Personal Relationship with God

Dear Missionary, 
I found this article on line when I was searching topics to help my children and thought you might be able to use it in your missionary work, in your own personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, or in loving those that you serve.  Have a wonderful week! 

One of the interesting implications of our belief in a God who is the
literal Heavenly Father of our spirits is that we can actually think of
him as a parent and try to emulate what we know of how he parents us.
Think for a moment about some of the things we know, and ponder how you might follow the divine parenting example:

1. Complete, unconditional love.
We know that God has a deep and unconditional love for each of us and
that his love is individual rather than collective. And he tells us of
his love in countless ways.

It is not enough to assume that our children know we love them. To do
so makes us a little like Alf from the old country whose wife, Anna,
used to plead, "You never tell me you love me!" Alf would reply, "Anna, I
told you that on the day we were married. If anything ever changes,
you'll be the first to know!"

2. God sees (and treats) each child as a unique and eternal individual.
Have you heard the parenting advice, "Be fair, treat all of your kids the same?"
That's not Heavenly Father's method. He has lovingly put us each into
a body, a situation and a series of circumstances tailored to what each
of us needs. He knows each of us perfectly and loves the uniqueness
that makes us each who we are.

We need to try to give each child the kind of love he or she needs as
a unique, one-of-a-kind spirit on whom only you and your spouse are the

3. God gives clear, simple laws with well-announced consequences, rewards and punishments.
Our Heavenly Father has never been subtle or ambiguous about his
rules. He wrote them in stone. He gave them to prophets. He wrote them
in scripture, and he often states the reward or the punishment right
with the law.

It is by having immutable laws that God gives us the boundaries in
which he expects us to operate. He gives us agency, but he also makes
clear his laws, along with the rewards for compliance and the penalties
for deviance.

We can try to do the same with our children.

4. God allows his children the chance to repent.
Heavenly Father wants none of us to fail. His laws are not
negotiable, and he knows we will fall short, so there is a provision for
repentance. And with the repentance comes complete forgiveness.
Our discipline should not be "instant punishment." We should give our kids the chance to apologize and make amends.

5. God taught us and trained us and held us close throughout the premortal life; then he gave us choices and let us go.

God, in his marvelous model for parenting, held us close, kept us
with him in his home and taught us all he could for eons. And then,
when further progress required the responsibility, choice-making,
independence and families of our own that could not happen in his
presence, he gave us our agency and let us go.

Once our children leave for college or for missions or for their own life, we should back off and let them have their agency.

6. God trusts his children.
God trusts us mightily! And he entrusts us.
He trusts us enough to send us into this dangerous mortality. He
entrusts us with determining our own salvation and even with the
stewardship of others of his spirit children.
Generally, our children are ready for more
choices and challenges than we think they are. But they need to start
getting this independence in thoughtful and organized ways, not by just
giving them free rein to do whatever they want.

7. God is completely trustworthy.
He always does exactly what he says he will
do, and this allows us to trust him and his word absolutely. And he
makes covenants and pacts with us.
Likewise, we can strive to be totally
trustworthy with our children. We can absolutely pledge ourselves to do
what we say we will do and not to say we will do anything that we may
not be able to do. And we can make pacts with them about the
commandments we will keep.

8. God gives us stewardships.
Heavenly Father, who owns all in his
universe, gives us stewardships. First of our agency, then of so much
more, and he does it all within his Divine Economy, which rewards us for
what we do and assures us that we can someday own that which we learn
to steward.

We can set up our own "family economies"
where everyone has certain responsibilities (for the common areas of the
house, for the dishes, etc.) and where kids keep track of their
stewardships and have a "payday" at the end of the week where how much
they receive is based on how many of their responsibilities they
remembered and got done.

9. God has a plan of happiness for his children.
One of the most marvelous and awesome things
that we know about God is that he has a magnificent and comprehensive
plan for the ultimate happiness of his children. We sometimes call it
the plan of salvation.

We should have plans and goals for our own
families. We can brainstorm as couples (or if you are a single parent,
with one of your parents) about what your goals are for your children
and how you think you can better facilitate their long-term happiness.
We can create family mission statements and slogans and mottos that
guide us.

10. God gives us written advice and assurance.
Heavenly Father knows and values the written
word, as do his prophets. Lehi sent his boys back, at the peril of
their lives, to get written records. The full word of our Heavenly
Father is written in his scriptures. Language and writing lend clarity
and permanence to the laws and wisdom of God.
We can also work on better use of the
written word by doing special Mother's Day or Father's Day notes to our
children, by keeping a journal to record our testimonies for our kids
and their posterity, and perhaps with a birthday advice letter each

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