Sacrament meeting speaking assignment January 27th 2020
I was asked a question two weeks ago, in preparing for this assignment to speak, it was, "How does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on?" When I was asked this question, my mind immediately flooded with memories of my life, and the miracle that I am still here today. In thinking about this I prayed for the last two weeks about what I should say, what I should focus on and what I should share and this is what came to my mind.
Do you need to know that things will get better? Is there one of you today, reading this that has a great desire or even a desperate need in some way to know, things will get better? Well, the answer is of course, every one of us has times when we need to know things will get better, some of us are just at a different level of need than others.
Jeffery R Holland tells us that "For emotional health and spiritual stamina, everyone needs to be able to look forward to some respite, to something pleasant and renewing and hopeful, whether that blessing be near at hand or still some distance ahead. " We just need to know we can get there, that however far away, there is the promise of “good things to come. We all need to know that things will get better, its how we carry on, and this is exactly what the gospel of Jesus Christ offers us, especially in times of obvious need, so I'd like to tell you a little of why I know this is true.
The first tragic super tragic event that took place in my life, was in Nevada Iowa in April 1988 when my three year old daughter died in a freakish playground accident. I cannot describe to you the pain of that event, for there are not words but what I can tell you is that through this horrific event, strange as it may seem, I gained hope.
I had been a reckless young adult and made many mistakes, I lived in personal turbulent times, some of my own making some of others; but even in those times I never gave up, I kept going to church, I kept repenting, and I kept striving to do my best until one day Satan got the upper hand and I gave up in my heart, That's when the light left, that's when the darkness came and the struggle was near unbearable. It wasn't until the day my daughter died that things began to change. The day she died I had a choice I could stay in the world and be mad at God blaming him for such tragedies and trials, or I could embrace the gospel and gain understanding, hope and strength and press forward. I chose the gospel and began to know Christ. I cried to the Savior day and night for help and in the meantime dedicated myself to repentance and putting all of my faith and hope in Him, then waited for peace to come. Many of my friends and even my husband at the time left me because I chose the gospel, I chose Christ over the world. But I had gained an inner strength in making this choice and I was no longer afraid or helpless, I would not let Satan win so I pressed forward. How did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on in such a horrible time? Through prayer and study He taught me basic principles of the gospel that gave me a first a testimony of the gospel and repentance, then of life after death and the ordinances of the temple and I knew I didn't have to be afraid and that I would be with my daughter again. Through talking to Him, church attendance, and personal progress, he brought me a measure of peace, that has grown throughout the years. And as I reflect on this event I can't imagine surviving such an trial by making the choice of the world.
I was pregnant when all this happened, and I did not loose my baby but he was born two months early in full respiratory distress with collapsed lungs and a host of other problems. The doctor who had pronounced my daughter told me once again that my child would not live and I should make arrangements. But I was not willing to give up. I had read and studied about the miracles of Christ and I knew that the priesthood was on earth today, I believed in it, it was my only hope; so I chose to call my Bishop. He along with three other elders came and administered to my son. The same way that Christ and His apostles administered to those in need. I was not in the room when this was done but I prayed and I believed. I was told by the doctor and nurses that they had never experienced anything like what they had seen when my son received his blessing. I took him home three weeks later, a true miracle witnessed by believers and non believers alike. How did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on? He taught me that miracles did not cease when He and the apostles left this world. The priesthood has been restored and mighty things are possible even with just a mustard seed of faith.
In 2009 On August 8 the birthday of my daughter who died, I received a phone call at 130am telling me that my son, the baby who had been saved by the miracle, had been shot. I then received a second call telling me that he had taken the shot himself. At first I thought it was a bad prank but quickly found out it was not and I was in complete horror and shock. My son born and saved after the death of my daughter died on her birthday as a victim of suicide, it was extremely surreal. Again I had two options to take, the way of the world, or Jesus Christ. Would I let Satan win, for this was a hard blow, so much so that I thought I wouldn't live through it. But upon hanging up the phone, I fell to my knees on the kitchen floor and began to pray. I cried out to the Savior in desperation and pleaded for his help. In the coming months and years since every time I felt a wave of panic wash over me I fell to my knees, when things felt surreal and I couldn't breath I fell to my knees, when the nightmares came I kneeled at my bedside, I talked to Jesus Christ more than I talked to anyone living on this earth, For this by far was the hardest thing I would ever face, not only had my daughter died but now my son was a victim of suicide. And these were not the only trials in my life at this time, these were just the monumental things. Turmoil ruled my world and it was a daily struggle to stay afloat. So how did faith in Jesus Christ give me hope and strength to carry on? By prayer, priesthood blessings, and scripture study the Savior taught me that by loosing myself in service the pain would not go away but I would understand it and he would help and guide me through all things that I ever faced.c
Like other people I have suffered a tremendous amount of trial and tribulations both physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and temporally. My life has literally been one tribulation after another, some, like before, caused by me, some by others and some just came out of nowhere. All I know about life is how to call upon Christ and survive. Its funny because when my best friend asked what topic I was assigned to speak on and I told her she said well that's your whole life, you got this one wrapped up. And I had to laugh a little but it was a good laugh, a laugh of love because I do know that I carry on today because of Jesus Christ.
So how does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on? Elder Jeffery R Holland taught that Christ knows better than all others that the trials of life can be very deep and we are not shallow people if we struggle with them. Christ was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” His career to some seemed a failure, a tragedy, a good man totally overwhelmed by the evils surrounding Him and the misdeeds of others. He was misunderstood or misrepresented, even hated. No matter what He said or did, His statements were twisted, His actions suspected, His motives impugned. In the entire history of the world no one has ever loved so purely or served so selflessly—and been treated so diabolically for His effort. Yet nothing could break His faith in His Father’s plan or His Father’s promises. Even in those darkest hours at Gethsemane and Calvary, He pressed on, continuing to trust in the very God whom He momentarily feared had forsaken Him.
Because Christ’s eyes were unfailingly fixed on the future, He could endure all that was required of Him, suffer as no man can suffer except it be “unto death,” How could He do this? How could He believe it? Because He knows that for the faithful, things will be made right soon enough. He knows that “the Lord … will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. … For the needy shall not alway[s] be forgotten: the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.” He knows that “the Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” He knows that “the Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”
How does faith in Jesus Christ give us hope and strength to carry on? Because he knows us, he knows the things you are pondering in your heart this very moment that are troubling you, that beset you, that trial you. He knows your pain, and if you “Don’t give up, Don’t quit. keep walking. keep trying there is help and happiness ahead. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.”
I testify that these are not just words, these are truths, all you have to do is believe even with the simplest of beliefs and faith and he will come, the help will come. I am living proof that the help does come! I have a journal full of miracles that testify. God Lives brothers and sisters! Jesus Christ is his Son our brother who died to save and succor us.
Some have lovingly told me that I have endured more than anyone should be asked to endure. That may be so sometimes it feels that way but truly, in reality, my story is not tragic but full of miracles, it is full of tender mercies, it is full of being saved, it is full of happiness and gratitude and strength when I thought I could not go on, it is full of the help Jesus Christ gave me and still gives me today. I would not be who I am today had I not lived through it all and came to know Christ. And it was faith in Him that lead the way.
Together God our eternal Father and His Son Jesus Christ sustain us in our hour of need and always will, even if we cannot recognize that intervention. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they do come. and I testify of this truth to you today in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen