Discovering Who We Are - What is our Mission?
Life is amazing, isn’t it?  So many experiences!  So many lessons!  At times, we think we’ve learned “the lesson” only to discover we are learning the same lesson on another level; a deeper level; a more personal level.

We all have hard times in life.  Teen years can be especially difficult to work through.  As parents, we can remember that our youth can easily fluctuate between confidence and insecurity.  I've learned that the times when they are feeling the most insecure inside may very well be the times they “act” the cockiest or make “stupid” choices.  It's also the time they need us the most, but try hard to push us away.

During one of these challenging times, when all I could see were faults and weaknesses, Heavenly Father inspired me. 

Look for Strengths - But HOW?
At Stake Conference, one of the visiting authorities spoke on strengthening new wards. The counsel he gave was incredible; I thought it very applicable to strengthening families and an answer to my prayer.  He said to identify each member’s strengths and weaknesses, then build activities around them; activities to accentuate our strengths and programs to strengthen our weaknesses.

Bingo! It became clear what I needed to do. Each of our weaknesses was evident. (No identification problem there!) I needed to identify each member’s strengths and focus on them. (That was the problem.)  But HOW?  What were they?

Here’s where the inspiration came in. The idea came to me to read through my Patriarchal blessing carefully.  Having done our "Parts of Speech" regularly in homeschooling, all of a sudden the NOUNS and VERBS began jumping off of the page to me.  I could see how the Nouns helped define "who" I was, what my strengths were, and who I could become; while the Verbs gave me direction as to what I was to "do.”

As I started writing down noun phases and verb phases from my blessing, it became pretty clear to me who the Lord thought I was and what my strengths were. I was a daughter of God. He loves me. I am a model of one who follows the councils of the priesthood. I bring a bright and cheerful spirit...

Wow! There it was, right there in my patriarchal blessing. A whole list of strengths and blessings, sentences stating who I was and what I was to do, what my mission and purpose was, as well as personal counsel, it was incredible!

I would spend the next few days, reading through each member’s blessing - identifying who they were, what there strengths were, and what their mission was.  What an amazing experience I had!

Because blessings are personal, I will just share some guidelines and give examples of what you can look for in case you want to read through your blessings and discover (or rediscover) who you or your family really are!  (These ideas are by no means complete, but may give one an idea of where to begin.)

WHO AM I? (Look for NOUNS)
As you read each sentence, look for phrases that describe the person now or in the pre-mortal realm. Look for phrases that describe their relationship with Heavenly Father.  Phrases may include: You are - You were -  You have -  He (referring to Heavenly Father).  For example...
 You are:
          loved of the Lord. a son of Heavenly Father.
          very dear to Him.
          special and choice to Him.
          a son (or daughter) of God.
          full of great potential.
          of Israel.
          of Ephriam.
 You were:
          taught in that heavenly realm.
          chosen because of
You have:
          a purpose here in life.
          so much to offer.
He:    loves you.
          holds you in high regard.
          remembers your valiancy.

WHAT IS MY MISSION? (Look for VERBS - What am I to “DO”?)
Example: (Be sure) to place the Lord first (in your life).
(I looked for words with “to” and if it was followed by a verb, I knew it was something I was supposed to do!
In this case I was to: place the Lord first!)

More Examples:
                 Put on the whole armor of God.
                 Move forward victorious.
                 You are in for a life of service and work.
                 He needs you to bear witness to others.
“TO” or “YOU”: (followed by a verb)
                 assist build up devote diligently seek
                 establish give *place prepare
                 receive respond serve stand
“BE”:         faithful, kind, willing
                 honorable in all of your callings.
                 sure to keep the word of wisdom.
                 You need to be with His people always.
YOU WILL:   consciously, seek, express, feel, counsel, find, grow, move, obtain, pursue, serve, listen, show, etc.
Examples: You will serve your fellow men.
                 listen to counsel.
                 show respect.
                 consciously seek to live the gospel.
YOU MUST:  succeed; serve; love others, etc.

WHAT ARE MY BLESSINGS / STRENGTHS?
YOUR (followed by a noun):  contributions, desire, faith, influence, personality, great service, sincerity, talents, etc.
I BLESS YOU: throughout your life, that you will pursue, etc.
It Is YOUR PRIVILEGE TO: be born, assist, be a mother, etc.
You WILL BE: determined, privileged, confident, etc.
You WILL HAVE: occasion to, opportunities for, times where, etc.
You HAVE:  felt, prepared, seen, etc.
You HAVE BEEN:  given, blessed, born, etc.
Will GIVE YOU:  faith, promptings, strength, etc.
You ARE TO BE:  commended, in tune, sure, etc.
You MAY:  find, pursue, have, etc.
You MAY BE:  led, given, able, etc.

WHAT ARE MY *WARNINGS / ***COMMANDS?
*Be mindful; Guard against, etc.

Because each blessing is personal, the wording will vary.  However, as you pray and read through your specific blessing to identify different parts, they will stick out to you. You will begin to see how each sentence has a place in the outline.

Each sentence usually
           1. defines who we are
          2. tells what we’re to do
          3. gives counsel or warning
          4. lists strengths or blessings
          5. list weaknesses (that we should be mindful of and try to improve upon.)
Note: Some sentences are longer than others. Key words (nouns/verbs) may help you identify the parts you're looking for.

I love Sheri Dew! She’s such a motivational speaker! In one of her talks she uses the phrase “That is who you are, and it is who you have always been.” (You Were Born to Lead, You Were Born for Glory, Dec 2003.)

We did not begin to develop ourselves on earth; that was accomplished premortally. We are here to rediscover who we really are, and who we have always been. We fought valiantly before we came here. We have strengths dormant within us, still yet to be revived. Our patriarchal blessings can be a big help in answering that proverbial question... Who am I, really?