Before my regular scripture reading, I spent a little bit of time flipping through my scriptures, reading various passages I have marked, remembering times in my life when they felt particularly poignant. Let me share a few.
- When Clark was unemployed, I really struggled to understand what God's plan was for our family. I had grown to love our little town in Michigan, and the thought of leaving was weighing on me heavily, along with the massive amount of uncertainty in our every day life. We were fairly certain that Clark's next job would not be in Michigan, but we had no idea when that next job might come along. I struggled with living daily life, knowing that we would probably be moving in the near future. What was the point of cultivating these relationships, or being "all in" if we were going to up and leave on 2 weeks notice? But then in my regular scripture reading, I turned to D&C 51:16-17, which says, "And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence; And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good." I read those words, "act upon this land as for years," and knew that while we were aware of the forthcoming changes in our lives, we needed to be fully invested in our lives where we were. God had a plan, and our job was to live where he placed us, and by live I mean be present, cultivate relationships, plant roots, and not think about the future too much. That scripture carried me through the next 8 months of waiting, and gave me a much brighter outlook on life.
- Last year I was reading through the book of Ether (in the Book of Mormon) and I came across what is a very well-known and loved scripture, chapter 12 verse 27: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I know I have read that verse a hundred times, but this time, it was like I finally GOT it. It was an ah-ha moment, a light bulb went off, pick your metaphor. This verse is about the Atonement! We are imperfect. But if we come unto Christ and use His Atonement, and have faith that His power is real and can help us, He will make weak things become strong. And then, because we knew exactly how weak we were before, and can see how strong we have become, we will know that the only way this could have happened was through that Atonement. And thus our faith becomes knowledge, and our trust in Christ increases. These two things are the miracles of the Atonement: that we can be changed through Christ, and that we can recognize the power that changes us. I'm sure others have long ago recognized the beauty of this verse, but reading it last year I internalized it and it became so personal to me. Lesson learned: keep reading the scriptures. Old verses can have new meaning.
- It's no secret that music is a big part of my life, and whenever I come across scriptures that have been made into songs, I love them all the more. This is particularly true for the scriptures used in The Messiah. This year I went through my scriptures and marked them all. I love to flip through and find all the spots that say, "The Messiah," and then sing the words in my head. But my very favorite scriptures used in that work are found in Isaiah 53: "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." What a poetic description of what our Savior has done for us. "With his stripes we are healed." Beautiful.
I could share so many scriptures that have touched my heart, but I will end with this. From time to time dear friends have shared their favorite scriptures with me, and I have made a note of this in the margin next to the scripture. I delight in seeing those names associated with those scriptures. The scripture sent in a letter from a friend on a mission. The scriptures of fellow leaders in the Young Women program, shared at girls camp. I love, love, love these scriptures, because they remind me of these wonderful people whose testimonies have touched my life. There aren't many of them, though. So I leave with this request: My dear family and friends, if you have a favorite scripture, would you share it with me? Because I would love to have your name in my book.