Today I had the chance to accompany a musical number for a baptism. A sweet young girl in our ward, at the age of 11, has chosen to be baptized. I'm so happy I got to be there. She was so sweet--when she came up out of the water her words were, "Did it work?" When the Bishop got up to speak he assured her that it did in fact work. She was probably mostly concerned about whether or not she was completely immersed or not, but her question still speaks to my heart.
Does the Lord's saving grace really work? Yes, it does.
Then I have to ask myself: Is my heart truly immersed in the love of the Lord? Do I offer my heart to Him by the way I live each day? Maybe I did yesterday, but what about TODAY?
I don't know exactly HOW the Atonement of Jesus Christ works, but I have felt it, and I know it does. I sat reflecting on my own baptism when I was only 8 years old. In the dressing room afterwards, I told my mom that I felt a little different. It wasn't a huge difference at that point in my life, but it was still a difference, and I knew it. The Spirit of the Lord is so quiet in our hearts, like in 1 Kings 19:12, the Lord speaks to us not in earthquake, or fire, but in a still small voice--it takes effort to truly listen, but it's there. What's amazing is that as time continues, I still feel the difference I felt that day, but in much stronger way. I feel like I have been Born Again, but I know I must spend my life with a daily reawakening of that feeling.
For several years now, I have been known to turn to the Christian station when I'm driving places. I get fed up with censoring the regular stations because there's so much trash on there. So when I don't have my favorite CD's in the car and need a boost, sometimes I turn to KLOVE. The other night I heard this song by Tenth Avenue North: Healing Begins. I love this song--it's about confessing and forsaking your sins. The resolution isn't the best, but I like that it shows the words.
After I got back today from the baptism, I heard of a tragic death of someone my family cares about. He's had a rough set of circumstances in the last many years, and has died recently by taking his own life. My heart is broken for him and for his family. I wonder how things might have turned out different if he truly let the "light met the dark" for him. My dad and I were talking about what more we might have done to maybe have helped him. I also wonder how we might be able to help his family right now--they need to feel the Lord lifting them up and through heart breaking time. If we have the feeling of being born again, it's on our shoulders to reach out and uplift and share the light with others. Too many times people have a thought about a friend they haven't seen for a long time, but feel stupid & don't follow through with contacting them because they don't know what to say. Maybe that was God telling you that that person needs you as a friend. We need to be God's hands. We need to help others feel what it feels like to have the "light meet the dark" in their lives. How might things be different if we could help more people know and feel and truly understand that they are sons and daughters of God?
I wonder about President Monson & all the good he's enacted in his lifetime. He didn't stop himself from doing good works because he didn't want to feel stupid. He never pushes away the promptings of the Spirit no matter how small or insignificant those acts of love might have seemed at the time, and in effect just one example of his service was that he formed relationships with 84 widows who requested him to speak at their funerals, because they knew he truly cared.
Here's another Christian song about our responsibility to reach out:
Anyway, it's been an interesting day for me. I know that I am a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves me, and I love Him. I want to be "His Hands". I want to reach out and make a difference.
... and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
I know that when hard times come, my hope and faith will get me through, because I have felt it, and I wish I could help more people see what this life is all about. I wish more people could feel and understand the HOPE Jesus Christ gives to us in our lives:
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Someday He will come and heal all of us and wipe away all of our tears, he will save us from the sorrows of this world. In the mean time we need to remember on a daily basis what it feels like to be born again and then reach out to help others feel God in their lives one by one.
Does it work? In many ways, that's up to you.
Monday, October 11th
I've heard this before, but had forgotten it until it was shared at this funeral. It is comforting to remember that the Lord knows everyone's hearts and will give all of us the fairest kind of judgement possible:
The late Elder Bruce R. McConkie, formerly of the Quorum of the Twelve, expressed what many Church leaders have taught: “Suicide consists in the voluntary and intentional taking of one’s own life, particularly where the person involved is accountable and has a sound mind. … Persons subject to great stresses may lose control of themselves and become mentally clouded to the point that they are no longer accountable for their acts. Such are not to be condemned for taking their own lives. It should also be remembered that judgment is the Lord’s; he knows the thoughts, intents, and abilities of men; and he in his infinite wisdom will make all things right in due course.” (Mormon Doctrine, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966, p. 771; some italics added.)