What a large task it is to write this paper. The question is simple, “What does the Atonement mean to you?”, but my answer is lengthy, multi-dimensional, and highly specific to my personal life experiences. I’ve chosen to start at the beginning: Heavenly Father sent His son to earth. What an amazing thing. Our Heavenly Father asked of one of his beloved children to give up himself entirely so that we may all have the opportunity to live as an eternal family. One of my very favorite principles of the gospel is the idea that I won’t only be afforded the gift of eternal life but I’ll be able to spend the eternities with my beloved family. This is such a testament to me that my Father knows me, he knows I could only be truly happy if I was surrounded by those I love so dearly. Another aspect of the atonement that proves to be so special to me is the notion that every thing I’ve ever experienced: joy, sorrow, pain, love, grief, etc. my Savior understands exactly what it’s like. He didn’t just experienced general sadness or happiness, he experience the exact emotions that I have. As someone who has struggled with physical pains for most of my life, I find such comfort knowing that when I pray asking for peace and comfort, my Savior can not only sympathize but empathize with my pains. He understands the stress & worry I feel about my mission to the Philippines. He knows as I look at the calendar and see that I only have about two weeks until I leave, that I need his comfort. That tight, nervous feeling I have in my chest can at times only be eased by kneeling in prayer and pouring out my soul to my Father in Heaven. The atonement of Jesus Christ allows me to speak to my Father freely, daily, without hesitation. It is so tender and special to me I struggle to describe it in mere words.
My knowledge of the atonement helps me to remember that I have something very special at my disposal, the ability to hope. To hope that things will get better, to hope that everything will be okay, to hope that my heart will heal, or my body will be strong. It provides hope that the experiences & trials I overcome will strengthen my testimony and help me learn the things I need to know to return to His heavenly presence. The atonement teaches me to hope for hope; that as I feel hopeless, alone, scared, and lonely, that I will be able to find that little place inside of me where hope hides and dwell upon it. Recently, through a lot of prayer, I have come to find these scriptures that have helped me to remember that my Savior has not left me to struggle alone: Joshua 1:9, Psalms 31:24, Hebrews 10:23, Proverbs 3:5-6, and D&C 24:8.
Through the atonement, my Savior has given me the most important gifts of my life. Through the acts of Jesus Christ I will never be alone. I will have my family for eternity through the sealing powers of the temple, I will feel surrounded by the love of my Heavenly Father and Mother, and I will always have the gift of the Holy Ghost to comfort my heart. As I leave to serve the people of the Philippines I eagerly await to opportunity to teach them of the amazing blessing that is the atonement. I cannot wait to see the gospel change and uplift their lives. I feel so humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of God’s plan to share his beautiful gospel and the spirit of the Savior’s atonement.