“The Lord's tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ” - Elder David A. Bednar

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Picture of Profound Worth

The tender mercy I share has become my measuring stick for when to know I've done all I could and now it's time to give my burden to the Lord.

When I was 17 a classmate and I traveled together from our small town to Ogden for the State Wrestling tournament. Our school was pretty good and expected to take state that year. The excitement was in the air as many others from my school were also traveling out and getting hotel rooms. It was no secret how some of them planned to celebrate the occasion. It just so happened that my girlfriend had relatives close by so we stayed there to save money.

Now the fact that this girl and I were even friends, according to our peers, was "odd." The reason we were oddly matched is because, at the time, I was considered a "goody-goody" type, and she was a "party-girl" type, as she called herself. I wasn't bothered by what others thought about our friendship because I had a secret plan to help her see a new way of life.

Once we arrived at her family’s we got ready, then headed to the tournament. My girlfriend made an unexpected turn off the freeway and drove in another direction from the Event Center. "We are just going to make a quick stop first." She said. As we pulled into a hotel parking lot, my heart fell hard and fast. My secret plan for my girlfriend somehow jumped tracks to another plan entirely! I felt trapped.

My pleas to wait in the car for her return were seemingly unheard. I finally agreed to her promise for a brief “hello” and showing face, then leaving.

I felt a heaviness of heart as I entered and looked around the room. I recognized everyone; most of us had grown up together since grade school. I liked most all of them, it made me sad to see their behavior. Immediately, behind that thought was that of the girls from my young women's class at church. I’d been made president of the class and knew they'd be disappointed to hear that I was at this party. I found my friend and informed her I'd be in the car.

A few there with her asked that we get a picture before we left. Amazingly everyone stopped and collected together to get a picture, with me. I told them I would only be in the picture if they promised to put all the beer cans down first, which they did, I thought. The picture was snapped, followed by an eruption of laughter. I whipped around to see that many had only held the beer behind their backs but brought them out for the picture. I was surrounded by it, and I knew they had a plan for the picture.

As a note: my friend didn't plan for that to happen, and, today, she is a stalwart member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints. At that moment I felt utterly betrayed and was inconsolable as she followed me from the room. I told her over and over, the girls from my ward would never understand if they saw that picture. I was devastated, and knew of nothing believable I'd be able to say to recover from this.

That night I knelt and recounted the story to my Heavenly Father. I expressed deep sorrow for being in that room and the damage that picture would do. I asked Heavenly Father to please forgive me and somehow prevent that picture from being seen.

Two weeks later, my girlfriend rushed up to me in the hallway at school. Out of breath, she, and another girl from the party, told me they'd been looking all over for me, and thrust a stack of pictures into my hand. As I looked I could tell they were the pictures from the party.

I thumbed through them very slowly, and then came to one that was a complete blur; nothing at all recognizable, but it was the only one of the stack that way. "What's this one?" I asked, holding up the blurry one. "THAT one is the only one of all of them that didn't turn out!" my girlfriend replied, "It's the group picture we took with you!"

In that very moment, I was completely aware, Heavenly Father was mindful of ME; that of all the millions of His children on the earth at that time, I mattered to Him, and HE, through my Savior, Jesus Christ had extended a tender mercy to Sonja.

story submitted by
Sonja S.
Hyrum, Utah

1 comment:

  1. I really loved this story. Ihad a semiliar experience in 9th grade. I went to a party and then left when they started drinking. I thought I would have a hard time living this done and be called a goodie goodie for years; but the opposite was true. I was espected and teased a little about leaving; but I was happy that I stood up for my values.
    Yes, Heavenly Father does hear and answer prayers and I believe send ministering angels to watch over us.
    Check out my Living Waters by LeAnn @