Thank you for
taking the time to watch the video “To This End Was I Born” with
me. It was such a special experience to feel the spirit together as
we watched the Savior's life and mission unfold. I know the struggles
you are going through, the pain and sorrow that you wrestle with,
even months after the initial incident. I know there are times when
you are searching for answers, solace, and peace, a greater love than
I can provide for you, or anyone else in this world. I know you
question your own divinity, your mission here on earth, and what is
in store for us all in the next life. All of these questions and more
can be answered when we look at the Savior's mission.
The video we
watched depicted the last days of the Savior's life, His suffering in
the Garden of Gethsemane, and His crucifixion. I know sometimes it
may be hard for you to imagine a Christ who went through all this, so
much more pain than us mortals could ever comprehend, solely based on
His profound love for us all – but that is the short answer to your
question: Why? Why would He do this for us, such fallen beings? Why
would He do this for me, an imperfect nobody? And that's just it; He
did it because He loves us. The well-known and often quoted scripture
from John 3:16 is popular because it speaks the plain and simple
truth: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son.” He loves me, He loves you, He knows you personally, by name.
There are two very
important parts that were depicted in the movie that I want to
specifically address and bear you my testimony of: Christ's suffering
in Gethsemane and His resurrection. First of all, no actor playing
Christ and no director of a staged movie could ever possibly
correctly display the pain and agony that Jesus Christ suffered that
night in Gethsemane. I view this element of the atonement in a very
personal light – I recognize that even if I were the only person in
the world, Christ still would have done what He did – if
only for me. If only for you. But that's the miracle of it all; it
wasn't just me or you. It was everyone. When I partake
of the bread during sacrament meeting on Sundays, I think of Christ's
bruised and broken body. A crown of thorns pierced into his delicate
scalp. The skin on His back ripped and mangled under barbaric whips.
A dull nail pounded through His gentle hands, that never did anything
but heal others; a second set of nails driven through His soft and
veiny forearms, a major source of blood-flow to the body. I swallow
my share of torn bread, and think of His physical pain – and all
Next comes the
water, His blood. This is the most sacred element of the atonement to
me. My two ounce swig of water symbolizes pints of blood pouring from
every pore on His body. That swallow is my alone time with Christ –
this is my baptism, my gratitude, my moment, my repentance. Because
that one swallow was my one drop of blood that oozed from one single
pore, among millions of drops from millions of pores for millions of
others. I think not only of the terrible sins I've committed, but the
countless tears I have cried, the emotional and utter anguish
has tortured my several-times-broken heart. I think of the lonely
cries that echoed from my mouth, me thinking no one was listening. I
think of the darkness that has enveloped me in the past. And then, I
remember that Christ's sacrifice not only atones for my sins, but for
my every heartache. He has suffered them too. And why? Because He
loves me. I can't say it enough. Because He loves
He loves you. He
loves you. And
that's why He did it. He suffered so He would better know how to
succor me in times of need, so that He could be my advocate before
the Father on judgment day, so that He would know how to show me
mercy, so that He could know me, inside and out, better than any
other being on this earth – because He's gone through all I've gone
through and more. He was alone so I would never have to be.
then, they took Him away. And they crucified Him. They murdered Our
King. They did, they did. And I will forever be grateful that Christ
did not stay dead for long. Instead, He rose again 3 days later. He
defied all logic, reason, mortality itself. He conquered Death –
the one monster no one else has ever escaped. He triumphed over Life.
I know that I have not lost someone to death that I was extremely
close to yet; I also know that one day that time will come. One day I
will have to say an unexpected good bye to someone I love very
dearly, knowing I will never see them in
this life again.
However, because of my Lord, my Glorious, Merciful, and All-Powerful
Lord, I will see them in
the life to come. They
will conquer death, just as He did. They will be resurrected.
resurrection comes a perfection of the body. You know I struggle with
my self-image. Bigger this, smaller that. No more acne, psoriasis,
scars. But because of the atonement, one day my body will be
perfected. No longer will we have to worry about earthly and bodily
pains and malfunctions, but we will be a glorified being just as
Christ Himself is.
tell you all this because I need you to understand how much you are
loved. I think you may be beginning to understand the love I have for
you; however, I'm not sure either one of us will ever be able to
comprehend the love Our Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son Jesus
Christ have for us. I want you to understand that the atonement is
infinite. There is no
the power it contains. There are no
the amount of love, mercy, and help that Christ will offer you when
you ask. There is no
which the atonement does not cover. Never, ever feel unworthy to pray
to your Father. Never feel selfish for asking for help, needing to
hear from Him you are loved, or just asking for peace. The atonement
will not only free you from the bondage of any sins you may be
harboring, but it will also bind your wounds, heal your scars, and
bring you to a higher level of living. Every single thing Christ did
was for you. And me. And for each and every one of us, individually
knows your name. Don't be afraid to let Him know you know His, too.
I've learned that its better to go ALL out or don't go at all.
For example, when I'm feeling especially fat and junk food-y, I absolutely cannot tell myself
Hey, why don't you cut down a little? You know, everything in moderation?
I would not be successful.
BUT when I tell myself NO SWEETS FOR A MONTH.
NOTHING even RESEMBLING chocolate goes into this mouth for a month!
For some reason, I do a lot better. And if I'm not on a strict sugar-free month,
then I go ape all over the sweets,
eating ice cream at least once a day
and accepting any and all snacks kids bring to every single one of my classes.
*Before continuing on, I want everyone to know that I mean no offense. These were only my personal feelings and what I needed to do for me. I have nothing against those of you who use Facebook and yes, I do see the positive uses of it.
the same was with Facebook.
what do you think I did?
Yep. I deleted my account.
I don't know quite yet how I did it because about a month ago there was a Facebook group set up for deleting their FB account on January 1st (Yes, I see the immense irony in that)
and I was like, No way Jose!
But I think something clicked when I read that.
That yes, in fact I could still lead a happy and normal life without it.
My thoughts to myself consisted of such things as:
You mean I don't need to know every high school peer who got engaged and see every single one of their engagement, bridal, and wedding photos?
....I don't need someone to comment on my every photo that I posted to make it a good shot, a cute couple, or a funny story?
Everybody doesn't need to know what my "status" is every second of my life?
I was realizing how much of my self esteem I was placing on that silly application.
I didn't like that, I didn't like what it was making me become.
I knew it was getting bad when every time I did something cool or exciting, my first thought would be,
Oh I need to put pictures of this on Facebook!
or I need to change my status!
When it should have been something else, like,
...I don't know. How fortunate I was to experience it, or how blessed I was.
I guess I mean,
my first thoughts shouldn't have been gloating or boasting
(I may have tried to combine those words...and came up with bloating. Though I have been doing that lately, too. But for reasons entirely separate from Facebook)
But should have been gratitude. Or appreciation. Not seeking approval from the rest of the world.
Like I said above, I hope no one is offended. It was a person decision, and I of course don't hate or judge or whatever anyone who has Facebook, because obviously it is not an evil thing on its own,
but it was turning into an evil distraction for me.
And I felt the need to put a stop to it.
I kept picturing myself 3 years from now, knowing if I didn't change my habits now they wouldn't be changed on their own when I become a mom.
I worried I would care more about putting my status as
Its is boy/girl!
She's so cute!
And posting photos of my baby, that it would take away from the actual experience and my child. That the business of being a mother would force me to cut time out of other areas just so I could update the Facebook world.
I figured the people who mattered most would manifest themselves, and I wouldn't end up missing Facebook all that much anyway.
....And though its only been a week,
I've already learned a few things.
About friends, my time, myself, my wants and my needs.