Topic : Loneliness

"Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me." (I Nephi 21:16)

At times, I have felt that God is not there when I need Him most. I have felt forgotten and abandoned. During these times of great difficulty I am forced to rely completely on faith. The Book of Mormon, and this verse in particular, helps provide me with peace. It comforts me to know that He is there and that He does love me. He has “graven thee upon the palms of my hands.” This verse helps me to believe that I am important to Him and that He is with me even through the trials that I think may seem insignificant to Him. He does care about me and wants me to return home to Him.

I am so grateful for The Book of Mormon and the spirit that I feel when I read it. It is an anchor in my life and it keeps my perspective looking up even through my heart aches. It brings a peace into my life of knowing why we are here and what we should be doing, and that God lives, and Jesus is our Savior.

"O how ye ought to thank your heavenly King!" (Mosiah 2:19)

When I was fourteen, it was my freshman year of high school. I was really struggling to get good grades and make friends. I was also beginning to have doubts about participating in church activities. Life was miserable and I wished for a change but I didn’t know how to make it.

One day in my math class I heard that if you write down three things you’re thankful for every day, you will get better grades. I thought why not give it a shot? So I started to write down three things I was thankful for every day.

At first I didn’t notice but I began to get gradually happier. Although I was getting better grades, I hardly noticed because everything else around me was going so well. I began to have better relationships with my family members and my Father in Heaven. I did so by studying my scriptures, not just reading them. I also started to make my prayers more meaningful. I would talk to my Heavenly Father and express how thankful I was for the many wonderful things he had given to me. I would talk about how life was going and asked for help with whatever struggles I was having. I also asked questions. I learned that prayer is a powerful yet simple way of connecting with my Father in Heaven.

As I continued this pattern I became more happy every day. I was sooo thankful for all that Heavenly Father had done for me. I gradually started making regular trips to the temple.

Although at the time I had not read the scripture verse I have quoted above, I now know how powerful its words are, because thankfulness had such a huge impact on my life for good. Before, I would never have realized how doing one little thing could be such a blessing in my life. Now I am sixteen, and I keep a small notebook by my bed in which I write things I am thankful for every day. I feel that being thankful is a powerful way to become happy in life. I’m so thankful for my Heavenly Father and that He blesses and cares for me every day. I love this gospel, and I’m thankful I’ve continued to attend church meetings through all my doubts. I invite others to “experiment upon (the) word” (Alma 32:27), and come to know of its truthfulness.

"I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love." (2 Nephi 1:15)

I have always loved The Book of Mormon. As I grew up, our family would read it or the Holy Bible every day. I learned scriptural principles just like I learned my letters and numbers, little by little, each day building upon the one before. My well of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Savior of the world was being filled by learning and living what my parents and the scriptures lovingly taught to me.

Fast forward to my 7th grade year in school. Something happened in one of my classes and I was met with the decision to be honest or silent. I chose honesty. In so doing, I lost all the friends I had since childhood, and threats of bodily harm started coming daily. I was lonely and scared. I didn’t tell my parents because I mistakenly thought that it would make things worse. I found a place to hide outside during lunch and decided to read The Book of Mormon to calm my troubled heart.

This became my lunchtime routine for a couple of months. During this time, I journeyed with the Book of Mormon prophets who kept the records of the Lord’s work among His children. Prophets like Nephi, whose own brothers tried to kill him for doing what was right, but whom he “frankly forgave.” (See 1 Nephi 7:21) Or Enos, a record keeper, who prayed all day and night not only for himself and his family, but for his enemies “that . . . they might be brought unto salvation . . . .” (See Enos 1:11-17) Or Alma, a wicked priest who (at the peril of his own life) repented of his many sins and taught his people so that many became desirous “to come into the fold of God, and to be called His people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens that they may be light . . . and stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places.” (See Mosiah 18:8-9)

It was a welcome and peaceful escape from the nervous worry that I felt daily. My constant companion in this journey with the prophets was the Holy Ghost, whispering to my heart that I was not alone, nor was I the only one who had suffered or been threatened for choosing right.

My greatest friend that I quietly found journeying with me was Jesus Christ. I came to know Him and His yearnings for us. His desires became my desires as well, and I found that I could face those who were bullying me with a courageous but forgiving heart. Though I am far from perfect, through The Book of Mormon I have felt that the Lord has “encircled me about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15) I know that I can always count on Him to be with me when I open my scriptures to find answers or peace.

"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 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. Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh. . . ." (Alma 7:11-13)

This past year I have really gotten to know my Savior Jesus Christ on a deeper and more personal level. I have never felt so much pain and sorrow as I have felt my last years of high school. I struggled through though, because I know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. While I was reading the Book of Mormon, I came across the above passage of scriptures that has changed my life forever. Christ could have just asked the Spirit what it was like to feel all this pain and suffering, but this scripture suggests to me that Christ wanted to feel what we’ve felt, to go through what we experience, so that he can better extend the hand of mercy to us. He didn’t want to just sympathize with us, He wanted to empathize with us. What greater show of love could Jesus have given us? He didn’t want us to walk alone in these trying times; He wanted to be there with us, every step of the way, so that He could better understand what we need. He will never leave us comfortless and alone, He will always be there for us. I know that He will always be there for me, and He will never leave me to bear my trials alone. I know this with all my heart. I am thankful to have Jesus Christ as my Savior.

I know that Jesus Christ is always there for us, and He never leaves us to bear our trials alone. I know this to be true with all of my heart, and I’m so thankful to have Jesus Christ as my Savior.

"And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked, and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things; and behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled, which saith: The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people; for the names of the righteous shall be written in the book of life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled. For what shepherd is there among you having many sheep doth not watch over them, that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; and he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed. And now I, Alma, do command you in the language of him who hath commanded me, that ye observe to do the words which I have spoken unto you. I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life." (Alma 5:57-62)

Growing up as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I never felt I really needed to be “converted” to the teachings that I had grown up learning. It wasn’t until my Junior and Senior years of high school that I really felt like my belief in the Church was being tested. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at the age of sixteen. Being told that not only did I have a serious pain condition but that it would also stick with me for life, led to my developing a serious case of depression. I allowed myself to become bitter and angry with God, and got myself mixed up in a crowd that wasn’t conducive to the standards the Church had in place. However, I began to feel empty inside. I was happy, but I didn’t feel whole. I began to wonder if having the Lord back in my life would help me to feel complete again. While reading the Book of Mormon, I found many verses that talked about abandoning sin, and coming unto Christ, but Alma 5 particularly stood out. Not only did it encourage me to abandon living the life of frivolity that I was currently participating in, but it compared all of us on earth to sheep being watched over by “the good shepherd”. The line, “the good shepherd doth call after you; and if you will hearken unto his voice he will bring you into his fold, and ye are his sheep; . . .that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life” was the tipping point in turning from the life I was currently living, and coming unto the Savior That was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt as peaceful, jovial, and simply content with who and where I am in life, as I have since I decided to make the decision to abandon the person that I was and become a member of the fold which is actively watched over and protected by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.