But as I started to contemplate each of my sons,
I kept thinking about a talk Pres. Eyring gave.
In it he shared how that with his own children, he prayed for revelation to know how he could help each prepare for specific opportunities to serve God.
“And then I tried to help them visualize, hope and work for this future."
He related that he carved a board for each son with a quotation from scripture that described that son’s special gifts and an image that represented that gift.
"If you will try, with any young man," he said, "to sense his priesthood possibilities, I promise you the Lord will tell you as much as you need. The boy may have potential even beyond what the Lord will reveal to you. Help him aim high."
President Eyring said one of his sons was so shy he wouldn’t talk to a clerk in a store. On that son’s board, President Eyring carved, “Bold as a Lion” beneath an image of a large lion’s head.
“On his mission, and in the years that followed, he fulfilled the hope in my carving,” he said. “My once-shy son preached the gospel with great conviction and faced dangers with bravery. He was magnified in his responsibilities to represent the Lord.
“That can happen for the young man you are leading. You need to build his faith that the Lord can transform him into a servant braver than the timid boy you now see."
“Now you may be thinking, ‘Brother Eyring, are you saying that I need to learn to carve?’ The answer is no... there are many ways you can shape children’s hearts without carving wooden boards for them..The height boards I have described are only one way to help young people glimpse the grandeur God sees in them and the unique service He is preparing to give,”
“He will help you see how to do it for your children or for other youth. But as you prayerfully seek to glimpse this future for yourself, and then to communicate it to the young person, you will come to know that God knows and loves each of His children as individuals and sees great and unique gifts in each of them.”
I may still do my words, but as I sat pondering Pres. Eyrings incorporation of
the Word into the dreams he had for his sons, I couldn't help but reach for my scriptures.
At first I thought, how out of all the marvellous counsel, heavenly admonitions and celestial encouragement could I possibly pick only a verse for each of my boys, one that could encapsulate all my many hopes and dreams for them with their unique and distinct talents and gifts.
But that is the magic of the scriptures. If you need to find a scripture, those pages have a way of helping you. Every time.
Well actually the one I found for Aaron, Doctrine and Covenant 8:6-11,
I had read a long time ago and felt that it was meant to help me see the "gift" my special son truly is. It was easy because it actually has his name in the verse!
6 Now this is not all thy gift;
for you have another gift, which is the
gift of Aaron;
behold, it has told you many things;
7 Behold, there is no other power, save the power of God, that can cause this gift of Aaron to be with you.
8 Therefore, doubt not, for it is the gift of God; and you shall hold it in your hands, and do marvelous works; and no power shall be able to take it away out of your hands, for it is the work of God.
9 And, therefore, whatsoever you shall ask me to tell you by that means, that will I grant unto you, and you shall have knowledge concerning it.
10 Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore ask in faith. Trifle not with these things; do not ask for that which you ought not.
11 Ask that you may know the mysteries of God, and that you may translate and receive knowledge from all those ancient records which have been hid up, that are sacred; and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
Every time I read these verses I am granted more insight into my son and the gifts he offers our family. And me. The comforting assurance that he will be ours-- that no power or influence in this scary world will be able to draw him away from us-- but that we will hold him with us in this life and the next, as long as we strive to qualify with the help of our Saviour. So much about Aaron is about the testing and stretching of our faith. In this way this scripture speaks more to us than directly to Aaron. Ever as I typed this, the word translate jumped out at me and I thought of all that I do to help interpret Aaron's communication, all the work to understand his needs and give him access to his wants.
In all we do for Aaron, we feel the sacredness of each and every soul, and are compelled to know that without the Lord we are nothing, that without faith we get hopelessly stuck but that with faith we can accomplish anything.
Last week as I was picking these scriptures, I also read Jodi Picoult's House Rules. It's the story of a boy with Asperger's, but the sub-story that captivated me was that of his younger brother, and the mix of emotions that his brother's disability had upon him and the way it so subtly but profoundly affected his daily life and even shaped the formation of his own self-concept. I could (and might yet) write a whole post about my own worries about this, but then I thought of how much revelation I've received about the positive effects Aaron's differences will have upon his siblings, especially McKye, my "psychologically oldest" boy. Do I worry about making sure that McKye isn't over burdened, or feels forced into sacrificing normal things for the sake of his brother? Of course. But am I also certain that any sacrifice, any hardship, any sorrow or pain will be generously compensated tenfold with blessings unmeasured? You bet!
Planned blessings gained from heavenly orchestrated, perfectly personalized lessons, meant for each of us. As I found McKye's scripture, D & C 6:33-36, just a few pages from Aaron's, I marvelled at the power of the Atonement to make all things work together for our good.
33 Fear not to do good, my [son], for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap; therefore, if ye sow good ye shall also reap good for your reward.
34 Therefore, fear not, little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail.
35 Behold, I do not condemn you; go your ways and sin no more; perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you.
36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.
Fear not to good. The Lord will give you everything you need (and more!) as you serve Him and His children. As a mother, I do fear the world's influence on my younger boys, and I felt that the Lord reminded me in this scripture, to just give them a sure foundation. To help them build upon Christ and then trust that no matter what rages against them, they will be able to stand.
This scripture hints at McKye's incredible strength and points to the source of that strength--his faith. A faith that he will need to dispel fear. That the battle ground that will determine his greatness, will be fought in his own mind and heart. That he will need to look unto the Lord, in every thought...and that I need to show him how.
Then there's Levi. Ah, Levi, my third son.
For him I turned to the wise father, Alma, who also had three sons, whom he gave counsel to. Three very different sons, who all needed a different approach, some harder than others. One who struggled, one who was to lead and one who only needed 15 verses, of which I picked one-- Alma 38:2. I wonder if Shiblon was the third too.
2 And now, my son, I trust that I shall have great joy in you, because of your steadiness and your faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments; for blessed is he that endureth to the end.
At the end of Levi's last birthday post, I wrote about how he has a innate trust, and I thought it was significant that this scripture revealed my own sense of trust that Levi will just be a good kid. He has already shown such resilience...surviving as the youngest brother in this crazy house, with only so much to give. He gets what he needs, in such a happy independent way, that I find myself trusting him to do that in life too. He has commenced his little life as such a happy, helpful, willing spirit, I know he will continue on it that same strength of character and learn to be as obedient a disciple as he is a son. That through his steadfastness and faith he will find joy and that that will bring me joy as well.
So my boys, there you have it. I shared these with your dad and he suggested we get them engraved on leather book covers for you. We plan on putting copies of your baby blessings and annual school blessings and then giving them to you when you receive your patriarchal blessings. A place to keep all the things God has revealed to you about who you are and what you are meant to become.
I hope these scriptures your mother choose will inspire you to discover your gifts and remind you that you were each such a great gift to her.
Gifts she will ever be thankful for.
"God knows our gifts. My challenge to you and to me is to pray to know the gifts we have been given, to know how to develop them, and to recognize the opportunities to serve others that God provides us. But most of all, I pray that you will be inspired to help others discover their special gifts from God to serve." (Pres. Henry B Eyring)