Wendy's daughter lived for only 12 hours and then was taken home. Becoming angry with God and losing her faith completely, Wendy heard of a basketball star who had also lost an infant and had found comfort through reading Embraced By The Light. Wendy shares her journey from feeling punished by God to really praying "for the first time in my life." and also finding comfort through Betty's experience and peace to know that her daughter chose her to be her mother.
O give thanks unto the Lord;
Call upon his name:
Make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him:
Talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name:
Let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.
As children we were taught to begin our prayers by thinking of something we are thankful for. I have found that even during those moments when frustration or discouragement might otherwise overwhelm, no matter my current state of emotion or humanness I can always get quiet and go within to find something in my heart to be thankful for to begin a prayer. Even when heartfelt communication seems far away, as I consciously think of my blessings and express my gratitude to God, I immediately begin to feel my spirit's eternal connection to the Heavenly Father. This habit of beginning my prayers with gratitude has served me well throughout my life. The Thanksgiving Holiday gives us added opportunity to gather with loved ones and pause to reflect and feel within our heart for God's gifts and then prayerfully express our heartfelt gratitude.
Gratitude is also the first tool I pick up when I feel myself even beginning to fall to depression. "Count your many blessings, name them one by one..." goes the old familiar hymn that includes, "When you are discouraged, every doubt will fly, and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
And probably because of my NDE, my very favorite verse is:
So, amid the conflict
Whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged,
God is over all;
Count your many blessings,
Angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you
To your journey's end.
Since my return from my NDE I miss the wonders of heaven and the incomparable joy of being in the Savior's presence. I have seen great struggles and have spent many days literally walking through my house, usually while cleaning in an attempt to be useful, yet with all my heart seeking comfort and strength by thinking of things to be grateful for and whispering, "Thank you Lord for my health, for my physical strength and ability, thank you Lord for my family for however long this lasts, I'm so grateful for all you give."
Darkness is kept at bay while I think of things to be thankful for and soon my heart begins to swell with the magnificence of God's hand in my life.
Sometimes I feel uncomfortable when running errands or going to the grocery store. My heart may be at home wanting to complete something precious to me, yet I also must fill responsibilities that take me away from my home and family. And I do my best to be of service during these times too. Perhaps I notice someone who has a physical handicap or someone who looks discouraged. I immediately begin praying for them and before I know it, what started out as a chore is filling me with joy as I think of many blessings to be grateful for. When I thank Heavenly Father for my blessings, I feel them in my heart…right now…in this moment. Because I always want to do God's will and I don't know what tomorrow will bring—but whatever it is—I will be grateful for it!
Gratitude is part of the Universal Law of giving and receiving. As we share what we are given, the way is open for us to receive more. When you receive love or knowledge and pass it on, you leave yourself open to receive again. When we hold on to what we are given and keep it to ourselves, we are not expanding it, we are not using it to bless others, and so we lose it because we aren't using it. Use what you have, and you will receive more, this is an eternal principle. And one way to use what we have been given is to thank God for it! Another way is to share his goodness with others. The knowledge that we reveal to others takes on a life of its own, and allows us to receive more knowledge to share. The way I like to think of it is that I receive God's gifts by taking them into my heart and adding my love—which expands them and then I give back by sharing what I have been given and then I'm ready to receive more!
"Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works." (Psalms 119:27) Part of growing in our spiritual understanding and ability to love is by sharing what we have been given with others. This can be done by example as we gather our loved ones and talk about God's hand in our lives as well as express our thankfulness for his gifts. As we do, we invite further blessings and create ripples of love that will bless us, our families and all around us.
With all my love, Betty
I understood the importance
of thanking God for the things we receive.
Gratitude is an eternal virtue.
In humility we must ask,
and in gratitude we should receive.
The more we thank God for the blessings we receive,
the more we open the way for further blessings.
His desire to bless us is full to overflowing.
If we will open our hearts and minds
to receive his blessings,
we too will be filled to overflowing.
We will know that he lives.
We may became like the angels themselves,
helping others who are in need.
In prayer and service our light will always shine.
Service is the oil to our lamps
generated by compassion and love.
—Embraced By The Light, page 107
The Place Where Our Spirit Dwells Gratitude Keeps Me Close To God
In each of us, I have learned, there is a place where our spirit dwells. We are born to this earth with our soul, the pure part of us we bring to earth from the spirit world.
...I have learned to enter a quiet place within me and reflect on my spiritual needs...
Gratitude, I have learned, keeps me in tune with my love and appreciation for the abundance of God in my life. When I awake in the morning, I thank God for each new day. I thank him for everything I have, materially and spiritually, even for the opportunity to grow from the experiences that may not seem so positive but which I know are sent to me with divine purpose. I ask him to allow me to expand beyond my narrow-mindedness and self-centeredness, so that I can see the good that comes from everything.
...I have developed my faith by placing God foremost in my life. I have learned that I must maintain a large measure of peace within myself to do so; I must be in tune with the love that God placed in me. I know that God is love, and if I do not recognize that same love within me, I cannot express that love to others.
I go to be with God each day in my prayers and that special place is available to me at any time I choose. More often than not, it is at the kitchen sink where I find myself alone. Time is precious, but the time spent in prayer during the first and last few minutes of the day can keep your spirit in tune with God. Prayers do not need to be elaborate; my own are often quite simple, like a conversation with a parent or a heartfelt "good morning" or "good night" expressed with appreciation for God's love and generosity...
Readers Ask Betty
Dearest Betty, sometimes I feel so alone!
How can I feel God’s love?
This is our journey here, to learn to give and receive love. Overcoming the feeling of loneliness is a challenge most of us feel at some point in our lives. We can take comfort when we remember the Savior in the garden of Gethsemane. He too, felt alone, and understands our deepest pain and heartache. As we follow his teachings, we will grow to expand our own heart to greater love and become more open to our Heavenly Father’s love that is always around us. We each are his child, his son or daughter. And he wants to hear from us! Perhaps the best way to grow to feel his love is by nurturing our communication with him through prayer, our divine connection to him.
I talk of my own experience learning this in The Awakening Heart:
The gift of love was freely given to me, but the gift of communicating with him was not. In the spirit world I had been able to express my feelings without using words. Our communication was pure and without effort. Back on earth, I found no words that could express my thoughts and emotions. I knew that God already knew my heart; he could see my desire for direct contact within it…I began to think of God as more of a father…someone personal and loving, not just an authority figure. We talked together as parent and child. I shared with him my joys and fears. I began to thank him for the things in which he expressed himself, which was just about everything. I began to look forward to those times we had and soon found that my talks with him did not have to be at night, on my knees, but that I could have an ongoing communication with him all day long.— The Awakening Heart, pp. 45-47
God’s Love can be difficult to understand in the world we live, much less express, and its pureness can overwhelm. But when you find that you are love, and that you are loved unconditionally by God, then no other love compares and you lose all fear of ever losing love again because you know that you are born of everlasting love through the design and wisdom of God.
When in heaven you learned that we can literally open the windows of heaven for creative inspiration and abundance.
How do we do that?
When we acknowledge our source, and are grateful to that source, it is natural to receive in greater abundance.
“I also understood the importance of thanking God for the things we receive. Gratitude is an eternal virtue. In humility we must ask, and in gratitude we should receive. The more we thank God for the blessings we receive, the more we open the way for further blessings. His desire to bless us is full to overflowing. If we will open our hearts and minds to receive his blessings, we too will be filled to overflowing. We will know that he lives. We may become like the angels themselves, helping others who are in need.”—Embraced By The Light , p. 107
Learning to live with gratitude in our hearts also increases our ability when we do walk through life’s challenges and lessons.“There is magic in gratitude. It frees us from worry and competition in life. It opens our hearts and hands to genuine love, ironically allowing our hearts and hands to be filled again. . . . Gratitude helps ward off negativity. Being grateful for the good things in life invites their continued influence.”—The Ripple Effect, pp. 30, 76
Gratitude and abundance follow "acknowledgment." As we prayerfully and thankfully acknowledge our Creator, learn to recognize his hand in our life, and even share the blessings we have been given with others, we open the way for God's blessings."We are sent here to live life fully, to live it abundantly, to find joy in our own creations . . . to use our free will to expand and magnify our lives."—Embraced By The Light, p. 59
We are all “terminal,” we will all die one day, and though we suffer loss while here, we can remember that this world is only a temporary home."Life does not end when we die. Death is a rebirth into a spirit world of light and love, a transition from the physical to the spiritual that is no more frightening or painful than passing between rooms through an open doorway. It is a joyful homecoming to our natural home..." –The Awakening Heart, p. xi
If God has all power,
have power over our spirit?
Why do we have to battle evil?
the devil—or Satan—will not
have power over our spirits. His eventual
fate is eternal banishment. God does have
absolute power, and there is no room for
Satan in the Kingdom of God. In this sense
we might regard the master of evil as an
illusion, because he is already defeated
by the power of Christ.
But why does evil exist at all? The answer
is that our spirits grow faster and stronger
through adversity. The pain of experiencing
wrong doing and loss burns into our souls
and encodes itself into our cells and our
energy. The lessons we learn from our troubles
become part of our very essence. Negative
experiences also grant us the power of
empathy, to see others as we see ourselves,
to comprehend joys and sorrows and all
the human impulses. As our eyes are opened
and we grow in empathy, our ability to
love unconditionally increases. To develop
our highest potential, to become like God,
we need to gain that love which only opposition
allows us to gain. Without an opposing
energy, our power to love would never be
strengthened sufficiently to allow us to
progress in the eternities.–The
Ripple Effect, pp 81-82
adversary uses our fears, the opposite
of love, to draw us away from God’s
light and love. I talk about this in depth
in the chapter “The Problem of Evil” in
my book The
Ripple Effect. We can discern his
influence by looking prayerfully at the
fruit that grows from his sway. Continuing
on page 82:
can disguise himself as an angel of light,
appearing to be the answer when in fact
he is the problem. Fortunately, a false
spirit posing as an angel of light casts
a long, dark shadow. That is the nature
of evil. It is a tree that bears bitter
fruit that can always be detected over
It is important to recognize that Satan,
the Deceiver, masterfully uses our own
fears to hold us captive. Fear is the opposite
of love. It warps and destroys love’s
power to heal and to expand us. Some of
us in this life and in the world to come
are afraid to go to the Light and accept
Christ’s love. And Christ will not
force us; rather, he gently and ever so
patiently guides us along. During my near-death
experience, my transformation by his healing
love began in the darkness before I ever
saw him. This love grew in me until my
fears departed and I believed I was accepted
of him. Then I couldn’t be held from
him and went to his light. While in darkness,
each of us has the right to feel God’s
love. But we must accept it. Light and
darkness cannot occupy the same space;
it is an impossibility…
hold the keys that lead in and out of Satan’s
realm. The Heavenly Father has given each
of us all that we need to withstand and
overcome adversity, and he will not give
us more than we can bear. “God is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be
tempted above that ye are able; but will
with the temptation also make a way to
escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”(1Corinthians
great enemy is often our own thoughts and
words. Jesus taught that it is what comes
from our own being that “defiles” us.
Continuing this chapter again on page 85:
dwell upon a thought is to give it energy.
To act upon a thought is to give it life.
The Lord discusses this principle in Mark
7:15. “There is nothing from without
a man, that entering into him can defile
him; but the things which come out of him,
those are they that defile the man.” When
we give something place within our nature,
it manifests itself physically and spiritually.
Giving place to negative thoughts by repeating
them, pondering them, gnawing on them,
gives them energy and thus the power to
does have absolute power and allows evil
for our benefit so that we can have greater
joy as we learn to choose the right in
all that we do; and we do live in troubled
and trying times. Evil seems to be reaching
new depths and broader acceptance in the
lives of many. We must remember that at
the same time, truth is expanding also,
blessing us with new opportunity as we
face our challenges. From page 87:
know the endless love of God, and I know
that if there is a way to reach any soul,
he will find it and use it—for eternity
if need be. Every spirit has the seed of
God in it, a seed that only he knows the
greatness of, and we cannot judge.
exists for a divine purpose. Because of
it we become aware of our weaknesses. As
we gain control of appetites and desires,
we begin to see how the influence of evil
has strengthened us. The force of opposition
can actually propel us forward. When we
see it for what it is , we become less
susceptible to its negative influence,
more able to let our spirits take command
of our bodies. We become free from ignorance
and fear and therefore more wise in choosing
our course down the river of life. Moreover,
we are awakened to the multifaceted nature
of God’s love for his children...
that we can and will see our world cleansed
of all evil. Our earth will be blanketed
with a greater glory, even the glory and
love of God. But we must each believe and
act in that faith. “For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should
not perish but have everlasting life.” (John
“Try saying to yourself out loud: ‘This is the day which the LORD hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!’ and see if you do not feel a sense of growing excitement within. Because that is a person who is grateful! That is a person who chooses to rejoice in God's creation of each new day, who acknowledges God's love and desire to bless his children and who chooses to live in alignment with his loving will. ”
We will never know all the effects of our prayers in this life. We won't know all the good we do, the hearts we touch, the lives we bless. We will not even know what good we have brought into our own lives through prayer. And we cannot know--until we get there--what joy we give heaven by the power of prayers. —The Ripple Effect - page 107
The prayer of the upright is [the Lord's] delight. Proverbs 15:8
Father, how wonderful it is to come to you in prayer and to express what is in my heart. These moments with you soothe me and bless me richly by bringing to focus what is important in my life. Bless me to share with others the wonders of communicating with you to help them know that praying is simply voicing our heart's inner desires. Thank you, Father, for conversing with us, your children, and for giving us a direct way to talk one-on-one with you.
Affirmation: I pray to invite God into my life and to request his blessings for others.