Nursing Faculty Member
Linda Klingler Ward was born and raised in Rexburg, Idaho. She earned her associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees in nursing at Ricks College, Brigham Young University, and Walden University. She loved her 34 years of working as a registered nurse in oncology, newborn and pediatric intensive care, the emergency department, and nursing management before coming to teach at BYU-Idaho in 2012. A highlight of her nursing career was scrubbing in on several open-heart surgeries with Dr. Russell M. Nelson.
Sister Ward has served in many church callings including stake and ward Primary president, Relief Society and Young Women president, and several teaching positions. She loves her current calling as Primary pianist.
Sister Ward and her husband, Kerry, have been married for 40 years. They are the parents of 4 wonderful children and have 9 amazing grandchildren who light up their lives! Sister Ward loves spending time with her family and traveling.
Please respond to the question below on the devotional discussion board:
“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48).
Please describe in a few sentences:
- What do you do to seek tender mercies from the Lord in your life?
- How have you learned to recognize and remember these tender mercies?
December 19, 1997, was a cold, wintery day in Rexburg. My husband, Kerry, and I were enjoying working together on a Christmas present, when suddenly he was struck with an excruciating headache. His condition deteriorated rapidly. In the emergency room, the doctors determined he was suffering from a massive brain hemorrhage. I am a registered nurse and was employed at this hospital. As the doctors and nurses, who were my colleagues, worked together to save my husband’s life, it became apparent that we were losing the battle. Kerry had slipped into a deep coma, and his pupils were fixed and dilated. As a nurse, I wanted so desperately to be able to do something for him. I was fully aware that everything medically possible was being done, but I wanted more. At that moment I felt impressed that what he needed was a priesthood blessing! I called my brother-in-law, Lane, who worked nearby and asked him to give Kerry a blessing. A beautiful, powerful, and miraculous blessing was given. In that blessing, Kerry was promised a full and complete recovery. When I heard this, I thought that Lane did not understand the severity of Kerry’s situation. I had cared for many patients over the years with conditions like this, and the outcomes were rarely positive. The looks, hugs, and words I received from the medical team made it apparent that they also felt Kerry was not going to make it. Shortly after the blessing, Kerry was taken to a waiting life-flight helicopter to be transferred to a trauma center. At that time, the attending physician gave me a hug and informed me he did not think Kerry would survive the flight. When I arrived at the trauma center, I was scared to go in for fear of what I was going to find. You can imagine my shock when I walked into his room and found him sitting up talking to the doctor! Over the next couple of months, Kerry underwent a 12-hour brain surgery at University of Utah and has since made his promised full recovery.
This miracle of healing had a profound impact on me, as I realized I had put my trust in the laws of medicine, something I had studied and practiced for many years. It is true that the doctors and nurses caring for my husband, as talented as they were, did not have the ability to save his life. Thankfully, the Lord did. My brother-in-law was able to pronounce a priesthood blessing on him that, through the power of God, was able to heal him and save his life.
I know the priesthood is the power and authority of God, given to worthy priesthood holders to heal and bless our lives. God has restored His priesthood power here on earth. His power—the greatest and grandest of all powers! This power can be used by worthy men to bring about the purposes of God. This is a remarkable blessing, for which I am eternally grateful! The power of the priesthood can bring about modern-day miracles!
According to the Bible Dictionary, miracles are “manifestations of divine or spiritual power.”  Elder Dallin H. Oaks described miracles as “a beneficial event brought about through divine power that mortals do not understand and of themselves cannot duplicate.” 
People may consider miracles to be coincidences in their lives. I have learned otherwise! I believe deeply in the power of the Lord’s tender mercies and miracles to show us His love and bless our lives!
I have been fortunate to spend the past 42 years working as a nurse. During this time, I have witnessed countless miracles as priesthood blessings, accompanied by fasting, prayers and faith, were miraculously answered. I can never doubt the power of God to work miracles through the priesthood, because I have witnessed them!
I have always found it humbling that so many patients in my care have received priesthood blessings and had family, friends, and ward members fast and pray on their behalf. Many of these prayers and blessings specifically ask that the doctors and nurses caring for them will know their needs and how to help them. I can testify that these prayers are answered, as I have experienced times when a thought or prompting will come to me specific to a need of a patient in my care.
I have the wonderful opportunity to teach nursing at this great university. I love that I can teach my students about the wonders of the human body and how to care for the acutely ill. I consider it an incredible privilege that we can also discuss the importance of seeking and recognizing promptings from the Lord.
I have come to know that the Lord can, and will, work through us to bring about His purposes and to answer prayers. A young patient I was caring for in a pediatric intensive care unit was critically ill. As his condition deteriorated, it became apparent that he needed to be rushed to surgery. It took a team of doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists to sustain his life during transport. As we approached the door to leave the ICU, the surgeon asked if this child had been given a priesthood blessing. His parents, who were standing nearby, answered through their tears that they had wanted to, but everyone was in such a hurry, they did not dare ask. The doctor then explained that this was going to be an extremely complicated surgery. He said he needed to have his hands and mind guided to know what needed to be done to save this young life. The child’s father and a respiratory therapist gave a beautiful blessing for strength and healing. This sweet boy survived the complicated surgery and recovered to go home with his parents. Situations like this happen on a regular basis in hospitals around the world. What made this story memorable to me was this surgeon, who requested the priesthood blessing, was not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was not even a religious man. But his experiences had shown him that an unknown power had influenced him in the care of patients when priesthood blessings had been given. This confirmed to me that the Lord can, and will, work through us to bring about His will.
I am forever thankful that on that snowy December afternoon, when I was in need, I could call on my brother-in-law, and that he was worthy to use his priesthood to bless my husband.
To the men listening, what are you doing in your lives that prepares you, at a moment’s notice, to be worthy to give a priesthood blessing? Do you know how the Spirit talks to you? Do you ask and listen for promptings? Are you working to center your life in Christ so that when you are sent on one of His errands to use your priesthood, you are prepared?
President Russell M. Nelson discussed “The Price of Priesthood Power”:
Recently, Wendy and I were in a meeting where the organist was poised and ready to play the opening hymn. His eyes were on the music, and his fingers were on the keys. He began pressing the keys, but there was no sound. I whispered to Wendy, “He has no power.” I reasoned that something had stopped the flow of electrical power to that organ.
Well, brethren, in like manner, I fear that there are too many men who have been given the authority of the priesthood but who lack priesthood power because the flow of power has been blocked by sins such as laziness, dishonesty, pride, immorality, or preoccupation with things of the world.
I fear that there are too many priesthood bearers who have done little or nothing to develop their ability to access the powers of heaven. I worry about all who are impure in their thoughts, feelings, or actions . . . , thereby cutting off priesthood power. . . .
. . . I urgently plead with each one of us to live up to our privileges as bearers of the priesthood. In a coming day, only those men who have taken their priesthood seriously, by diligently seeking to be taught by the Lord Himself, will be able to bless, guide, protect, strengthen, and heal others. Only a man who has paid the price for priesthood power will be able to bring miracles to those he loves and keep his marriage and family safe, now and throughout eternity. 
Likewise, sisters, what are you doing to help the priesthood holders in your life? Do you help them to always honor their priesthood? Do you honor them and the priesthood they hold? Being surrounded by the power of the priesthood is one of the most incredible blessings we can have in our lives. You do not want to be the one that brings down an ordained priesthood holder and makes him unworthy to exercise the priesthood he holds.
I love that our God is a merciful God! He is in the details of our lives! He knows us. He loves us and He loves blessing us! He can do that through wondrous miracles, healings, answered prayers, or small tender mercies.
Elder David A. Bednar taught, “The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ.” 
Reflect on some of your tender mercies—a phone call or text that brightened your day, a song on the radio that brought you peace, a thought that solved a problem, an answered prayer or forgiveness that brought you healing.
We need to learn to look for the Lord’s tender mercies. In last week’s devotional, Brother Steve Bunnell discussed the importance of gratitude and having a thankful heart. As we learn to more fully recognize the power of God’s love in our lives, it will fill us with needed gratitude and peace. I was touched this week as I read what many of you shared on the devotional discussion board of how you are putting this into action in your lives.
I currently hold one of my favorite callings in the Church, Primary Pianist. I love the beautiful way the primary songs teach and testify of truth. A favorite that the children often request is “A Child’s Prayer.” The first few lines share questions and emotions that many of us have felt at various times in our lives:
Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev’ry child’s prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray. 
2020 has been a challenging year, and some among you today are carrying heavy burdens that may feel almost unbearable.
D&C 121 starts with the Prophet Joseph Smith pleading with the Lord for the suffering saints. From within his horrible conditions in Liberty Jail he reaches out asking, “O God, where art thou?” 
In your moments of discouragement, do you find yourself wondering, “Heavenly Father are you really there?” If so, how do you respond? Like Joseph Smith, do you reach out to your Heavenly Father or do you choose to turn away from Him? Trials cause some people to lose their spiritual bearings while others are strengthened. In these challenging times, we must strengthen our testimonies and deepen our faith to prepare us to endure whatever lies ahead
President Nelson taught:
In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost. . . . The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God, the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation. In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort.” 
I remember a time I felt that my prayers were not being answered. I needed direction in my life, and I repeatedly went to the Lord in prayer asking for guidance. Day after day, week after week, nothing came. One night as I pled with the Lord for an answer, I remember having the thought, “Are you doing your part?” I pondered that impression and determined that I was depending on the Lord to help me when I wasn’t giving Him 100 percent. That night I made a commitment with myself and the Lord that I would increase the consistency and depth of my scripture study and temple worship. Time passed. I was working to keep my commitment through personal obedience, but still no direction. One night I got home late and went straight to bed. I laid there pondering how tired I was and thought, “It is okay to miss my scripture study just this once.” However, I couldn’t fall asleep. I had made a commitment with myself and the Lord, and I wasn’t going to break it. I was asking for something and I needed to do my part. I got out of bed and read from the Book of Mormon. There I was, late at night, half asleep reading a war chapter. Mass murders, fighting, and hatred filled this chapter. As I climbed into bed that night I was totally discouraged. The next day I decided to attend the temple. I love the temple and love reading scriptures in that peaceful environment. That day I read the next chapter in the Book of Mormon. In that chapter, surrounded by the beauty and peace of the Celestial room, I received the answer I had been seeking. If I had not been fully obedient the night before, I would have been reading the war chapter in the temple that day. Finding my answer in the scriptures in the Celestial Room was like a warm hug from Heaven. My Heavenly Father did know me, He loved me, and He was aware of my need. The answer I sought came in the Lord’s time and after I had put forth the effort. The concept of prayer in and of itself is a miracle. At any time, we can talk to God! Imagine the miracle of it!
I love that God truly does answer a child’s prayers! Many years ago, we lived in Minden, Nevada. Our church house was being remodeled which necessitated us to drive to South Lake Tahoe for our meetings. One Sunday we were experiencing a winter blizzard. My husband was back east on business travel, which left me home with our two young sons. I was scared to drive up the mountain roads in this weather to attend church. It took me over an hour to make the drive, and I hurriedly ran into church a few minutes late. After church, I helped clean up, gathered my sons, and went out to my car. It was evening, already dark and still snowing and blowing. It was then that I realized, that in my hurry, I had locked my keys in the car. Only the bishopric members were still at the church. They offered me a ride home, but my husband had the only other set of keys with him and I needed my car that week. We couldn’t locate an open locksmith, so they worked to try and unlock my door. Suddenly I noticed that my five-year-old son was no longer at my side. I searched for him and found him in his primary room on his knees. I listened as he matter-of-factly explained our situation to his Heavenly Father. He explained that we needed to get home and closed his prayer. He got up, and on seeing me there, stated, “We can go home now, Mom.” I love the faith of a child! When I returned to my car, they were still working to unlock my doors. Nothing was working. Finally, after a period of time, our first counselor reached into his pocket, took out his car keys, walked over, and unlocked my car! In my shock, I asked him, “What made you think that your car keys would unlock my car?” He stated, “I had a thought: I drive an Oldsmobile, and this is an Oldsmobile—why not try!” I thanked everyone, we got in our car, and prepared to leave when the first counselor’s teenage son came out of the church. He was astounded when he heard how we got the car unlocked and didn’t believe us. He asked me to shut and lock my door. He then asked his dad for his keys so he could unlock it himself. This time the key would not even fit into the keyhole. We tried multiple times, but that key could not unlock my door.
I have often reflected on this tender mercy and answer, yes to the song, Heavenly Father does hear and answers a child’s prayer. This experience let me know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I have a loving Heavenly Father, and He knows of me. He provided this miracle for our little family in a situation that would be considered trivial by many.
I have learned from the experiences I have shared with you today, and many others that the love of God can be in every aspect of our lives, as we seek to follow Him.
The greatest miracle of all time is the Atonement and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ gave His life, not knowing if we would accept or reject this, the greatest of all gifts.
I recall one Christmas morning when my young son opened a beautifully wrapped gift. Inside the lovely box was a meaningful ornament from his grandparents, which he set aside to play with the cotton square from the bottom of the box.
It is so easy to be distracted in life. Is there something trivial that distracts you from what’s truly important? I pray that we don’t become so distracted with our busy lives that we turn from accepting the gift of the Atonement.
Linda S. Reeves said, “To me, the greatest miracles in life are not the parting of the Red Sea, the moving of mountains, or even the healing of the body. The greatest miracle happens when we humbly approach our Father in Heaven in prayer, fervently plead to be forgiven, and then are cleansed of those sins through the atoning sacrifice of our Savior.” 
I know that our Heavenly Father and Savior know and love us individually. They desire to bless us as we seek to have the power of their love in our lives. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 “Miracles,” Bible Dictionary.
 Dallin H. Oaks, “Miracles,” Ensign, June 2001.
 Russell M. Nelson, “The Price of Priesthood Power,” Ensign, May 2016.
 David A. Bednar, “The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign, May 2005.
 “A Child’s Prayer,” Children’s Songbook, 12.
 Doctrine and Covenants 121:1.
 Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign, May 2018.
 Linda S. Reeves, “The Great Plan of Redemption,” Ensign, Nov. 2016.