Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Scriptures: the word of God
I have always been a little silly about my scriptures, especially because I've always had a copy with the Old and New Testament, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. When I started college, I knew that my scriptures from high school seminary were a bit marked up and there wasn't really a meaning in my markings; simply, the more markings, the more I liked the scripture or the more times I had learned from its teachings. My best friend finally suggested we move on to new scriptures together. Well, I did it. I bought new scriptures and I signed up for a scripture study/power of the word institute of religion class at my university. It was such a hard thing for me when I would go to do my personal study of the scriptures to pick up the completely unmarked copy and study. I found myself more often than not turning to my seminary scriptures looking for the comfortable feeling I found there.
As I attended my institute class on scripture study, I was grateful I had purchased the new scriptures. I was grateful that I was able to start over in my marking and create a process of marking that really meant something and aided in my learning from those great pages. I found that as I marked and read and studied, I found greater and deeper meanings from the pages of the books I had read since I was a young girl. I found that I could identify principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ and then ponder upon the applications to my own life. Changing to what I now refer to as my "institute and college" scriptures was a great decision. It opened the doors to new learning and growth in my understanding of Jesus Christ, His atonement, His love, and His plan. I found that this change was something I needed. So often, change is hard. We move places, we end schooling, we find a career, we meet someone who changes our life, we question what we believe, we wonder if mom and dad really did know everything, but no matter what it is, things change. These changes can and often are wonderful opportunities for growth. Moments when we can put our trust and faith in the Lord and know that even though we may not know the outcome, He does.
About two months ago, my husband and I packed up our belongings, put them in storage and moved in with my parents for a couple of months, hoping we would have our own place soon. This was just one of those changes I would face in the coming months. I was unpacking and went to grab my scriptures when I suddenly realized they were no where to be found among the heaps of belongings we had transferred to my parent's home. I was devastated. Were they in the car? At the old apartment? In the storage unit? I worried and prayed and searched for those beloved scriptures that had come to symbolize so much for me. I scoured the car, cleaned every part of the apartment and even went through most of the boxes in our storage unit. I did not find them. I was sure they were accidentally packed away in the far reaches of a box I couldn't get to, or that they would simply show up eventually. Luckily, I had another set I studied from during the month and 1/2 that we were there, but that didn't save me from a few tears.
We did finally get our own place and as we unpacked every box, my apprehension grew. My scriptures were not there. I again gave myself up to weeping on behalf of my scriptures. They had come to mean so much to me. They had been the tool for much of my gospel growth and learning in the last 6 years. I had taken them to 4 different countries. I was devastated and sat on the floor crying. I finally moved to my knees and asked my Father in Heaven if He could help me find my scriptures that were such a treasure to me. As happens when we pray, He answered, but not in the way I was hoping. I had the feeling come over me that seemed to say, "Change is important. You are changing, your life is changing, and your learning in the gospel also needs to change. It's time to get some new scriptures. There is much more for you to learn." I can't say I heard those words exactly, but I do know that I felt very strongly that it was time for me to change. I am grateful that the Lord sees fit to teach us in ways that are so perfect for us. My scriptures have been a symbol of growth and change for me so many times. I know that they truly do hold the word of God for us and that as we truly study the words within the pages, we will grow, change, and find new life for the new us.