Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Lesson

It was my turn this month to prepare the Relief Society Presidency Message and give the lesson on the first Sunday of the month. Sometimes lessons and messages come easily. But not this time around. I found it a very difficult task to accurately relay the Lord's message to these wonderful sisters. So many of our sisters have faced, and are still facing, difficult challenges and trials in their lives. My heart broke for them! I wanted so much to be able to prepare a lesson that would help them at this time of their lives. I wanted to strengthen them so that they can be prepared for the challenges that they faced.

I know how much the Relief Society presidency loves them and prays for them. Our hearts ache, and we wish we could do so much more for these sisters that we care for. As I studied and prepared, I felt so impressed over and over again to tell the Sisters how much their Heavenly Father loves them and understands what they are going through. I really hope they were able to feel the love of our Heavenly Father, and be strengthened through the Spirit.

Although you some of you were not able to come I thought I would share some of the quotes from my lesson:

The Savior desires to save us from our inadequacies as well as from our sins. Inadequacy is not the same as sinfulness—we have far more control over the choice to sin than we may have over our innate capacity. The Lord will not save us in our sins, but from them. However, he can save us in our inadequacies as well as from them. A sense of falling short or falling down is not only natural, but essential to the mortal experience. But, after all we can do, the Atonement can fill that which is empty, straighten our bent parts, and make strong that which is weak. (Elder Bruce C. Hafen, The Atonement: All for All, May Ensign 2004)

“An affirmative endowment of grace is the gift of hope, which blesses us with the state of mind necessary to deal with the gap between where we are and where we seek to be. Such hope can literally be life-sustaining when given us by the Savior, for the light at the end of life’s darkest tunnels is the Light and the Life of the world.” (Elder Bruce C. Hafen, Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ, April 1990 Ensign)

Here is the Newsletter Message:

Dear Sisters,

At this holiday season where we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I would like to invite you to embrace the peace that comes from our Savior Jesus Christ. Elder Bruce C. Hafen teaches that “some church members feel weighed down with discouragement about the circumstances of their personal lives, even when they are making sustained and admirable efforts. Frequently, these feelings of self-disappointment come not from wrongdoing, but from stresses and troubles for which we may not be fully to blame.” (Beauty for Ashes: The Atonement of Jesus Christ, April 1990 Ensign)

Elder Hafen continues, “The Savior’s atonement is the healing power not only for sin, but also for carelessness, inadequacy, and all mortal bitterness. The Atonement is not just for sinners.” Many of us are facing many different trials and challenges in our life. Some trials are caused by our own choices, while other challenges come because of decisions others have made. Elder Hafen also said, “If you have problems in your life, don’t assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life’s purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger.      If you’re seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you’re moving nearer to God, not farther away. (The Atonement: All for All, May Ensign 2004)

Our hearts may get broken, but they do not need to stay that way. Part of the Lord’s mission on earth was to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4: 18). We may get discouraged, but we are not alone. He has promised that he will not leave you comfortless: [He] will come to you. (John 14:18) Rejoice in that thought: He will come to You! Jesus Christ has said, Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love. (Doctrine and Covenants 6: 20)

Please know how much your Heavenly Father loves you! For in the gift of His Son hath God prepared a more excellent way (Ether 12: 11). My dear sweet sisters, I bear you my testimony, I know God lives. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be healed. The peace and joy that comes from living the gospel cannot be found elsewhere. This holiday season let us find the peace that comes from the Gentle Healer.

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