Monday, May 16, 2011

Peace Which Passeth All Understanding

Our family was living in Frankfurt, Germany when Elder Gene R. Cook and his family were assigned to Europe and were in our church congregation. This was beyond "coincidence" as other than scriptures, his book Raising Up a Family to the Lord, was the ONLY book we had brought with us. The Lord was truly mindful of our young family and greatly blessed us through this unique opportunity. I share some of these experiences below the seven ways to invite the Spirit in this post. We HIGHLY recommend Elder Cook's book and his audio "fireside" on the family, found in Deseret Book's "Bookshelf" app.

“If we ever allow pride to enter our hearts, thinking we know all about how to raise a family and that we ‘are really good parents, in that day the heavens will be sealed to us. But if we will humble ourselves and pray to the Lord as often as we can, the Lord truly will open our eyes that we may see and our ears that we may hear. I bear witness to that principle.” ~Gene R. Cook

How to invite the spirit & bring PEACE to your HOME (from Raising Up a Family to the Lord by Gene R. Cook):

1. Pray Fervently: Your children need to see prayer in action. Pray with them individually with all the energy of heart. Then they are in the Lord’s hands. He will give you revelation. He will change the heart of a child or a student or someone else who is not responding. He can do that. You can’t. All you can do, in large measure, is to help set up an environment where that can happen. (p.44)

2. Use Scripture: If parents can make sure that their children are exposed regularly to the words of the Lord, many of their problems will be solved in the children’s early years and will never come up later. “The preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—“ Alma 31:4 (pp. 48-49)

 3. Testify frequently when teaching: One of the greatest spiritual tools the Lord has given us for influencing others, including our children, is the power of our own testimony. Testify frequently while teaching.This may even be more important than the thing you are teaching. If fathers and mothers will speak by the power of the Holy Ghost in love  and testimony to their children, the message will reach their hearts and can change them. (p. 49)

 4. Use Sacred Music:  Singing seems to bring the Spirit. If you ever feel down, get into the habit of singing to yourself. Sing those sacred hymns, and they will fill you with the Spirit of the Lord. (p. 53)
Use uplifting music while working, driving, dressing, etc. Some music that has helped us: Women of Destiny Vol. I & II, Eliza R. Snow’s Greatest Hymns, Kenneth Cope, Hilary Weeks, Children’s Primary Songs, all Hymns, etc. Visit for downloads and more great music.

 5. Express Love and Gratitude to God and Man: It is impossible to stand up and express love for the Lord and not have the Spirit of the Lord come upon you. If you want to bring the Spirit of the Lord into your home, you must learn yourself and teach your children how to regularly express love and gratitude to God and to one another. Love has tremendous power. I don’t know anything more powerful than throwing your arms around your children every day. (p.58)

 6. Share Spiritual Experiences: But only as prompted under the direction of the Spirit. Elder Cook believes strongly in recording in some detail his key experiences week after week or the feelings that attended them are soon lost. Then share when time is right.

 7. Use Priesthood Ordinances: Parents should teach their children to ask for priesthood blessings fairly regularly when they have a need. We probably need a blessing many more times than we ask for one. (p. 69)

I believe in mercy and my life is a testimony of that principle! The story behind this picture of our family is just one example of mercy coming through just when we need it! We were all dressed and ready for pictures and drove in two separate cars to a huge Christmas tree in the city to use as our back drop (for our Christmas card) as the sun was setting.  Well, of course, we got there a bit later than we had hoped and there wasn’t any sun left to use for soft lighting in our photo. We decided to just drive to a little higher ground before the sun would be completely gone for the day and find a spot, ANY spot, to take our picture! We had just left the first area and were waiting at a stop-light. I strained to see down the unfamiliar street in front of us and saw a bit of sunlight.  I motioned for my husband to follow me and we found an empty, ugly and old parking lot.  However, the lighting was PERFECT, so we quickly parked and had everyone jump out of the car. One of my youth kept making the comment, “You’ve got to be kidding.”  I threw our camera on a tripod, everyone jumped into a random pose and we pushed the auto timer button. You can see the results above! Mercy beats justice any day!

Any Perfectly Peaceful Families?
Do you think there is family out there that has completely mastered “Peace in the home”? If the answer is “yes” then that family is ready be translated! As long as any of us has any degree of imperfections, faults, weaknesses, etc. found in us, there will be opportunities for some conflict. We know that Jesus Christ was the only perfect soul to walk on the earth. So rather than waste time feeling guilty, lets face the challenges head on as various issues come up and then move on.

Christ is “Prince of Peace” vs. Satan is father of Contention
However, this is certainly an issue we cannot take lightly because the scriptures teach very clearly that the devil is the source of all contention and that Christ is the “Prince of Peace”.

More Chance for Conflict or More Good Example Time?
As home-educating families it is true that we do have many more chances for interaction daily than the average family. Not only that, we mother’s (and perhaps fathers) feel the weight of our children’s future in such personal ways upon our shoulders. Yet we still have a home to manage, church callings, a long list of other duties and a spouse to support.  And the dads usually feel the very heavy weight of providing for all our financial needs and wants. If we are not VERY careful all of these demands can add up to weary hearts and minds instead of peaceful hearts and minds. This is not a journey for the faint hearted! But I still see home-education as more opportunities for setting a good example for your children rather chances for more conflict.

I am here to testify that with the Lord by our side we can accomplish great things in our homes. But only with the Lord. There is not a person on this planet who is smart enough or talented enough to raise a righteous family without constant Divine assistance.

A "Child" Is What?

After we had our first child my husband and I would often be puzzled by the verses of scripture that talk about how children are humble and submissive. Our first child was very determined and strong-willed! I remember feeling like I must be a complete failure as a parent as it seemed she would just never listen to me! So when my brother highly praised a parenting fireside by Elder Gene R. Cook I didn’t hesitate to buy the tapes (now cd’s.)  I was deeply inspired and humbled by the things he taught and began to apply the principles with my daughter.

With All the Energy of Heart

The first principle Elder Cook teaches in his chapter on how to invite the Spirit from Raising Up a Family to the Lord :
Pray Fervently: “Your children need to see prayer in action. Pray with them individually with all the energy of heart. Then they are in the Lord’s hands. He will give you revelation. He will change the heart of a child or a student or someone else who is not responding. He can do that. You can’t. All you can do, in large measure, is to help set up an environment where that can happen.” (p.44)

This was the one main thing I did differently with her. The first time I had to hold her on my lap while she tried to get away! But I know she felt the Spirit as I prayed with all the energy of my heart and as I literally cried unto our Heavenly for her to feel His love and my love for her!

Soon after this experience of praying with my daughter a couple of times, my mother-in-law mentioned to me that she noticed a difference in her and wondered what I had been doing. It was really not what I had done, it was what the Lord had done. I was only an instrument in his hands. And to know this daughter today is a tremendous blessing! She is a true leader in every sense of the word and has used that leadership for the good of others all through her growing up years. She has done this by reaching out in unconditional love and friendship to all she meets. She has made a real difference in the lives of countless friends and associates. I know because they write me letters and thank me for her. And she has already served as a Relief Society President, a Gospel Doctrine teacher, a Student Council member at LDS Business college, earned excellent grades and recently scholarship money for BYU. Before leaving for college she also spoke in our Stake Conference in North Carolina. All this by the age nineteen!

As she grew and different situations or choices would arise I would send her to the Lord in prayer for answers and she began young (the VERY best time) to feel the promptings of the spirit.  This is a huge key to reducing conflict in the home. Start on the small questions that come along like perhaps, “Should I take violin or piano lessons?” etc.

Coincidence or More Tender Mercies?
Not long after this experience with my daughter we had the chance for my husband to work in Frankfurt, Germany for nearly a year. We packed up our young family of three children and just took a few suitcases. Other than scriptures, the only other book we brought was Elder Cook’s book, “Raising Up a Family to the Lord”. Amazingly, Gene R. Cook, along with his wonderful family, was assigned to a European area presidency within a few weeks of our arrival. They would actually be our fellow ward members! 

One day we had to drive a good distance to a church activity and decided to listen again to Elder Cook’s powerful talk on the family.  It’s quite a long fireside and yet the timing was perfect: just as we pulled into our street in Frankfurt the last tape ended. I recall the feeling in the car--the spirit was very strong--and I think my husband and I both felt impressed to rededicate ourselves to the principles he just taught so beautifully.

But, the Lord wasn’t finished impressing our minds with these truths quite yet because guess who the two youth speakers were in church the next morning?! Elder Cook’s two sons, ages fourteen and sixteen years old! Words truly cannot describe their humble and sincere testimonies of our Savior.

And I can testify that the better we have applied these things, the greater peace and success we have enjoyed in our home! Of course we have fallen short many times, but the tender mercies of our Heavenly Father are always available when we humble ourselves and renew our efforts. To quote Elder Cook from his book:

“In most cases, children who have the Spirit of the Lord with them are alert and responsive to brothers and sisters and their parents. Rebellious, disobedient children do not have the Spirit. They look down at their feet, won’t look you in the eye, and when asked a question do not respond or do so reluctantly. I bear testimony that if we will teach our children to have the Spirit of the Lord, they will be responsive not only to the Lord but to their parents and brothers and sisters as well. Perhaps that is one of the final measures of the degree to which people have the Spirit—they are responsive to the Lord and to their fellowman.”

If we want to have a "peace which passeth all understanding” in our home, we as parents need to obtain the spirit so we can teach our children how to have the spirit. That’s it. That is the only “formula” to be given in good conscience. Every home, mother, father and child is completely unique and individual. And that is what makes this adventure called parenthood most wonderful and exciting!


  1. Thank you for your powerful example you have illustrated with your daughter.

  2. Haha! Man, I had no idea I was such a trouble child! ;) You're the best Mom!!!

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