The majority of Priesthood Blessings that I have received, start with, “Anne, the Lord loves you…” Recently, I was present when someone else received a blessing and the same phrase was used. “The Lord loves you.” Part of me wondered if that is kind of a lead-in that the one giving the blessing uses as they wait for the real inspiration to start flowing. It just intrigued me that it was usually the first thing stated.
As I pondered the idea, it became obvious to me that if the Lord were able to sit us down and talk to us one-on-one, that is probably one of the first things He would say to us. That would probably be even more true if we are needing a priesthood blessing. I know that when my boys are hurt or sad, one of the first things I do is tell them I love them – either with words or with actions, usually both. I am certain that the Lord desires to do the same for us and that is why, so frequently, blessings begin with the phrase, “The Lord loves you.” I hope that you know that He loves you individually. If not, (and even if you do), pray to know it for yourself. I promise you that, if you will sincerely pray, He will let you know of His love for you.
Going Through the Motions vs Truly Loving the Lord
I remember a time on my mission, when I doubted the sincerity of my love for the Lord. I really struggled, wondering if I only loved Him because it was the right thing to do. I prayed and fasted and studied diligently to gain a greater understanding of what love was. (My study spots were 1 John 4 and 2 John.) As I did so, I was enlightened with knowledge of how much the Lord loved me. Me, with all my flaws and incapacities. Me, who was unsure if I even loved Him back. No matter, He loved me…and more than I could ever imagine. In 1 John 4:19, it states, “We love him, because he first loved us.”
When I read those words, with my new understanding of what it meant to be loved by Him, I was filled with sincere love for the Lord. I realized and recognized that we were on the same page. It was a struggle to gain that understanding and that testimony of not only the Lord’s love for me but my love for the Lord but, like many things that are a struggle, it was worth the effort. The knowledge that beings as powerful and wonderful as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have a love for me and a desire to bless my life is remarkably comforting during the struggles of day to day life.
Asking for a Reminder
Since that time, however, I have not frequently asked the Lord how He feels about me. As part of the 2019 BYU Women’s Conference, there was a Sister-to-Sister event. Sheri Dew used audience questions to interview the General Presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary, Sister Jean B. Bingham, Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, and Sister Joy D. Jones. In response to a question about balancing the rigors of everyday life, Sister Cordon said, “I know I just have to go to my knees. And I ask the Lord, ‘Tell me again you love me. I need to know.’”
It was so refreshing to hear her say that. Similarly, President Russell M. Nelson encouraged members of the Church to “Ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, how He feels about you and your mission here on earth.” At times, I feel I don’t want to burden the Lord by asking a question to which I should know the answer. However, pondering on Sister Cordon’s words, I considered how I would feel if my children approached me and asked me to let them know I loved them. Would I consider it a burden or be annoyed by their request? Of course not! In fact, I would relish in the opportunity to express my feelings for them.
Take a moment to ask Him. Give him that opportunity to reach out, support and LOVE you.