By Emilia Julian | February 22, 2019
I learned a tremendous lesson on the blessings that we may be denying ourselves when we neglect to study our scriptures.
Valentines Day has never really been a big part of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I do generally acknowledge it, but sometimes only by wishing one another a Happy Valentines Day accompanied by a cute little card, or something simple like that. Occasionally we go out for dinner. I’m one of those fortunate wives whose husband usually spoils her with several little surprises throughout the year, often when least expected, and I love that because it shows me that he puts thought and effort to strengthening our marriage consistently, and not just on a holiday that promotes love (although that’s important too). On Valentines Day, he’s sure to place a card or small gift near the bathroom sink to ensure that it will be the first thing I see when I wake up in the morning, and every year it puts a huge smile on my face and starts my day off brightly.
This year was different though. He was already awake when I got up out of bed, as he usually is, but when I went into the bathroom to wash up and start my day, there was no Valentine’s card to greet me on the bathroom countertop. I didn’t think anything of it though because we had both been very busy with work and our callings at church, and also kind of snowbound by the snow and ice storms we have been crushed with lately. So when I went downstairs, we acknowledged each other with a kiss and our yearly “Happy Valentines Day” greeting.
My day went as normal except for one component…my morning prayer and scripture study. One of the things I am guilty of at times is allowing myself to neglect reading the scriptures or even saying my prayers when I am feeling extremely down about something or someone. I could read and study daily, but when a problem or challenge has affected me to the point that it has tormented me or taken up every inch of my brain space, the thing I feel like doing least is the thing I know I should be doing the most. I realize these are the times when I should be most engaged in prayer and study, but I am one of those people that have to put my thoughts together first before I approach anything or anyone…unfortunately, that includes my study of the scriptures and my communication with my Father in Heaven. So for a while, I tend to retreat until I have a better grasp of things. It could take a few hours, or days depending on my situation. This was the case on Valentines Day.
Our dining room has become more of a study room than a dining room this year. It is a little more out of the way with fewer distractions, and because we don’t use that room as much as we use our eat-in kitchen, it allows us to leave our scriptures and study manuals open and ready for us to study from each morning. For two days, as a result of my discouraged disposition, I didn’t even enter that room because I wasn’t feeling up to studying. Instead, I decided to consume myself with trying to solve an issue brought on by others that was slowly becoming toxic in my life.
February 17th, several days after Valentines Day, I was feeling a little better and felt it was time for me to go back to what I love doing most in the morning before starting my day, and that was to read and study my scriptures once again. I missed my studies by then, and I felt I needed the guidance the scriptures could deliver to me now more than ever. Studying the scriptures is like my personal roadmap to my spiritual development and my mortal guide to solving my daily challenges.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie once said, “I sometimes think that one of the best-kept secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of revelation” (Doctrines of the Restoration). I know this as a fact, and yet, why is it so hard for me to approach them the moment I need them most in my life?
Well, I learned a valuable lesson that day. I learned that disregarding my scriptures that morning and my lack of prayer to receive direction in my day led me to miss out on more blessings that I thought. When I entered my dining room to proceed with studying my scriptures after a couple of days of neglect, the first thing I noticed was a cute stuffed toy holding a heart with the words “Stuck on You” on it. The stuffed toy wasn’t much, but the words it was holding on a heart meant everything to me…to us. Stuck on You, by Lionel Richie was a song my husband had previously recorded for me while he was on his mission in England, and we used that song at our wedding over 25 years ago. Beside the stuffed toy was also a Valentine card, and one of my favorite chocolate bars.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie once said, “I sometimes think that one of the best-kept secrets of the kingdom is that the scriptures open the door to the receipt of revelation.”
My first thought was a tremendous feeling of shame and guilt. I felt bad for my husband that he went out of his way to brighten my day by putting his thoughtful Valentines Day surprise next to my scriptures, where he knew I loved to study. He knew I had been having a rough week and he thought that was the perfect place for me to see them. To make things worse, once I began my studies, there it all was…right in front of me…word for word, all the inspiration I needed to help solve the dilemma I had been wrestling with that week. My loving and caring Heavenly Father was there waiting for me and had I turned to Him first thing that morning, I could have avoided days of burden and misery on my part. God loves me, and He is mindful of the obstacles that enter my life, and He is ready to help me with my burdens.
I have been richly rewarded for the time I have spent studying the scriptures daily. They have truly uplifted me and changed my life tremendously. “For he that diligently seeketh shall find; and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto them, by the power of the Holy Ghost, as well in these times as in times of old, and as well in times of old as in times to come” (1 Nephi 10:19).