Nephi is known as being highly favored of the Lord ? (1 Nephi 1:1) and having great desires to know. ? (1 Nephi 2:16) He believed the words of his father. (1 Nephi 2:16) Nephi knew from experience that the Lord would not give a commandment without also providing a way to accomplish that command, and Nephi ?s faith and trust in the Lord was evidenced by his declaration that he would go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded. ? (1 Nephi 3:7)
Now I do not intend nor desire to put myself on the same level as a prophet. But for many years I have felt a kinship with Nephi. Not because of Laman / Lemuel / Laban type experiences, and certainly not because of any visions or prophecies on my part. But we are told to liken all scriptures unto us ? for our profit and learning. ? (1 Nephi 19:23)
I relate to Nephi largely because of 2 Nephi 4, and specifically since 2005 I have felt that Nephi ?s Psalm is also my psalm. (2 Nephi 4:17–35) In my scriptures I have a margin note that says, 7/14/05 – Nephi ?s psalm is mine! These verses are me – my desires, my faith, my weaknesses, my frustrations, my trust in the Lord. ? I have deeply connected to these verses and the inherent messages within them.
I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me. ? (2 Nephi 4:18)
?nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted. ? (2 Nephi 4:19)
My God hath been my support; he hath led me through mine afflictions ? ? (2 Nephi 4:20)
He hath filled me with his love ? he hath heard my cry ? ? (2 Nephi 4:21, 23)
O then, if I have seen so great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul linger in the valley of sorrow ? ? (2 Nephi 4:26)
?why should I give way to temptations, that the evil one have place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul? Why am I angry because of mine enemy? ? (2 Nephi 4:27)
Awake, my soul! No longer droop in sin. Rejoice, O my heart ? ? (2 Nephi 4:28)
Do not anger again because of mine enemies. Do not slacken my strength because of mine afflictions. ? (2 Nephi 4:29)
May the gates of hell be shut continually before me, because that my heart is broken and my spirit is contrite! ? (2 Nephi 4:32)
O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. ? (2 Nephi 4:34)
I have studied and pondered these verses many times. They seem to so closely parallel my life. Like Nephi, I find myself doing these things:
Vs. 17-19 – beating self up for imperfections
Vs. 19-25 – acknowledging the hand of the Lord in life
Vs. 26-30 – giving self a personal pep talk
Vs. 30-35 – offering a prayer asking for the Lord ?s help and declaring steadfastness to the Lord
At times I ache because of my imperfections. Yet I recognize the hand of the Lord in my life. I encourage myself through pep talks. I ask for His help. I express my desire to be steadfast. And as I go through this cycle, I find that my faith becomes stronger and my trust in the Lord and in His ability to truly help me becomes firmer.
As I study the scriptures and my margin notes, I gain greater insight and understanding. A margin note from 2/22/04 states: Even with the gospel, we have temptations / struggles because that ?s how we learn / grow. We ?re reminded of what we ?ve learned. ? Another undated note says, Without the gospel we accept sins as human nature. The gospel raises the bar. ?
And my favorite insight, one that I gained in the temple during a particularly trying time for me: 7/16/05 – Having a broken heart / contrite spirit is more than being humble. It means that we turn ourselves over to Christ and allow the atonement to work in our lives, that we trust and believe Him, that He can / will do what He says He can / will, that we allow Him to replace our anger / fear / hurt / etc with His peace / love / mercy / etc. ?
I have discovered that I develop a more profound and personal relationship with my Savior as I utilize the scriptures to help me as I experience life ?s opportunities and challenges that are intended to bring me closer to Him and my Father.
Therefore, I frequently re-read and ponder the psalm I share with Nephi. There are times in my life when sins or weaknesses so easily beset me ? and when I allow myself to become angry because of mine enemy. ? But I also know that my God hath been my support ? and He hath filled me with his love. ? I hope and pray for a broken heart and contrite spirit. And the foundation of my faith, like Nephi, resounds in this declaration: O Lord, I have trusted in thee, and I will trust in thee forever. ?
In times of need, distress, courage, or confidence, I also turn to Matthew 11:28–30 ( Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ? For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ?) and John 14:27. ( Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you ? Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. ?)
In these scriptures, I have found great hope, peace, and the ability to endure well enough for now. While I am not prophet material like Nephi, I can and have been able to liken the scriptures ? for my circumstances and for my benefit and growth.
What scriptures help you on your homeward journey? Is there a particular verse, or group of verses, that helps you on a regular, ongoing basis? Is there something (scripture, hymn, quote) that you instinctively turn to for comfort and guidance and strength? How have you, like Nephi, learned to trust in the Lord and in His goodness and mercy? I believe that sharing these moments and experiences as we travel homeward, back to our Heavenly Father, offers hope and reassurance to those around us. And lending strength and encouragement to each other is one of the things that Mormon Mommas do best!
Spread the word!