Editor’s Note:  New York Times #1 Bestselling Authors Richard and Linda Eyre join forces with their daughter Saydi (an “in the trenches” mother of four young children) to produce this series on the why-tos and the how-tos of receiving the Direct-Stewardship inspiration, guidance, and revelation we need to create strong and righteous families in this difficult world.  This is article 2 in a multi-part weekly series which will run here in Meridian every Tuesday. (Click here to read article 1)

In today’s turbulent world, and with the challenge of home centered Gospel teaching, parents and grandparents need personal family revelation more than ever before.  And since every home situation is unique, this is not a series on what to do generally—it is on how to get divine answers for your family specifically.  The series continues today in the midst of the current Pandemic, with the thought that we may all have more need for Family Revelation now than ever before.

I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. 
–President Russell M. Nelson

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It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation. . . .God is not a respecter of persons; we all have the same privilege.2
–Joseph Smith

Dickens said, in A Tale of Two Cities, that it was “The best of times and the worst of times.”  The same could be said during this pandemic as we struggle to successfully raise children and create families.  It is a wonderful time in the sense of having the Gospel restored, a Prophet on the earth, and the remarkable connectivity of all of God’s children alive and dead.  Yet there has never been a time when creating and maintaining a lasting marriage and a strong family was harder; and there has never been an age when raising righteous and responsible children was more difficult. 

We may get some help from family counselors or parenting experts or personal mentors, but the problem is that each of our families is unique, each of our situations is different, and each of our children is one-of-a-kind.  General advice and the examples of others can be helpful, but the simple fact is no one really knows as much about our own individual children or our own particular families or our own unique challenges as we do.

With one exception.  Our Heavenly Parents know more about our families, and about us, than we do, and they love our children and our spouse even more than we can.

Thus, it follows that the best advice, the most useful counsel, the most clear and specific help for our family challenges will not come from a mortal, earthly source, but from a divine source—from our Heavenly Parents, from our Atoning Eldest Brother, and from the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.  Our most relevant and useful and saving help will come from Family Revelation.

And the question we want to move toward in this series is how to get it—and how we can receive more of it.

But this How question has to be preceded by some other questions about When and

Where we can best seek revelation, about Who we need to be to receive it, and perhaps most importantly about What the objective of Family Revelation is—about precisely what it is that we are asking for.

The installments in this series look deeply into these questions, beginning not with speculation or opinion but with God’s own formula for asking and receiving, and progressing through the many and varied ways in which Family Revelation is sought and received—and the keys to keeping our door always open.

His Formula, and Our Faith

The Savior Himself gives us the formula for Personal and Family Revelation:

Seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened, ask and ye shall receive. Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.

The initiative is on us….seek, knock, ask, draw near..

When we do these things with a sincere heart and with real intent, the promises of what He will do in return are clear and absolute…ye shall find, receive, have things opened to you and have Him draw near to you

There are no caveats or exceptions or small print.  The promises are bold and clear and powerful.

We can seek and knock and ask for Family Revelation—each of us can.  It is God’s invitation. And we will find and receive.  It is God’s promise. Our main responsibility, as we hear loud and clear in April Conference is to “Hear Him”

Knowing this is true is the first step in Receiving Family Revelation.

Have confidence in yourself and faith in your ability to Receive Family Revelation or, in other words, to Hear Him. Base that confidence and faith on what the Lord Himself has said both directly and through His Prophets and leaders.

BYU President Kevin Worthin, put it this way:

Let me first assure you that none of us is spiritually tone deaf. Because all of us are literal spirit children of perfect Heavenly Parents, each of us has the innate potential to receive and recognize revelation. As Joseph Smith once observed: “It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation…God is not a respecter of persons; we all have the same privilege.”

 Moreover, God does not arbitrarily give us a limited number of specific chances to receive revelation and then judge us eternally on how we did in those particular moments. There is, thankfully, no one-time, single-question, high-stakes final exam on receiving revelation. God is infinitely more patient, infinitely more loving, and infinitely more anxious for us to succeed than we can comprehend. He will give us opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to be guided by Him.

His deepest desire is to help us develop our innate capacity to receive revelation. (Worthin, BYU devotional sept 2018)

(Saydi) These words give me so much comfort.  In the thick of parenting sometimes we often feel like we’re just not getting it right. Often, we’re running so ragged, with so many plates spinning that it feels like stopping to seek direction might just be the thing that makes them all come crashing down. In addition, it is natural, as we think about the needs and challenges of our family and our children, to think about the things we have done wrong and all the things we should be doing better.  It helps me to instead focus on the things that I’m getting right.

Even at this moment you are concerned and conscientious enough as a parent to search and to want to improve and to pick up and read this article.  You have, whether you realize it or not, always done the best you could with what you had and what you knew at the time. Parenting and marriage are, neither one, a game of perfection.  They are divinely designed to be messy and challenging, sometimes excruciating. They are the crucible by which God refines us into who he wants us to be and the way by which He brings us and our children closer to Him.  

I love the part in Ether when the brother of Jared is seeking help to figure out how his people will cross the great waters in boats with no lights, no air, no navigation.  The challenges he faces seem insurmountable, like many of the challenges we face trying to get our families to our own promised lands.

The Lord tells the brother of Jared that his people shall be as “a whale in the midst of the sea…that the “mountain waves shall dash upon [them].”  The Lord goes on to say that the winds have gone out of His mouth, that the He has sent for the rains and the floods.  God sending winds and rains and floods my way? That’s when I might just run away and hide in a cave. But the Lord goes on to tell the brother of Jared that He will “bring them up again out of the depths of the sea, that he will “prepare [them] against these things; for ye cannon can not cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea and the winds which have gone forth and the floods which shall come.”

When things are rough, it’s helpful to me to remember that God is sending these winds and waves our way, that it is part of the divine design and that He also has the power to bring us out of the depths of our storms.  And, perhaps most importantly, if we seek ways to have light and air He will miraculously provide for our needs. This is our right to revelation. God will direct us through our storms. He tells us this over and over again.  He begs us to try Him, to test Him, to ask, to seek. He’s trying to tell us, over and over again, that He wants to guide us through our turbulent waters, that He wants to give us light. That with effort on our part, both in the seeking and the receiving, we can ‘Hear Him.’ He can fill our storms with guidance and teach us to not only navigate through storms, but use the winds and waves to get us and our families to our promised lands.

Agency and Asking

Our Heavenly Father, of course, knows our children because they are His children, and knows us as well, better than we know ourselves.  He knows our needs and He also knows our gifts, our potential, and our foreordinations.

And He wants us to know all of these things, but is constrained from manifesting them to us by His commitment to our agency. 

Agency lies at the central core of the Gospel and the Lord’s Plan of Salvation. 

Agency distinguished that plan from the opposite, coercive approach of the adversary.

But agency is given to all—and sometimes, to parents,  it seems more like a curse than a blessing because children use it to act out, to rebel, and to make bad choices large and small.

And it is our own agency that can prevent God from giving us the answers we need for our families until we take the initiative to ask.

Asking breaches and bridges agency, making it work for us rather than against—

Providing the initiative from our side that opens the door so that He, without violating our agency, can do what he always wants to do, which is to give us all He has including the precise personal revelation we need to help and serve our families, to raise our children to their foreordinations, and to turn our marriage into the potentially perfectible oneness made possible  by the New and Everlasting Covenant.

But asking is not always as simple as it sounds, it needs the right time and the right place and the right questions—It involves preparation and study, and sometimes it requires the drawing of our own conclusions to take to Him for confirmation. Most of all, it requires faith, the thing Joseph defined as “mental effort”—the effort of asking and seeking and exploring, and receiving;

May we think of agency not a barricade but an entry point, not a denial but an invitation.

Christ stands at the door, but there is no latch or handle on His side.  His knock is our invitation to open the door from the inside so that His influence, His Spirit, and His revelation can enter.

Alternative Reality

Lately, there seems to be a lot of fictional stories, movies, and TV series about “alternative realities” or “alternative universes”—about another realm that we can’t see but that exists right next to ours.

Maybe one reason that these stories resonate with us is that there really is an alternative reality—a Spirit World, right here, coexisting with our physical world. And there is a spirit within each of us that co-exists with our physical body and brain.

Perhaps another way of stating the couplet “Be in the world but not of the world” would be

“Don’t get so wrapped up in one world that you forget about the other one.”

Or,

“Love both worlds, but remember which one is our true home.”

…The physical and the spiritual, both realities existing together, each accessible from the other…

Brigham Young said, Where is the spirit world? It is right here.”3

Parley P Pratt added, A veil is drawn between the one sphere and the other whereby all the objects in the spiritual sphere are rendered invisible to those in the temporal.”4

The same veil that separates these two worlds, to some extent also separates our own spirits from our bodies.  But it is sometimes very thin and can occasionally allow us to feel the full depth of who we really are and sense the myriads of spirits and the spiritual universe that is always around us.  Perhaps that sometimes-thin veil is the reason we relate to the statement of Pierre Tellhard de Chardin, We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Sometimes the veil thins a bit when we are in the Temple, or in nature and in touch with the natural world which also has a spiritual dimension. Some people seem to naturally have a thinner veil than others, but we can all penetrate it by asking for and receiving personal and Family Revelation. We know it is there.  Our concern should be how to tune in.  As Elder McConkie put it,

The minute in which we tune a radio to the proper wave band — we begin to hear and see and experience what otherwise remains completely unknown to us. The revelations and visions of eternity (are) are around us all the time. This Tabernacle is full of the same things which are recorded in the scriptures and much more. The vision of the degrees of glory is being broadcast before us, but we do not hear or see or experience because we have not tuned our souls to the wave band on which the Holy Ghost is broadcasting. The Comforter knoweth all things; —and he is broadcasting all the truths of salvation, and all the knowledge and wisdom of God, out into all immensity all of the time.

How this is done we do not know. We cannot comprehend God or the laws by which he governs the universe. But that it does happen we know because here in the valley below, when we attune our souls to the Infinite, we hear and see and experience the things of God.”- Bruce R. McConkie from “The Lord’s People Receive Revelation” April, 1971

To navigate through this physical world, we use our five senses, and thus the easiest reality to accept is the physical reality that we perceive through our eyes and ears and physical feelings. 

Yet there are times when we are aware of the alternative spiritual reality that surrounds us and that is in us—the reality that we can ask for and receive through personal and Family Revelation.

And this spiritual reality, even though obscured by the veil, is the larger and longer reality and the one that will lead us back to God. Acknowledging this spiritual reality is the first step in looking beyond or through the veil and receiving the revelation that can guide our lives and give us what we need to succeed in the stewardship of our families.

“The spirit and the body are the soul of man”

The Power of the word “Revelation

Far from being a rare thing, revelation, like the spirit world, is all around us.  It’s light and current is everywhere and we need only to plug into it. 

To many, revelation is a more complete word than inspiration, and while we all would love to have more of both, it is useful to think of insights and inspiration as the beginnings of revelation which not only makes us aware of something that is true, but reveals to us what to do about it, and how to do it.

We asked our 15-year-old grandson what he thought the difference was between inspiration and revelation.  He thought for a moment and said “I think inspiration just hits you sometimes, like an idea or a warning or a prompting of some kind.  But you have to ask to get revelation.

And it is so personal and individualized!  Our personal Family Revelation is not about the Church or the world or the families of the world or the children of the world.  It is about our children, and our families, and it comes individually tailored to our own unique needs and would not necessarily be applicable to other families in other situations.

Family Revelation is specific not only to you for your family, but to you for each separate and different child.  This is easily illustrated for those who have more than one child.  You may have thought that you figured it all out on the first child, and that the second one would be easy because of all you learned on the first one.  What an awakening when the second one came along and everything was different!  These children are eternal.  They have been becoming who they are for an eternity.  And no two of them are alike. It is our job to work with each unique soul through seeking for answers and “Hearing Him.”  Family Revelation is available to us as parents for each of them, but never think that it will be the same for two of them!

Another way to think about it is that personal Family Revelation is the precise, polar opposite of Social Media.  Social Media is about other people, and it comes from other people, it is about gossip, about opinion, about how many people it can reach and how many will “like” it.  Revelation is about you, only you, and it comes from God, and it is specific and doesn’t apply or even reach anyone else.  And instead of coming in words and pictures, it comes in feelings—often complete, full feelings that help you to know things in your soul that words and pictures could never fully describe and that no one else could fully understand.

And there are no “links” or “shares” and the only “likes” that matters are you and God.

Speaking of links, we need to constantly remind ourselves that, when it comes to Family Revelation, there are no links in the ask chain or the answer chain.  Yes, we are part of a hierarchal Church, with lines of authority and chains of command, and there are some questions where we should go to a Bishop who may go to a Stake President who may go to an Area Authority who may go to an Apostle, but when it comes to family matters—to personal Family Revelation for your children and your family—there is no link in the chain between you and God.  You have the same stewardship right to revelation for your family that the Prophet has to revelation for the Church.

Shared Revelation

(Saydi) It’s important to note here that, in a two-parent family, Family Revelation should be something that both parents agree with and feel good about.  Each may receive guidance in a different way, but the directions and conclusions should be the same.

Occasionally the same revelation will come to both parents and it’s crystal clear what God is trying to communicate. But more often in my experience, revelation comes to one of us and as we discuss and explore the question or decision further until we both come to a place where we feel good about our next steps.  Please note what this does not mean that one spouse receives revelation and then unilaterally dictates the course of the family. As we learn in the family proclamation, parents are to be equally yoked. “Fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” Additionally, we learn in D&C 121 that when priesthood authority is wielded unrighteously, priesthood power ends.  “Revelations” that are enforced by standing on priesthood authority or patriarchy are likely not revelation at all.

It is when we are equally yoked as parents, together and with God that He can reveal important truths, big and small, about how to guide our families.

This applies to all family matters, even financial ones. Elder Ashton, in talking about family finances counseled that: Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power and authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility. (italics added, “Guide toFamily Finance,” Liahona, Apr. 2000, 42).  

I think we can safely say that this also applies to Family revelation.  “Control of the [revelation] by one spouse as a source of power and authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate.  Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family {revelation}, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility.”

While much of family revelation comes to one parent or the other individually, when we’re attempting to make important family decisions or solve complex problems affecting the whole family we can come together, either with our spouse or with a trusted parenting partner or mentor to seek guidance from God.  We have been encouraged in the church to council as families (which we’ll talk about more in depth later on) but I love that we are encouraged by President Ballard to “collectively seek the Lord’s will.”  He teaches us that “it’s not enough just to share ideas; by counseling together, we invite revelation so we can learn what the Lord wants us to do in our situation

The Five W’s of Family Revelation

Perhaps the best entryway into this whole topic is the asking and answering of the five W questions that form the parameters of any subject.  If we can first answer Who, What, Where, When and Why, we will have the basic directions and dimensions for going deeper into Family Revelation.

WHO? You and only you. Because family revelation does not come in general terms or one-size-fits-all advice from a parenting book, and the answers are different for each parent and each child and each marriage. We may get prompts or ideas from others, but we need the tailor made guidance that can come only to us and only by Family revelation.

WHAT? God’s answers—directly from His Spirit to our spirit. Because what we are looking for in Family Revelation is not only insight and solutions, but the divine strength and motivation to implement them. What we are really asking for is His will for us and for our lives and for our children.  The objective is to find out more fully who we are and who our children are and what God wants us to do and to become.

WHEN?  Always. Because we don’t understand enough even to know just when we need help. If we can plead for Family Revelation not only while we are on our knees asking for it, but at the very moments and in the very situations when we need it most, we open ourselves not only to the guidance of God, but to His timing.

WHERE? To our minds, but also to our hearts.  Sometimes Family Revelation comes as a mental idea, illuminating our brain to clarity and deeper understanding, but it also comes to our hearts, prompting us to love more unconditionally.  And it can come in any physical location, but most often in places that are, in one way or another, holy places.

WHY?  Simply because we can’t succeed as parents or marriage partners or in any familial relationship without help.  None of us are wise enough or capable enough to fully know a child or his needs, or to anticipate dangers, or to have full empathy for another family member without some kind of help or guidance or support from a higher power—without some form of Family Revelation.  The simple answer to why is “because we desperately need it.”

Julie beck in 2010, as relief society General President captured some of this feeling of need:

A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all of the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do….But with personal revelation, she can prioritize correctly and navigate this life confidently.  The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life.

Stewardships and Mantles

A further answer to the why question involves the beautiful concept of stewardship.

“Stewardship” is not necessarily a Church word, but as a Church, we use the word in a unique and wonderful way, connoting the fact that when we receive a calling, we have responsibility for (not ownership of) those within the preview of that calling.  And the most lasting (eternal) calling is that of Parent.

Our children are actually our spirit brothers and sisters, and somehow, by the wisdom possessed only by God, we came to earth two or three decades before they did and now have the awesome stewardship of caring for and raising them, and of teaching them the Gospel.

Within this stewardship lie the greatest joys and the greatest challenges of mortality.

There is a mantle of stewardship and access to revelation that goes with each calling, and the calling of parent is no exception (though it is exceptional in that it is the one calling from which we will never be released.)

Our sense of the real and tangible nature of the mantle of a calling was particularly vivid and strong during our Mission Presidency in London where we understood so sharply our own inadequacy in leading over 200 missionaries in the way they deserved to be led.  We felt that mantle frequently, including every transfer day as the Lord told us where and with whom He wanted each of them to serve. And we felt the lifting of that mantle on the afternoon we were released on a mid-summer day in London and crossed the English Channel into France.  We looked at each other and knew we were different—the mantle of that calling was gone, and we were moving on to something new.  We also had a deeper appreciation and keener perception than ever of the mantle that continued with us—the mantle of parenthood of six children, four that we had brought to England with us three years earlier, and two that had been born there during our mission.

Joy

Perhaps the best answer of all to the question of “Why” is the answer that Nephi gave concerning why we are now in this mortality.  “Adam fell,” as the familiar scripture goes, “that man might be (mortal) and man is (mortal) that he might have joy.”  Joy is the ultimate reason for seeking and finding Family Revelation.  Our families and our children are our greatest sources of joy, and seeking and receiving the inspiration we need to guide and raise them, and to make our families into eternal institutions is the very core of the joy process.

There is nothing on this earth like the moment a new baby enters the world. For a moment time stands still. The veil between us and another world is so thin that if we are in tune, we can feel angels in the room.

Like us, most parents have gazed into an infant’s eyes and sensed an older soul, and we know that each child comes, as Wordsworth saysnot in entire forgetfulness and trailing clouds of glory from God who is our home;” and we might add “and bringing a distinctive nature, personality and character that has already developed over an eternity.”  Our job as parents is to discover that unique nature and spirit in each child and parent him or her accordingly.

We are awestruck when the soul of this beautiful baby immerges from heaven and alights in this unknown world, usually crying lustily from the trauma of the entrance. It is an ethereal, surreal moment. Very soon though, the real world settles around us and we realize that every child also brings a starling new beginning for us as his or her parents. As we get into that new reality, often it is ourselves that feel like crying as we embark on the joyful but sometimes heart-wrenching journey of raising a child. As new parents, we have no idea what joys and sorrows lie ahead but we go forward with faith that we will be inspired to know what to do, and know that with urgent requests for help, we’ll discover who this little child really is and how we can help him or her with the life-journey ahead.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, every child has his or her own “package.” Each one is unique. That makes life a lot more complicated! As parents of nine children, we firmly believe that our children joined us in this world from another exitance with individual, eternally-developed souls of their own. And they come who they are!  Those of you who are parents of two or more know that two children raised in exactly the same environment and from the same gene pool still come with very different personalities, intellects, passions, needs and spirits. Some have naturally believing hearts and others struggle to find truth and light the hard way.

Life’s journey with all its joys always includes the best teacher: adversity. Every family struggles with something. From the misery of a baby with colic to the heartbreak of a child suffering with an addition or who has left the church and so many things in between, we all experience sorrow. But sorrow is a component of joy and adversity is part of God’s plan and is the greatest tool to teach us and our families how to beg for inspiration and revelation as our trials stretch us to the depth of our souls.

As you read and as we write, know that we are fellow strugglers right along with you, trying our best to create a conduit to heaven that is firm and strong. We are certainly not presumptuous enough to think we can provide answers for you, but we will try to present ideas and questions that may help lead to your own answers.

Our greatest gift in our journey of joy with our own beautiful children sent from heaven for their turn on earthis the knowledge that our Heavenly Parents and our Savior Jesus Christ love them even more than we do. They want to help us but we have to ask for it. As stewards, it is daunting to know that we are here to help our children find their foreordinations and tofind joy. Most importantly, our journey in life is about having the privilege of helping our families to understand that life’s most precious gift is the life of our Savior Jesus Christ and that through his teachings and his Atonement we can return to Heaven, having been given the marvelous opportunity of being healed from our sins and with a glorious understanding of the joys of eternity.

Since there is no set roadmap for this new personal journey as parents and marriage partners, we need to make full use of the spiritual GPS of Family Revelation.

Foreordination

Perhaps the deepest part of the WHAT question is

“What is the objective?  What are you seeking personal family revelation about?”

And perhaps to Church members, the simplest answer to that question is,

“About my foreordination and that of my family and my children. 

Another synonymous way to answer the same question is,

“About God’s will for me.”  Because the whole point of Family Revelation is to get us and our families operating on God’s agenda rather than on our own.

As President Benson once observed, Those who turn their lives over to God will find that He can do much more with them than they could.”

The doctrine of foreordination is unique to the Church, because it was part of the Restoration—specifically the restoration of the Plan of Salvation and the knowledge of a premortal life where we developed into who we are as spirits and received special foreordinations regarding what we could and should do here on earth.

As Elder Neal A Maxwell said,Foreordination is like any other blessing—it is a conditional bestowal subject to our faithfulness… foreordination is a conditional bestowal of a role, a responsibility, or a blessing which, likewise, foresees but does not fix the outcome…The doctrine pertains not only to the foreordination of the prophets, but to each of us.” (Meeting the Challenges of Today, Neal A. Maxwell of the Seventy Oct. 10, 1978 • Devotional)

Someone once said “Each of us was given a specific foreordination for this life, and for one who finds and fulfills it, he will have it in the hereafter as his greatest joy; and for one who fails to find it, he will have it in the hereafter as his greatest…embarrassment.”

The last word is fascinating.  Embarrassment.  Imagine the feeling of thinking you lived a good life and did your duty and pursued your goals and then finding out that “your ladder had been leaned against the wrong building” and what you accomplished, though perhaps good and noble, was not the thing you had been foreordained to do.

Now it is only speculation just how specific our foreordinations were, but we really don’t need to worry about that, because if we seek and receive revelation for ourselves and our families about what God foreordained for us and for them, we will have as much information as God desires us to have—and if we are sincere and have real intent in our asking, those answers will become invaluable guides for our life goals, for our marriages, and for our parenting.

Patriarchal Blessings, the closest thing we have to personal scripture, can be at least a partial guide to our foreordinations, and can be the prompters for prayers for deeper understanding.

God will not turn down or ignore one who is seeking His will, both for himself and for his family stewardship.

Our daughter Saren’s experience on her families latest move illustrates the kind of Family Revelation we all hope will come regarding location, career, and all the things we hope to get right for our families and for our service to God:

“Praying for guidance on where to relocate and raise our children, we got an unexpected job offer in Ogden, Utah where we had never imagined living.  The move didn’t make sense when we analyzed it, but still, as we prayed , we continued to feel prompted to move forward and make the move. There were problems with the job and with the house we found and for a while we were having trouble making sense of it. 

“After living here for about a year, the stake president invited Jared and I to come and meet with him. He call the Jared to be the bishop of our very diverse and struggling inner-city ward. While the call felt somewhat shocking at first, we both very quickly felt a strong sense of peace about it. 

“For the next five years, Jared was stretched and grew in wonderful ways as he served as Bishop of our Ward and was able to be a real instrument in the Lord’s hands. The kids and I had opportunities to learn a great deal as we got to know wonderful people from all walks of life and Jared example of selfless service became a pillar of our family. We have so many crazy stories and tender stories from that 5 years! 

“I’m so grateful for the Lord’s clear but somewhat confusing promptings that led us to this place and all the experiences and opportunities it has offered.”

We think of the similar experiences of our other children as they have negotiated their marriages, their parenting, their choice of where to live and what careers to pursue, and we are overwhelmed with gratitude for the Family Revelation they have sought and received. Our son Josh, succeeding in one career path but inspired to drop it and become an elementary school teacher; our daughter Charity knowing when she had found the right guy, even when their relationship had broken off for a time; our son Tal, finding a job against all odds that allowed he and his wife to move to Switzerland where her ageing parents live;  our son Eli, guided to take the risks of living in Manhattan and start a new business with his brother Noah.  With hindsight, it is impossible to imagine living our lives without the Family Revelation we need at every stage and at every junction.

Revisiting the five Ws

Let’s revisit and reconsider the five W questions again, and this time, instead of asking them about the subject of Family Revelation, let us ask them about our own lives.  Because these are the very questions that we each need to ask in deepest prayer if we are to draw down the light and guidance of our Heavenly Parents concerning the path and destiny of our families.  In that context, the W questions take on a whole new light and start to look like this:

WHO does the Lord want me to be and who does he want each of our children to become?

WHAT are the things that He wants me to do with my life—what are my foreordinations?

WHERE does God want me to live and work and raise our children?

WHEN should we have another child, or change jobs, or re-locate, or take a new path?

WHY am I doing what I’m doing now, and shall I to continue it or try something different?

Socrates famously said

The unexamined life is not worth living.

We might expand that spiritually and say

The life unquestioned and un-prayed-about will not be the life that God wants for us and could create for us if we were to ask Him.

Of course, all of the five W questions in this article lead up to the much bigger and more complex H question of next week’s article: How? How does Family Revelation come?  How do we seek it? How do we recognize it?  How do we capture it and remember it and implement it?  How do we magnify it and increase its frequency? These How questions are the subject of Article 3 which you are invited to read here next Tuesday.