Monday, January 27, 2014

I Am Whole

Our Relief Society Meeting on Sunday was centered around the Atonement. If there is one topic I will never get tired of studying and discussing, this would be it. As a primary child, I had the common misconception that the atonement was only for repentance. This aspect of the atonement is crucial and should not be diminished by any means. But as I have become older (and wiser too) I have come to learn, and even experience, that the sacrifice of my elder brother can do so much more than cleanse me from sin. 

Life is hard. This is true for everyone. There are an infinite variety of ways in which each person experiences trials and hardships, but the one commonality is that they exist in every life. They exist in mine. They exist in my roommate's. They exist in my missionary sister's. They exist in the lives of my divorced friends, my never-married friends, and my happily married friends. They exist in the lives of those who are laden with sin and guilt, but also in the lives of those who are repentant, pure, and innocent. They exist in wide varieties among the young and old, the rich and poor, the learned and uneducated, the popular and the invisible. Diverse trials are experienced by my closest loved ones, and least favorite people (relax about it, we all have them). And I can say with certainty that adversity exists in your life too.

No matter who you are, I am sorry. I am sorry that life has put you through things that have been difficult. I am sorry that you have had times that you weren't sure you could get through. If you are like me, I am sorry for the hours you've spent in solitude and tears, not quite envying the life you think others enjoy, but wondering what you could have done, maybe should have done, to be worthy of the same blessings. But if I had an infinite number of wishes, I would never wish a trial away.
WHAT?! I'm sure you are thinking I am crazy. Shelly, how could you see all of the horrible things that have happened, and continue to happen in the world, and not wish that a single one of them be different?

The reason is simple. Believing whole-heartedly in it is not. But, as we discussed the atonement in Relief Society, I thought about my diverse problems, and found it strange that they had always had the same solution: turn to the Savior. 

I took a moment to write down the ways the Lord's sacrifice has helped me in specific trials throughout my life. This is what I came up with:

So no, I would not wish away a trial. Not because I've never felt real pain, because I have. And not because I am a masochist, because that's crazy. But because through my latest struggle, I have learned enough to be able to get down on my knees and SINCERELY THANK Heavenly Father for the hardships I experience. Because without the problems, I would never have thought to ask Him for the answers. And then where would I be?

I have never relied more completely on the Lord than I do now, and I have my trials to thank for that. I am not perfect. In this life I never will be. I can't promise that I will never complain, or cry, or doubt, or become upset when I think life is just unfair. Sometimes there just seems to be unanswered questions and missing pieces. But I will be OK. Because when I let the atonement envelop me,there are shining moments, however long or brief, when I AM WHOLE. And as crazy as it may seem, this feeling is worth every struggle.

"My son, peace be unto they 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."
-D&C 121: 7-8

1 comment:

  1. Shelly- One of my favorite gospel topics the last few months has been grace. I never really understood what it was, so I decided to look into it. It has become one of my favorite parts of the atonement. Grace is Christ's ability to give us "strength and assistance to do good works that [we] otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to [our] own means." (Bible Dictionary.) So, like you said, the atonement is so much more than washing away our sins, but also gives us strength when we do good things. And so much more. Thanks for sharing.