Out of the Mouth of Prophets - Part 6

Dear Readers,

It's no secret that I have been struggling for several weeks.  I am sure that everyone has seen through my feeble attempts at getting back to "normal", whatever that is, as I am realizing that there is a new "normal" in my life (different post, different day).  I have been thinking about this conference talk for a long time.  Every time I sat down to read it, I always was pulled away (usually by myself).  Without further ado, I am ready to share my thoughts about Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk that he gave, "Never Leave Him".  I do have to warn you though, that this isn't what I originally was going to share.  However, I need this talk the most out of anyone, so today's thoughts are completely for me, and I don't know if they will help anyone.

Right off the bat, the title is pretty telling.  I haven't really thought that Christ has abandoned me these past few weeks, but I realize now that I have been walking away from Him.  I just didn't know it at the time (because hindsight is 20/20, of course).  Praying, reading scriptures, writing in my journal, going to church, I thought I was doing all of the little things right.

Elder Andersen says that of course we all say that we would never leave Christ like some disciples did in Capernaum.  "...The question “Will ye also go away?” makes us think about our own vulnerability."

Vulnerability.  That's my word of the day.  Word of the week.  Word of the past few weeks.  It describes everything so perfectly.  Vulnerable.  That's me.  Usually I am so NOT vulnerable.  Whatever the opposite is.  Strong.  A strong sense of purpose.  I didn't worry about what other people thought or did in relation to me.  Either way, that strength, was slowly chipped away at and I became more and more vulnerable until I felt like I had NO strength left.
"As we follow the Savior, without question there will be challenges that confront us. Approached with faith, these refining experiences bring a deeper conversion of the Savior’s reality. Approached in a worldly way, these same experiences cloud our view and weaken our resolve."
Why didn't I read this talk sooner?  Up until a few weeks ago, I was able to approach challenging times with faith.  What about my great summer?  What about the adoption stuff?  What about listening to the Holy Ghost?  I look back over the posts I was writing in August, September, and beginning of October and I want that back.  I was doing so well.  I took everything in stride, with faith, and like Elder Andersen says, it brought me "a deeper conversion of the Savior's reality."  Now, also like he said my view is WAY cloudy, and I am weak.
"Offense comes in many costumes and continually finds its way onstage. People we believe in disappoint us. We have unanticipated difficulties. Our life doesn’t turn out exactly the way we were expecting. We make mistakes, feel unworthy, and worry about being forgiven. We wonder about a doctrinal issue. We learn of something spoken from a Church pulpit 150 years ago that bothers us. Our children are treated unfairly. We are ignored or underappreciated. It could be a hundred things, each very real to us at the time."
With my eyes finally opening I can piece together what happened.  All within a very short time, there were several things that happened with a few different people.  I never thought I had been offended, but I see now that I had been.  Elder Bednar has been on my mind the past few weeks, and I guess it was the Spirit's way to telling me to read his talk on taking offense (2006).  I never got around to it until now, when I saw that Elder Andersen's talk referenced Elder Bednar's talk.

Elder Bednar describes offense as "When we believe or say we have been offended, we usually mean we feel insulted, mistreated, snubbed, or disrespected."  And I definitely knew that I had been all of the above.  When Elder Bednar first gave this talk, it was weighty, and still is now.  I highly recommend that you read it at your convenience.  I am sure that many of you remember hearing it the first time, and if it is your first time, then enjoy.  I will be skipping over large chunks of awesome material, as I am focusing on Elder Andersen's talk and my situation.  It plainly talks about offense, how or why it happens, and how to help yourself and others.  There is no ambiguity or confusion as to anything that he means.  So stir your soul, and read it!
"If we are not watchful, our injured, childlike spirit will retreat back into the cold, dark crust of our former bloated ego, leaving behind the warm, healing light of the Savior."
Ouch.  Cold.  Crust.  Bloated ego.  Such powerful words, but they are true.  This is why I have been vulnerable.  I haven't been as happy as I could have been these past few weeks.  I have not had the "warm, healing light of the Savior" in my life.  The Holy Ghost has definitely been present, but I have not been allowing the Atonement to work in my life.  Both Elder Andersen and Elder Bednar talk about the Atonement as a way to combat offense (I hate that word, but what else can I call it without watering it down?  I think I just don't like my pride taking one more hit.  I guess my ego really was bloated....never would have guessed, of course :), okay now I'm getting distracted...).
"Through the power of His Atonement, we are to become “as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon [us], even as a child doth submit to his father.” (see reference #12, Andersen)
"Through the strengthening power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, you and I can be blessed to avoid and triumph over offense."  (Bednar)
I can do this.  I really can, especially now that I know to forgive.  Doesn't that sound so ridiculous to not know that you were upset?  Looking back I know I was upset over some things, but I guess I didn't realize, consciously, that I still had upset feelings toward several different individuals.  Of course, I also wonder if all of these things didn't happen right around the same time, if I would have come out on top.  It also makes me think of a poem called "It's in the Valleys that I Grow".  The author is disputed, so I don't really know what to say, except for Google it, and you can decide.  Anyways, I was first introduced to this poem by a Home Teacher my freshman year of college.  He had printed it out with a special backdrop graphic on the paper, so I pinned it up in my dorm room (wall art), and as a result read it many times over that year.  It IS in valleys that we grow.  We can't always have smooth sailing in our life.  I also was reminded this morning as I was driving about my post about Fall and how it was a time of preparation.  My awesome summer and the experiences that I had since were all preparing me I suppose for this Winter, and I cannot WAIT for Spring, because I have caught glimpses of how I know it will be.  My new high will be so much better than anything that I experienced this Summer, early Fall, etc.

Elder Andersen says, "I promise you, as you choose not to be offended or ashamed, you will feel His love and approval. You will know that you are becoming more like Him."  Mmm.  Love and approval.  We all crave it.  We all want it.  We all revel in it AND coming from the Savior.  It is perfect.  It is pure.  It is the very best kind of love.
"Will we understand everything? Of course not. We will put some issues on the shelf to be understood at a later time.  Will everything be fair? It will not. We will accept some things we cannot fix and forgive others when it hurts."
"Perfection does not come in this life, but we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep our covenants. President Monson has promised, “Your testimony, when constantly nourished, will keep you safe.”  We push our spiritual roots deep, feasting daily on the words of Christ in the scriptures. We trust in the words of living prophets, placed before us to show us the way. We pray and pray and listen to the quiet voice of the Holy Ghost that leads us along and speaks peace to our soul. Whatever challenges arise, we never, never leave Him."
Here is my plan, because I need one.  I am going to salvage what is left of this Christmas Season and take control of my life.  Elder Bednar says that "The capacity to conquer offense may seem beyond our reach. not...restricted to prominent leaders in the Church...  The very nature of the Redeemer’s Atonement and the purpose of the restored Church are intended to help us receive precisely this kind of spiritual strength."  So my plan is to read a Conference Talk every day from now until Christmas about the Atonement.  I don't know that I will post on all of them, but this is my plan.  I will come out on top.

I will not leave my Savior.  Not now, not ever.  There is a plan for me and I will follow God's will.

I am already feeling much better and look forward to my concentrated study of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  I look forward to going back to feeling unspeakable joy in my life.

If you wish to watch this conference address by Elder Andersen, click here.  Just find this talk (Saturday Afternoon Session), and watch, download, whatever you want.

Kind words to share?  My email is lettersfromlindsay at gmail dot com.



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