Sunday, March 10, 2013

How Can The Atonement Help Me During My Trials?

Get this week's lesson here.

As a class, read Mosiah 24:8–17. Invite the young women to share what they learn from the experience of Alma and his people.... 

I think I'll script and section the story to make it a little more interesting.  I'll just print out the scriptures and highlight the different voices and split them up between the girls.  I guess there aren't that many characters, but we can make it happen.  There can be a narrator, some of Amulon's thoughts, and the voice of the Lord.  What do you think?

Invite the young women to read or watch the story about how Elder Shayne M. Bowen coped with the loss of his son (in the talk “‘Because I Live, Ye Shall Live Also’”). Ask them to think about the following question as they read or watch: How did the Atonement help Elder Bowen during his trial? Invite them to share their thoughts. Ask the young women to think about a trial they are currently experiencing. How can they draw strength from the Atonement?

When I think about the trials I am struggling with, it's easier when I realize that there is someone who can completely relate to what I am going through.  It doesn't hurt as much when you know you are being supported by someone else who has mirrored your emotions.  You are a team.  You're in this together.

Like Elder Bowen mentioned, when others say, "I know how you feel."  Sometimes all you want to do is turn to them and say, "No, you REALLY don't understand how I feel or what I'm going through."  But our Savior truly does.  He has been there. He has felt those feelings of emptiness, heartache, and loneliness.  None were with him when he took on the sins of the world, but we will always have him there to hold us in his loving arms and bring us comfort.  He is telling us, "Be of good cheer and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you."  That's what keeps me going.

This is my favorite painting of Christ.  I think I'll bring it to display during the lesson.  There's something in his eyes that is so real and full of love.  The artist has a neat story about why she painted this masterpiece that you can find on her website here.

Another thought I had....

In our family growing up, I was the middle child.  I kind of got in trouble the most and I know I was the most-difficult child for my parents to raise (sorry mom and dad).  My older brother, Adam, was perfect.  He always looked out for me, protected me, and comforted me.  He was seriously my hero, like Buddy from Fried Green Tomatoes.

I have this memory of the two of us.  I was mad at mom/dad about something and was up in my room listening to music or whatever it is teenagers do when their mad at their parents.  And Adam came in and sat down beside me.  I vented to him about everything, how "this isn't fair" and "why wont they let me do this" and he just sat and listened... to every word.
I knew he understood.  I knew he was listening with his whole heart and was aware of what I was feeling.  Then he talked.  He gave me great advice and wisdom.  He put the situation into a different perspective for me and had me try and put myself in mom's and dad's shoes.  He comforted me and cheered me up.
The most important part of this memory was what happened next.  He nudged me and said, "C'mon.  Don't sit in your room being upset all day.  Let's go and do something."  

When I think of the atonement, I know that the Lord knows my pains and can comfort me when I'm feeling sad.  But sometimes I stop there.  Sometimes it feels good to be sad.  I feel more justified about what I'm going through and just want to sit alone and feel sorry for myself.  But the Lord doesn't want us to do that.  It's OK to be sad, but we also need to move on.  

Even though our Savior went through pain and suffering, I don't think he sits and lingers on it and feels sorry for himself.  And neither should we.  When we experience a trial and want to sit in our room being miserable, the Lord can come into our lives through the atonement and understand us and comfort us.  But then we need to get up and move on.  He wants us to take his hand, walk away from our sorrows, and be happy.

I really needed to realize that this week.  I know I am guilty of this, and I hope it makes sense how I tried to explain it.  I need to work on moving on and allowing the atonement to heal me.  No more being sad!  No more feeling sorry for myself!

OK... I'll stop now.

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