It had not even been a month since I had completely uprooted my life and followed the direction of the Spirit to, in my opinion, a hopeless place. It seemed to me that my move could never yield the fruit that I desperately wanted. But I trusted Heavenly Father and luckily had long ago given up the idea that when something is right, it is not hard. I had faith in His ultimate plan for me, but struggled with His timing and, in this case, wisdom. It seemed that the righteous desires I wanted, and that He had told me through the Spirit I could have, were completely at odds with my new set of circumstances. I felt stuck, very stuck and I knew that something extraordinary would be required to change these circumstances. It reminded me of a poem quoted by President Monson:
“Father, where shall I work today?”
and my love flowed warm and free.
Then he pointed out a tiny spot
And said, “Tend that for me.”
I answered quickly, “Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me.”
And the word he spoke, it was not stern; …
“Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galiliee.”
(Meade MacGuire, “Father, Where Shall I Work Today?”)
During a conversation with my sister, I “came to myself” and remembered a few things. I remembered that Heavenly Father had directed me to this “tiny spot”, and that I had readily agreed to co-create this spot with Him. For whatever reason, this was to be where I was to stay for a season. I realized that He had already provided inspiration for how it needed to be tended, and reserved the right to provide more inspiration and plot twists as needed (not as a way to be mean or string me along, but to continue to facilitate my growth). I was struggling to find the meaning of this experience. My sister also reminded me of the words of a past priesthood blessing. The counsel was simple and straightforward, “Go to the temple often and do the work of your ancestors.” Mercifully, Heavenly Father had already planned for this portion of my life and had greater blessings in store than I could have imagined.
In January of 2016, Sister Wendy Watson Nelson gave a CES Fireside entitled, “Becoming the Person You Were Born to Be.” In it she spoke of the woman afflicted with the issue of blood for 12 years, the crippled man by the pool of Bethesda who waited for 38 years, and Christ’s apostles as they struggled against the violent waves of the sea. She pointed out that each of these individuals needed help. Why? Because in her words, “They were desperate! Desperate for the Savior to heal them, help them, cleanse them, guide them, protect them, and save them! They were desperate for Jesus Christ to help them do things they could never do on their own. They were desperate to have the Savior’s strength and power in their lives.” She then asked the question, “Do you know that feeling?”
Yes, Sister Nelson, I know that feeling. Desperation seemed to be the prevalent emotion on that tiny spot where I found myself. I had initially agreed to come to this spot, but had since lost the original feelings of “love flow[ing] warm and free.” I was frustrated, impatient, sad, weepy, and unable to sleep. The forces of evil seemed to have launched an all-out attack and I was weary and battle-worn. I needed power beyond my own. The best solution in my mind was to have my circumstances change, without me doing anything. Oddly enough, Heavenly Father didn’t take counsel from me. And so after a few bouts of kicking and screaming, I agreed to listen to His counsel. “Go to the temple often and do the work of your ancestors.”
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, April 2009 General Conference, stated, “When we have entered into divine covenants, the Holy Ghost is our comforter, our guide, and our companion. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are “the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things”…The gifts of the Holy Spirit are testimony, faith, knowledge, wisdom, revelations, miracles, healing, and charity, but to name a few.”
I attended the temple more frequently than I ever had before. I did my best to find my ancestors’ names and became aware of how long they had waited for these amazing blessings. I asked for another priesthood blessing and was told that the ancestors who had been “assigned” to me wanted to be known. I was told to find them. As I worked to do so, I discovered friends who I realized had been there all along, helping me throughout my life. I found people who longed to make temple covenants to help build up God’s kingdom. As I enabled them to access their divine covenants I felt shifts in my own life. I felt greater protection from evil and often called upon my ancestors to help me. I began to heal from wounds I previously believed permanent.
I gained a stronger testimony of the power that comes from the temple. I learned that this “tiny spot” did indeed offer healing in my life, growth in testimony, faith, knowledge, wisdom, and revelations. On the days when I truly felt I had nothing left to give and I cried out to the Lord in desperation, the temple became even holier. As I sat in the Celestial room I felt peace I could not deny, and hope that sustained me. My time in the temple led to a firm conviction that standing in holy places truly does prepare us for the greatest of all blessings. Whatever our circumstances, wherever our tiny spot, following the prophet and apostles’ counsel to stand in holy places will always lead to power beyond this world.
I would love to say that my diligence in following the counsel of the prophet and apostles to stand in holy places has changed my circumstances and brought me to a new, “desirable” plot. I would love to say that my standing in holy places has made my life easier and that my problems have all dissolved. I cannot say this as of yet, nor do I think I ever will. What I can say is that part of standing in holy places is standing where God would have me be, including seemingly undesirable “tiny spots.” As I yield to His plan for my life, in His wisdom He knows how to purify my motivations, and ensure that I am always “working” for Him. I have felt Heavenly Father’s love flow freely over me, and He has taught me that more than my circumstance, is character.
Author Rebecka Parker is a seeker of all true things. She believes that healing comes through this truth and a good douse of humor. She is a daughter, sister, friend, and (self-proclaimed) favorite aunt. She is grateful for knowledge of truth through the Spirit and unconventional pathways. She is a clinical social worker and yogi.