Sunday, March 2, 2014
Church was so good that I just have to tell you about it. In Relief Society we were talking about Roses and thorn bushes. We were told to write down on paper our blossoms (the blessings in our lives) and also our thorns (our struggles). She later read them - without knowing who said what - and at first I was a little surprised that she was going to read aloud something so personal…but it ended up being heart changing, and the whole room was full of this….this…powerful love and understanding of Christ's sacrifice that He made for everything that we suffer from. Now Read this quote. I know it's long…but I promise that it's worth it. "Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism. Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief. You know that people who live above a certain latitude and experience very long winter nights can become depressed and even suicidal, because something in our bodies requires whole spectrum light for a certain number of hours a day. Our spiritual requirement for light is just as desperate and as deep as our physical need for light. Jesus is the light of the world. We know that this world is a dark place sometimes, but we need not walk in darkness. The people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and the people who walk in darkness can have a bright companion. We need him, and He is ready to come to us, if we'll open the door and let him." (Chieko N. Okazaki, Lighten Up Then the teacher read several people's thorns. She couldn't read many because her eyes were full of tears. Not because of the hardships we're going through, but because the Saviors love and understanding amid those trials. As i was writing my hardship I put down health and thought, "yeah, she might read that, and nobody is going to understand just how hard that is..nobody gets how miserable this is not knowing what is wrong with my body" ….Little did I know. She started reading the thorns…and almost everyone of them said health. health, and depression. Those were the top two. There was a special spirit in that room as we all seem to unify in the sense that we understood one another's struggles, that we were there for each other. That was a terrific feeling. But as I'm here typing this, I get it. That relief that other people understood what it is like to have health problems is NOTHING compared to the fact that Jesus Christ LITERALLy knows EXACTLY how we are feeling. EXACTLY. You're never alone. He gets it. HE understands you and your pain in every EVERY sense of the word. If this isn't changing your life, or making you feel wonderful, you don't get it yet or I didn't express it well enough. This is life changing, folks.