Making the Savior our focus-Nicole Tolman
My husband and I moved into the ward. He moved in like a month ago and I moved in two weeks ago. We have two daughters named Maggie and Grace. Maggie is 3 months and Grace is 2 and a half. My husband graduated in nursing and I graduated in family studies and I get to do my job being at home and I love it. We're so happy to be here. We love this ward and we're inspired by everyone. It is so amazing so thanks for inviting us here.
Today I've been asked to talk about a talk titled "Christ Heals That Which Is Broken" by Sister wright. I ended up just taking like one paragraph of her talk that I really liked and the theme of my talk is focusing on Jesus Christ. How do we make him our focus every single day? Sister Wright said, " I learned in a profound way that deliverance from our trials is different for each of us and therefore, our focus should be less about the way in which we are delivered and more about the deliverer himself.
Our emphasis should always be Jesus Christ. I love this because we all experience hardship and she's telling us here, "Don't worry about the way you're going to be delivered. Worry about focusing on Jesus Christ and if you do that, everything will work out. I love the story of the woman who was sick for 12 years. This woman in the Bible had suffered for 12 years with bleeding and what translates into hemorrhaging. So she had been hemorrhaging for 12 years and in Jewish culture, it was unclean to be bleeding. You were ostracized and kicked out society if you were bleeding. And so for a long time, she had doctor's and healers and she hadn't been able to be healed. And, and so her presence in this crowd where Jesus was, was really unheard of. People would have been backing away from her and she shouldn't be by people. She was used to the isolation but she showed great faith and focus because she put herself in a place where it was uncomfortable. Then she focused on finding the savior and thought If I just may just touch his clothes I will be healed. This faithful focused women needed to stretch so she could access the Savior's power. Her physical stretching was symbolic of her spiritual stretching. That came from her focus. I think this woman's life relates with each of us because at some point, all of us need healing.
We've all probably experienced some form of isolation or ostracism, and we might feel like her, but we can learn from her. We can receive the merciful hand of the Lord and healing through our focusing on him. In making him our priority we experience miracles like this woman did. Our prophet said, "that our focus must be riveted on the Savior Jesus Christ and his gospel. It is mentally rigorous to strive to look unto him in every thought. But when we do,our doubts and our fears flee. When you reach to the Lord with the same intensity that a drowning person has, when grasping and looking for air, the power of Jesus Christ, will flow into your life.
When the Savior knows you want to reach out to Him more than anything else, you will feel His power in your life. When you spiritually stretch beyond anything you have done before, his power will flow into you. So he just made us a few promises. We will have greater vision, we will have the power of the Holy Ghost to flow into our lives. Our doubts will cease and we will know exactly what we should do. These are just some of the promises or prophet has told us we will receive if we focus on Jesus Christ.
So today I'm going to be talking about that. I'm talking about what is our priority and then what are some things we can do to make him our focus? I love this question. All of us have priorities that guide us and choosing how we will spend our time and resources. For example, a family who prioritizes education, will spend money and time helping their children participate in clubs and activities, that will help them have the best education. To get to MIT to Stanford OR BYU or to wherever you think is the best for your education?
Well, that's the same for us. We find out our priorities by the way we spend our time. So I love this rhetorical question i've been thinking about it all week and it's call to repentance. It says, think about how you spend your time, energy and resources based on that, what are your priorities? Well, I felt like I love the Lord, I have faith in Jesus Christ, I read my scriptures. I've been working with him. But then I use my time on my phone and I looked and I saw that I had spent over five hours this week on my devices. On my scripture study, I'd only done 20 minutes everyday. So my priority with Jesus Christ and my phone, was actually in stark contrast to what I thought. I was putting my phone over my time spent studying the scriptures and I was called to repentance. I thought that I have five hours, I can be doing better with my scripture study. So I think that's really telling of us if we analyze our time and we think we don't have time, we're so busy. But then in reality, what are we filling our time with? Probably, we all can do a little better on focusing on Jesus Christ more.
The next question I was thinking of was, Is there one priority for everybody? Some people are working full-time and have a family full time. Other people are the bishop and a father, and a grandfather or whatever. And your time is really limited. but yes, there's one priority for everybody and that is focusing on Jesus.
How would I look differently if I were to focus more on pleasing the Lord than on pleasing others or myself. So, one thing about me is I love sugar and I'm addicted to sugar. I go to make cookies and I'm going to give them to people and I end up eating the whole entire cookie dough batch like in one sitting. It's super bad and I was making cookie dough for myself when I'm all alone and I want to eat my cookie dough balls and I was reminded of this question this week. I thought, if I love the Lord more than I love myself, I would take care of my body and I probably wouldn't eat as much as I do. That was just like a random thing but I was reminded that I was doing something more for myself than I was for the Lord. And I was humbled that the Lord could teach me that lesson even with something as silly as how much cookie dough I was eating on a daily basis.
So I want to share a little bit about ways that we can come to know the Savior and help our focus to be stronger. And those three things are not secret. They're what we're taught about every single day. The first one is scriptures, the second is the temple, and the third is prayer. So, I'm gonna talk a little bit about our scriptures study. As we learn about Jesus Christ, we invite his presence into our lives. We have been taught feast upon the words of Christ. For behold the words of Christ will tell you all things that you should know. Richard G Scott said, "scriptures are like packets of light that illuminate ones mind and give place to guidance and inspiration from on high."
Those packets of light, illuminate our mind and help us build a foundation which is Jesus Christ. When we read the scriptures and it becomes a daily habit we are drawn to searching them and love them. President Monson said, " if you will study the scriptures diligently, your power to avoid temptation and to receive direction of the Holy Ghost in all you do will be increased.
I just want to testify that If we can always read our scriptures every day We will be blessed. I have seen this directly with myself and in my marriage. There are times when I think, Oh, I want to just give to my husband today or focus just on him but, our relationship is not as strong as when I first focus on the Lord. If we will read, just even one verse together every single day I see a difference in our ability to connect and be one. I also see a difference in my ability to be a mother when I'm trying to, you know, be patient and kind, It is so hard to be patient and kind If I am not reading my scriptures but, if I read my scriptures I have an increased capacity to be patient. Maybe my natural man is a little less that day and I am able to more patient and more loving and be inspired how to teach and respond instead of just freak out.
And the second thing we can do to focus on. Jesus Christ is the temple. All of us are really busy but our number one prioritie should be focusing on Jesus.What better way than going to Jesus Christ's house. So, what does this look like for parents or retired people? Well, Sister Stevenson says, a few activities, that can help us besides attending the temple is often as possible are put pictures of the temple in your children's bedrooms, or your grandchildren's bedroom. Sing songs about the temple, visit the grounds of the temple with your children. Help your children prepare for a temple. Recommend. Share stories of ancestors, do temple work, do family history. All of these things help us focus on the Savior. I have seen this as I've tried to make it a goal. We go once a month at least with children. We sit and just look at the temple and talk about the temple. And my daughter loves the temple., It's a great time for me as I have a nursing baby because I can't do like an endowment session yet. But I can sit with my children, outside the temple and think about the covenants Ive made. To be pure and to be the Lord's vessel. And that brings me power just as much as going inside. So. I just encourage all of you to think about ways you can focus on the temple. Maybe you're already going once a week And you're thinking what more can I do? Or you could evaluate do you have a picture of the temple in every room of your house? Are you singing the songs about the temple? What can we do to focus on the temple?
The third thing we can do to focus on our savior is to pray. Search diligently, pray, always and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good. Alma said Council with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good. You can yell like a lion and not say one thing to God. You can scream and pray boldly but your prayers still won't touch heaven. Are you just throwing words around or are you focusing on the savior? There are people who can ramble and just say repetitive things and do not think once about Jesus Christ. Does your heart align with the words that come out of your mouth? Or are you praying and ln your mind thinking about the 1200 things you need to do? I have done that and my mind really was not focused on communicating with my savior. I can see a difference in the quality of the power of my prayers.
And I know that if we will sit and quietly communicate with our Savior we will have power in this life. This can be really hard. And so I have found like the best time for me is during the day when my kids are napping. So I hope each of us can adapt. Where can we improve in our prayers? Are we aligning our thoughts with the Lord? I love the scripture in Jeremiah, It says, I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me all their heart. And I just wanted to testify that I have seen my heart literally change from natural man Nicole to things I wouldn't normally like and now I love.
And so, I know maybe scripture study wasn't a favorite to some people. You can pray to love reading the scriptures. Maybe your favorite thing isn't an edowment session but you can pray to love and endowment session. Maybe your least favorite thing is being with your grandkids because it gives you a headache, But you can pray to love your grandkids. I know that my heart literally has changed and I hope when I come to the Savior my heart is different than when I started. I know that as we do these things like going to the temple, praying and reading our scriptures that our Savior will become more of a focus in our lives.
So, I just wanted to really quickly share a few examples of what It might look like to focus on the Savior, Jesus Christ, every single day. Sister Mette Hanson lived in Denmark and she had a typesetting business. It had been a long time since she had work and they didn't have any money. She and her children knelt down and prayed for more work. The next day she received a thick manuscript from a new customer. Sister Hansen's computer was not working so she was like can I do this? Like if I do this I'll have money. She felt frustrated but then a voice inside her said, don't type that, read the manuscript. She opened the book and it had things that were not true about Jesus. On the other hand, this book will pay for my children and help me pay bills and tithing. But then she remembered that thought, Don't print this, you'll forsake Jesus Christ. She prayed for his strength and she told the printer she couldn't print this. And a few days later she received stuff that kept her busy for 6 months. And I love this example because she was focused on Jesus Christ. It wasn't the money, it wasn't feeding her family, although that's super important. Her focus was, will I fill my relationship with Jesus Christ. Is this something that would make Jesus Christ happy?
Another way that we might focus on Jesus Christ is, as grandparent or as parents, you can be sending a text to your children each day about maybe the tender mercies that you see from Heavenly Father. And if your kids aren't active you can trick them and call it like magic Coincidence. Or like positive Coincidence and send out positive things that, you know, was the hand of the Lord. And if they're not active, hopefully they'll just be silly, and think, oh, this is a nice coincidence that happened to me. And they can post it up on their page and eventually they'll realize God is good and God's in your life.
Another thing is If you're focusing on Christ and maybe your only time you have with your husband is Friday nights and you're looking for your date night, but instead of watching the movie, you could do a podcast or listen to a BYU speech or something like that. It may look like indexing for five minutes instead of going on Facebook. It may look like a mother praying extra long, so her kids are adversed with the spirit. We always joke with my grandma's about praying because she would pray for like an hour and thank her Heavenly Father for all these things she was grateful for. The kids would just have to sit there and quietly listen while she was praying. And I'm so grateful for that example because now I do that with my 5 year old. I start telling her all the stuff Heavenly Father gives me and all the things I'm thankful for. Having a long prayer is a simple way to focus on the Savior.
Another thing is like increasing time you spend with your child. Like one-on-one time and putting aside personal things. So right now in the summer, it's really hard because my husband is gone from like 8:30 until 10:30 at night. And I don't have any personal time so I really look forward to like my 20 minutes in the morning when I can just go on a run. But then this week, my daughter started waking up early. And I woke up and I was all dramatic. I was like that is not a good beginning and we all agreed. And then the spirit said Nicole, you can have one-on-one time with this child. And I thought but I have one on one time with her all day. So I invited her to come running with me and just run around two times around the complex. We've had such tender conversations and I'm so grateful that I was able to focus on my Savior and not myself. Even though I would love more exercise time I really loved spending that time with her and Im grateful.
This might look like as grandparents and parents, reading the handbook instruction. And my grandpa is really good at this. He read this and he's found out that even when your children leave your home, you should be teaching them the gospel. And so, my parents and my grandparents love PPIs. They do this with my parents once a month. And my parents do PPI's with me and my husband. And they just help us make sure we make good choices in our marriage and help us. And that's the way as grandparents or parents you can focus on the Savior and help others do the same.
And I just testify that as we focus on the Savior every day and we make him our ultimate goal and our ultimate conversation, and the reason why we do everything, we will see power in our life. And like the woman with the issue of blood, as we focus on the savior, we will have the ability to stretch and see the impact of Christ in our lives. As we focus on pleasing The Lord instead of others, we will see miracles. Our focus will give us power. The acts of temple worship, prayers, scripture study are the key elements of knowing and focusing on Christ.
And as a daughter of God I bear witness of my father. I know that he lives. I know that he loves me. I know, even when I makes mistakes over and over again, he loves me. And I know that he's given us a prophet, who quite literally sees and talks to Jesus Christ. And what he tells us is from Jesus Christ. When we try our best to follow Jesus, however that might look in our lives, when we focus on him more than we want to be able to breathe, we do see power in our life. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.