Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Repentance, Renewel, and the Atonement

Today I got an email that I had received academic renewal on my college transcripts. In a nut shell, it means that the bad grades on my transcript from fall of 1982 are no longer computed into my GPA. I can't tell you how much that mistake has haunted me! (For the Reader's Digest version, go here.)

My academic adviser, Jessica was holding my graduation packet until she got the news that it was approved. I forwarded the email from the record's dept. to her and got back a "Wahoo! I'm so happy for you! Look at those beautiful transcripts!" She just met me yesterday and I felt genuine concern from her for my academic and personal wellbeing. She was rejoicing with me over it.

I couldn't help but associate this experience with repentance. I have gone to school off and on since 1987 and done my very best to get good grades. But it seemed that no amount of A's would make up for that quarter of school. I had messed up and it was there lurking around. That D was making my GPA a 3.8, even after 62 other credits. I felt shamed. No matter how hard I tried, it was there. I had no power to correct it for myself.

Then with a small fee of twenty-five dollars, and the signature of the right person, it was gone, erased. I have renewal! It is now only a mistake from which to learn. No longer a blemish on my GPA. I couldn't do it on my own. It was done for me. What a great feeling!

Even joy. Not because a 3.8 isn't acceptable, but because it made me think of the true joy that comes from repentance and doing one's best after the sinning is stopped. Knowing that because of the Savior and His Atonement, I can have those sins and mistakes gone, erased. I have had them erased. The shame for the sins that I've committed is gone, and my heart is light because after all that I can do, the Savior has paid the price for me and has done the rest.

How I love Him! How grateful I am for my knowledge and faith in Him, even Jesus the Christ! Academic Renewal is but a reminder for me of the greatest renewal, spiritual renewal, and the greatest gift, my Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Small Witnesses of the Spirit

Today Tessa sang a duet with her cousin, Shelly in Shelly's ward. My sister was asked to sing and she volunteered them. It was absolutely beautiful!! They sang "The Olive Tree" by Kurt Bester. I wish I could have recorded it and put it on here! I love to sing, but having my children share their talents and witnessing it is even more rewarding than doing it myself.

I have few talents which I can consecrate, but singing is one that I have only done a couple of times outside of church in a public setting. I have to say that it had a completely different feeling for me. I sang a duet once at a civic meeting and it seemed so pointless somehow. I do love singing in church, either in a choir or small group. I love how often the music fits perfectly with the theme of the meeting even when the people arranging the music had no idea ahead of time. I had that happen on several occasions when I was the Sacrament Meeting chorister. I would pick the music a couple of months ahead and then the talks would be on that very subject.

One Fast and Testimony Meeting, I happened to choose (a month before) "Called to Serve" for the closing hymn. We ended up having a missionary from our ward come home for a couple of weeks to have knee surgery. He bore such a strong testimony in that meeting about miracles in his behalf. The doctors sent him home thinking that he would have to have a second invasive surgery and when they got into his knee, it was completely healed! They just had to take the pin out that they had placed in his knee the year before. He was able to go back out on his mission after only a very short delay. Then to close the meeting, our ward sang, "Called to Serve." I don't know if anyone else knew, besides me and my organist, how things fell into place that day, but it was a testimony to me that God has His Hand in even the smallest things in His church.