Our Divine Nature

As a Relief Society President, I have learned more about the divine nature of God’s Children than I’ve ever thought possible. I have always had a testimony of that truth- yet with the added blessing of the mantle and the light and knowledge offered at the temple, I have been able to feel see a little better the love our Heavenly Parents have for their children. The best parts of my calling always involve the dark and difficult phone calls that I get, and the late-night run to someone’s aid. Usually that journey is stressful as I wrestle with my own feelings of insecurity and complete “out-of-my-element” reality checks. After I curse myself for already not knowing what to say and worrying that I’ll never be able to make the girl I’m visiting feel better, the last thing I do- usually as I amble out of a taxi or a bus- is stand still for a moment and remind Heavenly Father that I’m just a body. He in turn reminds me to leave Hollie outside and basically just spectate.

As often as it happens, it remains to be the most surprising and humbling experience. A girl will confide or share something hard or troubling and I’ll see and feel their pain. And just as profound and real as crashing cymbals in my ears, the feeling arrives. In a moment when I could easily share this woman’s disappointment or pain or anguish or horror, oddly enough I feel deep unequivocal love: admiration, hope, furvor and surety of this woman: she is a child of God, who loves her now more than ever. The mantle of my little calling allows me to feel a fraction of what our saviour feels for her. Sometimes I feel selfish and guilty: why is it possible that I get to see this much when she clearly struggles still? Why do I sometimes fail to express well-enough that love that I know Heavenly Father feels for her? I marvel that He would trust fumbling, imperfect me to sometimes do nothing more than squeeze a hand and listen, but to do it as His representative.
The most frustrating thing about my calling is working with a girl in trouble who isn’t willing or able to make any changes (I’m sure Heavenly Father has spent a lot of time feeling this way about me too). Sadness and despair creep around us too often, and sometimes we make bad calls, or settle for less than we are worth! I sometimes wonder if it’s because I’m failing to teach or testify of the right thing in the right way. Maybe I don’t emphasize the worth of our divine nature enough in the way that I serve? Yesterday, I listened to a sister in the ward as she expressed the same feelings. Her friend, whom this sister has spent much time and energy teaching, encouraging, and loving, didn’t seem to want to make any progress and even spoke angrily to this sister. I could relate to her feeling of frustration and hurt. How could this friend not see what this sister saw in her? The potenial and the blessings that she could claim? Was she doing something wrong or missing something in her encouragement?
My counsel to her- ever available to me from the spirit rather than my own library of knowledge- was to recall Sister Rosemary Wixom’s words from the Women’s Conference the night before:
“He [God] knows your fears and your dreams. He relishes your potential. He waits for you to come to Him in prayer.”
I thought of that: God knows us better than we know ourselves. He, all powerful, has the means and the power enough to drag us to Him if he wishes! And yet He waits for us. How humbling that is. If He can wait for us, we can definitely wait for each other.
Sister Wixom’s talk was a blessing for us to hear of her testimony as one who is blessed with unique stewardship to enrich the learning and nurturing of children throughout the world. Her testimony was of our divine nature. James E Faust explained,
“To be a daughter of God means that you are the offspring of Deity, literal descendants of a Divine Father, inheriting godly attributes and potential. To be a daughter of God also means that you have been born again, changed from a ‘carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness’ [Mosiah 27:25]. … Being a daughter of God means that if you seek it, you can find your true identity. You will know who you are.”

Sister Wixom taught:

“God has a plan for each one of us, and our individual purpose began long before we came to this earth,” said Sister Rosemary M. Wixom, Primary general president.

… “Our divine nature comes from God,” she said. “It was established in an existence that preceded our birth and will continue on into eternity.

… “I promise as you seek to discover the depth of the divine nature that lies within you, you will begin to further magnify your precious gift,” she said. “Let it guide you to become his daughter, walking the path back to him.”

“We have the agency [Hollie’s note: again, we see how important this is and how highly God regards it: WE come to HIM] to nurture it, let it flourish, and help it grow” … “We are able to take our validation vertically from him, not horizontally from the world around us or from those on Facebook or Instagram.”

As Sister Wixom spoke, I thought of this charge, this inheritance. My sweet brother, as he prepared to serve his mission, many times exclaimed a reverence for his family name. “I hope to earn my place as a McKee,” he would say, as he acknowledged great examples and lessons he had gleaned from his parents and older siblings. I wondered in this conference, “What can I do to earn God’s name?” What is this call, what are the qualities my father might want to see in me? What would make Him proud? How could I act in reverence to my divine inheritance? In Alma 7: 23 and 24 we get an idea:

And now I would that ye should be humble, and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.  And see that ye have faith, hope, and charity, and then ye will always abound in good works.

I read further in an article from the New Era,

“…divine nature is something we must “be partakers of,” as the Apostle Peter said (2 Peter 1:4). He contrasted divine nature with the “the corruption that is in the world” and said that we partake of this divine nature through the “exceeding great and precious promises” given to disciples of Christ. These include the promises of “peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come” (D&C 59:23). Through the Atonement, we can ultimately become like our Heavenly Father if we keep our covenants. To become more like Him means to take on His nature—the divine nature.”

Sister Wixom said that the first Primary song children learn is often “I Am a Child of God.”

“Now it is time to take that beloved phrase ‘I am a child of God’ and add the words ‘Therefore, what?’ We might even ask questions such as these: ‘What will I do to live my life as a child of God? How can I develop the divine nature that is within me?’”

It’s a lifelong prompting, and it’s taught often because so quickly we forget our worth, and too often the veil is out of reach. Sitting on the tube this morning, I looked around me at a carriage full of women ready to embark on their days- fixing their make-up, reading their books, texting, writing, trying to stay awake. I watched and felt felt with awe- these women He made; strangers to one another, but so familiar to Him. He knows their names, their hardships and the things they are really good at. I am grateful to have felt the spirit testify to me of the worth of souls: to have shown me how much we are loved, most especially in our hard times, when we would expect Him to be disappointed in us. Elder Ballard spoke truth when he said, “One of the sweetest messages the spirit will relay is how the Lord feels about you.”

One comment

  1. ah! this is so beautiful. i got so much out of her talk. thank you for your continued spot-on interpretations. xoxo

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