I love that idea that going to the Savior heals us. I have honestly come to appreciate the Atonement so much for that!! The sacrifice that our Savior gave wasn't just for the sins of the world, but for all the heartache and suffering that we could possibly go through. He is there wanting to heal us, but He will never force it on us, we must reach the depths of humility and admit to ourselves, and to Him that we need help, that we want it, and then we must act on that to receive His help. This is not because He likes to watch us suffer, or because He wants us to feel a little of what He suffered for us. I am sure if it were somehow possible for us to learn all that we were here to learn without having to go through pain, He would somehow make it possible. But He knows, that we still have agency, that it is all our decision on whether or not we will accept help, and He knows there are some things that we can only learn through those tests and trials. Its a lot like learning at school. As much as you can pass a test on the knowledge or theories of how something should work, it isn't until you practice applying it that it will make sense and work better for you. I think better explained would be to compare it to learning to play an instrument. I don't know how to play the cello, I would love to learn, and I think it is beautiful. I know the theory behind it. I know how to read music, and so some might say that I could play, but I have no idea how to make my fingers work the way they should to make the notes sound beautiful and not off. I don't have the strength in my fingers to hold notes with my hand stretched without my hand cramping or giving way. There will always be an instructor there to help guide me and show me the better way to learn, and to reduce the pain, but only if I am willing to listen in my humility. That doesn't mean He can do all the work for me and I am automatically a world renowned cellist. I must put the work in for myself. The same works with our lives. The Savior is there waiting on the sidelines, the most glorious epitome of humanity. He knows exactly what I must do in my mortal state to create the most beautiful harmony of my life, and here I am struggling to find the melody in my life, and finding myself with sore arms and fingers and blisters and lots of other not fun things that come from learning something new, but He the Master Musician is waiting to help bandage my injuries to soothe my aches, and to show me by example how to perform life to its fullest. I must turn and watch Him. That is the only catch. If I am not turned toward Him and watching, and trying and emulating, then I will not improve, I will be frustrated, I will quit. Sorry this thought might be all jumbled together, but I really do love that idea that the Savior is there to heal us if we but turn to Him. There is so much power in that statement He said quoted in the New Testament "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you" (John 14:18) or even later in that same chapter He tells those around Him who are listening "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid." It is in Christ that we can find that peace. No matter where we are or who we are with or what we are doing. It is only through the Savior that true lasting peace can be found.
At the Zone Training Meeting we had two weeks ago, one of the Sisters gave a training on trust. Trust in the Lord, Trust in our companions, and Trust in our leaders. I have felt like there are been lots of trainings on trust in recent times. I know I have mentioned it before in past emails, but I still think that all of us can learn something new every time we are taught about it. Honestly if we all had perfect trust in the Lord then we would never do anything wrong, because we would trust His word that this was what was best for us. One of the Elders mentioned this idea too, but he proceeded it by asking us who our favorite scripture heroes were. Every single one of them is trustworthy, and that is a main reason why many of us look up to them. We then discussed the different reasons why missionaries are considered trustworthy or not, to the members, the mission president, or even to the Lord. It all boils down to obedience, which of course if we trusted the Lord, our obedience would be a much easier decision to make then if we had no trust and either had to make a leap of faith or trust in our own capabilities to make up for it ourselves. As is with many things in the gospel, trust is seriously one of main foundation blocks to building a better life, to being happy and having that peace previously mentioned. Faith plays a huge part as well, as does love and repentance, and lots of other things, but trust for me seems to sometimes be harder then all the rest of that. Mostly because as humans we will all experience at least one moment in our lives where we trusted and someone breaks that trust, whether maliciously or naively, and we begin to doubt the possibility of ever being able to fully trust someone ever again. We become hardened to the idea, and even begin to keep parts of ourselves secret and close, so that it wont get hurt again. Of course Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not want us to be like that, they do not like to see us hurt or bitter or holding back, because when we are, we will not be able to receive the fullness of the blessings that He wants to give us.
One of the other things that we learned was about the symbolism of "the Cross." Many in Christian faiths wear crosses around their necks or have them prominently displayed in their places of worship. We are asked often why we do not, or why our churches do not have crosses in them. Especially being here in the south that is a very common thing for people to wear or see when they are of a Christian faith. I always would tell anyone who asked it is because we do not focus on His death, but on His life and His resurrection. We were trained a little bit on that idea, but rather then because we focus on His resurrection, which by the way is still true, the idea was proposed that it is because we carry His cross in ways that are not visible to those around us. I think of that man that was a stranger to Jerusalem who was commissioned by the soldiers to help Christ carry the cross when after immense suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane, the torture and suffering, inflicted by the guards when they held him imprisoned, and then the mockery and other cruel things they subjected Him, the Savior of even them, His mortal body pushed beyond anything asked of anyone else, He could no longer lift His cross. The only person I can think of during His mortal ministry that was able to physically help Christ, was that stranger who lifted the cross and endured the humiliation and degradation known only to those judged traitors. We are each asked in our own way to bear a part of that cross. Would we have been willing to carry that cross for Christ with hundreds if not thousands of people spitting and swearing and belittling us all along the way? Did we answer honestly? I will not ever know if I would have or not, because I was not there, but in a small way, the Savior has asked us to bear our own crosses in each of our lives. There will be humiliation, suffering, torture, confusion, and many more trials for being Christian. I cannot even count the number of doors that have been slammed in my face or people who mock my beliefs, or say crude things to me because of the things that I believe, or because of the things they incorrectly belief I believe. Through it all I am honored to in some small way bear His cross. I in an infinitely small way get to help lift the Cross of Christ. How honored I feel for that opportunity!! How wonderful this whole plan is! How glorious and exciting it will be to see the whole picture and see the hand of our Loving Heavenly Father in all that we do!
This last week for me was rough. Not for any particular reason, but it was (as will happen in life, some weeks are worse then others). One of my leaders committed me to write down every night three blessings of the day in a little book. I have named these blessing the raindrops of my day, mostly because I have come to really learn to love rain and the cool rain on a hot summer day. Some of my raindrops are simple things, like when my ward mission leader's wife made us treats for our Ward Correlation Meeting, some of them are more earnest like not crashing when I fell asleep driving. (Trust me, I take 5 mins every once in a while when I am driving far to get up and walk around or to take a short nap so that I will not be tired when I drive.) Each one of them, whatever the reason they are one of my raindrops that day, have a significant memory of that day for me. I am reminded of the hymn "Count Your Blessings". How true that is! The more you count your blessings, whether great or small, the more happiness and peace you will find in your life, no matter how hectic or crazy your day may be. Sometimes we have to live day by day not week by week, or month by month. But each day we must find those blessings, and really rely on the Lord when we are down that it will go away! We can find happiness!! It is not hidden and only VIP members can find it, but it is out in the open for all! My having happiness does not prevent you from being happy, but rather it somehow will augment others happiness. How great our happiness can be when we are all focused on being happy and helping others be happy! It will be awesome, and it is awesome.
I love each of you!! You are all amazing individuals:)
Sending my love, forever and always,
Sister Monica Walker