“Covenants with God help us to know who we really are.”
Jean A. Stevens, “Covenant Daughters of God,” Nov. 2014
As we prepare for the women’s conference and our thoughts have been more focused on "Rejoicing on the Covenant Path," the stake Relief Society presidency wanted to share our testimony of our covenants and what they mean to us.
Tiffany McMinnOne day, many years ago, while I was serving as a missionary in the town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, my companion and I were needing to get to the home of a sister and her son we were teaching (which was several miles from our apartment). The problem was that we were out of driving miles for the remainder of the month.
We had bikes to ride, but the only road to this sister's house was off the old highway. There were no back roads or side streets—she lived on a private dirt road that came right off this somewhat busy highway.
Feeling brave (and a little invincible as missionaries) we decided to ride our bikes to this appointment. There was no sidewalk to ride on—just a white painted line with cars zooming by on the road just to our left, and ditches, drop offs, and gravel just off to our right.
|Image by Alan Levine (public domain, Flickr)
I remember focusing on keeping my front bike tire right on that straight white line as I rode. If I did that, I was fine.
But, if I took my eyes off that white line (even for a second) I would get wobbly and begin to veer off, putting myself at risk to get struck by a car or crash my bike into a ditch.
I have thought many times about that thrilling bike ride that got us to where we needed to go. I’ve thought about how that white line was the safest and really the only path to our destination.
I believe my covenants are like markers (or that white line) on a path that guides me on my journey home to my Heavenly Father. They direct me and give me power and strength as I put my focus on them. They give me understanding, hope, and perspective of where I am headed. They keep me safe and protect me from the evil distractions in the world.
Though I still have a long ride ahead of me, my covenants are helping me change, and, through Jesus Christ, become who my Heavenly Father intended me to be.
Shauna CleverlyRecently, I was at Sam's club trying to enter the store, but the doors were locked. Soon, a lot of people were gathered outside, and we learned that there was a "Code Adam" inside. No one was allowed into our out of the store until the missing child was found. I was only waiting for about five minutes, but I was imagining what the mother of the missing child must have been going through.
I imagined her panic and the feeling of helplessness as she and others searched for the missing child. I imagined her fear and desperation at not having any control over the situation. This story has a happy ending because the child was quickly found, and things returned to "normal."
This reminded me of President Nelson's story of being on a airplane that was about to crash, and there was a woman who was screaming in fear, yet he was calm and felt ready to meet His Maker.
I am so grateful for a knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We do not need to feel helpless, hopeless, or panicked as we go through our mortal journey. Our loving Heavenly Father has given us a way home and a beautiful plan.
I know that by following His plan, and staying on the covenant path, I can feel safe, protected and happy. When life starts to feel out of control (as I'm sure the mother at the store felt), my covenants keep me grounded and centered and focused on what matters most. I can feel my Savior's love for me.
I know He lives and loves each of us. I know that my family can be with me forever some day because of the promised blessings of the temple.
Janae PoulsenI know that ordinances and covenants are fundamental to the Plan. Ordinances give us access to covenants. Obedience to our covenants brings blessings. Part of the test of our lives, is to see if we will make and keep covenants with our Heavenly Father. Striving daily to keep the covenants that I have made helps me stay closer to my Heavenly Father.
|Photo from LDS.org; used by permission
I know that reading, studying and pondering the scriptures strengthen me and my testimony and my resolve to keep my covenants. Through frequent temple attendance, I am able to be feel my Savior and Heavenly Father's love for me and am reminded of the priorities I need to make in my life.
I am reminded of the covenants I have made and the great and eternal blessings promised to me by a loving Heavenly Father. I am reminded that my covenants are individual and personal, but by being a covenant keeper, I am promised the opportunity to live with my family for eternity! What a glorious blessing!
Because of the covenants I have made and am striving to keep, I have hope, I have peace, I have joy.
I am so grateful to our Heavenly Father for his Plan of Happiness and that as part of that plan He knew I needed a Savior. Because of Him, I can repent and keep trying again and again to become someone worthy of living in their presence one day.
Andrea DoverOne of my favorite historical figures is Winston Churchill, and one of his quotes that I find myself repeating on a fairly regular basis is: “Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.”
So often in life I find myself trying to make things more difficult or complex than it needs to be, and I stress myself out unnecessarily. Usually I am overlooking the answer because it is so simple and right in front of me, and I am looking past it because I think it can’t be that easy.
That’s what I think of when I contemplate the covenant path. The path laid out for us by Heavenly Father is so simple. It’s the Sunday School answers: pray, read scriptures, attend meetings, follow the commandments, etc.
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ covenanted with us that if we just stay on the path by doing those simple things that we would receive so many blessings we can’t even imagine them all.
And even though it is that simple, no complexity attached, I find myself sometimes stumbling all over the path (versus staying in the center and walking straight) because I’m trying to make it more difficult than it is; and sometimes I am so consumed with perceiving the complexity that I trip over myself and fly headlong into the bushes along side the path.
The good news is that with the atonement of Jesus Christ I can pick myself up (again), brush off the dirt and twigs (again) and get back on the path and walk in a straighter line in the future.
So here’s to rejoicing in the simplicity of the covenant path and the atonement of the Savior that allows us back on when we have lost our way.