to do. Heavenly Father will let you know what is right for you."
I am forever grateful to an earthly father who directed me to my Heavenly Father . . . and I'm grateful for a Heavenly Father who gave me my answer.
I am grateful for my husband, the father of our children.
This year will mark 21 years of marriage for us. It was that long ago when, kneeling together at the temple altar, that we were admonished of Heavenly Father's commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth!" If anyone would have told us, even ten years ago, that we would parents of nine children, we would have completely doubted their competency!
When our oldest was two and a half and our twins were a mere FIVE months, I found out that I was expecting . . . again. While I was very apprehensive of what others would say about our fast growing family, I was even more concerned on how my husband would respond.
I broke the news to him a few days later at a gas station, while he was pumping the car with gas. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath as I awaited his reaction. And to my utter surprise not only did he smile, he glowed. "We're going to have another one?" he asked with pure anticipation. How blessed I felt at that moment to know that it didn't matter what anyone else would say about the number of our children or how close together we had them. I knew that in our little world of family, all that mattered was that my husband was happy to be a father!
The most important Father in my life is my Heavenly Father.
As far as earthly fathers and earthly father figures are concerned, I have found none to be perfect. Even those for whom I have deep love and respect have fallen short on more than one occasion. Those occasions have caused me to drop to me knees in humble prayer to receive counsel, direction and peace from my Heavenly Father.
In his book, As the Father Hath Loved Us, Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone wrote, "Imagine the Father amidst the worlds without number, plans for redemption, the work of the atonement, and His eternal ministry, which we know so little about. And yet in all His majesty, He hears the tiniest whisper of a prayer from the least of all His creations and cares and responds with an Answer."
During the most darkened times in my life - times when I have felt hopeless or lonely; afraid or forgotten; unforgiving or angry, I have always been able to offer every, last ounce of my soul to my Heavenly Father. Knowing that even in offering up my very worse self, He not only will listen, He will not only understand, He will still love me. I have no doubt that Heavenly Father loves me as His daughter. Heavenly Father is the most important Father in my life.
Happy Father's Day!
Happy Father's Day!