Missionaries and “My Own Sacred Grove”
Derek and I recently had the incredible opportunity to fly down to Arizona to speak to a group of missionaries in Queen Creek. I was absolutely blown away by these young people. We were warmed by the light that radiated from their faces, and we could feel the deep love they have for their mission and for each other.
These special missionaries are serving service missions and have been challenged by their mission president and his wife, Brother and Sister Holgate, to make their mission their “own sacred grove”: a place and time where they come to know and hear God in their lives.
Every Sunday, they visit up to 4 different wards, sharing their testimonies through words and music. One of the songs they perform is “My Own Sacred Grove.” They sang it for us, and it was absolutely beautiful. We will never forget that experience.
Before they sang, I was able to share with them part of the story of how this beautiful song came into existence. Every song comes differently, and I had never had an experience like this before nor have I again.
Here is part of that story:
When I was pregnant with our third child, I received a specific prompting from Heavenly Father, telling me that he needed me to write a song called “I Will Find My Own Sacred Grove.”
I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and the thought of writing a song at the time sounded impossible. Through I fully intended to follow the direction I was given, I felt like it could not have come at a worse time and that I needed to wait. Wait until the baby comes. Wait until he was sleeping through the night. Wait until he was potty trained or even in preschool.
But the impression was persistent. The next day, as I was driving my oldest child (3 years old) to preschool, I heard the words and melody of the first line of the chorus play through me mind over and over again.
And I told Heavenly Father I couldn’t do it.
Later that day, the next line came, and then, even later, I heard through the end of the chorus
And I told Heavenly Father that I couldn’t do it.
The next day, I started hearing chords underneath the melody. Minor. Booming. Bold.
And, again, I told Heavenly Father that I couldn’t do it.
The following day, I started hearing the piano motif that opens the song and comes back several times throughout.
And on this day, I was hit with a profound realization: I was right; I couldn’t do it—alone. But with Him, the impossible becomes possible. Like Ammon taught, “in his strength I can do all things.” (Alma 26:12)
I sat down at my piano, found the notes I was hearing in my head, and finished writing and arranging the entire song 3 days later.
It has been amazing to see how “My Own Sacred Grove” has influenced so many people, and I’m constantly amazed at what Heavenly Father can do when we offer ourselves and our talents to him to be used as instruments in his masterful hands.
Each of us has been blessed with unique gifts and talents that the Lord needs to build His kingdom, and giving those gifts to God is as simple as two words: “for Him.”
Can you imagine the power and influence our faith, music, words, art, friendship, smiles, and love can have in this world when we attach “for Him” to the end?
As we live our life, shine his light, share our gifts and freely serve “for Him,” He will bless us as he did Ammon and his brothers: “We [will be] made instruments in the hands of God to bring about this great work.” (Alma 26:3)
I bear testimony that God cherishes our widow’s mite. He can take our meager offerings of loaves and fishes and multiply them. And He will fill our empty nets with those who seek His light.