From the time I could understand anything about this world in which we live, I knew that my Father in Heaven loved me.
All these years later, I am now more sure of it than ever.
Everything in nature speaks to my soul, whispering that there is a God. There is order and beauty, power and majesty in His creations. How amazing that we, as His children, are His crowning creation.
While we are here, during our mortal mission, we have a chance to love Him with our whole heart, mind, and might. But how do we do it? And why do we need to?
Awakening to the Fact That We are Loved
I love President Dieter Uchtdorf’s counsel, offered at General Conference October 2009:
God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.
No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!
For what we love determines what we seek.
What we seek determines what we think and do.
What we think and do determines who we areand who we will become.
Of course, we must awaken to the fact that we, each one of us, belongs to Him. We’re family. Even though we mess up, disconnect, fall, and wander, our Father in Heaven loves us fully. He knows who we are, better than we do.
The reality of His goodness and love become more apparent as we work at having the Holy Spirit with us. Coincidences become little portions of grace little miracles. There is more to like and enjoy in people around us, most of the time. We may be more kind to others and to ourselves.
His Love Extends to All Always
Indeed, we can follow President Uchtdorf’s counsel Becoming faithful, valiant and loving because we think it and do it. We seek it. We love Him and we love good things. One thought, one kind deed, one greater portion of Godly love at a time.
When things are hard, when we are ill, or tending a loved one who is sick, when our minds are clouded and our sense of belonging seems shredded? God is there. I know it. I’ve felt the quiet yet powerful sense of eternal belonging and steadfast, pure love.
He is aware of me. Each time my heart has felt like it was breaking, each illness that was so severe that it has frightened me for the family I thought I might be leaving behind- I’ve felt Him. In every stupid comment I’ve made, or foolish blunder- He has been there. Every hurt, every mistake- His love has felt unyielding and His devotion pure and constant. What a blessing to know. Even I even I am loved and watched over because of His personal caring.
I May Love Him in Return Just This Simply
Remember that “As I have loved you, love one another.” Jesus’ command was one of pure love. He knows that the more we love, the more it grows. The more we let go of our so-called control, the more freely our Father in Heaven can direct us. We are free to love. To smile, and hug, and speak kindly. To notice tiny, beautiful things and carry quiet, perfect loving truths in our hearts.
He doesn’t care what kind of car we drive [or if we have one]. He isn’t impressed with any worldly stuff. It’s all His, anyway. Education is important, but He doesn’t care about our position or our pompous pride regarding degrees, work contacts, or credentials.
Don’t you think He is concerned with how we treat our co-workers today? With how we see our own self when we looked in the mirror [seeking for Christ’s countenance]?With some little kindness given without thought of anything in return? With how we spoke to our loved ones and how we stepped outside the box in order to help a soul who needed it?
That’s love. Love is what our Father in Heaven is all about. We more profoundly sense His love as we grow closer to Him and try in our own little way to emulate His.
I share, once more, counsel from President Uchtdorf’s same address given in 2009:
The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possibleand that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you.
Not one of us is perfect or even near perfect. We each goof up and we each make a mess of things, on occasion. It is all good. Because He is good and because He has given us a Savior, whose grace and gifts allow us to become more than we ever could, without Him.
I know He lives and loves me
I know our Father in Heaven lives. I know He loves me. I know that all around us are symbols of His love and indications of His divine caring.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I can bear testimony of the goodness and greatness of our Father and of His Son. How hard life can be! But how simple the basic principles of the gospel are! In the end, He loves us just because. He treasures us and knows what we’re capable of. In the end, when our mortal time is completed and we are progressing toward Him and His perfect love, it is our recognition of that love that will matter. And how we took our own little portion, seeking to love as completely and divinely as we were able. Because we wanted to be like Him.
VickeyPahnke Taylor is a wife, mom, and grandmother who joined the LDS Church as a teenager. She has worked for many years to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with other folks. Please visit her website at www.goodnessmatters.com She created this site, her latest venture, as a place to share goodness and offer a bit of hope in simple, real ways.
Her propensity for being the queen of embarrassing moments notwithstanding, “It’s a Wonderful Life” is her theme. She has taught Church youth & family programs for more than 25 years, has written books, hundreds of columns, & created hundreds of songs all with the intent of growing goodness and pointing people to Christ. She also writes for the website www.
Vickey loves nature, going on drives with her husband, laughter, her kids and grandchildren, and eating brownies. She teaches Gospel Doctrine in her ward. Her husband, Dean, serves on the High Council.