I love how in French they don't say "get something off your chest." You get things off your heart. In fact, the direct translation of "I had to get it off my chest" type phrase is "I had to say what was on my heart."
How well that describes what I'm feeling today.
I miss my mission. So much so it hurts. Lately it's been worse than usual. I blame Ben. Spending a whole weekend with a guy I've experienced my mission with since before day one made a plethora of memories come flooding back. Hahaha, especially because of all the photos I was either in or was present when they were taken. MEMORIES! Then, the weather has be so Versailles-esque lately. Oh gosh, I'm having such Soeur Jorgensen flashbacks. Oh how I love her. She's coming home on Thursday. I'm about to wet my pants I'm so excited. She's my other half. We are the same person. One time she told me about some aboriginal tribe that doesn't speak... they read minds. I was like, "WHOAH. How?" She said they just had their minds and hearts open to each other so they could read their thoughts. So I told her to try it with me. "No, Soeur Barros." "PLEASE???? Tell me what I'm thinking!" "I don't want to! What if I get it wrong??" "You won't! Guess!" I finally had to bait her with a hint. And guess what... she totally read my mind. Okay, not really. But she guessed correctly. That's because we could finish each other's thoughts. It was such a perfect friendship. I miss her.
I miss my mission. I miss France. I miss having a purpose. I miss being privy to the Spirit in ways I can no longer experience... well, not in a consistent manner. I miss loving people that I didn't even know. I miss helping people progress. But you know what I miss the most lately?
I have been experiencing the Atonement of Jesus Christ in a way I haven't had to in a long time. And I have no one to help with it! On my mission I would experience something, then pray for the Lord to place someone in my path that I could help with my newly acquired knowledge. And He always did. And now... I have no one to tell. So I'm telling all of you.
I'm going to share my very personal and honest testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
I usually put the Atonement in my tool box used for fixing my sins. I've experienced that cleansing power in a very real way. When I start doubting the veracity of the gospel, I remember the experiences I've had with being forgiven of my sins... and all my doubts disappear. I can't deny those experiences, one in particular. So yes, I know and never forget to use the Atonement for repentance. I often forget, however, the power of the Atonement in my other trials. Like... a broken heart.
Now, I say broken heart because I saw Ben Pitman tonight at the CES broadcast in Clovis. FIVE YEARS AGO, almost exactly, Ben and I had a big riff over attending a CES broadcast that later contributed to him dumping me. So seeing him tonight in the very room he wanted us to go five years ago reminded me of a bazillion emotions. Mostly, though, the emotions were gratitude for the Atonement. Because seeing the man that dumped me a week before my wedding didn't cause me the anguish, or hurt, or bitterness I used to feel. I didn't feel an ounce of resentment. I didn't experience a moment of regret. I just felt love and compassion for the man.
I mean, WOW.
Anyone who knew me through that experience probably can't believe that. Oh how hurt I was! Oh how sad I was! And oh how healed I was through the power of Christ's sacrifice. I accomplished nothing. I just prayed for help, put forth the tiny bit of effort I could muster, and He did the rest. He took my burden from me. He healed my heart. He helped me find joy in a life that was empty and sans espoir. How did He do it? Gosh, I wish I could tell you. I don't rightly know. But I do know that I'm as happy as I am grace a lui, meaning, thanks to Him.
This last week I've been trying to refocus myself and remake some life plans. I can't really explain what's going on, but I can list some of the emotions I've been feeling on a regular basis: fear, disappointment, insecurities about myself and my desirability, confusion, loss, and anxiety. And none of these are the result of me sinning or anyone else hurting me for that matter. These are just the things of life that come at you, and no matter how hard you think you've prepared, you can't really brace yourself for these things. So what do I do? How do I deal with it? Gosh, I wish I could say that my first response was "GET ON YOUR KNEES AND USE THE ATONEMENT!"
Ha. It wasn't.
I'm a big fan of denial.
After I got past my denial, meaning last night, I broke down and cried my heart out to the Lord. I told Him everything that was going on. All the stupid feelings running around my heart, and all the stupid insecurities running around my brain. And then I figured it out: Ben. Ben Pitman. I had done this kind of thing before. I mean, totally not the same situation (mostly). But the same feelings. So I started stating what I hoped to be true.
Which is, in all reality, my testimony of the Atonement of Christ.
I declared with more conviction than I've felt in a long time that I KNOW Christ is my Savior. He is there for me during all my trials and tribulations. He can heal me. He can lift my burden from me. He holds my hand as I try to wade through these life trials. He is ready to help me up when I fall down, exhausted from carrying my heavy heart.
The Atonement, to me, is a personalized thing. I believe that it can be molded to fit each of us and our trials. I know that I have felt its power in a variety of situations.
I know it's real. I know He lives. And I know that all will be well.
I wish I were more articulate. But for some reason, no matter how intricate and brilliant I try to make this testimony, and at this point I've written it more than three times, it keeps coming out wrong. I guess that's because as a humble Man, I don't need to use big words to declare my love and appreciation for Him. Simplicity is just as sincere and valid... probably more so.
I know that my Redeemer lives.
I know that no matter the trial, faith in the Atonement of Christ will bring you hope and peace.
I know that His Atonement is central to Heavenly Father's plan of Happiness for us.
I know that He loves me.
I know that He loves you.
I wish I could do what the French say, get out the things of my heart. I would roll all of this conviction and faith that I have into an orb of light and give it to everyone I know. Especially one person. A woman I love so much, but have a hard time sharing my testimony with. Maybe... maybe she's the one that can hear the words that yearn to be declared.
I begged the Lord to take away any future heartbreak. Being a person who loves people, and I don't just mean romantic love, I am often the victim of heartbreak. And when I pretend I don't care, the hurt deepens. So I asked the Lord to stop it all. That I've paid my heartbreak dues. And the response was intriguing. But the only part I can share is that by taking away pain, He'll be taking away opportunities for me to use the Atonement, and draw closer to my Father in Heaven.
I am grateful for my trials. Not all the time. I'm no saint. But I am currently someone who is starting to see how blessed I am to be in the mess that I am. Because I'm drawing unto my Father in ways I haven't for a very long time.
I love the gospel.
I love my Heavenly Father.
And I love you. Each of you separately and individually.
I hope you feel a the Spirit a little bit when you read my simple, yet sincere, testimony.
" And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions andbtemptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will ctake upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.