A while back, I was on my way home across town, with my children in the car, and my son said, “Hey mom, there’s that lady from our church that we haven’t seen for a long time. Should we say hi?” “Oh, it is!” I responded, “Let’s say hello!”
I pulled over and got out of my car to visit with her. I asked how she was, and where she had been. I told her we missed seeing and being with her, and hoped she was well. She went on to tell me she wasn’t happy or doing well. She was living with her boyfriend who didn’t care about her, and all they did was smoke and drink. I told this wonderful woman that her happiness was up to her. She would have to choose, then act, and the consequences, good or bad, would come naturally.
She wasn’t happy because her spirit recognized she was not living true to who she knows she really is, and what she’s capable of as a daughter of God. Why doesn’t she believe she deserves happiness and that it is also what God wants her to experience? Doesn’t she know she’s loved, has remarkable gifts and incredible potential that only she can contribute?
I thought of the $20 bill analogy. It does not matter how dirty, old, torn, abused, or crumpled up a $20 bill is. It’s still worth $20. Similarly, it doesn’t matter what mistakes we’ve made along our journey of life or what troubles we have experienced: we are still worth the full amount. Don’t the dirt, tears, and crumpled aging we experience allow us to be of more use to God to help others find light through us, having experienced such trials ourselves? After sampling a portion of the Savior’s suffering, we can better know how to be instruments in his hands to reach others going through similar challenges of growth. Growing requires growing pains, and we are on Earth to grow.
A scripture reminds us that the worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God. He made and loves us perfectly. Not because we earn his love or need to be perfect to be loved. He is perfect and so is able to love us perfectly. (The Hebrew meaning of “perfect” is “whole.”) He loves us completely, as a whole, simply because we are His.
I love what Thomas S Monson has said:
“Heavenly Father loves you, that love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance; it is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply ALWAYS there. It is there for you when you’re sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply ALWAYS there.”
He desires us to come to him AS WE ARE. Then through his healing power, because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be changed! If we turn our hearts over to him, he will make so much more of us than we ever could of ourselves.
I testify that at any moment we can choose how our happily ever after will end. The Lord is waiting for you, with his hand stretched out. It is our choice to reach back to him. I pray we each will.
With love and faith in Christ,