Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How the Holy Ghost Makes Us Feel

Of all of the things that Family Home Evening is good for (i.e. togetherness, building memories, having fun, teaching, solving problems, creating family bonds) I am gaining an understanding that the most important reason for family home evening is that, as a family, we experience the spirit together.

Last night's FHE was a beautiful example of this.

First let me back up to earlier in the day.

As a Mama, I take my role of "Lioness at the Gate" quite seriously.  I don't like to let unvirtuous influences invade the peace of my home.  

So you can imagine how perturbed I was early in the day when I sat down with my kids to watch a show that came highly recommended to me, only to be caught completely off-guard by a brazenly smutty interaction between two characters in the show.  And I mean, completely caught off guard.  Boy was this Mama lion roaring.  (Internally, of course.)  

It wouldn't be until much later in the day, during FHE, that I would recognize the role that the Spirit played in somehow making sure that my children decided to run off and play just moments before the offending scene flashed onto the screen.

I immediately turned off the show.  I felt spiritually drained by this unexpected attack on my quiet day at home with the children.

We left the house seeking more wholesome adventures together and were justly rewarded for our efforts.  We played on a playground for four hours, made friends, and had a wonderful day.

Then on the way home, we followed through with part A of FHE which was to visit some residents at an assisted living community near our home.  We had spent a great deal of time there last Christmas season, and I was pleased to see that some of the residents remembered us.  

While we were there, we listened to a Russian church's children's choir that was performing, (coincidentally, we knew many members of the choir!)  It was very sweet.  They sang Christmas carols in both English and Russian (Yes, it's MLK, Jr. Day today, but whatever!)  Most of them knew only as many English words as made up the lyrics for Silent Night.  When they sang, I could really feel the Spirit returning to my heart.

When we finally returned home, Steve was back from work. We ate dinner and commenced with part B of FHE, which was for Steve to give each of us a Father's blessing for the new year.  Steve explained or rather reminded us that because he holds the priesthood, he holds the power to give us special blessings, admonishments, and words of comfort as he places his hands on our heads and receives promptings and words from the Holy Spirit.

Before he started we sang, I Am a Child of God.  Then I prayed.  Then Steve asked us to pay special attention to see if we can tell when the spirit enters the room.

I felt it.  And I think that the children did too.

As Steve pronounced blessings upon each of us, naming our specific needs, and assuring us of God's love for each one of us individually, we felt a spirit of peace rest upon our family as a whole.

The feeling was in complete contrast to the evil spirit that had invaded our home earlier.  That spirit made me angry and upset, and left me feeling violated and helpless and frustrated.

The feeling that entered our home while we prayed and sang and were blessed together during family home evening, caused us to feel calm and whole and empowered and loved and unified and strong.

I am so thankful for the priesthood, for a husband who is able to bless our family, and for a home where the Spirit can dwell.  And I am thankful for opportunities to learn about the Spirit and to help my children understand how to recognize and appreciate the power and the influence of the Holy Ghost.

PS - Check out another great FHE Chronicle at That Good Part.


  1. I think that my favorite FHE's throughout the years have been when my husband has given us Father's blessings.  

    It is such a special event.  The Spirit fills the home with so much love.  Priesthood blessings are a unique way that Father's can serve their families.  I can't explain it, but I'm so grateful that I've been able to experience it with my family.

    One thing we do in our family ismake bookmarks to help the everyone remember their blessings throughout the year.

    Anyways - loved the post, and I love hearing about what other families are doing for FHE! :)

  2. Bookmarks...what a great idea!  I was going to mention that we had the kids "write down" the blessings of the other children as they were said (which is what I did).  It helped them to sit reverently and demonstrated that these blessings were important enough to write down and remember.

    Guy drew a picture of things from my blessing.  It looking like hieroglyphics...it was very funny!

  3. beautiful experience, so needed is our world to recognize the Spirit of God and it's manifestations. Too many are listening to negative inner voices and turning to suicide in despair. The Spirit and Priesthood blessings are a protection...

  4. I love Priesthood blessings. My favorite memories as a child were getting father's blessings. I can distinctly remember a few of them. We usually had father's blessings at the beginning of each school year, but my children aren't in school yet, and I never thought of having them at the beginning of the year. That's a great idea. Or maybe on their birthdays. Well, our oldest will be starting Kindergarten this year, so we will probably start the school year off with father's blessings. I should probably ask my husband to give us father's blessings before he leaves on trips (which he does frequently).

  5. You are a great example of the gospel in action, Jocelyn. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Your kids are lucky!


  6. Thank you for sharing this, Jocelyn! My son is two, and FHE is a struggle almost every week, even though we do our best to keep it short and directed at him to keep him happy. I need this reminder that FHE is about what we feel and what we invite into our home -- not what my toddler remembers from the lesson. :)

  7. The Holy Spirit's working in our lives  is remarkable. I love that he works in our hearts from our days as young child and continues to bring profound counsel to us for the rest of our life if we allow him to. We can host a member of the Godhead in our mind and heart. As much as I want to say I grasp that substantially, I'm not sure I should.
    This year has been a great reminder to always be seeking for the Spirit's influence. Our son, Landon was baptized and confirmed, and helping coach him in this process has been a special experience. I'm convinced that what you are saying here is true: Families that seek the Spirit together are forging the bonds of eternity. 

  8. 2 is so young...You are just forming the habit and creating feelings of love and enjoying him. Those practices will pay off LATER! :)  Keep up the good work, Lorene! :)

  9. Congratulations on Landon's baptism.  You'll have to share more with me about that.  We've got two years until its Guy's turn, but I'd love to hear how you helped him to prepare for that important step! :)  (Did you cry?) :)

  10. Great call.  Birthday blessings would be wonderful too!

  11. The spirit can be an amazing antidote to many spiritual and emotional ailments! :)

  12. Wait, I want to know what the show was! 

  13. Wait, I want to know what the show was! 

  14. oh .... so glad it's Autumn's Pix! and who blessed Steve?

  15. oh .... so glad it's Autumn's Pix! and who blessed Steve?

  16. have you thought of recording the blessings?  I friend of mines family does that and they have a book of their blessings their dad has given them.  Because my father had a stroke when I was 13 I went to him to get blessings and we did the same for me.  We then type them up.  Taking notes is good too.  My friends father has passed away just as mine has, but I'm so glad I have those blessings and one recording of their voices.  Also, when I left my mission, president told me to ask my father to give me a special blessing and to record it.  He didn't know my father was then in his late 70's.

  17. I felt the Spirit as I read this. Thank you for sharing. 

    I'm reminded of a former bishop's comment about how our responsibility is to give the young people as many experiences with the Spirit as possible. The more they experience that sweetness, the more they'll be able to recognize the difference when they encounter yuck.

  18. Yes, we do write them down!  Guy "drew pictures" of words from my blessing.It's so cute!Thanks!!

  19. Who wrote the PDF that you linked? It was great!