The Savior speaks to us in ways we will understand. He may speak to us in a variety of ways over the course of our lives. There have been only a few occasions in which I have heard a voice in my head utter specific words. That kind of experience is unusual for me. Most often, I have a thought which blossoms into a calm assurance that I am doing what the Lord wants me to do. It is a lifelong pursuit to identify how He speaks to us personally.
I Have Heard Him through the Words of Others
There have been occasions in my life when I have heard Him through the words of another, such as the time several years back when I went to the temple on my dad’s birthday. My dad had passed away the year before, and I went to the temple with the hope that I might feel his presence and be reinvigorated with the confidence my dad always gave me.
While I was there, a lovely temple ordinance worker approached me and whispered something to me that only my dad would have said. It was a beautiful manifestation of the Spirit to me. I did not hear my father’s voice; I heard her voice, but the words were his. On that day, I heard the Spirit testify to me, through the voice of someone I did not know, that my dad was aware of me, that he was available to me, and that he would wrap his arms around me again. The Spirit testified to me of truth—that because of the Savior, my family is indeed eternal.
The Savior speaks to us, personally and uniquely, and in ways we will understand. I am so thankful this dear woman acted on the prompting she received to say what she said to me. That day, I needed that experience with the Spirit. It replenished my spiritual reservoir and gave me renewed assurance in the plan for our happiness.
I believe the Lord wants to give us opportunities to be instruments in His hands. That is one reason He lets other people do the talking sometimes; so that we can all participate in helping one another return to Him.
We Can Help Our Children to Hear Him
We can help our children to hear Him, and we have a sacred responsibility to do so. We expend great effort in our homes and at church to create an environment where the Spirit can be present. But are we taking the opportunity to help our children recognize and understand that what they are feeling is the Spirit? When we think the Spirit is present, we can ask how the children feel. Let the children put words to how the Spirit is expressing itself to them. We frequently, and appropriately, use a warm, comforting blanket as an analogy for how the Spirit makes us feel.
But what about the child who doesn’t feel the Spirit as a warm blanket, but as a tingle or a shiver? We have a responsibility to help our children recognize the diversity of ways in which the Spirit speaks. If we create opportunities for the Spirit to be present and help our children recognize and put a name to what they are feeling, we will provide them with a reservoir of spiritual experiences to draw upon for a lifetime.
I have a reservoir of sweet and tender experiences when the Savior spoke to me through the Spirit. I hope and pray that our children will be blessed with opportunities to recognize the Spirit and identify how they hear Him.