I have always loved the ocean and everything that comes with it.
From the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, to the lighthouses setting atop the shore. The ocean, to me, is a place of peace.
As a child, one of the unique things that I loved about the ocean is the idea of messages in a bottle. I dreamed that one day, I would visit the beach and find my very own message in a bottle. But finding a message in a bottle is about as common as being stranded on a desert island and sending one. I expect that in my lifetime, neither one of those things is actually going to happen.
I think that sometimes in our lives, we think that messages from heaven are like these messages in a bottle; few and far between, and never really meant for us.
I would like to persuade my readers differently. Because although I have never found a message in a bottle, my life has been filled with messages from heaven.
As a kid, I talked to God often. Although it probably looked to others as if I was talking to myself, I knew God was listening. God knew I was talking to Him, so it didn't really matter what other people thought and if they asked me, I would tell them, "I'm just talking to Heavenly Father." Most people would look at me funny and move on, but sometimes, I would get this question, "Well, is God talking to you?"
My answer as a child was always no, but I still knew God was listening. It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized God absolutely is talking to me. He is leading me and giving me direction every minute of every day. The question should not be, "Is God talking to you," but, "Are you listening to what God is trying to say?"
If we take the time to be still and listen, we can hear and feel that gentle voice of our Father in Heaven giving us the comfort and direction we need.
So many times, we fail to recognize that voice because it comes more as a feeling or a thought, rather than the voice of our Father. Often, it's in our own voice and we disregard it, believing it was not a message from heaven, but rather something created by our own mind.
Elder Ronald A. Rasband said, "My experience has been that the Spirit most often communicates as a feeling. You feel it in words that are familiar to you, that make sense to you, that prompt you... Sometimes we rationalize: we wonder if we are feeling a spiritual impression or if it is just our own thoughts. When we begin to second-guess, even third-guess, our feelings -and we all have- we are dismissing the Spirit: we are questioning divine counsel. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that if you will listen to the first promptings, you will get it right nine times out of ten."
If we truly understood how messages from heaven distilled upon us, we would realize that anything that provides goodness to our life, or the life of another, is a message from heaven.These messages are given directly to you and I to help us share God's light with the world. Every thought, every action, every idea that leads you to do good was given to you from God to bless your life and the lives of His children.
We must be confident in those thoughts we receive that lead us to do good, for they truly are messages from heaven. They come to us as often as we are willing to listen and act on them.