Sunday, April 16, 2017

DAY 1840... He Lives

For as long as I can remember,
the Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday.
I LOVE fireworks,
and America.
Plus it was the day my husband proposed to me so it's really special. 
(Proposal video can be seen HERE).
But this year,
Easter has officially become my favorite holiday.

Easter symbolizes many different things to many different people.
To me,
when I think of Easter,
I think of the atonement.

Without the atonement I know that I wouldn't be here, 
meaning I so wouldn't even be alive.
Without the atonement I wouldn't have two beautiful children and an amazing husband.
Without the atonement I wouldn't be who I am.

The atonement offers me a chance,
every single day,
to be reborn and to start fresh.
It's not just a one time thing.

I think that the reason that Easter has snagged my favorite holiday spot,
is because this year,
more than any other year before,
I have used the atonement in my life to heal.

I'm not going to lie,
I had some pretty rough times in the past where I needed to repent,
and I definitely used the atonement to do so,
but this past year I have used another part of the atonement,
the part that I don't remember ever being taught about when I was young.
In fact,
I remember being 19 years old,
living in Hilo, HI,
sitting in church,
when a certain scripture really helped me to realized the importance and entirety of the atonement.

The scripture I read that day is found in the Book of Mormon in Alma 7:11,
it states:

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the world might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people."

I knew that I could use the atonement to repent of my sins and that Christ made that possible,
but for some reason,
I honestly have no idea why,
I missed the part about Christ suffering for our pains and our afflictions.
I had gone to church for 3 hours every Sunday for my entire life!
How did I miss this for 19 years!?!?!?
I have talked to a couple other people about this and they don't ever remember being taught about this part of the atonement when they were younger either.
It's not just me.
That should probably change.
Teaching this type of knowledge to children and youth could be greatly beneficial!
So many youth feel completely alone and sad and scared,
and to have a full understanding of the atonement could help with that.
But that's just my opinion of course.
But seriously,
why are we not teaching our children about the fullness of the atonement?
Christ suffered for all our pains and afflictions and sicknesses.

Do you know what that means?
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I broke up with a long time boyfriend and was so devastated that I couldn't get out of bed.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I moved every year or so when I was younger and I left my friends and life behind.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was hit in the eye with a shovel in the 3rd grade and it tore my retina.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was raped,
physically and emotionally.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was suffering through Hyperemesis while pregnant with Aniston.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I failed a test that I had studied so hard for.
That means that I can never truly say, "No one understands",
because Christ understands.

He knows everything and has felt every single feeling that I have felt or will feel.
He understands heartbreak and loss.
He understands illness and when you stub your pinky toe and think that you will never walk again.
He understands fatigue and exhaustion at the end of a long day where my kids have done nothing but scream and destroy the house.
He understands temptation and the guilt of succumbing to it.
Christ knows.
Christ has experienced it,
and I still cannot wrap my mind around how painful and hard Gethsemane must have been for him.
Even he asked God,
his father,
that if it were possible,
if he could "take away this cup from me" because it was that hard and that painful.
But just like in our lives when we are suffering through trials,
this was a necessity for Christ and our loving Heavenly Father did not remove that cup for his benefit, and more importantly,
for ours.

There's a quote from Jeffery R. Holland,
who just happens to be one of my most favorite people ever,
that states:

You guys!
Do you know what this means?
It means that we are just like Christ.
He truly has experienced the feelings and the emotions that we have felt and that we feel daily.
It's amazing to think of how similar we really are to Christ.
I love that!
To me,
it's only when someone becomes relatable to me that I feel a connection to them and am able to consider them a friend.
There were many years when I felt like Christ was unrelatable,
and where I honestly did not feel a connection or have a relationship with my Savior.
That makes me so sad.
But now,
I consider Christ my friend,
my confidant,
my enabler.
I find a tremendous amount of strength through Christ and understanding the fullness of the atonement.

The atonement is such an AMAZING gift.
The atonement is such a huge and wonderful blessing.

This past year has been intense for me. 
It's been a growing year,
for which I am thankful,
but it's also been a healing year,
and an opportunity for me to rely on the atonement to heal.
(If you're new around here and wondering what the heck I am talking about you can catch up by reading THIS blog post.)

I feel so blessed to have the understanding of the atonement and of Christ that I have.
I feel so blessed to celebrate Easter to the celebrate Christ and his life and his resurrection. 

One of my favorite hymns is I Know That My Redeemer Lives.
The words are powerful and true and perfect for Easter.
My favorite verse in this song is the 2nd verse where you can find the following lyrics,
"He lives to hear my soul's compliant.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart."

As I have been attempting to teach my children about Easter this year,
my emotions were pretty strong.
I couldn't talk about Easter and Christ without getting emotional.
I wanted to do justice to Christ and his sacrifice and I really wanted them to know that Christ is 100% there for them no matter what,
but that's a tough thing to teach a 2 and 4 year old.

Aniston recently has become obsessed with Claire.
Not in a creepy way of course,
she;s only 4 geez,
but it's like her first celebrity who she can't get enough of, 
wants to be just like, 
and who happens to be her age.
So this video has been a huge resource is helping me teach my children about Easter and how it is so much more than a creepy human size man bunny who breaks into your house when you're sleeping and hides eggs and leaves gifts.

I love that song,
and I love listening to my children play around the house and singing it at the top of their lungs.
There is also a book that I bought from Seagull Book that puts pictures of Christ to this song and it too has been an amazing resource to use to teach my children about the atonement.

I hope that in your Easter traditions this year that you are able to take a moment and reflect upon Christ and his life and his sacrifice and his resurrection. 
Jesus Christ is our Prince of Peace and is ready and willing to help us no matter what.

He died for us,
he lives for us,
and he will always be there for us.

Happy Easter!

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