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Thursday, April 15, 2010

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Butterscotch Chips

"The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life. . .

Personal revelation gives us the understanding of what to do every day to increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek those who need our help. Because personal revelation is a constantly renewable source of strength, it is possible to feel bathed in help even during turbulent times." (Julie B. Beck, General Conference, April 2010).

I love these verses. It is so comforting to know that even when we are tossed around, confused, depressed, frustrated, or crestfallen, as long as we remain righteous and true, we will still have the Holy Ghost with us. I love Sister Beck's use of the word "bathed". If our lives can somehow become more aligned with our Father's will for us, we will feel the companionship of the spirit immerse us with comfort, protection and guidance. As a mother, this is an incredible and reassuring promise. In these last days of commotion, blame, distraction and diminished respect for women, I am so grateful for this gift. I must strive to never, ever offend the Holy Ghost, for what on Earth would I do without it?

I want to tell you a sweet story that means a lot to me because of its highly personalized nature:

Last year, my husband and I were watching three children several times a week while both parents worked. They were good kids, but sometimes tried to push the limits and test their boundaries. The young girl, Maddi (name changed), struggled with her school work and had very little patience or confidence in her abilities. Each day, I would sit with her and try to calmly work with her, but she acted out and was disrespectful and noncompliant.

I was helping her with several math worksheets one day and she was struggling. She was sassier than usual and her eyes were filled with tears of anger and frustration. As I tried to remain calm, I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and offered a silent prayer: "Please help me know how I can help Maddi with her math."

Instantly, a thought came to my mind: "Maddi likes butterscotch chips." I hesitated for a moment, then remembered a partially used bag of butterscotch chips in my pantry. No one in our family of six liked them, so they had just been sitting there for a few weeks. I went to the pantry and retrieved the bag and told Maddi: "For each problem you get right, I will give you a butterscotch chip."

Her eyes got wider and she quickly wiped the tears away with her sleeve and got to work. Within five minutes, she had completed the first side of the worksheet and soon after, the other side. In half an hour, she had finished all three worksheets with only two missed problems and had a little pile of chips next to her work and a smile on her face.

After that, I made it a point to always have butterscotch chips on hand. Maddi began progressing and homework time was much, much less stressful for everyone involved.

To me, the beauty of the story is that Heavenly Father loved me enough to help in a specific, timely, and understandable way. He loved Maddi enough to find a way to build her confidence and make learning funner and less discouraging. I truly think that this can and will happen more often as I live righteously. Though in the grand scheme of things, our troubles aren't of cosmic importance, to Him they always are. His love shines through each time a friend calls at the right moment, each time a solution comes into our minds just when we need it most, and each time a lesson or a talk seems written "just for me." And that, is the beauty and the tender, loving gift of personal revelation.


jnkeller said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing! I think it's one of the most beautiful things to have guidance from above right when we need it.