Each of us has moments in our lives where the days seem darker, and longer, and lonelier. We have mountains to climb, burdens we carry, and prayers we want answered according to our own timeline. Just as Christ wore a crown of thorns in His last few moments before the resurrection, each of us wears our own figurative thorns as we face the daily battles in our lives that often seem painful and unending.
Last Easter was very emotional for me. I was dealing with the unforeseen thorns in my life, trying to keep a smile on my face, but feeling very alone. It was the hopeful message of the Atonement and Resurrection that helped to pick me up that day and motivate me to keep climbing the mountains placed in front of me.
Sometimes we feel alone. Very alone. Sometimes the future is scary because of what we do not know. But I cannot help and think how much our Savior has His hand in ours, leading us through our every step, just as a toddler holds the loving hand of a parent as they take their first steps. Too often we allow ourselves to feel alone, focusing on the emptiness in our lives and the pain in our hearts, instead of the joy and companionship of Christ that is readily available to us.
“No words in Christendom mean more to me than those spoken by the angel to the weeping Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when, on the first day of the week, they approached the tomb to care for the body of their Lord. Spoke the angel: ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.’ ” – Thomas S. Monson
Just as the angel reminded Mary Magdalene at the tomb, we should not focus on what was, or what could have been – or what sadness we feel. Instead, this is a powerful reminder that because He lives, we can constantly find joy in Him, even when all seems lost.
My loving mother always gets each of us kids a picture of Christ on Easter and writes her testimony to go along with it. This year’s picture was emotionally powerful to me and reminded me that when I feel like I am drowning Christ is at the surface, ready to help my wavering faith and restore my confidence in Him. Too often I have judged Peter’s experience in the Bible for his lack of faith when He walked on water with Christ. Yet, how many times in my life have I “sunk” over and over again, and each time He extends his arm of love and lifts me up? He stands so readily to help each of us at every waking moment, yet we often refuse the help and insist on allowing ourselves to feel alone and lost.
I often reflect on the love that our Savior has for me. I know and believe that He not only died for me, but that He returned to bring me a message of hope that would get me through the darkest nights. To me, Easter is a message of re-birth and hope for a brighter tomorrow. No matter where I am, what my struggles are, or the pain I feel, I choose to put my faith in Christ and believe that the future is indeed, bright.
My latest topic of study has been the Savior and my heart has been softened as I am reminded of the man that He was, and is to every one who turns to Him. I have been reading every scripture I can find that mentions His name while keeping a running list of his characteristics, personality, and mannerisms. My love and relationship with Him have grown immensely and I have felt my heart softening when I am around others. How grateful I am for a loving older brother, who loved me so much, that He was willing to put God’s will first and die for me that I might have hope every single day.
I pray that we might turn to know our Savior better, that we may be more aware of His influence, guidance, and love in our lives. He can make much more out of us that we could ever do on our own. I have found that as I constantly set my personal desires, passions, priorities and ideas aside, what He has in store for me is infinitely better than I could ever think of doing on my own.
This video is a beautiful video that powerfully reminded me today that He lived and died and lived again, that I may continue to progress and to experience joy. Turn your hearts to Him, get to know Him better, and I promise that you, too, will find peace amid the thorny patches in your life.