This Sunday is Easter and that fact has led me to think over what exactly this means to me.     We have been studying the Atonement in our lessons in church for the month of March which gave me  the opportunity and actually made me study some of the scriptures on this topic. In doing so I was able to see how the Atonement has actually been in my life in all things even when I didn’t realize it.   I have always known that we are able to repent and be forgiven because of our Savior’s immense sacrifice and I am able to understand that we receive eternal life because of his grace.  The part that stands out more to me lately is the fact the our Savior actually suffered all things for us, not just the sins we have committed and the consequences we have because of other peoples sins, but he also experienced our trials.  In looking back at this I have sometimes in the very hardest times in my life felt that I must have gotten so upset that he couldn’t reach me and I felt utterly alone. I felt this way when my parent’s were very sick and when each of them passed away. I felt this way in the past during crisis times in our family and during  trials in my own home and life.  In looking back at them now I understand that I would not have been able to  handle  these things at all without the help and strength of my Savior and my Heavenly Father.

It is not always in large, brilliant, very apparent ways that this works for us. It is in the fact that we are able to pick up and carry on when things seem very dark and sad. It is that you can still pray even when you feel hopeless and feel that somehow you will receive the strength you need.

One large example of this fact was that when I was younger I was horribly, horribly afraid of people dying. I wanted to go before my grandparents even. I distinctly remember a prayer I had when I was around 10 years old walking around my Grandma’s yard and specifically asking Heavenly Father to please let me die before any of them.  Consequently I had anxiety when people were in the hospital .. so severe that I  have been known to pass out occasionally.

Fast forward 40 this time I have attended many doctors appointments, hospital visits, tests, surgeries, deaths of my grandparents and  one defining moment when my mother in law passed away.  I truly thought we would have her for a long time and I was not expecting it at all. So when this happened I was taken back and really had to pull my head through it.  I did a lot of praying and hoping and I eventually went by her faith in God and was able to see beyond it.  I was so sad when this first happened that I was actually angry at myself for it.  Now in looking back I see that Heavenly Father was watching over all of us, not just her immediate children and family but, me ..her daughter in law. That only he knew how very much I loved her.

He held me up through my mom’s passing and through a very difficult 3 years following in caring for my dad.. and in what I now have come to realize was a total gift from God.  The night we followed the ambulance to the hospital with my dad in it, stood in a room while the doctor told us he was not going to be coming back, asking if we knew his wishes and I ( the little girl who prayed to die before everyone and passed out during visits) told him that I knew his wishes and was escorted to the room he was in one last time for a blessing given by Levi and Zach and a chance to say goodbye. I felt numb and cold and alone in the room full of family that loved him as much as me.  I took his things home with my sister and began to figure out our lives without him   I prayed for help and forgiveness and mostly for strength and in looking back I got it.

So when I consider all that I have to be grateful for this Easter. I will remember now to be thankful for repentance, forgiveness, unconditional love and the completely gracious gift of carrying me through things that seem horribly hard and sad and lonely. I will forever be grateful for the gift of eternal life and the blessing of knowing of it now so that I can look forward to the day when my soul will be made whole and I will run to see my mom and dad and introduce my children to my grandparents and I hope I will be worthy to touch my Saviors loving face and thank him through my tears for every minute of my beautiful, terribly hard sometimes and yet wonderful life.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).