December – Relief Society Lesson – The Godhead
Show video – God is our Father
We began this year with this lesson, and because of some changes from the stake we are ending the year with the same lesson.
When we had this lesson in January I told you that I felt strongly that the goal of these lessons for us this year needed to be that by the end of the year we would know, really know that our Father in Heaven loves us.
For me, this year has been quite a journey. I have learned a great deal, I have experienced growth in my testimony. If I'm brutally honest I would have to say that I know that my Father in Heaven knows who I am and loves me, but I know it in spurts! I don't have the earthly parent connection that I think is so key to being able to truly feel His love, so I struggle and I know that many of us struggle. But I have been able to feel His love or recognize His concern for me in many ways, and for that I am grateful.
I have also learned that often we only recognize his love or his blessings if we are in tune or are looking for them. As humans we tend to wear blinders and not notice the manna from heaven that constantly flows unless someone points it out!
John Bytheway tells us of another way that truly knowing of God's love can affect our lives. He says:
Something wonderful happens when we really know, without a doubt, that God loves us, our questions change. Instead of asking, why doesn't God care about me? We say, well, I know God loves me, I know that, so what can I learn from this experience?
Knowing that he loves us, really knowing it, effects every aspect of our lives, or at least it should, it has the power to change our lives.
So my question for you is, How have you felt or witnessed God's love for you this year?
I visit teach our sister missionaries through email, and I asked them if they had time to respond to some of the questions about this lesson.
Sister Mckenna Smith told me
God's love is real! That is the first thing. It is harder for some than others to feel it but it's the most important thing. Something that I have struggled with my whole life is loving me for me. It was super hard for me to know that I was worth something and that I was lovable. But at times of complete hopelessness, here on my mission, I fall to my knees in prayer and I just feel this overwhelming power that can hardly be explained by words. It just fills my heart with so much love. There have been many many times where I felt like nothing but His love made me feel worth a price far above rubies, because he doesn't compare us to the people around us. He see's us for exactly who we are without the contrast of others. To me, that is remarkable. The worth of souls is truly great in the sight of God, every single soul!
Show video – The Tender Mercies of the Lord
make them mighty, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving kindness, spiritual gifts. He will not leave us comfortless. Gift of faith and confidence, repentance, forgiveness, peace, persistence, fortitude, comfort, deliverance.
Faithfulness and obedience are required, then waiting on the Lords timing.
I think often when we think of Christ we go to the obvious, the Atonement, it is of course, an amazing gift. But what about all those tender mercies? This year as I have struggled to fulfill the goal of really knowing that Father loves me I have recognized more and more small tender mercies. Little gifts that would be easy to over look, but I have been more focused this year, so I have been trying to pay attention.
Sister Perez tells me that this short time in the MTC has been quite the learning experience. She's learning that when she's struggling with something she tends to be very “me” focused and at those times the Lord sends her a reminder that it's not all about her, she is serving a mission, to serve others. She is growing from simple things like praying with and for her companion as she struggles with an issue.
Learning to look for the lessons, the tender mercies, is like learning to use a new muscle, it takes practice.
So what have you learned from or about Christ this year? Have you experienced any tender mercies?
Have you used the Atonement?
Sister Smith told me that the thing she has learned on her mission about Jesus Christ, his atonement and the Holy Ghost would probably have to be summed up in one word: Love!
Love is the very essence of the gospel. It truly is. Love makes it possible to overcome anything. Love is the way out and through. Their love heals us. We feel loved as we serve and love others. It is central in everything we do in the gospel. That outlook makes everything in life easier to handle.
Show Video – We Lived with God
I love the quote, the more we learn about the universe, the less it looks like a great machine and the more it looks like a great thought.
This professor tells us that science and religion are independent witnesses of creation. The Holy Ghosts main job is to witness of Jesus Christ. His other jobs include comforter, teacher, guide, as in he will show unto you all things what you should do. Through his power we are sanctified as we repent and receive ordinances and remain true.
In the book, True to the Faith it has some of my favorites things written about the Holy Ghost, it says:
As the soothing voice of a loving parent can quiet a crying child, the whispering s of the Spirit can calm our fears, hush the nagging worries of your life, and comfort you when you grieve. The Holy Ghost can fill you with hope and perfect love and teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom.
Through him we receive gifts of the spirit for your benefit and for the benefit of those you love and serve.
Have you had an experience with the Holy Ghost this year?
Has your testimony grown this year? In what ways?
As we go through these lessons again next year, we'll find new things to learn, new ways to look at things, just like re reading the scriptures. I truly believe that as we begin to understand God's love for us, our hearts and minds will be opened to new lessons, new thoughts that will help us to grow and progress in ways we can only imagine.