I was asked by Trent's cousin's wife to write the following talk for her YW. It will be presented tonight along with the video that follows and the song that she wrote when Trent passed away.
The Atonement and Adversity
In May of 2010 my husband was diagnosed with Stage IV Pleomorphic Spindle Cell Sarcoma at the age of 37. We, along with our five children, were devastated. The fear that gripped us was almost tangible. We turned to the Lord to give us peace, comfort, and the strength we would need to face the tremendous battle that would lie before us.
Over the course of the next twenty eight months we came to more fully understand the role of our Savior’s Atonement for each of us. For so long I associated the Atonement with sin. However, the acts of the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross encompass so much more than paying the price for our sins. In Alma 7: 11-12 it reads:
11And he shall go forth, suffering pains and aafflictions and btemptations 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.
12And he will take upon him adeath, that he may bloose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to csuccor his people according to their infirmities.
That part was for Trent. Christ took upon himself the pains and suffering of cancer, and every other illness, so that he would know how to succor Trent in his darkest hours.
And in Isaiah 53:4 we read:
That part was for me. Christ has born my grief and carried my sorrows. He descended below all to be able lift us up in our times of need. When my husband passed away seven months ago I began a whole new journey in understanding the Atonement. During my darkest hours I found comfort in knowing that my Savior, Jesus Christ, knew exactly what I was feeling and how my heart was breaking because He had already felt every pain that I was experiencing. I came to know that not only did He feel my pain, but He wept with me. He wasn’t sitting back thinking, “It’s okay that you are hurting now, because in the end it will all be worth it.” Instead He lowered himself to the depths of my sorrow and wept with me, never leaving me alone.
As much as I already knew about the Atonement and its redeeming qualities for sin, I learned how to apply the Atonement to my life for sorrow, grief, doubt, and fear. I learned to fully rely on the Lord and His wisdom to carry me through not only the tough times, but my entire life. As I did so, I realized there was a whole other aspect of the Atonement that I had never considered before, the enabling power of the Atonement. Elder David Bednar said, “I frankly do not think many of us ‘get it’ concerning the enabling and strengthening aspect of the Atonement, and I wonder if we mistakenly believe we must make the journey from good to better and become a saint all by ourselves through sheer grit, willpower, and discipline, and with our obviously limited capacities.” Heavenly Father and the Savior can strengthen us, bless us, and comfort us as we learn to lay our burdens at Their feet.
As my children and I are working to overcome our sorrow and grief, we are being strengthened and lifted up. My oldest daughter is 15 and a sophomore in high school. She has been somewhat quiet with her pain and doesn’t show much emotion. I have worried about her and what she must be going through and how she is handling things. However, I have been humbled as I have watched her grow. I have witnessed her reach out to her friends who are struggling and lift them up and love them. I have listened to her express her desire to help them in any way. I have seen amazing growth in each of my children and am grateful for the extra help and care they are given each day.
I have also had many opportunities to participate in the lives of others who are struggling with cancer, death, and picking up the pieces of a shattered life. Many times I have been given the strength to do things and say things that I was sure I could not handle. I have grown in ways I never thought possible. I am forever changed because of the enabling power of the Atonement. It has made weak things strong and I know that it is only through Christ that these things are possible. The Atonement is meant to make us “one” with our Savior. In putting away sin, overcoming trials, and blessing the lives of others, that is exactly what we are doing.
In closing I want to leave you with my testimony that I know beyond doubt that Christ lives. He atoned for my sins, my sorrow, and my growth. Heavenly Father knows each one of us intimately and loves us infinitely. I know that Heavenly Father’s plan is perfect and His plan for me will help me to become the person He needs me to become. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Video by Natasha Jones
Leaning on Faith