When I was 18 years old, I went to see the Stake President for a BYU admittance interview. After the interview was over, he asked if I had any other questions. I thought about it for a minute and asked him, "How do you really forgive yourself?" I had done everything that I was told was "necessary" for me to repent, but I just couldn't let go of the guilt, self-doubt, and feelings of failure and weakness. He said, "Well...you obviously don't understand the Atonement." I was a bit offended. After all, I had been through Primary and Young Women's, and I was 18 - the point in my life when I pretty much "knew" everything. He proceeded to explain how the Atonement works, and I realized that I did doubt the Savior's ability to atone for my sins and heal me. I had done everything I could do, but I was unwilling to hand over the rest to the Savior. It still took me a few years, but I feel I finally did allow the Savior to take my sins upon himself. I finally did gain an understanding of the Atonement.
President Faust says it so well:
“Our Redeemer took upon Himself all the sins, pains, infirmities, and sicknesses of all who have ever lived and will ever live. No one has ever suffered in any degree what He did. He knows our mortal trials by firsthand experience. It is a bit like us trying to climb Mount Everest and only getting up the first few feet. But He climbed all 29,000 feet to the top of the mountain. He suffered more than any other mortal could.”
“The injured should do what they can to work through their trials, and the Savior will ‘succor his people according to their infirmities.’ He will help us carry our burdens. Some injuries are so hurtful and deep that they cannot be healed without help from a higher power and hope for perfect justice and restitution in the next life. Since the Savior has suffered anything and everything that we could ever feel or experience, He can help the weak to become stronger. He has personally experienced all of it. He understands our pain and will walk with us even in our darkest hours.”
I LOVE tulips. I took this picture yesterday morning after the late-March snow. Spring is another testimony to the Atonement and Resurrection of the Savior. The bulbs have been hidden under ground all winter. In the Spring, they come to life again and grow out of the dirt to reveal a beautiful flower. No matter how long we have felt lost in the cold, dark ground, we can come out of the darkness to be whole and beautiful again. And did you know that tulips continue growing after they've been picked! I love to put my cut tulips on my kitchen table, because they grow out of the vase and reach toward the sunlight. Again...another metaphor. We need to continually to reach toward our Savior. He will help us grow and find peace and happiness.
Some of you are struggling with almost unbelievable trials. I hope this doesn't sound trite. My thoughts and prayers have been with you these past few days. Thank you for helping me find more gratitude for my blessings and trials.