I started writing this series to help dispel some myths and confusion about spirits. I want you to know that they are often visiting loved ones and supporting us. And this week another misunderstanding cropped up, and I find this is the perfect chance to clarify. When we talk about spirits, people say “I saw”. But when you are actually seeing a spirit, you don’t see it like you and I would see each other sitting at the kitchen table. We see it with our spiritual eyes, or in our minds.
I know it sounds confusing, but your mind and heart can see things with great detail without our eyes. Honestly I didn’t think much about my gift as I was growing up. My family has always been able to see spirits and receive inspiration through dreams. I am grateful to be sharing, because I hope it can help someone else.
Visiting to comfort
When my grandmother passed away, I had an amazing experience. I got to see her Spirit visiting as the women in the family gathered to dress her body and prepare her for the funeral.
In my mind I could tell she was there, that she was smiling, and that her husband was standing behind her in the doorway. I can’t tell you what she was wearing, because her smile was so blinding and so different than what I had seen of her in life. The article I wrote about that day (linked to above) will explain.
My aunt, uncle, and parents really needed to know she was happy. And in sharing my experience with them I gained a testimony that my gift is supposed to be used to bless other people.
Share your experiences to teach others
In sacrament meeting a few years ago a man got up and shared his story about his wife after she passed away. He told us all how upset he was at her death. He had begged the Lord to be able to see her and know she was OK. The Lord heard his prayers and his beautiful wife visited him in a dream.
She said that she had been assigned a job in the next life, but that when the Lord heard how heartbroken her husband was, He changed her assignment. Her new job was to go to the temples at night and bring the names of those whose work had been done that day back up to Heaven.
In this new capacity she was able to visit her husband. And her visits brought the comfort this sweet man was seeking. His testimony taught me so much. I had no idea that the Lord would care so much about our broken hearts to rearrange His staff to answer our pleas. And I had no idea angels visited the temples every night. I also didn’t know that spirits are only here with the Lord’s permission. It was an amazing day at church!
Different ways they communicate
Spirits often visit in dreams. When my Mom’s Dad died, I was in college. I was distraught because I had chosen to work through that summer to pay for school and hadn’t gone to visit him like the rest of the family had. I felt I had missed out on my chance to say goodbye to him, and deeply grieved his passing.
Then one night I had a dream. In my dream I was at my parents house and we were all together preparing for someone to come visit us. When the guest arrived, it was my grandpa in a new white suit.
He told us about his new home and how big and beautiful it was. He was clearly happy and eager to see us again.
The invitation was extended for us to come visit him someday. He was confident, tall, and healthy with a radiant smile. When I woke up, I knew Grandpa was OK. My heart was comforted, and I felt I had gotten the closure I needed, the chance to say good-bye.
Several years later I met and married my husband. One evening in the first year of our marriage, I was doing dishes in our first apartment, when I smelled my Grandpa’s cologne. I felt him nearby and I could feel that he was proud of me and was glad that I got married in the temple.
It was then that I understood that he had accepted the gospel. And that he knew the value of temples. This was significant because in life my Grandpa was very much against the church. He was offended by my overly zealous grandmother on the other side of the family.
And even when my parents did his temple work and had him sealed to my Grandmother he hadn’t been there at the sealing. It was a huge comfort to my Mother to know of Grandpa’s new attitude about the temple.
Since that time, I have learned that in the next world we don’t get to be with our spouses until we are sealed to them. And I can see how the key to getting my Grandpa on board with the gospel would be letting my Grandma loose to convince him. He never could say no to her.
Visiting to leave Dimes
Spirits communicate with us in different ways. We don’t always “see” them. My friend from high school lost their baby girl Haley in her sleep when she was three. It devastated all who knew this sweet child. She had loved finding dimes, tails up, and made it a game. And her love of dimes was well known to her family and friends.
After she died her family started finding dimes all over the place, always tails side up. They found them In the street, in the car, in the house, everywhere. And every time they found a dime, they felt a sweet feeling of peace.
It became clear Haley was visiting to send comfort and love by bringing them dimes, tails up. It’s been years since her passing and her mother is still finding these little coins. And every time she feels Haley’s spirit visiting her.
One of my earliest memories was a time our family visited my Mom’s home town. We went as a family to the cemetery to look for her Grandfather’s grave. At the time we didn’t have Family Search, and grave stones were very important because they provided birth and death dates, and sometimes even more information.
These dates were necessary to do the temple work for those who had passed on. And my parents were trying to do his work. We were only visiting for a short time, and this would be our only chance to look for his grave.
We had been in that cemetery for hours. It was starting to get hot, and my Mom was sad because she was pretty sure we wouldn’t find Great Grandpa’s grave. I had a feeling Great Grandpa wanted his work done, and that we needed to try searching one more time.
A return trip to this cemetery would have to wait till the next time we were visiting. And since we lived thousands of miles away, I knew it was important we try again. So, I told my parents I would go look. I said a prayer, and started wandering the area. I followed my gut and went off the regular path.
In a few moments my foot struck a rock and I fell down in the weeds. But when I looked back at the rock I realized it was the headstone of my Great Grandpa, the very man we had been looking for. I felt strongly that the Lord had guided me to that place.
It was the final information we needed to do Great Grandpa’s work. And even though I was very young, I felt honored to be a part of that. I like to think my Great Grandpa had something to do with my finding his headstone.
(Stay tuned for Next week: the darker side of spirits, spiritual gifts, honoring those who pass, dreams, visitations, and asking for God to send you help.)
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. Having completed training to be an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) for ABA therapy she is beginning to understand her son. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that the challenges can be overcome, and there are blessings in autism. You or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.