"We are not measured by the trials we meet -- only by those we overcome."
- - Spencer W. Kimball
August 6, 2014
Inheriting Stories, Inheriting Faith
by Kathryn Grant

When I was about seven years old, we had a tree swing in our back yard. A simple wooden disc with a small hole in the center provided the seat. A strong, thick rope had been threaded through the hole and knotted on the underside of the disc; the other end of the rope had been tied securely to one of the sturdy branches of a grand old tree.

My siblings and I loved that swing, especially because the single rope didn’t confine us to a straight path. We spun and circled and flew as high as we dared.

One day my parents had company over, and we were all in the back yard. My siblings and I were playing, but not on the swing. Suddenly there was a thud, followed by a bit of a commotion. The adults were all around Mom, who was sitting on the ground — or rather, sitting on the swing that was now on the ground, no longer connected to the tree.

She was a little bruised from the fall but otherwise fine. But why had she been on the swing and how did it break? This is what she told us.

She’d been with our guests when she received a gentle prompting that she should go and sit on the swing. It seemed like an odd suggestion, especially with company over: what would they think?

But the prompting was clear, so she walked over and sat on the swing — and a few moments later found herself on the ground. The rope that we thought was strong and secure had apparently begun to wear or rot away where it was tied to the branch. The weight of her adult body had been enough to break it.

After she fell, she realized with no little gratitude that if she hadn’t followed the prompting, the rope likely would have broken with one of us children on it, probably while we were swinging high or in crazy circles. We don’t know what serious injury might have resulted had she not followed the prompting of the Holy Ghost — and we’re happy not to know.

I’ve never forgotten this experience or my mother’s testimony of the importance of following the promptings of the Spirit, even if we don’t know why at the time. It’s a lesson that has influenced my life profoundly.

But I realized recently that my mother gave me another gift through her obedience and testimony: she taught me how powerful stories can be in awakening and nurturing faith.

In an October 2007 General Conference talk, Henry B. Eyring spoke of the importance of recognizing God’s hand in our lives, and of sharing our faith as we recount stories of God’s goodness to us. Think about how stories of faith have touched you, and then reflect on how God has blessed you in small or great ways. What stories can you share with your loved ones to awaken, nurture, or even rekindle faith?


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About Kathryn Grant

Kathryn Grant is a user assistance professional with a passion for usability and process improvement. She also loves family history and enjoys the challenge and reward of building her family tree.

As a child, she lived outside the United States for four years because of her father's job. This experience fueled her natural love of words and language, and also taught her to appreciate other cultures.

Kathryn values gratitude, teaching, learning, differences, and unity. She loves looking at star-filled skies, reading mind-stretching books, listening to contemporary Christian music, attending the temple, and eating fresh raspberries.

Kathryn teaches Sunday family history classes at the BYU Family History Library, and presents frequently at family history events. For more information, visit her Family History Learning Resources page

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