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Listening to the Holy Ghost

Listening to the Holy Ghost

 I have often thought back to the birth of each of my four children. My husband and I anticipated the joy they would bring to the family each time. All the same, I remember how overwhelmed I felt that Heavenly Father trusted me with the responsibility to bear and raise His children on earth.  I will always be grateful for the extra help the Lord provides through the Holy Ghost to help me care and look after their safety. However, I learned I must also be open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. One day I almost ignored them.

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I just wanted to sit down to finalize a talk I had been assigned. It was not coming together properly.  I had started with my old standby, definitions from the Bible Dictionary, but that wasn't producing anything new. I considered inserting something from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, or maybe some quotes from a General Conference talk when my children started chasing each other through the house.  I just needed a little solitude!

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith,

My sons, Nyiko, age four, and Nkateko age two, asked if they might play outside, and I gratefully agreed.  We had a fenced yard and a family rule that all outside activities were to remain inside the gate.  I knew that if they played their noisy games outside, I would finally have a chance to review my thoughts in peace.

They hadn’t been outside very long before I felt a voice instructing me, “Call the boys in.”  I had planned to let them stay outside a little bit longer. There was still plenty of light, so I ignored the impression. Then I got it again, even more forcefully.

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This time I responded, telling my daughters, Nkhesani, age nine, and Akani, age seven,  “Call your brothers, please. I want them inside.”

 They started shouting out the window, “Hey, Nyiko!  Mama is calling you!” They had obviously just seen their brothers and sounded convinced the boys were coming in.

I suddenly stood up. The warning thought came again, this time with far more power.

I asked my girls, who were looking out the window into the yard, “Can you see the boys?”

They both said, “No.”

“But when you called them, did you see them?”

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 Again they said, “No.”

Running for the kitchen door as fast as I could, I passed by the kitchen window and glanced out. The gate was standing open. My heart started pounding.

As I approached the gate, I saw my boys across the busy main street holding hands.  They were scared and crying, like they were trying to decide how to cross that street again to get back home.

I shouted, “Don’t move!” as I watched for an opening in the traffic to cross over to them.  Once there, I held each of their little hands and helped them cross back to safety.  Both terrified and relieved, they kept sobbing, “Sorry, Mama! We will never do it again!” 

I was feeling the relief and anger that comes only when a child nearly scares you to death. But as I shut the gate firmly and then looked at their tearful faces, my anger melted. Instead of giving them the stern rebuke I had in mind, my thoughts unexpectedly returned to the talk I had been preparing and Elder David A. Bednar’s words:  “Sometimes the spirit of revelation will operate immediately and intensely, other times subtly and gradually, and often so delicately you may not even consciously recognize it.  But regardless of the pattern whereby this blessing is received, the light it provides will illuminate and enlarge your soul, enlighten your understanding, and direct and protect you and your family (“The Spirit of Revelation” General Conference 2011).

I had first been warned of my sons’ danger “so delicately [ I ] didn’t even consciously recognize it,” and then “subtly and gradually,” enough to respond half-heartedly, and finally “immediately and intensely.” I know those promptings saved my little boys’ lives.  That day I gained a personal testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost. I shall never forget it nor forsake it.