Come as you are
We all know that we were put on this earth to gain a body and to learn to live in a mortal world with all the ups and downs that come with it. We all have trials, we all have struggles and they seem to be coming at a greater pace every day, month and year. It is so easy to get caught up in this earthly experience and sometimes we start to lose our eternal perspective. Heavenly Father always has a way to bring us back or at least try to bring us back to seeing this life for what it really is. Trials can do that for us. Whether they are physical, emotional, spiritual or one of many other trials, we can choose to battle them alone or we can choose to rely on our Savior and be willing to humble ourselves and turn our lives over to Him, the Master Creator, to turn us into something so much greater than we could ever imagine. Sometimes, if we are paying attention, He will give us a little glimpse of the life He has in store for us. The process is not easy, it is downright painful at times but because He has suffered for anything and everything that we will experience in this life, He is ready and willing to walk with us through every step of that difficult process. I have experienced the physical, emotional and spiritual healing of the Savior in my past and even now as new trials come I continue to feel Him close, guiding me, even in my broken and imperfect state. When I humble myself and focus on Him, I catch little beams of Celestial light, little glimpses of the future that is possible, only through Him.
Almost two years ago my Dad was killed while riding his road bike in the little town of Snowflake, Arizona, where I grew up. In the months to come I really had a lot of soul searching, forgiveness, and healing to do. And I realized that I had relied on my Dad when it came to spirituality and hardships, and overcoming those hardships. Someone that knew me so well and loved me so unconditionally was now gone. I had relied on that support and love and constant reassurance that he gave me that I was wonderful and that I was doing great. All of a sudden I had to do it without him. When I tried leaning on the Savior I didn't feel that it helped. I realize that so many have lost loved ones, but this loss was new to me and I felt like I didn't know how to move on from the grief. I started turning more towards those around me and felt their kindness and love for me. I began to realize that by letting people help me I was beginning to heal. I decided to try turning to my Savior for help even though I didn't feel like I deserved it or that I was too broken for help. That was the best thing that I have done. I feel like if I just keep taking even little steps towards my goal that I am succeeding. And that the Lord is rewarding my efforts. I have felt the unconditional love that my earthly father had for me through my Heavenly Father. My Dad never seemed to ever doubt in the power of the Savior, and I want to follow that example.
Mosiah 24:14-15 is one of my favorite scripture passages. It says that the Lord will ease my burdens as I stand as a witness for Him. I remember coming back to it a lot on my mission. As it says in the scriptures, He will not take away our burdens, but He will ease them and make them light on our backs. That is something I have to remind myself every time something hard comes up. I know that as I come to Him as my broken and weary self, He will heal me and make me whole. The pandemic has been especially challenging for me as my mother received a double lung transplant a year ago. She lives in my basement and we have tried really hard to keep her safe by isolating ourselves as best we can, but the anxiety of potentially bringing home a virus that could kill her has been a lot. I have spent many nights praying for comfort and healing and I know the Lord has provided by easing my burdens and keeping us safe. I know that we all have burdens by virtue of being human, but the Lord is always there to make them light for us as we come to Him. He is our friend and our Savior. He will never leave us as we trust in Him.
Jesus' invitation to "Come Unto Him" is an invitation for all of His children. Come unto Him as you are. He invites all to Come unto Him and partake of his goodness. He will not deny anyone that comes unto Him. Black and white, bond and free, male and female. (2 Nephi 26:33) No matter where we live or what language we speak. Whether we are single, married, widowed, divorced, have a large family, or have no children. Whether our faith is weak or whether our faith is strong. There is room for all! For everyone! We all need a Savior! We all need Jesus Christ! It's easy to feel like we don't belong for one reason or another because we feel like we have fallen short of each other's expectation. But we all fall short! Sister Bonnie H. Cordon said, "The Savior's love for us is unfailing - even when we fail!"
When I was growing up, I would often complain to my mom that I didn't like this or that about myself. Mom would always counter my arguments with .... "I love you just the way you are!"
This years Women’s Conference theme is “Come As You Are and Partake of Christ’s Healing Power.” When I come to sing in the ward choir I come just as mediocre as I am—hoping to become better with the help of other choir members. Throughout His life, many people “came as they were” to the Savior and were changed because of it. We read
in The New Testament and Book of Mormon of countless people who were healed, forgiven, taught, and changed by the Savior. They came from all walks of life with different experiences, different sins, different worries; hearts burdened with different things. But they all came.
We come just as we are to the Savior today to be changed as we turn to Him and to His Gospel. Elder Holland pleads with us to stay permanently and faithfully in the choir—the choir being the gospel of Jesus Christ. He says, “in singing the anthems of eternity, we should stand as close as humanly possible to the Savior and Redeemer of the world—who has absolutely perfect pitch.” Just as I choose to sit next to someone when I sing who has better pitch than I—as we choose to come to the Savior we become better.
In this life there are, there have been, and there will be days where we may not feel like singing—where our faith is being tested, or we feel like we just don’t fit in. But it’s on those days that Elder Holland counsels us to stay faithfully in the choir where there is room for all of us—“There is room for those who speak different languages, celebrate diverse cultures, and live in a host of locations. There is room for the single, for the married, for large families, and for the childless. There is room for those who once had questions regarding their faith and room for those who still do. There is room for those with differing sexual attractions. In short, there is a place for everyone who loves God and honors His commandments…there is room in this choir for all who wish to be there. ‘Come as you are,’ a loving Father says to each of us, but He adds, ‘Don’t plan to stay as you are.’ We smile and remember that God is determined to make of us more than we thought we could be.”
As we contemplate the different names of Jesus Christ, including “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace”(Isaiah 9:6) why would we not want to come? Why would we wait “for things to get better” before coming? The whole reason to come is to be changed. Sisters, “the whole need no physician” (Moroni 8:8). It is my prayer that we will come just as we are to the Savior and partake of His goodness and His healing power. As we do, I know He will change us—He will help us become who we are meant to become.