The scriptures teach: “And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men.” (Moroni 7:29)
I believe in angels. I have felt their presence as I searched records in Family History research. In June 2015 I attended a fireside in Raymond, Alberta and one of the speakers was Wendy Watson Nelson. I distinctly remember the feeling of awe as she encouraged us to pray for angels from the other side to be dispatched to assist us. She said that perhaps a loved one or two could be sent to help with whatever I might need. (Author’s notes from June 2015)
These words from Elder Holland provided further encouragement:
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil, and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike–and they will–you remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed.”Jeffrey R Holland, For Times of Trouble, BYU Speeches March 18, 1980
I have felt disappointment and discouragement and I have needed angels. I have prayed intently for angels to be in attendance with all those people alone during the coronavirus restrictions. I have felt the need for angels to go where mortals could not go. There are angels from both sides of the veil that are sent to encourage us, guide us and strengthen us. Elder Holland also said: “And always there are those angels who come and go all around us, seen and unseen, known and unknown, mortal and immortal.” It is so true. We do not talk enough about the angels that are sent to help us.
My experiences with angels and the inspiration of art came together for me.
I love paintings that inspire me. I admire artists and their abilities to present their thoughts and feelings in a visual format. I admit there are many paintings that I simply do not understand. However, there are those paintings that touch my heart immediately and thereafter continue to increase in meaning.
Brian Kershisnik’s piece titled, “She Will Find that Which is Lost” is one of those paintings. I do not remember when I was first introduced to this painting, but I know I shed tears in the store when my mother purchased it as a birthday gift for me. I happily brought it home and found a special spot for it. The painting lives in my living room, my mind and my heart.
For twenty-five years I spent the majority of my time and effort on family history research. There is one friend I have helped for several years. She is a divorced single mother now in her 70’s and still having to work. She always wanted me to find female ancestors for her which often proved difficult to find. I told her and her family which day I would be searching for her ancestors and asked them to pray for me.
As I studied the gospel that morning, I looked at this painting on the Internet. I felt I deeply needed angels round about me to help me that day. Usually when I sat down to research this particular family, it was a struggle. I would find people whose ordinance work was completed, and the progress felt like plodding slow steps up a steep climb.
On this particular day, within the first 10 minutes, I found a family with many children and their birth information, then their spouses and marriage dates. It is hard to describe – where this work was normally slow, the time flew by, I just kept finding person after person. I did not leave the computer once and when I glanced at the clock, three hours had gone in what felt like an instant, and yet I had accomplished so much. That afternoon time, once more, felt as though it flew by and I again accomplished so much. It felt like I had flown to the top of the mountain instead of plodding.
I wondered if that is how Joseph Smith felt as he was translating the Book of Mormon. I have often thought about how he could do all that was physically and mentally required of him in so short a time.
By the day’s end I had experienced a miracle and an answer to prayer. Although I put in hours of effort, I did not feel it. I cannot explain it or understand it, but I am grateful for the experience all the same because I know that somehow the prayers offered by my friend and her family and Brian Kershisnik’s painting came together. I know angels came to buoy me, carry me and guide my efforts. I was the woman depicted in the painting.
There have been other occasions when I desired to be surrounded by angels as depicted in the painting. I have wanted to feel “mine angels round about you , to bear you up” (D&C 84:88). My eyes have been opened to see there are many, many angels round about me. My friends are angels in innumerable and uncountable ways. They bear me up spiritually, temporally and emotionally. Angels on both sides of the veil are present on my good days and bad days. Some are present for mere moments while others are constants in my life.
Heavenly Father loves us and watches over us. He does not leave us to struggle alone. We may not see them, we not be aware, but those who love us are there – bringing us love, comfort, and help. Those things in life we consider coincidence and good fortune are more likely the influence of angels in our lives. The bad things that do not happen, the dangers we avoid are the influence of angels. The longer I live the more I recognize the reality of angels and their significance in my life. I do not need to see them to know that they are there and to feel their love for me. I am grateful for their presence and for this knowledge.
Deborah is an encourager, supporter, helper, peace seeker, teacher, writer, friend, honorary mother, and happy GG.
She is a retired probation officer, family history researcher, wreath maker, baby diaper gift creator, and virtual journey walker.
Missionaries found her in Nova Scotia, Canada. She served a mission in Japan. Deborah went to BYU Provo and earned a Social Work degree and the University of Toronto for a Master’s degree in Adult Education.
She loves to learn and expand her knowledge. You will often find her in the midst of completing an assignment for an online course. A manager once asked her “When will you stop taking courses?” Her reply was “Hopefully never! There is so much yet to know.”
She has always been filled with a desire to share her love of art, an appreciation of music, and gospel insights all with the purpose to share her love of Jesus Christ and His presence in her life.
She now faces the challenge of finding a balance in her dual role as caregiver to her mother while also requiring caregiving.
Heavenly Father made it impossible for her to live elsewhere so she moved to Raymond, Alberta, Canada.
You can connect with Deborah through A Worldwide Sisterhood by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.