This last weekend we were able to enjoy Stake Conference. Sister Gilchrist gave a beautiful talk in the Sunday session, and she has graciously agreed to share it with us. Thank you for the inspiring words!
Peace Through the Savior
– A couple of weeks ago while I was at my safe haven (Target, late at night, w/ no kids) my phone rang. I answered to hear a voice saying, “Hello, Sis. Gilcrhrist, this is Pres. Walker”. He asked if I was planning on attending Stake Conference and when I answered “yes,” I thought for sure he was about to ask me to participate in the stake choir as I had just heard they were looking for a few more sisters to join. So I was floored when he asked if I’d give a talk (Target is no longer my safe haven)! I asked if there were anything in particular he’d like me to speak about it and he said, “No, just something to let the sisters know what a great job they’re doing, that they’re loved – something that will uplift them”.
-To say I am feeling very humbled right now is an understatement. I pray that I’ll be up to the task and that what I share today will help you feel uplifted. That being said…
– Now I’d like you to think of your day today. Maybe you struggled to get your teenagers out of bed, your family fed, dressed and out the door on time to get a soft seat at conference. Maybe you’re wrangling little ones on your lap that are wrinkling and hitching up your skirt as I’m speaking. Perhaps you’re thinking about the dinner you’ll have to prepare and clean up this evening or the debacle of getting children’s teeth brushed and ready for bed. Now think of your upcoming week. Does it include early morning school schedules, rush hour traffic, a busy work schedule, cleaning, laundry, callings to fulfill, FHE to prepare, bills to pay, sickness, heartache, worry?
Are you feeling uplifted yet?
-In his April, 2014 conference talk, “Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,” Elder David A. Bednar tells of the story of his friend who got his truck stuck in the snow and was only able to get it out after filling the truck bed with a load of firewood he chopped. It was the load that provided the traction he needed to move. He goes on to say, “Each of us also carries a load. Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints”.
I think it’s important to note that our loads are not always filled with negative things – he says there can be opportunities, privileges, and options! He goes on to say “Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: ‘Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?’ Sometimes we mistakenly may believe that happiness is the absence of a load. But bearing a load is a necessary and essential part of the plan of happiness. Because our individual load needs to generate spiritual traction, we should be careful to not haul around in our lives so many nice but unnecessary things that we are distracted and diverted from the things that truly matter most.”
-So we all have loads and we need to evaluate what is in them. More work! Are you feeling uplifted yet? Well, I promise there is peace to be found. It is in the only place I could think to turn to when Pres. Walker asked me to share something to uplift…
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”. (Matthew 11:28-30)
-Could your soul use some rest, could you benefit from a lighter burden?
Elder Bednar states, “Making and keeping sacred covenants yokes us to and with the Lord Jesus Christ.” I have found that when I learn of our Savior through the scriptures, pray in His name, and make and keep sacred covenants with the Lord, I can receive the blessing of the the Atonement. The Atonement makes it possible for us to repent and be relieved from the burden of sin, and there are other blessings with the Atonement that I think we sometimes forget.
Elder Bednar asks, “…do we also understand that the Atonement is for faithful men and women who are obedient, worthy, and conscientious and who are striving to beome better and serve more faithfully? I wonder if we fail to fully acknowledge this stenghening aspect of the Atonement in our lives and mistakenly believe we must carry our load all alone – through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline and with our obviously limited capacities. It is one thing to know that Jesus Christ came down to the earth to die for us. But we also need to appreciate that the Lord desires, through His Atonement and by the power of the Holy Ghost, to enliven us – not only to guide but also to strengthen and heal us.”
I love that! “…by the power of the Holy Ghost to enliven us.” It makes me feel so energized!
Our loads are not meant to be carried grudgingly, all alone by us. Yes, we are meant to do our best and endure, but that can be done joyfully and peacefully when done with our Savior.
I’d like to suggest that one of the most efficient ways to carry our portion of the load would be to put the bulk of our efforts not into making schedules and checklists, but into drawing closer to the Savior and becoming more like Him. This allows us to utilize the power of the Holy Ghost. I’ve recently found a great way to evaluate how I’m doing at drawing closer to the Savior.
In her book, “What Would a Holy Woman Do?”, Sis. Wendy Nelson, wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson, shares and experience she had travelling with her husband when he’d been asked to rededicate the remodeled temple in Tonga.
She decided to ask 6 friends (varying in age, family situations, work etc.) for help. She asked them for 3 days to just choose one of their daily activities and do it as a holy woman would do it. How would a holy woman take on a difficult project, exercise, read to her child, shop, do laundry, talk to her husband – just move through her normal life? Her friends then reported their experiences with her.
I’d like to share just a couple:
Marilyn (pgs. 21-22)
Canadian Sister (35-37)
We all have different loads at different seasons of our lives. I can testify that as I’ve taken the time to evaluate my load and turn to my Savior, the Spirit has let me know how to best accomplish my tasks. The answers have been very different for me at different times in my life. Sometimes I needed to drop things that I thought were necessary but the Lord let me know that they weren’t. And sometimes I’ve needed to carry them when I would have loved to chuck them right off my load! J Some of the busiest, most challenging, heart wrenching times of my life have also been the most peaceful because I relied on my Savior and the sweet guidance and comfort He sent through the Holy Ghost.
-I’d like to end with an invitation and a promise Elder Bednar, an apostle of the Lord, gives:
“I invite you to study, pray, ponder, and strive to learn more about the Savior’s Atonement as you assess your individual load.”
“The unique burdens in each of our lives help us to rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah. I testify and promise the Savior will help us to bear up our burdens with ease. As we are yoked with Him through sacred covenants and receive the enabling power of His Atonement in our lives, we increasingly will seek to understand and live according to His will. We also will pray for the strength to learn from, change, or accept our circumstances rather than praying relentlessly for God to change our circumstances according to our will. We will become agents who act rather than objects that are acted upon. We will be blessed with spiritual traction.”
-I know these things to be true. Our loads can bring us closer the Lord, and help us be more holy if we will let them. I know there is real, lasting peace in yoking ourselves with the Savior. I love Him, I know He lives, and I say these things in His name, amen.