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In the Details

By Brooke Benton

A bit ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend a Q&A with Elder Holland. Suffice it to say it was more than an amazing and rich experience, but more, I left feeling so impressed at Elder Holland’s—and for that matter, his wife’s—ability to administer to the one. Whenever anyone in the small gathering said anything, he dealt with their feelings so tenderly, and cried with them, and loved them in empathetic tones reminiscent of the Savior, when he blessed the children one by one, and when he healed so profusely and intimately in the Gospels.

I left knowing how much our Heavenly Father loves each of us, and knowing how much he is mindful of us individually. He knows exactly what each of us need, daily, and all we need to do to access this power is listen, and ask, and act.

My dear friend’s sweet mother received a terminal cancer diagnosis in early October. They learned that the time was short and they would likely only have a couple of months left together on this earth. My friend was understandably distraught as she contemplated the reality of death in her life and listened to the Saturday morning session of General Conference in tears. President Uchtdorf’s talk, “Of Regrets and Resolutions” prompted her to go and see her mother immediately, a small task she hadn’t felt emotionally up to. She spent a bit of time with her mom, and gratefully, because her mother passed away that night, during the Priesthood session of Conference. Forever will my friend be grateful of the mindfulness that Heavenly Father had for her specifically, and that she acted upon it, able to see her mother one last time, alive.

This morning I drove up to the temple in the solid black of winter mornings and because I’m not the best with really good praying in the morning (or at night for that matter), I tend to pray in the car. A lot. I woke up with a heavy and fearful heart that was tinged with unknowing. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by possibilities, sometimes the thought of my easy, lovely life scares me, sometimes things seem too good, sometimes I find myself holding my breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop, preemptively worrying about nothing, so I prayed against that, for light.

I felt the peace flow into me immediately and was struck again and again at the mention of my blessings being sealed to me. They are mine, and mine forever. Whatever happens on this earth, the components that mark my easy lovely life—my babies, my husband, my family, the truths—aren’t going anywhere.

And later, I left the temple in the encroaching gray light, the promise of morning. A pinky sunrise.

I know that Heavenly Father loves us. I know he is mindful of us in every regard. I know that what’s important to us is important to him, not matter how little it may seem in regard to the eternities

About Brooke Benton

(Blog Team) is attempting inner om with this writing stuff. Proud to claim four loud children, a patient husband and a fat black cat as family, she feels blessed to be their mommy-- their giver of kisses and baker of cookies. She is ever seeking a good novel and wishing for the sand between her toes, palm trees, the ocean.

10 thoughts on “In the Details”

  1. I envy your chance to be in that type of setting with Elder Holland–what an amazing experience!

    Thanks for sharing your testimony of God's awareness of each of individually. I, too, am awed at how well he knows and loves each one of us.

  2. I admire your strong knowledge of knowing God loves you, and blesses you and looks out for you (like he did with the example of my friend). Lately I have a hard time reconciling how blessed people like us are, vs. people living in extreme poverty, people born into horrific conditions, people struggling to survive, to eat, to provide for starving children, etc. How come our prayers and blessing requests are met and theirs are not?? I know this is sort of a step away from what you were saying, but you seem to have a good grasp, and maybe you can help me. I just feel SO SAD lately about all the pain in the world, and I have a hard time knowing if God is really actively answering my prayers and blessing me and my neighbors here in UT and just not answering others' prayers, or if we are just lucky enough to be born into better circumstances, and that fate is just profoundly unfair.

  3. Thank you so much for this! Recently, I too have been waking up with a heavy and fearful heart.

    We are in the process of building a home–not just any home–our dream home. We have worked so hard to get where we are, and have already emotionally tied ourselves to this new place. We have made friends with our neighbors (something I've never really had) and our kids are so excited for the new house that has room to stretch and lots of friends to be had. But there's one problem…our current house is not selling. And if it doesn't sale, our dream home is for naught. The new house will be completed this month and our house has been listed for 10 months without a single bite…not even a nibble. My heart and mind are heavy. And while I often take this matter to The Lord (who I felt inspired us to start this process) I can also echo what Sara was saying. It is difficult for me to even ask for help in our situation…it is *such* a trivial thing when it comes to the big picture. It's such a trivial thing when I compare what my prayers are asking to someone pleading for the life of a loved one, a broken marriage, a sick child, the loss of a baby, a home…the list goes on and on. How can I possibly feel this amount of stress when I have been given so much? But, regardless how many times I tell myself this, the stress remains.

    It was reassuring to be reminded that "what’s important to us is important to him".

  4. so jealous about your one-on-one with e. holland. he is one of my favorites!

    i appreciate those reminders of how we do matter and we are loved and god is mindful of us. i have really struggled lately – that even though i know and believe that, i guess part of me just wonders why his timing or will is so different than ours – or why our will won't be met when our neighbor's same will is.

    i think it all goes back to my favorite talk by elder holland about not casting away our confidence!

  5. #2, Sara – I feel that it's a combination of answered prayers and lucky/unlucky circumstances. I think Heavenly Father answers our prayers, but our needs and wants are probably different based on our life situation. We're lucky to live in this country where even the poorest of us have more than many in 3rd world countries. That, I think, is not a result of our righteousness, or that our prayers are answered better than someone else's. Mortal life is profoundly unfair by its nature and our challenge is to look outside ourselves and see what we can do to make the world a better place for others. We're lucky, so we have an opportunity to give to those who are not so lucky. Heavenly Father's blessings can flow through us to those who are praying for those blessings.

  6. I so sympathize with the anxieties you describe. It is an ongoing work to overcome those thought processes that hush our faith in the quiet, dark hours. My current scripture reading has led me on an exploration of the law of consecration and the building of Zion and so I also especially sympathize with your many thoughts turning to those who have profound needs. There is a way for us to assist, and I feel that these yearnings for equality are God-given and we should allow them to work within us without creating unnecessary and useless guilt, but expanding our prayers and our divine understanding. I hope things work out for you to have your house in the way you'd like. I don't think that consecration robs anyone of their dreams to pay for someone else's maintenance – that's a propaganda of Satan so common in our society. Consecration elevates everyone. Many prayers for you. It's not a selfish dream.

  7. I love Elder Holland. I was at BYU when he was president and met him in the bookstore once. He was so kind and attentive to everyone around him. And his talks are always so meaningful and insightful.

    I appreciate your fears about your lovely life…I have those too. But I am starting to have more faith about it. And I try not to borrow trouble!

    The questions of inequality and unfairness have been well addressed by Jes and Bonnie. I've had the "opportunity" to work with a homeless women over the last year and a half. I've learned many things. One is how pride can be a stumbling block to forward growth. I've had to examine myself and pointedly remove prideful feelings.

    I served my mission in Peru and the question was asked by a 10 year old girl why God sends you where he does.

  8. I read this post and didn't know how to comment, especially with Sara's question resonating in my own heart. Then I happened to read Elder Uchtdorf's talk from the Christmas devotional and had an "a-ha!" moment.

    Elder U. talks about the story of Christ being anointed with expensive oils and… "Some who witnessed this event became angry. 'What a waste of money,' they said. The oil was extremely expensive. It could have been sold and the money given to the poor. They saw only the temporal value of the gift and entirely missed its much greater spiritual significance."

    Then I read this later in his talk: "My brothers and sisters, my dear friends, what kind of receivers are we? Do we, like the Savior, recognize gifts as expressions of love?"

    I wonder if in my concern about the contrast of all of my blessings compared to those who lack I'm like the people who criticized the woman for using such valuable oil to anoint the Savior. What if God is anointing me and I'm criticizing him for using valuable oil?

    Could it be that when I see disparity between the have and have-nots I am judging God and being an ungrateful receiver? It is not a sin to truly receive and enjoy our blessings. It does not relieve anyone's suffering if I feel guilty while I sit around the Thanksgiving table with friends, family, and bounty. It does however create a blockade between the Lord and I, it soils the sanctity of His gifts when I view them as evidence of his unfairness instead of what they are- evidence of his love and mercy.

    I'm just thinking as I type, but I think this sums it up well, from Elder U. "We know that 'God loveth a cheerful giver,' but does He not also love a good, grateful, and cheerful receiver?

    "'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.'

    "Whether we have experienced 9 Christmases or 90, still we are all children—we are all children of our Heavenly Father. Therefore, we have it within us to experience this Christmas season with the wonder and the awe of a child. We have it within us to say, 'My heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my God'—the Giver of all good gifts."

    Those thoughts chase away my feelings of worry, the waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let it drop, God can provide another shoe.

  9. What a great post.

    Jendoop, I can't tell you what an a-ha moment I had reading your reply to this post. I have felt so blessed, and yet have seen the disparity in the amount of blessings I have received compared to others. And yet…I loved Pres. Uchtdorf's Christmas talk and being a good receiver, not a giver only. Being willing to have my feet washed by the Savior as he did the disciples and feel humble, yet grateful for the gift beyond price.

    Thank you.


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