I’d like to introduce myself to the new people and visitors. My name is Sharie Mccraney. I’ve been in this ward a long time. Beau grew up in this ward when it was HB 1st. Beau and I first met in this building and here we are with 4 kids. Three are almost out of the house and it will only be Eddie at home with us.
Besides my family, here are a few things I love. See if you can find the similarities:
I love looking at before and after photos.
I love cleaning up after a party, making the house look put together again.
I love seeing body fitness transformations.
I love watching the calm ocean after a storm.
I love watching house renovation shows.
I love restoring old furniture.
And the list goes on. I’m sharing all these similarities with you because they are all types of makeovers and transformations. Today I’m going to talk about the ultimate transformation and that is the gift of repentance.
Repentance is starting over, it’s transforming, it’s becoming new again, becoming beautiful again. Why isn’t repentance something we desire as much as a remodeled home or fixing up an old car, or starting a fitness program that will change our body? Probably because It’s hard to do. Change is hard. Giving up habits is hard or maybe we don’t recognize what we need to change.
Some of you may be saying this along with me, "This talk isn’t for me because I have no need to confess anything to the bishop and since I obey the 10 commandments, I’m good!" Well, that’s great but I learned as I prepared this talk that repentance is for everyone including me.
I grew up in the 80’s and the words that I would constantly hear from seminary, teachers and parents were, "Don’t procrastinate the day of your repentance." Those words would sting my soul when I heard them. I had many fears of the Savior coming and me not being ready.
When the big 6.9 San Francisco earthquake hit in 1989, I thought the world was coming to an end! We were trained in school to "duck and cover" and "get under that table" ASAP. So whenever we were at home and felt an earthquake, all 7 of us kids would make a mad dash through the hall, down the stairs and would slide under the kitchen table like we were sliding into home plate. It’s amazing we didn’t die in the process.
Many nights I would pull out a sleeping bag and sleep next to my parents bed where I felt safe. I was 17.
Jesus declared, "Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" As I repented of my sins, I am proof that the Savior healed me and took away those fears and worries from my life. I haven’t experienced many earthquakes in the past 25 years but now with my understanding and love for my Savior I know He is with me protecting and comforting me.
So how do you avoid procrastinating repentance? You do it daily! When I first learned of daily repentance I struggled to find things to repent for. First thing was pride of course.
Elder Anderson said, "For most, repentance is more a journey than a one-time event. It is not easy. To change is difficult. It requires running into the wind, swimming upstream. Jesus said, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.' Repentance is turning away from some things, such as dishonesty, pride, anger, and impure thoughts, and turning toward other things, such as kindness, unselfishness, patience, and spirituality. It is 're-turning' toward God." Some of those things are hard to notice in ourselves. He continues, "Some listening today may need a mighty change [of] heart to confront serious sins. The help of a priesthood leader might be necessary. For most, repenting is quiet and quite private, daily seeking the Lord’s help to make needed changes."
I tried an experiment. For the past 3 weeks as I knelt for my nightly prayers I would ponder my day and ask for forgiveness where I needed to improve. Some nights I couldn’t think of my wrong doings. So I started to pray that I would become aware of those things that I needed to repent of and as a result, my prayers were answered. Most days the Holy Ghost would reveal them to me in the moment or shortly after. Some days I was aware of them as I was praying. It is very humbling. During this experiment, some nights I was so tired that I forgot to ask Heavenly Father for forgiveness and I noticed that I went right back to my old ways. It’s amazing how quickly that happens . But when I asked for help I felt the Savior's arms stretched out ready to reveal my weaknesses to me.
Ether 12:27, "If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble." Confessing my sins daily has opened my eyes immensely.
Who’s overwhelmed…? I was! We all know we are never going to meet perfection in this life. The good thing is we have all started our week out right by being here today, humbly taking the sacrament, acknowledging our dependence upon the Lord, asking Him to forgive and renew us and promising to always remember Him.
Here is a quote that helped me not feel so overwhelmed. Elder Anderson says, "Sometimes in our repentance, in our daily efforts to become more Christlike, we find ourselves repeatedly struggling with the same difficulties. As if we were climbing a tree-covered mountain, at times we don’t see our progress until we get closer to the top and look back from the high ridges. Don’t be discouraged. If you are striving and working to repent, you are in the process of repenting."
Satan wants us to feel discouraged and feel like our goals are never achievable. Don’t let him win! Elder Anderson said, “When we sin, we turn away from God. When we repent, we turn back toward God. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience."
I’m so thankful for the gift of repentance. In the name of Jesus Christ amen.