Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"I am he that comforteth you," (2 Nephi 8:12)

"His answers aren't always immediate and clear, but His awareness of me is just as evident today as it was that lonely night.  Whenever the dark shadows of life blanket my world, I know He always has a plan to see me safely home again," (Far Not; I Am With Thee, Jean A. Stevens)

God has answered my prayed immediately and sometimes less so, but he has always answered them.  When I was about thirteen there was a week when I had babysat quite a bit and saved up my money.  I was excited to have money to spend with friends and reluctantly set aside my five dollars of tithing for Sunday.  Sunday came and when I went to pay my tithing I couldn't find it anywhere.  I searched the car and my purse, but it was nowhere to be found.  I couldn't bear paying another five dollars of my limited money.  I decided to pray.  After saying 'amen' I felt that I should read my scriptures.  I doubted and thought I should go somewhere else to look for them.  Instead, I followed the prompting and opened my scriptures to read.  Tucked neatly inside was the five dollars.

My prayer was answered almost immediately after a short time of searching, but God does not always answer right away.  Sometimes he gives us time to learn patience.

The middle of my senior year my family moved from the town I had spent most of my schooling in to the unfamiliar Chicago.  While at first I was excited for the change my feelings quickly turned to frustration as I had difficulty feeling accepted.  I was taking an online class to finish high school and be able to graduate back at my old school, and because of that I didn't have the chance to go to another high school and meet new people or make friends.  I felt isolated.  While I grew closer to my family I felt a void from leaving my friends.  I prayed everyday for feelings of peace and comfort.  I prayed for friends to appear so I wouldn't feel so lonely.  A few months passed and I felt forgotten by God.  At the end of the summer was a camp for youth in our church, called EFY.  I decided to attend and prayed again that I would feel his love.  That experience was the pivotal point of my relationship with God that year.  I felt God's love for me that filled the void I had created from my own self-pity.  I gained friends, but more importantly, I learned that God never forgets his children.  I testify that God is aware of all of us.  When "the dark shadows of life blanket [our] world" let us not forget He loves us.

"Now, my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth," (Alma 26:37).

I testify that God hears and answers our prayers.  We sometimes must be patient, but He WILL answer.  Turn to God.  He is the light and will lead us through the dark shadows of life if we let him.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

"The Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease" (Mosiah 24:15)

Here in West Valley there is a mammoth of a climb we have to ride over everyday.  We call it: Bangerter Bridge.  Because our two wards are split across a highway we have to cross the bridge everyday. The Bangerter highway was put in a few years ago, and, to help with safety, the city erected a large pedestrian overpass to prevent auto pedestrian accidents.  It takes ten minutes to walk and ends up being about a fourth of a mile with the switchbacks.  Sister Denton, my companion, decided to use it as an expletive one day, yelling, "Bangerter!"

My first time over the bridge I was exhausted, but I made it to the top.  The first time biking thou I didn't quite make it up. By the time I was halfway it felt like I had no energy left in me, and I was climbing so slowly I might has well have been walking.  At the hairpin I got off my bike and walked.  Each day I got off at the turn and walked the rest of the way.,  Eventually, I was able to continue on after the turn and make it up a little further.  One day, I waited for the walk signal to turn and then raced across the intersection.  I made it to hairpin and zoomed around it, trying to keep the momentum going. I rode closer and closer until I hit the top.  I had made it.  I hope drivers underneath weren't startled because as soon as I made it I let out a whoop of success.

There are many mountains to climb throughout our life, and sometimes it feels impossible to pedal. Luckily, we can get off and walk.  It doesn't matter how slowly we go as long as we make it.  Each trial can be taken one step at a time.  When we finally arrive at the top we'll want to cheer.

When we use Christ's atonement in our lives we will "remember [our pains no more" and the joy from the success will be more than the pain from the climb.  If we keep the faith, press on, and always have our eyes fixed on Christ we will make it to the top.

Use the atonement in your life.  Let Christ carry you when you can't walk another step.  I testify that He loves you.  He is waiting for you to open the door and let Him in.  I know He lives.  I know that we can turn to Him in every challenge and he will strengthen us.  I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.