Sunday, May 1, 2016

YW Lesson in review: What has Jesus Christ done for me?

YW Lesson in review: What has Jesus Christ done for me?

I was preparing this lesson for my 12-13 year old Young Women’s class. I thought it was a great idea to have the girls explore how Jesus Christ can help them in their lives now. I had some "Ah-ha!" moments I wanted to share about this particular lesson. I'll start with an activity that we did in class, and then share some insights I had when reflecting on what we discussed during the lesson.


What are some hard things you or a friend have gone through or are currently going through? Here’s a list of some things I thought of (feel free to think of your own and apply them here).

Losing a loved one
Putting up with a bully at school
Feeling lonely
Getting mad at annoying siblings
Being betrayed by a friend
Having someone yell at you
Letting someone down
Breaking a bone
Falling behind in school work
Feeling overwhelmed
Making a hard decision
Being around people that drag you down

Let’s go through a few of these and see how the Savior has prepared a way for us to get help with them.

Being around people that drag you down

Now, this isn’t something that is your fault, at least not directly. If there is something you can do to improve your situation, such as choose new friends or speak up to tell people to cut it out, if you pray and ask Him for help, He will help you have the courage to stand up to people or find a new friend group. In the case that you can’t do anything about it—like if the people are your family members—He can help you feel peace and resist becoming like them.

Getting mad at annoying siblings

This is a hard one! Especially if you have several siblings and they get on your nerves a lot. Chances are you have gotten mad at them and lashed out, only to regret it later. How can Jesus Christ help you with this one? He can soften your heart, give you a little extra patience, and help you love your siblings even more. He can help you make amends for the mean things you’ve done to them and get rid of the guilt you feel. You’ll still have to work hard to break old habits, but He can and will help you if you ask Him sincerely and often for help.

I think you get the picture. We went through a few of the points in the list we made and pointed out what the problem was, and how what the Savior has done could help them individually through it. We learned a lot about the different aspects of the Atonement, and how it applies to more than just forgiveness of sins.

Pulling out the Meaning

After our activity, these are a few specific things I could list out for what the Savior has done for us and what that means about His power to help us. 

What the Savior has done for us

He died for us so we can live again—and our loved ones will live again
He went through mortality so He could know how to succor us
He suffered for all of our sins so we can lay them on Him—and be forgiven
He was tempted with the temptations we face—and conquered them. He can teach us to do the same. (VT lesson for Feb)

That means that...

When we’re feeling alone, He can be there with us
When we need strength, He can strengthen us
When we are afraid and restless, He can bring us peace and calm
When we are confused, He can grant us clarity
When we have sinned, He can forgive us and teach us how to avoid future sin
When we die, through His power we will be resurrected.
When we seek truth, He can lead us there

All we need to do is seek His help by praying and really wanting Him to hear, and intending to do what He instructs us to do. There are many more items that could go on either list. What has the Savior done for you?

Isn’t it amazing all that He can do if we let Him? I have thought of the Savior too much like someone who was here in the past, but everything He did in the past was so He could help each of us in our present circumstances. He reaches out to us still. Wouldn’t it be foolish to turn down His help?

Additional Resources on this subject

Enabling power of the Atonement - "In the Strength of the Lord" by Elder David A. Bednar
VT message for March 2015 - He is long-suffering and patient
Come Follow Me lesson outline

Sunday, April 24, 2016


I wrote this a few weeks ago and wanted to write more and have more links before I published it. It's still not perfect, but that's kind of the point of this blog, right? To publish stuff even when it's not perfect. Ok, here we go.

I am so glad that I have the chance to do better, to change and put stupid things I've done behind me.  I believe in redemption and the ability to turn things around and start fresh. That power to change, to be redeemed, is available because Jesus Christ performed the atonement and paid the price for so many things (our sins, weaknesses, the injustices inherent in a fallen world), basically so that we could have the opportunity to become like Him and have everything He has—most notably, joy. But until recently I was unwittingly putting redemption in a box. I didn't recognize that redemption—the offer of our Savior to redeem me—applied to pretty much any aspect of my life that I cared to ask Him for help with. Indeed, I will need His help in every aspect of my life if I intend to pursue this course of exaltation with Him.
PC: weinstock on Pixabay

He can help me when I feel afraid.
He can help me when I feel too tired, but still have more to do before I can go to bed.
He can help me to stop beating myself up.
He can help me see what I need, not necessarily what I want really bad.
He can help me love when I feel like turning my back.
He can help me forgive. This one is crucial. Especially with forgiving yourself.
He can help me understand who I am.
He can help me realize I'm not the only person that has ever had a hard time.
He can help me be ok with just getting through a day.
He can help me see the good in things.
He can help me realize how far I have come when I feel like I am not getting anywhere.
He can help me realize I need help.
He can help me let go of my pride so I can reach out and ask for help...or forgiveness.

He will give me hope
He will give me peace
He will give me more than I could ever get for myself

Today the April 2016 LDS general conference adjourned. I wasn't able to listen that closely to all the messages because of the circumstances at my house, but I am looking forward to reading the talks when the transcripts are out. And I am grateful for the reminder that I can be redeemed in every aspect of my life.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Little gem

While reading over some notes in my scripture journal a little while ago, I came across this gem.

I was writing about how I often feel down on myself and get caught feeling like there's no way that I will be able to do all the things necessary to qualify for all the blessings promised to those who keep His law. I often feel this way about life in general, like there's no way I can possibly keep the house clean, or be the mom I want to be so I should just give up now. There are several things wrong with this thinking, but I want to illuminate one of them. One is the lie that the Savior doesn't want to save me because I've let Him down so many times already. 

In my journal entry I wrote this, "the fact that He is offering them [the blessings] to us, who He knows can be unfaithful and inconstant and will need to use repentance, means that He knows I'll mess up, and He has provided a way for me to still obtain those blessings. Otherwise all of those promises would be a lie. And even though I doubt myself, I do not doubt God and His ability to redeem us." 

Christ Walking on the Water, by Robert T. Barrett
Christ invited Peter to walk on the water.
Christ Walking on the Water, by Robert T. Barrett, from media library

He will help because He has promised to. No matter how much I doubt my lovability, I trust His word. We cannot be perfect without Him. I'm glad He loves us so He will help us climb out of the pits we find ourselves in . . . over and over and over again. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Definite ?

I wrote the following after realizing that I haven't posted here for a while because I haven't felt like I have a lot of definite things to say. Then I wondered if writing about all the things I wonder about, and even the unclosed wonder I feel when I am in nature, had merit too, even if it didn't have a definitive "point." In this piece I explore this idea. 

What if the journey was the point?
(photo by RhinoMind, via Wikimedia Commons)

A Declaration   ? 

When I sit down to write, I seek to write a declaration.  
But what if all I have are questions, wondering, a quest?  

I don't often have things to say that end in a satisfying period.  
More often they end in a ?  

What if, by writing, I sought to understand, rather than be understood?  
What if I looked for questions and intriguing riddles, unconcerned for a moment about the answers? 
What if I rejoiced in wonder? In raindrops and who cares why? 
What if I allow myself to sit in mystery and revel in the unknown, to note areas with shades darkness, and be unflapped about not knowing all of it? 
What if I threw up my arms in the air and cried, joyfully, "I have no idea!"? 
What if I sought to open all the books I could, and thus open my mind, rather than seeking to close it (I get it now, and that is that)? 
What if my quest didn't end at the end of a page, but rather launched from it? 
What if I was less consumed by the destination, and danced more as I traveled? What if enjoying the journey is the point, anyway?