Miracles

"But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth and all things that in them are."
Mormon 9:11

I am a witness of miracles.

I shouldn't have been born as healthy as I was. But God was watching out for my little family. That is a miracle. 

A few months later, I should have died. But instead, a nurse was in tune with the spirit and recognized what was wrong. They were able to treat me. That is a miracle. 

When I first started driving, I was in a car accident that should have left me in the hospital for days. Instead, I walked away with three stitches and a black eye. That is a miracle.

In college, I met a boy who was in love with another girl. We became best friends and it hurt to be away from him. God helped me make it through, and now that same boy loves me with all his heart. I am marrying him in a month. That is a miracle.

There is this unmistakable feeling of peace and love from God that surrounds me, even though I am stressed and it seems like everyone around me is hurting. That is a miracle.

I, like Moroni, "show unto you a God of miracles". Reading this scripture reminded me just how easily I forget the truth about my Heavenly Father. He is all-knowing. He understands everything. And He loves me with a perfect love of a Father. These are all true principles. I am comforted to know that he is not just a God of miracles for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is a God of miracles for me. And He is a God of miracles for you. 

Remember what President Benson said. 

"Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us."

God loves you. He loves me. If you will watch and listen, you will see a God of miracles. 

Letting Christ Make Us Eternal


"And when the disciples had come with bread and wine, he took of the bread and brake and blessed it; and he gave unto the disciples and commanded that they should eat."
3 Nephi 18: 3

This week I learned a lot about this scripture. I love that the disciples brought the bread to Jesus and that he made it into something more than just bread.

Isn't that something that He does for us all the time? He takes something perishable and makes it eternal. It works with the sacrament, with tithing, and with our own lives. 

I am far from perfect. In fact, I am very perishable. I've felt that way this week. My body has ached, my emotions have fluctuated. It has been hard to just keep everything okay, let alone good.

The thing is, I forgot that my Savior can take this mortal body and make it eternal. He can take this stripling spirit and make it strong and powerful. He can take my life and turn it into something sacred and consecrated. But I have to offer it in the first place.

He couldn't have blessed the bread if the disciples had never given it to Him.

To me, this means peace. It means growth, knowledge, happiness, hardship, stretching, grace, and love. It means that my Heavenly Father and Mother know me and that they love me. They love helping me grow into the person they know I will be someday. 

I know that Christ can make you whole too. I know that He can touch your life in ways that will change it from perishable to immortal and eternal. You just have to let Him. You have to offer up your heart as a sacrifice to Him.

I promise that if you do, He will change it from something beautiful and imperfect to an amazing, powerful, burning source of truth and light for you. It won't be easy to give up, but you will be so blessed if you do. 


Becoming More Like Christ

"And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world."

3 Nephi 11:9-10

This week I was blessed to be able to read the most amazing chapters of the Book of Mormon -- when Jesus comes to his people in the Americas. As I read this quote from 3 Nephi, of Jesus declaring to the people who He is, I felt the Spirit strongly fill my heart with peace. I knew from the overwhelming feeling in my body that Jesus is my Savior and that He died for me. He died for my sins, my sorrow, my pain, my heartache, and my doubt.

He knows what all of those feelings are, and He understands them perfectly. I needed this reassurance this week. I have been feeling really happy, but it has taken a lot of effort. I needed to know that Christ understood what I was going through.


One principle that I love from these scriptures is that Christ, and Christlike people, reach out to others. Jesus "stretched forth his hand" and he spoke to the people. Jesus knew that by reaching out to these people He was giving them the opportunity for peace. We cannot offer what Christ can, but when we reach out to others, we are offering them friendship, love, and an opportunity to come to their Savior. I know that as we reach out, we are practicing a Christlike attribute. If you will reach out to those around you, you will be blessed.

Finding Joy

This week in my reading I focused on the scripture 3 Nephi 4:33 - 


"And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction."

I have been trying really hard lately to be happy and not so weighed down by the world. This scripture provided a lot of comfort this week because it gave me a formula, almost a reverse formula. You start at the end of the verse and move forward.

I learned that if I focus on repenting and being humble, Heavenly Father will help deliver me. This is a principle of truth. I know because I feel the spirit testify to me of its truthfulness.

As I work on humility and repentance I will be able to be happy. It might not be immediate, but eventually, my heart will also be swollen with joy and I will cry tears of happiness instead of sorrow. I know that as you do the same, you will be able to find joy in your life as well.


Repentance and Forgiveness

          I have come to find that living the life of a disciple of Christ is no easy task. Often, saints have a strong desire within themselves to do what is right, but due to their nature, often fail at accomplishing the goal of obedience and righteousness. Recently, I have struggled with feelings of inadequacy in the sight of God. Despite doing good things in my life, such as attending my church meetings, participating in religion classes at BYU, and reading my scriptures, I still felt as if I had somehow strayed from the path that God wanted me to be on. Yet, I did not know how to fix it and return back to His path for me.
            After pondering somewhat on this predicament and seeking the help of my Heavenly Father, I felt prompted to change the way that I repent in my life. Instead of waiting until I felt guilty for something I had done, I decided that I wanted to focus on repenting every day.
            The gospel topics page on lds.org, the Book of Mormon, topical guide, citation index, and General Conference talks are some of the best resources we have for learning about the gospel; I used these resources as I began to learn more about repentance. As I studied, I identified three distinct principles for my life that I wish to share: faith as a precursor, as oft as I repent, and repentance as a catalyst.
            The first principle I learned was that faith is a precursor to repentance. True to the Faith states that “repentance is an act of faith in Jesus Christ – an acknowledgement of the power of His atonement” (2004, p 133). I realized that just by desiring to repent more, I was beginning to follow God’s will for me in my life. Similar to Alma’s council of “giving place” (Smith, 1981, Alma 32:28) for the seed of faith, I was beginning to make room and “give place” for change, repentance, and forgiveness in my life.
            The second principle I learned is found in Moroni 6:8, which states “as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven” (Smith, 1981). One of the obstacles in the way of my daily repentance was that I kept making the same mistakes that I had previously tried to repent from before. Discouraged, I would sometimes simply give up rather than face a disappointed Father in Heaven. However, this scripture changed the way that I viewed repentance. It allowed me to see that Heavenly Father was willing to forgive me every time I came to him with a pure heart and with real intent. Elder Craig A Cardon gave a Conference talk in 2013, stating “In [the Savior’s] mercy, He allows for improvement over time rather than demanding immediate perfection….He forgives again and again” ( 15).
            The third principle I learned was that repentance acts as a catalyst in our lives. True to the Faith (2004) states that “full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into your life, including increased strength to overcome your weaknesses” (p. 135). If I began repenting, then by virtue of this principle, it should begin to become easier to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. This makes sense, as I believe that when your heart changes, as it does through being immersed in the atonement, then your life and practices will begin to change as well.
            This process of study was deeply enlightening to me. Though it was a slow process, it began allowing light into corners of my heart that had been dusty and gray for quite some time. I learned through my study, cross referencing, and seeking – that while the gentle breeze of scripture reading might be refreshing to my soul, it will never clean out the dust like the strong wind of scripture study will. Just like how deep cleaning is harder than wiping down the counters every once in a while, studying the scriptures can be hard to find time for and dedicate energy to. However, this experiment reminded me that it is worth devoting time to the deep cleaning of my soul. I hope to remember this and implement it more in my future.
            These three principles of faith as a precursor, repenting often, and using repentance as a catalyst for change were made apparent to me throughout my week of repenting daily. For the most part, I remembered to spend some time every day talking to my Heavenly Father about what I could do better, what I hoped he would forgive me for, and how to feel forgiveness in my heart. And, on the days that I forgot to seek his forgiveness, it reminded me of how great a gift it was that I could repent for that as well.
            I learned as I repented that it all had to start with my faith. I had to believe that my Father would forgive me in order for me to feel any better at the end of the day. This was sometimes harder for me than I expected; however, scriptures like 2 Nephi 4:19 helped. That scripture states, “And when I desire to rejoice, my heart groaneth because of my sins; nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted” (Smith, 1989). If I could just trust God to love me enough, then I knew I could be forgiven.
            This trust played a key role in helping me remember that Heavenly Father would still love me, even if I repented of the same sin many times in one week. I came to realize that God would rather have me come to Him everyday, struggling with the same sins, then to never come to Him because I was ashamed. Shame is a tool of the adversary; love is a tool of God. The very title of Elder Cardon’s talk testifies of God’s love for us: “The Savior Wants to Forgive” (2013).
            Lastly, my experiment upon the word taught me that change is made in our hearts one step at a time. In Alma 37:6 we read that “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass” (Smith, 1989). I certainly feel as if my experiment, though small, has made a lasting impact on my heart. If I will keep repenting and keep talking to my Father in Heaven, this repentance will be a catalyst for greater things in my life. I have learned that God loves me and that He can see my heart. He can see that my purposes are pure and my goal is righteous. And finally, I have learned that even though I am not perfect, I am still of great worth to my Father in Heaven who wants to hear from me, talk to me, and forgive me every day.


References:
Cardon, C.A. (2013). The savior wants to forgive. Ensign. Retrieved from https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2013/04/the-savior-wants-to-forgive?lang=eng&_r=1
True to the faith: A gospel reference. (2004). Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Smith, J. (1981). The Book of Mormon: An account written by the hand of Mormon upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi. Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.