God Our Father by Veronica Thomas
Good morning brothers and sisters. I was actually asked to talk back in February on perfectionism, but got the shingles and couldn’t give my talk. So today I was asked to talk about who God the Father is and how we get to know Him. Being Father’s Day, I want to wish all the men in the ward a Happy Father’s Day. I am so grateful to have an amazing earthly father, a wonderful husband who is a great father to our kids, and a Heavenly Father who loves me.
Who is God the Father? In order to get to know God the Father, we must know and understand who He is. I asked some adults and kids, “who is God the Father?” and these were some of the answers I got:
“He is our Heavenly Father.”
“God the Father is the Father of our spirits.”
“He is a loving father who is there for us.”
“Heavenly Father must have gone through a lot to be able to guide us in our life.”
“He is our Father in Heaven. He helps us with hard things, and blesses us.”
These are all wonderful answers to the question.
The scriptures also can tell us more about who our Heavenly Father is. In Moses 2:1, the Lord reveals to Moses who He is. It reads, "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven, and this earth; write the words which I speak. I am the Beginning and the End, the Almighty God; by mine Only Begotten I created these things; yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest." From this scripture, we learn that God is the Supreme Creator. Through Jesus Christ, He created the heaven, the earth, and everything around us; the trees, flowers, the ocean, animals, mountains, and even us. In the Doctrine and Covenants 130:22, we learn that the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.
Knowing who God the Father is, can help us know who we are. We are all literally children of God. We are made in his like image. We have the potential to become like Him. This knowledge can give us strength, comfort, and hope as we go through this journey on earth.
In Moses 1:39 it says, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” God wants us to return back to Him, and knew that it would only be possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ.
I love that in our religion we view God as a loving, just, merciful, and kind God. Our Heavenly Father loves us. He wants to help us in life, even when we mess up. No one is perfect. I know in my life that there were many times when I felt inadequate and a failure. That is when I have to remember that those feelings are not from God. God sacrificed his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to atone for all of our sins. It is only through the atonement that we are able to repent and strive to become better. God is always there for us, with his hand stretched out, waiting for us to accept his help.
Now that we know who God the Father is, how do we get to know Him? One way that has helped me get to know Him is by studying the scriptures. As a kid growing up, my family never did any kind of family scripture study. We had to mainly study the scriptures on our own. I was never good at it. I was always jealous of the kids in Primary that knew all the scripture stories and answers to the teacher’s questions.
Finally in high school, I got to really love reading and learning from the scriptures while attending Seminary. I felt closer to God as I studied the scriptures, and more in tune with the spirit. As life got crazier when I had kids, it was harder and harder to study the scriptures. I was truly grateful when the “Come Follow Me” program launched several years ago. I love how everything is organized and it makes studying the scriptures a lot easier with all of the prompts and questions you can ask yourself.
I’m sure you remember hearing my kids get up here and give talks saying that I am that mom that makes them all wake up early in the morning so we can have family scripture time before school. It’s definitely hard for our family to make this happen, but I have seen the blessings that come from it. We are able to have conversations about the scriptures we’ve read and see how God the Father works in conversing, blessing, and helping people.
I have noticed that as I read and really study the scriptures daily, I feel closer to my Heavenly Father because I am constantly thinking of what I read that day. I can learn from the experiences that people had in the scriptures, and try to apply them to my life. This week we read about how David and Jonathan were good friends. This made me reflect on how I can be a better friend to those around me. As I pondered about this scripture story throughout the week, I was able to have the spirit guide me in texting a friend and just saying hi and asking how they were doing. When I read the scriptures daily, I am getting to know who God is and what His will is for me.
Another way we can get to know God our Father is by prayer. I love that we can pray to Him anytime and anywhere. I tell my kids all the time that they can always have a prayer in their hearts. It doesn’t always need to be on your knees and eyes closed. Just like how our earthly father wants to help us and be there when we are in need, we have a Heavenly Father that is always there for us. Sometimes our earthly father is not able to be there for us physically, but in those times in our life, we can rely on the power of prayer to communicate with our Father in Heaven. He is always there for us, listening to our prayers.
I remember when I was at BYU and it was finals week. This was my first semester there, and I must have eaten something bad and got food poisoning. I was throwing up and even fainted in the bathroom from lack of hydration. I just felt awful and was stressing out on how I can possibly study for all of my finals and physically dance for my ballet class that I was taking. I remember praying and asking Heavenly Father for strength to finish my first semester at BYU strong and do well on my finals. It turned out that my dad was flying into Utah that weekend to help my brother with something, and I was able to ask him for a father’s blessing. I knew that it wasn’t just a coincidence that my dad would be in town that weekend, but it was an answer to my prayers. I was so grateful for an earthly father to be able to help me when I needed it. I know that as we pray to our Heavenly Father we can build our love and trust in God that He will always be there for us.
In addition to reading scriptures and praying, we can get to know God by serving others. When you serve others, you are taking the time to think of the people around you in your community. You are showing love to your fellow brothers and sisters. Serving others can help us see others in the way that our Father in Heaven sees them. God loves everyone and we can feel His love for others when we serve them.
In the past seven months, I feel like our family has been on the receiving end of service. Right before having Ian, I had horrible pain on my side that ended up to be a 5mm kidney stone. It was so painful that I had to be hospitalized for five days, I felt so sick that I couldn’t eat. It was horrible, especially being hugely pregnant at the time. Jacob and I were worried about how we could care for the kids while I was hospitalized. Jacob still had to work, and the kids had school and needed rides to their activities. Fortunately, Jacob’s mom was able to drive here from Arizona to help us with school and rides. Jacob was also able to contact the Relief Society to help with dinners, and they were able to provide us with food during that time. Usually, we try to handle things ourselves and try not to bother people. It was hard to admit that we couldn’t do it all and that we needed help. I remember every night Jacob and I would talk about how lucky and blessed we were to have the people in this ward so willing to serve our family. We definitely couldn’t have done it without their help. It felt reassuring to me to know that my family was taken care of, and I had to remember that it was okay to seek help from others.
We need to put down our pride and remember to humble ourselves to receive service from others. God doesn’t expect us to go through life alone. He will send us help and will help us in time of need, but we need to be willing to accept the help from God. God is a loving God, and we are His children who He deeply cares about.
I am so grateful for this Gospel in my life. I know that there is a God that loves me and that I can always count on Him to be there for me. There are also similarities between our earthly fathers and our Father in Heaven. I am so blessed to have such a great husband like Jacob. He is a wonderful father to our children. He works really hard to provide for our family and makes sure that we are safe and healthy. His time is precious, and I love that he takes the time to be with the children. He is always willing to help the kids even after a busy day at work. I know that there is a Heavenly Father who loves me and wants to help me succeed in life. He loves everyone because we are all children of God. I know that as we get to know our Father in Heaven, we will have His spirit with us and guide us in our life. I know that Heavenly Father lives. I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.