When I was 16 years old, I received my patriarchal blessing. I remember initially being very excited to receive it. However, after reading through the paper copy a few weeks later I became a little disappointed. I remember thinking, “It’s so generic and vague” and, “I bet the patriarch says these things to everyone”.
But as the years have passed, I have discovered that my patriarchal blessing is neither generic nor vague. The patriarch does not “say the same thing to everyone” because the words of the blessing are not his; they are from a loving Heavenly Father who knows us individually and perfectly.
Is my patriarchal blessing really specific revelation for my life? In my blessing it states that “I must choose, but I would serve a mission.” As I grew up and began to drift away from the church in certain aspects of my life, those words didn’t mean much to me. I was faced with a very real and unavoidable decision; leave the Church and live the life that I was heading towards or do a spiritual U-turn by planting both feet firmly in the gospel and giving up my own desires in order to serve a mission.
I prayed to Heavenly Father and told him that, if I found out the church was true, I would give up my sins and serve a mission for him, but if I did not receive an answer I would leave the Church and move on with my life. I was completely serious about this and fully expected to receive an answer.
I started diligently studying, and willingly humbled myself before God. After a few weeks of effort, and making significant changes in my life, I received an undeniable witness that Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his chosen prophet and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does indeed contain the fullness of the gospel. Like King Lamoni’s father in the book of Mormon, I was willing to give up all my sins to know God, and he blessed me with an undeniable witness of the truth.
Throughout my teenage years I had trained to sing classically. I slowly came to love music, exploring different genres and playing in various rock and pop bands. As much as I enjoyed music, I did not think that it was a practical career option. I always thought it would be difficult to raise a family whilst pursuing a musical career.
However, three months into my mission, whilst washing up the dishes in my apartment, I began singing some of the classical songs I had used for my Grade 8 vocal exam. This was strange as I had not even thought about classical singing since entering the mission field. As I sung, the words of my patriarchal blessing came to my mind, “Develop your talents, especially your talent for music.” My heart suddenly filled with joy, the spirit rushed over me and I knew that the lord wanted me to study music.
However, when I returned home, I began to seriously doubt my singing abilities. When I tried to sing classically, I felt that my voice was nothing like what it had been before my mission. It felt like a tired old car. I thought to myself, “You won’t be able to get into any of the music universities. You may as well not waste your money on the auditions.”
Discouraged and severely lacking self-confidence I decided to review my patriarchal blessing. As I read, I remembered the direction which the Lord had given me on my mission, “Develop your talents, particularly develop your talents for music.” I committed to give my auditions my very best efforts; I would soon find out if I was not good enough.
As I committed to rehearsing and training my voice on a daily basis a much deeper, richer tone began to bloom. My range increased and I found myself singing with a voice which was vastly better than before my mission. I continued to diligently work, audition and pray for strength, always keeping the Lord at the centre of my life. I was humbled when I received unconditional offers from each of the four universities to which I had applied. Through the process I realised that it wasn’t about me – singing was about developing my talents for the benefits of others.
I am delighted to begin my studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in September 2019. I never would have imagined, after stepping off the plane from my mission, that I would receive an opportunity to study at such a prestigious college.
The Lord’s ways are much higher and much wiser than ours. Through every experience in my life I am constantly reminded that God is at the helm. Patriarchal blessings are true indicators of God’s plans for us. They are unique and contains specific council for our lives. If we choose to “be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27), every single blessing promised will be fulfilled. Through Christ we can become who we are destined to be. God loves us and is aware of our lives, perfectly, specifically and individually