What I Believe: Stand All Amazed

A new year for teachers in the LDS Young Women's organizations = a new lesson manual.

Every four years the same set of manuals start over.

So for 2012, we're back to Manual 1.  Which I'm excited over.  Abundantly so.

The last time this manual was taught from was the first year I was called to serve in the YW's program.  The experiences gained while serving with that elect group of women & serving those promising young ladies set my heart on fire for the YW program, even more than it had been when I was a teen benefactor of the program myself!

It was while serving in the YW organization, still in that area, that year our Mutual theme (for both the Young Women & Young Men's organizations) was the same as this year's carefully selected, and inspired, theme:
"Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations"
Like I said, inspired.  Divinely inspired.

Thus that year became a journey of Light for our group.  It was the most splendid year, as both the teen girls AND us leaders witnessed great fortification within our group, strong testimonies began to grow & flourish, young girls from ages 12-18 got their "a-ha" moments, and scripture study was more than just a study.  There was an insatiable hunger for the light found in the scriptures.  It was one of my most favorite years of my life!

Standing at the beginning of as promising a year as that marvelous one, just four years ago.  I'm eager.  Not just for a repeat.  No.  Many dynamics have changed in my life, many circumstances are different within our YW group here.  However, I'm eager for this NEW journey of Light.

Light = Truth = Christ.

How can it NOT be the most marvelous year to date?!

So I bring up the manual once again.  I love this manual.

Each manual is a wonderful resource & they are all equally filled with truth.  But for some reason I feel my heart set on fire again at these early lessons we're christening our new year with.  Today's lesson is titled, "Jesus Christ, the Savior."

Doesn't that just give you chills & goosebumps?!

It does me.

I love my Savior.  Not only because He is my older brother, but because He is everything I want to become & an example of everything I want to be worthy to inherit someday.  I love Him for His selflessness.  I love Him for His faithfulness.  I love Him for His steadfastness in His Father's purposes.  I love Him because He is the ONLY one who could secure our Salvation for us, and it is ONLY through Him that we are able to progress and enjoy Exaltation.

I cherish the greatest gift ever given, that only Jesus Christ could give, and that was the Atonement.  Only He could suffer for the world's sins, and pain, and heartaches, and imperfections.  Only He could shed a drop of blood for each one of us.  Only He could love each of us so intricately that He knew of us & WILLINGLY suffered through the wine press so we would not have to.

Jesus Christ is the Son of the Almighty God.  He is the Son of the God of Abraham, Issac, Moses.  He is so great & so pure - yet so concerned with even little old me, and my troubles, and my silent tears (and sometimes not so silent tears).

In my lesson today, I have the privilege of being some special young women's tour guide through the most awesome scriptures that testify of Jesus Christ's divinity, His foreordained mission here on earth as the Son of God & the son of a humble young mother here on earth.

Ancient scriptures today, folks.  Scriptures from many hundreds of years before Christ was even born.  Scriptures both recorded in the Holy Land, and scriptures recorded here in the Americas.  No matter these ancient civilizations' geographic locations, Heavenly Father loved ALL of children enough to place prophets among them that would act as mouthpieces for God as prophecies came forth & Christ's coming was heralded in every land... in every tongue.  How privileged we are to have access to these scriptures.  How blessed we are to have witness after witness of Heavenly Father's love for the world.

I have the opportunity to teach them from some of my most favorite passages of scripture, like this- one of chapters of the Book of Mormon that I cherish THE most:

 "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
 "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 "And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
 "Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."   -Alma 7:10-13

(I love Alma 7.  So much is taught in this one chapter.  It's filled with promise!  Considering how giddy I feel when I read & study it, I can't imagine how it would've felt to have lived at the time this prophesy was received and declared in market places & villages & ancient dwellings among the indigenous people of the American continent.  Christ hadn't come yet.  Mary hadn't even been born yet.  Here I'm on the other side of this fortelling; the side where I know He humbly came, walked the earth, and wrought such mighty miracles both before and through His death.  Can you imagine the anticipation just looking forward to his first coming?  Wow!)

It is true.

God loves us so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son to a wicked world... He gave Him to us.  Jesus Christ, this same Begotten Son of God, loves us so much that He gave His life & the Atonement.  What then shall we give in return?

Our gratitude.  Our selfless service to others.  Our will.  Clean hands & pure hearts....

I get to assist these young women in pondering more on this fact.... I get to help them broaden their realm of concern beyond themselves or their wardrobe or their material lives.  And I get to witness Heavenly Father's choice daughter start to "get it."

Getting it means seeds are planted.  Then I get to help them tend & further nurture these seeds' growth throughout the year.  It's phenomenal!

I get to introduce some of these girls to the beginnings of their own "a-ha" moments with the Lord.  ...And I am honored.  ...I am in awe.  ...I am so grateful.

Eventually these "a-ha" thoughts become "a-ha" actions, and the world suddenly becomes more beautiful! 

In the beginning of the new year, what better way is there to initiate such an epic journey of Light than to kick it off with our focus & attention of learning of Christ?  As I mentioned before, Light = Truth = Christ... therefore this year will be a journey of Truth... a journey of Christ!

Amazed doesn't begin to quantify it.

"I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!"
("I Stand All Amazed," Hymn #193)

In keeping with today's lesson material, I've prepared the following hand-out for my girls.  It also gives me goosebumps & makes my heart want to burst with gratitude.
(If you'd like to use this, feel free.  Just right click on it & save.  If you'd rather have the full-res jpg file emailed to you, shoot your email address over to me in the comments below.)


Kim said...

I am so excited for you and this wonderful journey you are about to embark upon. Teaching youth is wonderful and rewarding. I love how you are always able to find such wonderful handouts for reminders.

You are amazing! You are one of my favorite heros and am blessed to call you friend.

As for March? Still a ???. With the Elder coming home March 20th I need to see if I can get any nights off work. I will let you know for sure, but if not, we will need to work out a way to get together.

Love you

mCat said...

I loved this leson! LOVE - and I can tell that you did a fantastic job. I also love the theme - it means something different to me this year, than it did back in 06, but that's what makes the scriptures so great, something new to be found everytime

wendy said...

This was very nice. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love how you said our "ah-ha" moments become "ah-ha" Actions. I guess that is what we are all striving for eh....Putting into action those things that matter most, Christ like living.

Valerie said...

Wonderful handout!!! And thank you for sharing your testimony. I have had so many callings in the church, but have never been in young women. It seems like such a challenge, but a blessing too. And those girls are so blessed to have you as a leader and example!

Garden of Egan said...

So perfect! YOU are so perfect for that calling!
Thanks for the lesson. I needed to read it as well.

You are wonderful.

Valerie said...

Great thoughts! I love this theme!!!
I just got the sweetest email from one of my former YW (from like 17 years ago!) The YW program is AWESOME!

Spread Your Love For the Gusty Ridge Ranch


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