This is an essay I wrote for an Institute class several years ago.
I wanted to share it with you, in the hopes that it might help anyone
that is struggling with the trials this life has to offer.
It is truly my testimony of our Father in Heaven and the love He
freely gives to each of us.
“For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have
compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget, yet I will
not forget thee, O house of Israel.” 1 Nephi Chapter 21 verse 15.
During the past summer months, this scripture’s meaning enlarged my
life. The experience I cannot relate for, the deep spiritual nature
of it, but through it, I learned the greatest lesson a daughter
could learn. My Father in Heaven loves me, and He knows each step I
take. He, as a loving parent, allowed me to learn this lesson the
hard way. You see, I reached a point in my life that though I praised
my Father in Heaven with voice, the internal person drifted in to waters
occupied by the Grand Spiritual Crocodile. I only allowed one toe
dabble with an impure thought here, and a word in anger there, but
once my toe touched the water, he grabbed me. I fell. The fall
hurt, the most excruciating pain. Not quite the intensity Adam must have felt
knowing, his unworthiness to be in the continued presence of Father,
but my own personal detachment from Father. I chose to walk away. I
felt lost, the testimony that once sustained me, ceased to exist. The
comfort I felt I merited, He denied, or such I assumed. I tried to
depend on my own strength, but my strength failed me. For as a wound
from a crocodile will make you bleed and lose life blood, a wound from
Satan if not tended by the Great Physician, will allow your spiritual
blood drain, therefore a permanent fall into Satan’s realm.
I drifted farther and farther away, and no one around me knew it,
because I always portrayed myself as spiritual. What I failed to
realize was Satan tried to fulfill prophesy with me, by “gently leading me
down to hell.” In losing my faith and testimony, I felt like I also
lost myself, my identity. The Hope who existed only a few
months before, could be found nowhere. I prayed, but not in faith
that God would hear me, but to say I had prayed. I read my Patriarchal
blessing, but with my heart hard, I felt like He betrayed me.
One night after realizing, if I did not rediscover myself and faith,
Satan would be victorious over me, I knelt and prayed. I prayed with
the hope that Father would hear me, and send me comfort and peace and
take away the anger. As I prayed vocally, relating the desires of my
heart to my Heavenly Father, I felt peace, but the questions remained
unanswered. I resolved myself to remain kneeling until I understood
the reason, why I had to experience this. While kneeling, floods of
memories came. I recalled my lessons in Relief Society when I felt
the Spirit and I spoke the words of my Father in Heaven. I recollected
my experiences in the temple, the words of my Patriarchal blessing
(one particular phrase), and then the question why? Why if He loved
me so much did He allow me to go through this grievous experience that
almost cost me my testimony? Then they came, the words from a
blessing I received almost exactly a year before, “Hope, you are one
of the Noble and Great Ones who will be called upon to endure many
trials…” I do not recall the whole phrase but I understood, and
thanked my Father in Heaven for reaching out to me when I needed him.
He knew the moment I could no longer bear the burden upon my back,
and He allowed me to go to that point, before He reminded me that He
listened. Not only did He listen to the words in my most recent
prayers, but the words of the prayers I had uttered, though not in
complete faith. Father lovingly extended His arms wide to me, but I
had to walk into them. He reminded me of many wonderful things, that
night, the greatest thing being, my Older Brother, Jesus Christ, and
His atoning sacrifice. At one point even He felt alone asking if He
must endure and yet, He succeeded coming face to face with Satan, and
He didn’t falter, experiencing excruciating pain and anguish to the
point of bleeding from every pore and yet not a murmuring word. And
then to my mind the words of the Prophet, “Art thou greater than He?”
The Godhead, each individual member, takes an active interest in our
well-being. They love us, and work as a team to ensure our happiness
and joy. “Adam fell that men might be, men are that [we] might have
joy.” I believe part of our own personal plans of happiness includes
a fall. For we must experience opposition in all things, to truly
feel the joy that comes after a complete repentance.
All in all, it is my belief that the scripture in 1 Nephi 21, details repentance.
Father in Heaven will not forget us, but He also knowing the minute
details of His kingdom, cannot run after us when we turn away from
Him. He provided us with the freedom to choose, “liberty and eternal
life…or to choose captivity and death.” The beauty comes from the
gift He furnished through Christ, repentance. When trials come and
our flesh weakens causing us to momentarily opt captivity, Father
prepared from the foundation of the world the way for us the erase the
mistake and return again to Him. He brought us to this existence for
the opportunity to prove ourselves and our love for Him.
Sister Mary Ellen Edmunds wrote a book entitled, Love is a Verb and
how correct she is. Acting on the feelings within, and turning to the source
of eternal life and happiness, insures joy beyond imagination.
We should not pray not to have trial, but rather for the wisdom to learn
from our trials. Wonderful opportunities and blessings awaken in the
hours of trial, faith can be nurtured, love expanded, eternal perspective
broadened if we listen without murmur and work without grudge.
We do not give our Heavenly Father credit when we lack the faith in
His wisdom. He will not give us more than we can handle.
“And the truth shall make you free.” I find freedom in this truth.
My testimony is this. We act out the story of the prodigal son
every day, and every day our Father willingly takes us into His loving
arms welcoming us back. He loves us, flaws and strengths. He loves us
so much that He offered our Older Brother as a sacrifice for times that
we do stray. I love Him for that. It saddens me to know that I
caused much of His pain and anguish, but oh what joy I find in the
knowledge that He loved me enough to do it.
Having experienced such a significant change in myself over the past
months, I want to share the joy I feel. Doctrine and Covenants 18 has
new meaning to me, “and if it so be that ye should labor all of your
days and bring but one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with
him in the kingdom of my Father.” That soul is me, the “many
souls” spoken of in the next verses include those that I may help to
come unto Christ. I carry much gratitude in my heart for a Father
who loves me enough to send righteous men and women, past and present, to aid
me on my journey back home. I am eternally grateful for His
Priesthood Power upon the earth today. I know when men uphold their
sacred calling, they speak the words of God and act in His name. We
can listen to them and hear our Father’s voice.
I am thankful for the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible, and new meaning they bring to
my life each day I sup from their pages. When I learn and practice the
principles taught within, I experience miraculous joy. Now I conclude
my humble testimony in the name of He who made joy possible, my Older
Brother, my Lord, my Savior, my Eternal Friend, Jesus Christ, Amen.
As I mentioned I wrote this several years ago, almost 20 when I think about it. Reading it now, it has even deeper meaning. The Atonement has deeper meaning.
The Atonement of Jesus Christ not only covered my sins if I would repent, but also during His Atonement, in a way that I cannot fathom or imagine, He suffered the feelings that I am enduring right now as I am walking my journey of healing from abuse. I might meet others along my path that can empathize to a point, but my Savior truly understands what I am feeling even when I cannot find the words to describe the emotions, because He suffered them too. I find comfort in that, not that He went through anything of the sort, but because He willingly experienced every emotion to the deepest depth that anyone could suffer so He could succor us in the midst of our afflictions and infirmities. I am so grateful of the love that He has for me. I am so so thankful that I can call Him my Savior, my Brother, my Lord, my God, my Friend, my Healer…and know that He walks this familiar road beside me.