Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Freedom Isn't Free

We recently celebrated Veteran's Day--a day we honor those who have served to help keep us free, and often are called upon to help others who do not have freedom. We have many holidays that are similar in nature: Independence Day, Memorial Day, Patriots Day, etc. We often display flags or other patriotic symbols that demonstrate our gratitude to live in a free nation.

Those that understand freedom, also understand that freedom is not free, but comes with a price. Often the price paid is the blood of those willing to fight for us to enable us to enjoy the comforts we have. Without those willing to sacrifice their lives or the lives of loved ones, we may be living in a very different world--a world in which many are still living because they are not afforded similar freedoms.

My children enjoying religious freedoms as
we visit the St. George, UT LDS Temple Christus
There is One who paid the ultimate price for our freedom: Jesus Christ. Sometimes we hear the phrase "free agency," which is not an accurate description. Just like our national freedoms, agency is not free, but has been paid in full with the blood of our Savior. Suffering in Gethsemane and dying on the cross were the ultimate sacrifice that paid for all of our sins, for all of our agency and for all of us that the debt might be paid in full--so we can be freed from our sins, our pains and sufferings, and freed from death.

Different from those who fight in wars for our freedoms, Christ's atonement is for ALL people who have ever lived on the earth and will ever live here. There is nothing that cannot be paid for through His atoning sacrifice. There is nothing that cannot be healed through Him.
"The Savior's suffering in Gethsemane and His agony on the cross redeem us from sin by satisfying the demands that justice has upon us. He extends mercy and pardons those who repent. The Atonement also satisfies the debt justice owes to us by healing and compensating us for any suffering we innocently endure." D. Todd Christofferson, Redemption, April 2013 General Conference

“Though you may feel that no one can understand the depth of your despair, our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands. He suffered more than we can possibly imagine, and He did it for us; He did it for you. You are not alone.” -President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Regardless of your beliefs, the love of God has no bounds. The Atonement is for all. It is not just for our sins, but for all healing that we need. We need healing from sins, but also from abuse, abandonment, betrayal, sickness and all other afflictions. His suffered for all of it--felt all pains we have ever and will ever feel. He is the only one who can truly know how we feel. It is through Him that we are truly free--free from our burdens and sufferings.

Freedom means a lot to me. As you consider the freedoms you have been given, don't forget the sacrifice made by many. Most importantly, don't forget the sacrifice made by One for many--even for ALL. It comes without conditions and without expiration and, most importantly, without any limits.

© Wendy 2013

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Seeking Gratitude

November seems to be a really popular month for everyone to think about, or even post on social media, things they are thankful for. Not only is this a great idea, but it also helps us to realize how many wonderful things and blessings we actually do have in life. We seem to notice more and more of what we do have, and forget about what we don't. We can become more positive while we shift our thinking away from the negative. Thomas S. Monson said:
"We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues" ("An Attitude of Gratitude," Ensign, May 1992, 54)."
I also try to see events in my life for what they usually are: blessings from a loving Heavenly Father. There are so many things for us to learn and enjoy. Often, our greatest blessings come during or as a result of trials in our life. Frequently, the answers to our prayers are direct blessings in our lives. There are so many things in our lives that we have, and often take for granted, that we need to realize and be grateful for. David B. Haight taught:
"It’s so easy in life for us to receive blessings, many of them almost uncounted, and have things happen in our lives that can help change our lives, improve our lives, and bring the Spirit into our lives. But we sometimes take them for granted. How grateful we should be for the blessings that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our hearts and souls. I would remind all of you that if we’re ever going to show gratitude properly to our Heavenly Father, we should do it with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength—because it was He who gave us life and breath" ("Were There Not Ten Cleansed?," Ensign, Nov 2002, 24)."
Think of as many things as you can that you are grateful for in your life. They could be family, friends, your job, your home, food in your pantry, a testimony of Jesus Christ, or simply the beauty in the world around us. Write down your ideas in a journal or somewhere you can see them often and add to the list daily. I think you will be amazed at the ways you have been blessed in your life.

I am most grateful for my testimony of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is through Him, and Him alone, that we can not only repent from our wrongs, but also be healed from all pains, sorrows, heartache and shortcomings in our life. He is our redeemer. I am also grateful for friends and family who are often the answers to my very prayers--sent to me in my time of need. I know that we can lift and help others as we desire to serve our God. There are so many things in this world--if not everything--that is a testament of our Father and His love for us. Even amid horrible trials, there are things we need to learn, beauty to be found and people to save.

We need to be grateful for what we are given and express our gratitude in prayer. We teach our kids to say please and thank you; we also need to exercise this when we talk to God. We need to teach our children by example to say please and thank you in our humble prayers.

Be grateful. Focus on the positive. See the blessings around you. Feel of His love for you.

For some more inspiring blog posts:
Dreaming About Someday
Babes in Hairland
Or So She Says...

© Wendy 2013