My daughter Jesse wrote home from her mission in California today with this reflection on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I wept when I read it. This is how I feel about accessing the Atonement too. I think she is spot on. (I added the picture).
This week I learned so much I just want to cry I'm so happy. God is so good! Actually last night I did cry. Well, it would be more accurate to say that I wept. I wept because of the goodness of God and his everlasting, eternal mercy toward us. Let me back up a little bit.
As the time that I come home starts to get closer and closer I have begun to realize that there are certain things that I've been trying to change my whole mission- my "Goliaths" you could say. I've begun to panic because I feel like I don't have very much time left (really it's a long time, but it seems short) to conquer those and change my very nature so that I don't become the same person when I go home. I don't want to just be affected or changed by my environment. I want my nature to be changed. So for the past couple of weeks I've been putting forth greater effort to change and getting nowhere. Finally, fed up with the cycle of effort, then "I give up! I'll never succeed." Then resolve... ect. I wrote in my study journal, "How do I change? How do I access the Atonement of Jesus Christ?"
In the past whenever I've written a question down and pondered and studied it, the Lord has always revealed it to me through a powerful spiritual experience. Well, he didn't fail me this time.
We visited a recent covert the other day who expressed the desire to share some things with us. Earlier she said that she didn't feel "worthy" to come to church. We went over and she began to pour out her soul to us! She told us about some very grievous sins that she was committing, expressed her hatred for herself for committing these sins, and then told us of her inability to change. She didn't want to misrepresent the church, so she told us she was giving up for now. She still had a testimony, but realized that she had "fallen short of the glory of God" and she didn't want to mock the Savior's atonement by repenting when she knew she'd probably do it again. So she gave up.
But, NOT SO! God would not let her go, so he sent us and enabled us to be vessels through which he could speak to her. It was an incredible experience! I can't give you all the details, mostly because I couldn't begin to remember everything that was said. But here's what I learned.
I learned that God loves his children. Far, far more than we deserve. I learned that sometimes we will come to the table with absolutely NOTHING to offer the Savior. And he lets us stay- because we want to be there. That is why he says, "come my brethren, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters. Come buy and eat, WITHOUT MONEY AND WITHOUT PRICE." There will be sins that we commit in the course of our lives. We will have weaknesses that we can't seem to overcome. And we continue to come to the Savior feeling horrible and asking him to help us change, and we do it again. So we give up and we stop trying, we stop relying on the Savior and turning to him, thinking that we're failures, that until we conquer our sins we can't return to him. WELL STOP THAT. Don't give up the medicine to try to get better until you deserve it! You don't deserve the medicine anyway. But Christ gives it as a free gift. He asks us to trust him. To be patient. And to continue to repent. No matter how many times we fall short. And as we do- over the course of a life-time- he helps us overcome. The change may be minuscule, but he will deliver us from bondage, because HE IS MIGHTY TO SAVE. So trust him my friends. The only point at which Satan wins, is the point when you give up and decide not to repent again. So repent. THAT is exactly how you access the power of the Atonement. You don't have to be perfect today, or even . You just have to be sorry for what you've done wrong. Have faith- keep going. Love the Lord. And he will lift, inspire, and bless you.
I testified of the Atonement ALL week to as many people as I could. Last night when my companion needed it, I testified to her. And I wept, because he is so good. Oh that I were an angel... :)