When Robin and I went to the temple on Saturday, we were trying to attend the Spanish session for our ward temple day. Somehow they didn’t count correctly and let too many of us go up to the endowment room from the chapel and they didn’t have room for all of us. Since I am not a native Spanish-speaker, I was booted out. Of course, Robin came too, along with a few other men. Instead of taking us back down to the chapel, they took us to another endowment room where a session would be starting in half an hour. It was very quiet in there. At least the chapel has the organ and people walking in. This room was completely silent. Before leaving that morning, I had asked Heavenly Father to teach me whatever it was that He wanted me to know so I started thinking about that and trying to be receptive to any thoughts. Well, I guess I know enough, because I didn’t learn anything new. Hehe But the rest of the time I was thinking about how Heavenly Father teaches me.
Heavenly Father loves each one of us and knows us inside and out. He even knows how we best learn and He teaches us in the way that is customized for us. Isn’t that special? I am a very visual learner so Heavenly Father has often used things that I can see to teach me. One time I went to the Provo temple hoping to find some solace or even answers to some heavy problems I had. I got through the whole session and didn’t feel any answer. I sat in the celestial room and prayed silently. I suddenly started to feel this overwhelming peace and love, almost like arms wrapping around me. I looked down at the legs of the table which held the giant vase of flowers in the middle of the room. It had claw-foot legs. I immediately had the thought that I was strong and just had to hold on, like that bird’s claw. Every time I was in the celestial room, I’d look at the claw-feet and remember that answer to my prayer. One day, I went in and saw that they had replaced my table with a new art deco-looking one. There’s nothing wrong with the new one, but I miss seeing that reminder. I still think about it every time I see the new table though. That’s just one example of His visual teaching to me, His slow-learning daughter.
Heavenly Father has also taught me with words specific and special to me. When I was young, I always wondered what I promised Heavenly Father before I left to come down to earth. I felt that if I could just find out what it was, I would be willing to do it. I remember having those thoughts as young as when I was in first and second grade. I thought I probably promised someone who was going to be born into a family who weren’t members of the church, that I’d find them and teach them about the gospel. (Remember Saturday’s Warrior?) So I invited quite a few friends and even an elementary teacher to church.
Skip ahead to when I was 16 and was getting my patriarchal blessing from a man who I never met, in a city where no one knew me since we were new. I wondered what my blessing would say and I even secretly hoped that Heavenly Father just left 2 specific things out of the blessing altogether. I had my life planned and it didn’t include that. So guess what was in the blessing. You guessed it. But it didn’t just say “You will…. Or You should…” It said specifically that before I left my Heavenly Father, I promised Him that I would… When the patriarch said those words, I knew that it wasn’t really him talking to me, but my Heavenly Father talking to me in exactly the way I needed to hear it. It was the first time in my life that I really knew that Heavenly Father knew me and loved me.
Heavenly Father is so gracious and loving and generous with his tender mercies. He gives us what we need how we need it. I’m sure if you think about it, you'll see that He has taught you in a way important to you too.
“Through personal study, observation, pondering, and prayer, I believe I have come to better understand that the Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Truly, the Lord suits "his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men" (D&C 46:15).”
Elder David A. Bednar , The Tender Mercies of the Lord, April 2005 General Conference