I was just a young man as I began attending college. Jeffrey Holland was president of Brigham Young University at the time. He and his wife Patricia spoke to us frequently, often in weekly devotionals. We enjoyed it very much. Their eloquent encouragements, advice, and intuitive insights were a great bonus to me. I have drawn strength from their examples and many of the inspired messages they offered.
It’s funny to think back now. I had recently returned from my mission and was ready to take on the world. Choosing a life-long major, studying contemporary and interesting topics, and dating with the intent to marry were all new and exciting adventures. I guess you could say I had a tiger by the tail, so to speak. But even then, I welcomed the wise, motherly advice from Sister Holland. It felt like home.
The power of God is love in our homes, with our families, and amid hardship. Though I have many fond memories of these occasions, a couple of my favorite excerpts follow:
Distinct and divine obedience
“What can I be?” Sister Holland asked. Then answering her own question, she remarked “We can be what our Heavenly Parents designed us and intended us to be.” Her advice is timely even today.
By thrusting in our sickle and reaping with all our might and by rejoicing in our strength and our uniqueness, she encouraged students to do the following:
- Cherish your course and savor your own distinctiveness
- Shut out conflicting voices and listen to the voice within, which is God telling who you are and what you will be
- Free yourself from the love of position or profession or the approval of men by remembering that what God really wants us to be is someone’s sister or brother and someone’s friend
All of us face questions about our futures and what we can be. President and Sister Holland encouraged us that we all persevere to receive help from the Lord to fulfill our purpose, performance, and the full measure of our creation.
We are the tapestry of God’s creation and as part of that magnificent, eternal piece of art in His divine design, each of us has a purpose.
More recently, now Elder Holland offers these inspiring and comforting words:
“Young men you will learn if you have not already that in frightening even perilous moments your faith and your priesthood will demand the very best of you and the best you can call down from heaven.
You must be ready and worthy to act. That is why the Lord repeatedly says in the scriptures “Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.” Brethren, the day may come, indeed I am certain it will come, when in an unexpected circumstance or a time of critical need, lightning will strike so to speak and the future will be in your hands.
Brethren sanctify yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.
He continues “At this critical juncture, you must be ready when that day comes. Be strong. Always be clean.”
If you are struggling with self-control in what you look at or listen to, in what you say or what you do, I suggest you do two things:
- Keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and receive of his loving lift through obedience
- Seek Father in Heaven’s divine help for through you, he will do wonders
In those crucial moments of pivotal personal history, we must submit ourselves to God even when all our hopes and fears tempt us to do otherwise. We must place all on the altar of God and willingly yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit.
That is our privilege and our answer to the challenging questions we face in life.
When the challenge of the secular church becomes very real, let us, as in all other human relationships, be principled but pleasant. Let us be perceptive without being pompous. Let us have integrity and not write checks with our tongues which our conduct cannot cash.
– Neal A Maxwell
In 1989, Walter Penning formed a consultancy based in Salt Lake City and empowered his clients by streamlining processes and building a loyal, lifetime customer base with great customer service. His true passion is found in his family. He says the best decision he ever made was to marry his sweetheart and have children. The wonderful family she has given him and her constant love, support, and patience amid life's challenges is his panacea.