Today is Easter. So many of my thoughts have been about our Savior, Jesus Christ. I'm so grateful for the talks I heard at church, today. Two of my dear friends spoke and it was good to hear their thoughts about the Savior and how the Atonement has touched their lives. To quickly define what the Atonement is, it is everything that Jesus Christ has done on our behalf. It is His great intercessory prayer that He offered up to Heavenly Father, giving up everything, even His life so that we could return back to our Heavenly Father. It is Jesus Christ being willing to take upon Himself everything that would ever bring us down in this life; sin, emotional grief, burdens, transgression, etc...anything that would stand in our way of being one with our Heavenly Father.
As I listened to my friends' talks, it made me think of what makes me grateful to have Jesus Christ in my life. Of all the experiences I've had in my life, one stood out in particular.
About eleven years ago, when I was on my mission, I received the devastating news that my Tutu (grandmother) had passed away. It was sudden and without any warning. That Wednesday morning, I received a call from my Mission President saying that I should call home, my Tutu was in the hospital. A couple hours later, as I was reading my emails from home, my sister gave me the news of her passing. I started weeping uncontrollably, I was devastated beyond belief. I didn't care who heard or saw me; my heart was broken and my dear sweet Tutu was gone. My missionary companion was embarrassed and in a snarky tone said, "WHY are you crying?! Geez!" I wanted to run outside and cry my heart out on those library steps. I didn't even get to say good-bye to my Tutu. I felt a million times worse since I didn't call her for Mother's Day like I had wanted to.
I cried all the way home. It was a long silent ride home. I called my Mission President to see if I could call home. As I called home and wept on the phone, I was so overwhelmed with grief. I just couldn't believe that in over a year's time I had lost both of my grandparents.
I had never dealt with such tremendous grief, alone. I felt so very alone, 3000 miles away from home and all my loved ones who had each other for support. I felt no comfort or compassion from my companion. I didn't know what to do besides cry and pray, because praying is what you do in all cases as a missionary. So I prayed.
I knelt down and prayed. I poured out my heart to my Heavenly Father because I felt alone and I felt like no one knew what I was feeling or going through. No one. I offered up the most humble and sincerest of prayers because I had no one to talk to, except my Heavenly Father. I wanted to know why He didn't allow me to see my Tutu after my mission. Why I would have to suffer through this, away from my family, while I was in His service? I kept telling Him that no one understood what I was feeling and that I was all alone. I ended my prayer, but stayed on the floor, waiting for an answer or some comfort of peace. Minutes later, a sweet spirit of reassurance enveloped me; I wasn't alone, not at all. I came to know in a very real sense that there was One who had gone through what I was experiencing. I wasn't alone, not at all. Jesus, my friend, knew exactly of the grief that consumed my heart. He was my friend that had gone through it all so that we would never have to carry the burdens of life, alone. I wonder how Jesus might have felt when he received word that his cousin John was dead. I wasn't alone anymore. I had a Friend who knew exactly what I was feeling and that was the sweetest peace and comfort I could have ever received in my moment of sorrow. I had a Heavenly Father who heard my pleas and a Savior who knew of the peace I so desperately needed.
So whenever I think of Jesus Christ and what he's done for my life, I am always brought back to this experience. I am truly grateful for this experience and the testimony of Christ that I was blessed with.
Do I know Jesus Christ? Yes, he is my Friend.