miracles

Dear friends

“Why don’t we see things like that now?  Why is it always a long time ago?”  These were questions our youngest, Son2, asked me a few evenings ago, as we were reading about Jesus visiting the people after his resurrection  (3 Nephi chapter 11) and how they heard the voice of heavenly Father introduce Jesus – ‘Behold, my Beloved Son…’ 

I think many of us have asked that question – do miracles still happen today?  I explained a couple of things to him. 

First, that miracles do happen today, in our family lives, everything is not coincidence. 

I reminded him of the door key incident.  We – the children and I – had all gone out one Saturday afternoon to the library and the market – this was when my dear husband was away studying.  As we headed back down the road towards the house I became aware that I did not have the house keys.  We checked all bags, pockets, hands. Nothing. I am not prone to forgetting things and our door is such that it won’t close properly without using the key.  So I was worried.  No neighbour has a spare key and no back door left open.  So I encouraged the children to pray as we approached the house.  I think Son1 and Daur2 ran on ahead and then quickly one of them ran back – a look of joyful shock on their face.  “They were in the door!!” they exclaimed.  The keys were in the lock.  The house was locked,  nothing disturbed outside or inside, after a quick check.  I offered thanks to Father and we discussed the many possibilities of the keys miracle – had I actually lost them outside but an angel put them in the door? were they made invisible so no passersby took them out the door?  I don’t know. But, for the older children and me, it’s a miracle.  Son2 would have been under 5 years so probably doesn’t remember everything about it. I reminded Son2 of other more personal miracles to him, such as when he has been healed.

Second, I reminded him that we live before the time that Jesus will come back, and that maybe we would be alive when He comes back.  If so, I’m fairly certain Heavenly Father will introduce Jesus and all the world will experience His return to Earth. 

Third and finally, I shared that first we need to trust Father and Jesus (have faith in Them) and then miracles and signs will follow, not the other way round. 

I was reminded of the verses in Moroni 7 where he quotes words from his father, Mormon, saying:

it is by faith that miracles are wrought… if these things have ceased wo be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief,  and all is vain.

I hope I never stop believing. The truth is very simple to understand, and beautifully simple to live.  It does take effort, especially since we are not wrapped in cotton wool, but that is why Father does give us help and miracles.  He loves and will always love you, me, them, us.

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brains and prayer

Dear friends

I wanted to share this so I don’t forget.  And I wanted to write it so I remember. 

It’s a short passage from Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.  Leonardo Vetra is explaining prayer to his daughter, Vittoria:

He took a model of the human brain down from a shelf and set it in front of her.
‘As you probably know, Vittoria, human beings normally use a very small percentage of their brain power. However, if you put them in emotionally charged situations – like physical trauma, extreme joy or fear, deep meditation – all of a sudden their neutrons start firing like crazy, resulting in massively enhanced mental clarity.’
‘So what?’ Vittoria said.  ‘Just because you think clearly doesn’t mean you talk to God.’
‘Aha!’ Vetra exclaimed.  ‘And yet remarkable solutions to seemingly impossible problems often occur in these moments of clarity.  It’s what gurus call higher consciousness. Biologists call it altered states. Psychologists call it super-sentience.’  He paused. ‘And Christians call it answered prayer.’ Smiling broadly, he added, ‘Sometimes, divine revelation simply means adjusting your brain to hear what your heart already knows.’

And then, this weekend, in preparation for a lesson, my dear husband shared this quote with me, from February 2003 Ensign, James E. Faust (belated Apostle):

“An important part of the spiritual being within all of us is the quiet and sacred part from which we may feel a sanctification in our lives. It is that part of us wherein no other soul may intrude. It is that part that permits us to come close to the divine, both in and out of this world. This portion of our beings is reserved only for ourselves and our Creator. We open the portals thereof when we pray. It is here where we may retreat and meditate. It is possible for the Holy Ghost to abide in this special part of us. It is a place of special communion. It is the master cell of our spiritual battery.”

I know that that part of us where no other soul can intrude is within us all; it’s part of who we are as human beings, and probably part of that portion of our brain that lies dormant so often. 

I believe we can all do much to adjust our brain, come close to the divine and receive the personal messages that Father wants to tell us. 

thoughts of You

Dear friends
When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I asked my school teacher, a dear Scottish woman, Mrs Sheffield, who made God. I don’t recall what led to this question and, to be honest, I don’t recall her answer.  But I remember the incident; Mrs Sheffield told my dear mother – and I recall hearing my mother telling other adults.  The impression I always had from that incident was that I was either too curious or too peculiar to even think of such things at that age.  To me, it seems quite a natural question – Who created the Creator?
So yesterday night our youngest child lay in bed,  exhausted after a hard day at home 🙂 = public holiday, too tired to offer a prayer, and he asked – what’s the point of praying? I haven’t even seen Heavenly Father!  And I smiled and lay down next to him, told him that I hadn’t either and shared with him Elijah’s experience (1 Kings 19 vv11-13):

11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:
12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

A couple of things we can learn from this: the still, small voice – we need to be reverent so we can hear and feel Him; and He knows our names! :). Our Father in Heaven has not left us alone.

he made it!

Dear friends, he made it!! another half term and our youngest son has made it with his behaviour to earn an invitation to film afternoon at school 🙂 I’ll call our youngest Cam.
The first half term he did not earn this reward – Cam was distraught at being left out but he knew what he had done = deliberately tripping other children in the playground!! The second half term Cam made every effort – parents evening came and nothing was raised concerning behaviour; no warnings were given. But Cam did not receive an invite.  I knew how hard he’d been trying and how quickly his behaviour sticker chart filled up. It didn’t make sense. Why had our son been over looked? was the teacher unconsciously (or consciously) racist? Cam kept insisting he’d not done anything really bad; so I spoke with the deputy head (for whose own son I’d arranged work experience for a few years ago) – I simply said that if you want behaviour to change then the school needs to explain what Cam’s doing wrong to Cam, because right now he has no idea what he’s meant to be improving – in order to get the reward which Cam really wants!
So, third half term, one warning and he was invited!  Fourth half term, this one, a couple of warnings and Cam was very anxious all this week, waiting for today when they gave the invitations.  We’ve not pursued what happened previously – Cam’s older siblings thought it entirely possible that there was some discrimination going on!
I feel the school/ education system can be such a struggle for boys, especially black boys. Our girls have received model reports throughout primary school – despite being very different characters – extrovert and introvert.  Our boys started well but around 7 years things become, let’s say, challenging.  Our local school has now got more male teachers and I think that helps.  Cam has only had female teachers in his first few years – I’m hoping that will change over the next few before secondary school.  
I pray for our children that they may not be adversely affected by the ignorance, foolishness and mistakes of others. That they may grow to be wise, to know that we control our actions, no one else. And when things are not fair, pray for that other person – remember, they have the problem, not you!

Pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Matthew 5 verse 44

dream talk

Dear friends, do you have dreams? I do. Quite regularly.  Growing up, my dear older sister, always claimed to never dream.  This I could never understand and I struggled to believe her – I always had such vivid dreams, I still remember some of my childhood dreams decades later! 
I also talked in my sleep and, as a small child, walked in my sleep – to the front door on one occasion!  I thought I had grown out of sleep talking until a few months ago my husband mentioned that I was talking about work during the night. I was shocked how in over 15 years of marriage he’d never mentioned that I sleep talk. My dear husband said it doesn’t bother him, sometimes he’s tried talking to me but I begin to awaken and ask why he’s talking in the middle of the night!! 
The common theme of my dreams is war.  Always I’m being chased or hunted.  Sometimes it’s a setting similar to the French Resistance Movement during World War 2; other times it’s more abstract and I’m the only one aware of the encroaching enemy, desperately trying to protect or warn others without revealing my own position to the enemy. 

I do feel some dreams have meaning – look at Joseph of Egypt and King Nebuchadnezzar with Daniel in the Bible – and contain messages from our Heavenly Father; maybe that’s the only way to get our attention.  I also feel some dreams are simply our minds sorting out the day’s events and emotions.  Through prayer we can gain answers and know the difference.

I’m writing about this because I had a war dream this week – not a memorable one like being hunted by terracotta warriors – but enough of one for me to wake with the familiar sensation of being in a terrifying situation.

So, what do you think?  I mentioned the war dreams to a friend once who said they also experience them. So, is it partly a reflection of the times we live in “wars and rumours of wars” or am I being warned, prepared, kept aware and on guard? I know it’s a bit of both:) and through prayer I am able to gain answers and comfort.

prayers heard

Dear friends, I haven’t felt too queenly or regal at times these past couple of days!! But the great thing about writing to you is that I can express myself and be more positive 🙂  I mentioned about prayers always being heard and answered in my last post
(come soon!), so I have decided to share with you my earliest, and one of the most profound, times of prayer being answered in my own life.  I hope you take time to read on.
I was about 10 years old. My mother had taught us to pray and this was reinforced through school and Sunday school teachers. I must have been very diligent as a child because by this age I routinely knelt down by the bed at night to offer prayer.  I would repeat all the ones I learnt at school but rarely added my own words. I routinely fell asleep at the bottom of the bed too!! 
This particular evening, things were in a bad state for our family – we had no money. Nothing at all. So little that I didn’t know how I would get to school (no bus fare) or what we would eat the next day.  I imagine we ate mum’s ‘pancakes’ for dinner (a simple mix of flour, sugar and water fried in lard, with jam if we were lucky!). I asked Mum what we were going to do. Mummy said, “we can pray.”  I knew exactly what I was going to pray for. My Dad. My parents were not married but my Dad would visit usually each week and give Mum some money. But, it was late. Later than he usually came and us children, including my older teenage sister, were going to bed. So, that night, I knelt and with all my heart I asked God to send Daddy. I fell asleep, on my knees.
I awoke to the sound of keys at the door and the voice of my father. As I realised what was happening, my mind was filled with thanks to God but also the thought – is that really Daddy, at this time of night, or did God send an angel to look like my Dad? Either way, God sent help and we were rescued 🙂 I climbed into bed knowing all was OK.
Since that time I have come to trust God more, but that was the simple start. I know God lives and that we are His children – He hears us when we speak and He wants to bless us with what is right for us.  It is for us to trust Him and to listen.  I love this quote from the Bible Dictionary (King James Version, LDS edition, 2008) – the whole section (too much to repeat here) is inspiring:

As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matthew 7 verses 7-11)

come soon!

Dear friends, I was truly saddened to hear of the recent killings, particularly sickened by the killing of Jordan’s pilot, but any murder is horrible.  It left me feeling rather low yesterday evening as the news reports on the radio continued to discuss the incident, the video, the reactions.  And despite newspaper headlines such as “Their brutality succeeds in spreading fear” (The i newspaper, 4 Feb 2015, Alistair Dawber article), I do have hope.

I have hope because all this reminds me that these are the latter days, and sadly there will be no true, lasting peace until our Saviour returns to Earth, this time for all mankind to know.  There are some good signs leading up to His return, like the gospel of Jesus Christ being preached across the world and the ‘stick of Ephraim’ (Book of Mormon) being with the ‘stick of Judah’ (the Bible).  There are also those signs which show a world in turmoil. So I often pray for the return of our Saviour so there will be an end to all these horrible deeds.  I know all our prayers are heard and will be answered, one day. 🙂