About the time I turned 14 years old, my mother started talking in code. Just as I would run out the door for some new adventure with my friends, she would call out, “Remember who you are!”
I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by that, but I would pretend to understand and yell over my shoulder, “OK, Mom. Bye!” At times I would think about her coded message. What was she trying to say? I knew who I was. So what?
As I was growing up, life with my family was not always pleasant. After one particularly bad night, I remember staring at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing the reflection staring back at me because my face was red from my father’s repeated slaps. I started crying, not knowing what to do or think. I thought about running away. Even worse, ideas of ending my unhappy life came into my confused mind.
At no other time—before or since—have I felt so alone. I felt worn out, almost willing to let the surrounding darkness take over. I looked into the mirror once more. I don’t even know myself, I cried inwardly. Then I heard my mother’s phrase repeated clearly and distinctly in my mind: Remember who you are! Remember who you are!
For the first time, I realized what my mother meant. She wanted me to remember my divine heritage. A phrase from the Primary song echoed in my mind: “I am a child of God” (Hymns, number 301). That sudden reminder helped me fight Satan’s temptation to do something foolish. The knowledge that my nature was divine would help me endure; my mother understood that, and I know she hoped that someday I would as well.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect example of one who understood His divine heritage. The scriptures tell us that in His youth He “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). The more His understanding grew, the better prepared He was to fulfill His role as the Savior of the world.
We will not be called upon to suffer as Jesus Christ did. But to help us overcome our trials, Heavenly Father has given us tools that can increase our understanding of our divine heritage. From the scriptures, we learn how others have recognized their roles as sons and daughters of God and have acted accordingly. From living prophets, we learn of our divine nature and potential. Through the priesthood, we can receive inspired blessings that remind us of our relationship to Heavenly Father. In the temple, we are instructed as we participate in sacred ordinances. And through prayer, we can obtain the help we need when we forget who we are.
The years following the night I figured out my mother’s code were difficult. But recognizing my divine nature helped me view my challenges with an eternal perspective. This knowledge eventually led me to marry in the temple and to work with my husband to rear a family firmly grounded in the gospel.
I still think often about my mother’s words. At times I have imagined a final moment with Heavenly Father before I departed for earth. I like to picture Him embracing me and urging me on with a few last words of advice: “Remember who you are!”