I taught Sunday School for the women in my church this past Sunday. The lesson was very appropriately centered on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Through studying, I found that the essential question to my lesson was, "How has the Atonement been most meaningful to you?" - realizing that the answer would be different for everyone, perhaps even different for each person at different periods throughout their life. The thought that kept returning to me about the Atonement was related to experiences I had in regards to Hann when we were younger.
Being the wild native children we were, we loved to climb trees. Hann was particularly adept, and also being lighter, could climb to places the rest of us couldn't. She was climbing in a tree one day and fell into our neighbors yard and hit her head on a cement block. I very vividly remember Hann screaming that she couldn't see anything, and trying to help her calm down as she was laying on a pillow while we were getting ready to take her to the hospital. I vividly remember hearing her cry when she had to go through the MRI machine, while I was sitting in the waiting room. In a definite manifestation of Divine intervention, it was found that Hann had a tumor on her brain. Had she not fallen out of the tree, we may not have found out about it. She would subsequently undergo two brain surgeries, one in Kindergarten, and one in First Grade. I vividly remember going to visit my little sister in the hospital, being hooked up to lots of machines, her head shaved from the surgery and so nauseous she didn't even have energy to be upset about all the times she was throwing up. When I was home at night I would pray and pray that it could be me instead of my sister. Even into the ensuing years, I would ask God that if one of us needed to die, or have any more kind of medical issues that it be me. I loved my sister so much and never wanted to see her hurt like that again. For any of you that know my relationship with my sister, you will know how hard it was to watch someone as good and beautiful and perfect as Hann suffer so much.
Now in relation to the Atonement, and why I think these thoughts have been going through my mind frequently as of late. I truly believe as my 3rd or 4th grade self, I would have tried to offer to take my sisters place. I know what that kind of love feels like. I cannot fathom the love that our Savior Jesus Christ has for us - because He actually DID die for all of us. He loves each of us so much that He took our place. When there are times that I feel alone, unworthy of love, or forgotten, I need to remember that there is someone that loves me an unimaginable amount, and has done something for me that I could never do for myself. I wish I was better at loving and serving Him in return.
I hope that during this special Easter week, we can focus on the best gift any of us will ever be given. The gift of life and love through our Savior, Jesus Christ. I love the Lord and am grateful for the experiences that help draw me closer to Him and understand Him better. Here is a video to make you cry :)
Here are a few talks I love speaking about the Atonement, if you'd like to read them :)
None Were With Him by Jeffrey R. Holland
In the Strength of the Lord by David A. Bednar
The Purifying Power of Gethsemane by Bruce R. McConkie
Love you all too much!
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