Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Happy Easter all. Today we went to an Easter Egg Hunt at L. Gardens. Though crowded and a long walk, it was a lot of fun for the boys. Don't ask Bart's opinion, because he'll sing a different song. :)
Last Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting at church. It was on the Atonement.
So, in honor of this blessed holiday, here is my talk (which I edited a little to make it better as I was giving it but didn't take the time to edit for you. Sorry)

Jackson has a way of attracting trouble and injuries. It is not surprising to me when he comes running to me, tears dripping from his eyelids, as he blubbers out, “I got blood!.” or something just as heartbreaking to let me know of his pain. Although this has happened numerous times since his birth, it still pulls at my heart strings and make my heart ache for him as he cries from his latest owie. Though he’s becoming quite a pro at getting hurt, even occasionally bi-passing my open arms and heading straight for the freezer, to pull a bag of frozen vegetables from the shelf and plop it on his latest forming bruise, it still causes me to suffer for his pain and want to take it away from him.

Becoming a parent has increased my feelings of awe and gratitude towards our Heavenly Father. How he could possibly allow his Son to suffer through such incomprehensible pain and agony, to suffer the sins of the world in the Garden of Gethsemane? I don’t know that I could have let it go on. I’d be the one who ran out into the garden, gathering him up, soothing with words that held little meaning.

He knew that the Atonement was necessary to “lift from us not only the burdens of our sin but also the burden of our disappointments and sorrows, our heartaches and our despair,” to quote Jeffry R. Holland. Without it, we would not have a chance to receive exaltation. President Gordon B. Hinckley says, “None of us fully understands the Atonement. I think it is beyond the comprehension of any man. But we know something of it, and we know that as a result of it we will be resurrected from the grave, and that those who walk in obedience to His commandments will be given the opportunity of going on to eternal exaltation." I don’t know about you, but with the world as scary and uncertain a place as it is today, the promise of eternal exaltation is a promise I want to be on the receiving end of. John 15:13-14 reads:

Greater love hath no man
than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends.
Ye are my friends, if ye do
whatsoever I command you.”

I am glad to have the chance to be considered a friend of Jesus’ and to be able to follow the commandments of Jesus and Heavenly Father and be given the gift of eternal life.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in ourselves, to play the “Poor Me” game and forget all about this sacrifice made just for you. As some of you might know, I like to read blogs. I like the friendships I’ve made from them, the talents I’ve cultivated from them, and the testimonies that are shared as people struggle with life’s hardships.
There are some blogs, however, that do not lift me up. Some people do not seem to see a way out of the despair and sorrow they are in at that moment. It’s as if they do not want to see a way out of their burdens or give Heavenly Father the burden to carry. Those blogs pull me down and I do not return as I do not want my spirit to think those reactions are okay.

I want to share a story with you. One of a young mother who was on a leisure flight with her husband, who was training for his pilot‘s license. Something went horribly wrong and there was a crash. The pilot was killed, her husband seriously injured. However, her husband knew he had to get his wife out of the plane or she’d die, too. They both survived, but with life threatening injuries. A little over year after the accident, her profile on her blog reads, “ Stephanie Aurora Clark Nielson returns from an almost fatal plane crash. Happy to be blogging again from Utah and recovering too. Four happy children and one sweet husband make her life as good as it gets.”

Nie Nie as she is referred to as, has bad days. Really bad days. Where the pain and the agony of living are almost too much to bear. But then, she will share a scripture or a bit of insight and you just KNOW that she has a testimony of Christ and his Atonement that is for her personally and that she is doing all she can to receive her eternal exhalation.

“Foolishly, I pretend I never burned my face.
I pretend that I am perfectly healthy and normal.
But, I always wake up and remember that's not so.
But I also remind myself that I am a perfect spirit enduring this imperfect world.
No matter how abnormal I am on this earth, my spirit knows no boundaries of any type.
And its comforting.”

I don’t know if my testimony is that strong. If I’d be able to remember my perfect spirit in an imperfect world. But I am thankful to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for providing me the opportunity to have that perfect spirit. To not have the boundaries of sorrow and pain on earth continue forever. I believe that Stephanie’s testimony of the Atonement is great, and I am grateful for her sharing her experiences with me and those who read so that my testimony of the Atonement and it’s blessings can grow from it as well. Her experiences bring D&C 121:7 & 8 to mind: “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.“

Jeffry R. Holland says, “I promise you, he is not going to turn his back on you now. When he says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.”

This Easter, as we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray that each of us will remember, not only the gift of eternal life, but the gift of the Atonement. That we will accept the love and friendship of our Savior and come unto Him to find the relief and peace we are searching for. Life is tough. Don’t be like those bloggers who are lost, wondering how their lives got so bad and why there is no relief. Turn to our Savior, accept this “great and last sacrifice” and find the gifts of peace, motivation, freedom, grace, and exaltation that he offers each one of us. I promise it is a way better gift then the chocolate rabbit the Easter bunny might have left for you. “The Atonement is the central act of human history, the pivotal point in all time, the doctrine of doctrines“, and I know that we are blessed to have the fullness of the gospel in our lives as we can learn and understand more fully the blessings associated with receiving the Atonement and following the teachings of Christ.

If Nienie were to happen to read this post for some reason...I really hope that I did not put words into your mouth or anything. I just think you have amazing faith, even in some of the toughest times of your life. Thanks so much for sharing each day with us.

2 Words to brighten my day:

Lexi said...

Great talk! I hope you guys have a Happy Easter too. I know two little kids in this house who will be excited to see what the E. bunny brought them! Maybe when they are a little older we can talk more about the real reason for Easter! :-)

Kristen D. said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is something I really needed to be reminded of.