There are some days that I really have to repeat those words over and over in my head. Life is a gift, untie the ribbon. Sure, I know this, but some days really do not feel like gifts and I have to really work hard at thanking my Heavenly Father for some days. Each time when I feel like life is too hard, it is this statement that reminds me just how blessed I truly have been. And I am reminded by that still small voice of just how wonderful each day has been. It is then that my heart is softened and I am able to get on my knees and thank my Heavenly Father for the gift he has given me. Yes, even life itself some days. Not to mention, so many other precious gifts. Gifts like the Holy Ghost. Where would I be without that precious gift??!!! I cannot even imagine life without the gift of the Holy Ghost. There are no words to express what a blessing that particular gift has been for me.
Over the past several weeks we have had to take time to be receptive to the spirit of the Holy Ghost. For those of you that do not know, in the Mormon faith, we are blessed with that gift at baptism. For many of us, we received this gift at the age of 8 years old. But like any other gift, it has to be opened and utilized to be of worth. The ribbons need to be untied. I found this "parable" I want to share with you. The writer refers to Elder Bednar's talk "May We Always Have His Spirit To Be With Us" which is an excellent talk.
The Parable of the Pink iPod
(from the blog: raisinglemons.com)
A few years back my husband gave me a pink iPod for Mother's Day. He and the kids were so excited to give it to me. They had heard me mention that I really wanted something to play music on and they took note. My husband and the kids all got on the computer together and found the perfect iPod. My little daughter picked the pink color.
When Mother's Day came, I opened my gift and I was completely surprised. I was excited because I really wanted more music in my home.
But I am not really smart enough to figure these gadgets out and I am a little bit lazy.
Weeks passed, months passed, even years passed and there sat the pink iPod. I never used it. I didn't read it's manual. I didn't experiment or tinker around with it or try to figure the thing out.
I didn't ask my husband to teach me how to download songs. I am not even sure I ever took the iPod out of it's plastic case that it was boxed in.
The iPod sat in my drawer unused. Which meant I didn't get to enjoy all the music the iPod could have given me.
A year or two later, my husband found the unused pink iPod. He came to me and pulled the iPod out of the unopened plastic box. He handed it to me and asked me to look on the back. I peeled off the pink rubber protection and that is when I saw that he and the kids had engraven a little message for me on the back of the iPod. I had no idea the message was even there. Since I had never used it, I had never read the engraving.
I felt terrible. My husband and children had given me this awesome gift and I didn't use it. I didn't get the benefit of the music or games or info that could have been on there. I didn't read the message for me on the back. The iPod couldn't make my life better because I didn't know how to use it. I had been given the gift of the pink iPod but I had never received the gift.
Do you see the subtle distinction between being given a gift and actually receiving it? Now let me tell you how my pink iPod story is like the Holy Ghost.
We have all been given the gift of the Holy Ghost. After we were baptized, we were confirmed. And someone, that held the Priesthood, laid his hands on our heads and said, "Receive the Holy Ghost."
I used to think that those words meant we got the Holy Ghost right then--at that moment--and that was it.
But Elder Bednar teaches us that "These four words - "Receive the Holy Ghost" - are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction - an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon."
That is fancy for "the Holy Ghost doesn't just come to you automatically, you gotta do the work to receive the Holy Ghost".
The Holy Ghost is just like my iPod. If we want Him with us, we have to take the time to figure Him out. We have to study and read the manual. We have to experiment and tinker around and succeed and fail. We have to ask for help and ask questions and we need to act and try even if we are not sure. We have to desire to learn how the Holy Ghost works and how He communicates. We have to figure out how He talks to us.
In Doctrine and Covenants 88:33 it reads, "For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift." It does us no good to be given a gift if we don't receive it.
So let's talk for a minute about how we can be sure to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost. Elder Bednar gives us 2 steps:
1. Sincerely Desire. Receiving the Holy Ghost starts with out sincere and constant desire for His companionship in our lives. Pray for Him to be with you. Ask Him to accompany you wherever you go. Invite Him along.
2. Faithfully Obey. Have you ever thought about why God asks us to read the scriptures, say our prayers, pay our tithing, go to church, etc.? He doesn't ask us to do all these Holy Habits just to see if we are going to obey or just to keep us busy or just to help us learn. He asks us to keep the commandments because He wants to bless us with the Spirit. We obey so we are prepared to RECEIVE the Holy Ghost.
I testify to you that we want to RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Ghost. Save the Atonement, no gift is greater. We want to know how He works, how He talks, how He operates in our lives. We want Him as our constant companion, as our best friend. We want to know the message He has for us. The Holy Ghost brings peace, comfort, knowledge and confidence into our lives if we truly RECEIVE Him. I know we have all been given the gift of the Holy Ghost, but I would like to invite all of us to truly RECEIVE the gift.
Good story, right? I thought so too. It was a good reminder for me. Especially for days like today. We had a big deposition today in downtown Phoenix. It was pretty scary. Kevin tried to go there without taking his pain meds. That was rough. Thankfully our attorney called to change the time to 10 a.m. today. It was a two hour ordeal. Thankfully I talked Kevin into letting me take his medications with me so we could have him take the medicine as soon as we got to the car. He was nervous with us taking them with us. Which I understand. Now we can say the deposition is over. Thank goodness! Hence one of the reasons we have been relying on the promptings of the Holy Ghost. Not to mention a lot of other issues in our lives that have caused us to also rely on these promptings. We are far from perfect at all of this, and please do not think we are posting this story because we are experts at this. NOT AT ALL! We have a lot to learn. We have a lot of work to do. That's just it. We have to do our part. This is what I mean by this story being a good reminder. I also think that sometimes people think that nothing is really going on in our lives because I can actually put on a happy face and get through the day without a stressed out attitude. Well, believe me, I am stressed out at times. Probably more times that I even know. BUT....it is the gift of the Holy Ghost in my life and the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that always get me through the rough times. EVERY TIME!
Now when I find those things that help me, like the story of the pink iPod, I like to share them, because I know that by sharing this, maybe someone else will be inspired to work on a few things in their own lives too. Enough said. -smile-