As I think about my spiritual development, there are some key milestones I still rely on to strengthen my faith. These are moments that I can go back to and remember what I felt, what I learned, what I experienced that informed my faith and continues to contribute to it today. These are places of safety for me when I need to retrench; they are places of courage when I learn something new; they provide comfort when I need a reminder that God is in His Heaven and all is right with the world.
Avid journal writer Spencer W. Kimball encouraged church members to write journals to remember times of spiritual blessing and strength. Scriptures are full of accounts of remembering God's mercies from times past, often invoking the names of Moses or Abraham as a means of remembering the Lord's work through them.
A gift we try to give our children is the opportunity to cultivate these spiritual experiences for themselves, and in the end, we must each develop our own. I cannot lend you mine, nor can I borrow yours. And while more than one person may share an experience, it may be a spiritual milestone to one and not another. (Think about Nephi and Laman and Lemuel and their responses to various heavenly interventions.)
Some of mine are associated with ordinances – my baptism, my sealing to my parents, my baptizing my children – and some with miracles – the healing of a missionary companion, for instance. Others are more subtle – the shaking of an apostle's hand following a conference, or the long awaited answer to a specific spiritual question.
Although I do understand how they come – the spirit bears witness at a particular time in a particular way -- I don't fully understand why they come, but I am grateful that they do.