Saturday, October 8, 2016
Before I married Dave, most of you know that I was inactive in my church for 11 years. During that time I committed a lot of sins by my church standards. I didn't feel like I was living up to my potential, and I knew I could do better. I was searching for a way to change my life and be happy again. Something I didn't think possible. That's when Dave came into my life.
8 years later, and I'm still so grateful that I took the opportunity to come back to the church. When I made that decision, I had to repent for many things. I had to make peace with my past, and my Heavenly Father. The only way I could do this, is by using the atonement of Jesus Christ.
I'll never forget getting on my knees for the first time in years and asking for forgiveness. It was something I had never done. I had never actually asked my Heavenly Father to forgive me of my sins. It was a very humbling, and a remorseful moment for me. It changed into something beautiful though.
A few months after getting on my knees that first time, I was getting interviewed for my temple recommend, so I could marry my eternal companion in the house of the Lord. I was sitting across from my bishop when a beautiful feeling I had never experienced before, washed over me. It brought me to tears. I didn't know what to say and I didn't know what was going on. That amazing Bishop looked at me and said, "Can you feel that? That's the Holy Ghost confirming to you that you're worthy to enter God's temple." It was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I knew right then that I wanted that feeling to continue, and that I would follow it's promptings as long as my Father allowed me to experience it.
Over the next few years I found out what the atonement truly can do. As I continued to live my life, and live the best way that I knew how, I started to realize that my past sins were washing from my mind. I could no longer recall many of the experiences that I had repented about. I didn't feel shame, or guilt, anymore. I was finding peace within myself and learning the love of my Savior. I was allowing myself to truly take advantage of the greatest gift any of us have ever been given. The atonement of our Savior.
As life progressed, I noticed more and more that my mind wasn't filled with my past sins, but it also wasn't causing me pain for the sins that had been committed against me by others. I was able to forgive them whether they asked for it or not. I was able to let go, and truly move on. The peace and comfort this brought was something I hadn't experienced. I had no idea that the atonement could heal my heart from the pain brought on by the mistakes of others. It was amazing.
The last thing the atonement did for me, was take away the pains of mortality regarding my mental illness; Bi-polar 1 disorder. I noticed over time that I was no longer feeling empty when I would be manic or depressed. Even though my moods didn't stop, and I still battled those dark days, I was learning to appreciate my illness. I was learning to be more patient with others and myself. I was more empathetic, kind, and compassionate, to those that suffer from mental illness. I was also finally able to thank my Heavenly Father for making my brain, a Bi-polar brain. It makes me the Jilly that I love. It allows me a different way of thinking and helps me to be more aware of those around me. Because of the atonement, I can finally say that I'm grateful for this disease and the power to learn how to work with it.
The atonement is the greatest gift ever given to us. It's the power that will allow us to one day return to a loving Father in Heaven. It's the only way we will get to be in his presence again, and there's nothing greater than that. Because our Savior loved us enough to give his life for us, we are able to have all the gifts that God can give. That's simply amazing to me.
I now understand a bit better what the atonement is and that it works for everyone, members and nonmembers alike. All you have to do is simply believe that your Savior can heal you. He can heal you from your own mistakes, the pains caused by others, and even the pains of mortality. Life will be easier, and more beautiful if you will make Jesus Christ apart of your life.Whether you're apart of my religion or not. Christ is for all of us.
The atonement is real. I'm living proof that your sins may be scarlet, but they can turn white as snow, and they can even be forgotten. I promise to each of you, that if you ask for his grace to come upon you and turn your heart to him, your life will change in ways you can't imagine possible. I know this, because that's exactly what happened to me. I promise it can happen to you too.