Saturday, June 2, 2012

Wounds to Heal

A couple of years ago during the beginning of an agonizing, dark time for me, I was taking an art class. Before the first day of class, I flipped through my textbook and this painting JUMPED out at me. If you are all familiar with her, you can tell this is a painting by Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter who painted many self portraits and is easily recogizable by her brow. Frida was in an accident when she was a teenager, which left her with lifelong health problems and pain.

All of us feel pain and anguish at some time as part of our mortal journey and many of us can relate to this painting. It is a natural and important part of this life to teach us and help us grow. It can come as health issues, either temporary or permanent on earth and can be physical or mental, natural disasters like tornadoes or fires, results of sin, trials with employment, or results of another person's use of their agency. Each of us has wounds, sometimes in stages of healing and sometimes fresh and gaping.

I recently talked to a church leader who told me that Heavenly Father would be cruel if he took away our trials, even those caused by another's choices. It is difficult to feel that it would be cruel to take away such intense pain, but it is part of His perfect plan. And I know that there is only one way for us to be healed of those wounds---the atonement.

“Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a ‘healing’ cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are “healed” by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, “He Heals the Heavy Laden

I am an impatient woman who just wants the burdens lifted and I have to remind myself of all my wonderful blessings that I am given even during struggles because he does bless me abudantly. I am so grateful for the peace He gives when we are living according to his commandments and our coveants. We can know that we will be rewarded for our enduring well and faithful consistency.

Unfortunately, even with the divine help of the atonement, our pains are often not immediately healed. It helped me to read the following quote, which reassured me that we do not have to feel guilty or ashamed if our pain does not go away immediately or if we do not forgive and forget automactially, as long as we are going in the right direction.

“Most of us need time to work through pain and loss.”
James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 2007, 67–69

I also found a beautiful talk which Elder Bednar gave at a BYU devotional which speaks of the enabling, healing power of the atonement, which all of us need and have the right to when we follow in our Savior's footsteps.

“I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs. …

“'And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord' (Mosiah 24:14–15).

"What was changed in this episode? It was not the burden that changed; the challenges and difficulties of persecution were not immediately removed from the people. But Alma and his followers were strengthened, and their increased capacity and strength made the burdens they bore lighter. These good people were empowered through the Atonement to act as agents and impact their circumstances. And 'in the strength of the Lord' Alma and his people were then directed to safety in the land of Zarahemla.

"…The enabling power of the Atonement of Christ strengthens us to do things we could never do on our own. Sometimes I wonder if in our latter-day world of ease—in our world of microwave ovens and cell phones and air-conditioned cars and comfortable homes—we ever learn to acknowledge our daily dependence upon the enabling power of the Atonement.

"…The Savior has suffered not just for our iniquities but also for the inequality, the unfairness, the pain, the anguish, and the emotional distresses that so frequently beset us. There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, 'No one understands. No one knows.' No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us His arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor—literally run to us—and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which we could never do through relying upon only our own power." 
Elder David A. Bednar, The Atonement and the Journey of MortalityBrigham Young University Devotional, October 23, 2001

“O Lord, wilt thou grant unto me that I may have strength, that I may suffer with patience these afflictions which shall come upon me, because of the iniquity of this people”


  1. That is beautiful.
    I always come away from here so uplifted.
    You have such an amazing capacity for tenderness and compassion.

  2. thank you for sharing these thoughts. i too am impatient and want my trials taken away. great perspective!

  3. It's encouraging to hear that we are allowed time to work through our issues...that we have a "grace period" to learn to forgive or overcome struggles. Some things are very difficult to let go of...and even though life would be easier if we could let go, the natural man sure is stubborn!! I hope things are getting easier for you. Love you.

  4. Very powerful image! I feel like that sometimes too, although I realize I have yet to suffer as much as others. I hope you are doing well.

  5. There's a certain strength we find in trial that we could never find in happy times. Our joy in Christ is that one thing sweeter than happiness that keeps us and strengthens us. Thanks for sharing and that Frido Kahlo painting is beautiful.

  6. It always amazes me how the trials I most LONG for the lord to take away - are the very ones (even if it takes a few years) which I later THANK the lord for the most. It is like any struggle. The harder you work to acquire something, whether it be a talent, a friendship, or simply peace - the more you appreciate every experience it took to get there!

    Way to write, Valerie!
    Corine :D


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