This past week as I have contemplated about the events that led to this holiday I was reminded of an experience that I had on my mission that I want to share. Up until now I have only shared it with some close friends and family. It is very sacred to me and so it has been hard to share but I feel that it may help someone who is reading this.
During my mission I struggled a lot with feelings of inadequacy and my depression. One particular morning I decided to study the Atonement in preparation for a lesson my companion and I would be teaching later that evening. I think I must have fallen asleep because what happened next can only be described as a dream. I had been reading Alma 7:11-12 which says,
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
"And he will take upon him death, that he may loose 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 succor his people according to their infirmities."
I found myself in a garden standing in a very long line of people. We seemed to be waiting for something very important to happen. As the line began to move and I looked around and somehow I realized that I was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night the Savior began the Atonement.
I also realized that I was carrying a bucket and then noticed that the others were also carrying buckets. Some were small and some were large and some people even carried more than one bucket. As I came near to my Savior I realized that the buckets represented our sins and also all of our infirmities, pains, sicknesses, and other afflictions. The people were pouring out their buckets upon the Savior and He welcomed it, although I could tell He was in great agony.
As my turn came closer I didn't want to pour out my bucket. I began to cry because I didn't want to add to His burden. As I turned to face Jesus I was crying almost uncontrollably. He looked up at me and called me by name and told me it was okay. That He was willing to take upon Himself my burdens because He loved me.
I poured out my bucket upon Him and watched in tears as He endured the terrible pain. Then with tears in His eyes He told me it was okay and embraced me as we cried together.
That was the last thing I remember. Personal study was over and it was time to begin our companionship study. However, I could not talk about what I had seen and felt at that time. It was too sacred. I can still almost remember it even 6.5 years later.
I came to understand the Atonement in a way that I never had before. I had always known that He had taken upon Himself all our sins and that if we repent we can be forgiven because of Him. After that experience I realized that the Atonement isn't just about repentance and gaining a remission of sins. He actually felt everything that I have ever gone through physically, spiritually, and emotionally. He understands my depression. He has felt what I have felt. He has even felt the things that I have yet to go through and He did it because He loves me!
I am trying to remember these things. Those scriptures have become my favorite and I do read them often to try and remember. Since this is the time of year when we celebrate that Atonement, the Crucifixion, and Resurrection, I have been reading a lot of scriptures and quotes that have helped me to remember what Christ has done for me. I wanted to share some videos and things that have really stuck out to me and have helped me feel the Spirit.
The above video is part of a series of videos on the Savior's life/ Last night I watched it along with the other videos of the events that followed shortly after. I began to cry as I watched His suffering not only in the garden but as He was scourged and crucified. The tears became tears of joy however when after three days He was resurrected. Because of this we will all be resurrected. Because of the Atonement we can all be worthy to return to Him and our Father in Heaven someday.
This past week there has been a promotion by the Church called "Because of Him." There have been videos and memes all over Facebook. So I just want to add my own #BecauseofHim experience.
It is because of Him that I am here today. Through all of my struggles and trials He has been there. He has loved me unconditionally. Every time I forget to thank my Heavenly Father for what I have, every time I feel like I have been forgotten, every time I feel alone, deep down I know that He is there.
He is my Savior and Redeemer. He suffered in the Garden and gave His life on the cross because He truly does love me. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I know that He lives. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who loves me and is there for me no matter what.
If you would like to know more about Jesus Christ and His life and ministry here on earth as well as His Atonement and Resurrection you can go to http://mormon.org
Happy Easter! He is Risen!.