Today is Easter Sunday. Two things that I love about Easter is that it gives me a day to remember two of the most important things in my life: my Savior and my family.
My oldest son was born on Easter morning 2008. I was so happy that his birthday was on Easter, because what better way to remember our Saviors life and sacrifice than by holding a newborn baby. Perfect and free of sin, just like Christ. And because of the suffering that Jesus endured in Gethsemane and on the cross at Calvary, I can always have my babies with me, in this life and after death.
I can't even begin to imagine what his disciples must have felt as they watched their Lord and Master hang from the cross, each haggard breath bringing Him closer to the finality of death. This man that they loved and looked up to, that they learned from and walked with. I am grateful this Easter Sunday that my Savior accomplished the final task. He didn't turn away, even through excruciating pain and suffering.
The Atonement of Christ gives us an escape from the chains of sin that can bind us. But it also gives us comfort in our darkest moments and hope when all we see is despair. I find a great peace in the knowledge that no matter what my circumstances in life are, the Savior has felt my emotions. He has experienced wonderful moments of joy and happiness, and also moments of pain, sadness and hopelessness. Everything I feel, I share with him.
I experienced something in my life 6 months ago that I thought I would never have to go through. I spent weeks (ok, months) feeling angry, hurt and confused. There were days where I literally could not get myself off the couch and out from under the grief that seemed to be swallowing me whole. I knew that the only way to overcome the trial I was facing was to rely wholly on my Savior. And so I did. I intensified my scripture reading. I played hymns in my home every day. I kept a prayer in my heart at all times. It was nothing short of a miracle when I felt my pain slowly subsiding. In some of the most horrible moments, I can remember feeling as if someone were sitting with me, arms around me, holding me and sharing my grief.
Those moments were a witness to me that CHRIST LIVES! That the Atonement is not just for those who have sinned. The Atonement is for me. For every moment of pain that I live through. For my broken heart. For my joyful heart. D&C 101:36 reads: "...for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full."
Our Savior wants us to have joy in our hearts, not despair, guilt or fear. And so He gave us the ultimate gift. He gave it to me, and He will give it to you. He died and lives again, so that we too may live again.