I was going through my email sent box the other day, cleaning house and deleting old stuff, when I came across an email I had written to him a few months before his baptism, as he was making his decision to join the church. It gave me a few goose bumps as I read.
Indulge me as I share it. Mostly, I want it on my blog so that I can have this as a record and testimony of my own growth, but also I like the insight. Maybe you will, too.
When I was a little girl, I grew up in a small town called Rifle, Colorado. Every Easter, the local hospital would host an Easter Egg hunt on their front lawn. Every one came. And there was always tons of candy- perfect for little hunters. And anticipation was always at a maximum. Once the signal was given, it was pandemonium- children all over the place with their little wicker Easter baskets- gathering up all the candy they could.
When all the Easter sweetness was collected, it was time to sort the bounty. But the fun was not over. On each candy, was a tag with the name of a store on Main Street, downtown. And, if we wanted, we could take that piece of candy downtown and trade it at the store for an even better prize. Usually, the store clerk had kites and cars and parachute guys or balloons or whistles. And we could decide if we would give up that piece of candy for something that would last a bit longer than the sugar settling on our tongue and gone in a moment. And I usually traded in my candy and redeemed it for the better item.
Years later as I was reading the Book of Mormon one day, I read a story that I had read numerous times before, but took on a new meaning for me this particular time. The story was in the book of Alma, chapter 22. It caused me to remember Easter Egg hunting on the community hospital lawn in the little town of Rifle, Colorado.
The story centers around a man named Aaron who is, at the time, a missionary and teaching King Lamoni's father- who was also a king. Aaron tells King Lamoni's father about the gospel of Jesus Christ. King Lamoni's father is touched and the following conversation ensues:
16 But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest.
17 And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying:
18 O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day
King Lamoni's father was a king who went through life enjoying the things that he felt enriched his life- his material possessions, his habits, his passions, his power. But Aaron teaches him the gospel and King Lamoni's father recognizes truth and realizes he is missing important things in his life and he is willing to give up all his sins- his material possessions, his habits, his passions, his power, the things he loves- to know God.
Just like the Easter Egg hunt- he has gone through life collecting all his sins in his wicker basket. And they are things he thinks are important and exciting. But, when he feels of the greater importance of Aaron's message, he is willing to give up all those things for something better. And he gives his trust to God that He will deliver all of what He promises. He accepts the Atonement and utilizes it in his life- similar to a child surrendering her candy with the faith that the store clerk will reward her with something that will bring greater lasting joy.
This is what the scriptures can do for you. As you read them and liken them to your own life, all the struggles you face can be overcome, if you are willing to give them up. All of them! You just need to commit to change- and then move forward and not look back. And trust in the Lord. He blesses us beyond belief, and all He requires it that we give up.