when you pray enough about it.
I am finding that to be true in every aspect of my life. Sometimes when I hit a roadblock or some disastrous dead end, a door will open and my mind will be clear with what I am supposed to do. Sometimes it is over big things and sometimes over little things. Today was an example of overcoming a little road block.
I have been so blessed to be a teacher of the 13-14 year old kids at church. They are so smart -- smarter than I ever was when I was their age. Because they are so smart, I want to make sure that I prepare the lesson so that I can add to their testimonies and help them get though the challenges of growing up in these trying times.
When I went online to print the lesson for this week I was NOT wanting to give it. "Oh, no. I don't know these kids very well (I have only been their teacher for a month now) and I am supposed to be giving them a lesson on chastity." I wanted to give some good examples or some object lesson to express the dire need for them to keep their bodies and minds free from immorality since being immoral is commonplace in the world today. But despite reading the scriptures, studying the lesson and going to other church sources like conference talks and the church magazines -- I was coming up with nothing spectacular.
Feeling totally unprepared for class, I entered the doors and greeted the 9 teenagers. We started talking about life, how the weekend was, reviewed the 13th article of faith, talked about the definitions of chastity and virtue, made a list of immoral acts, and then passed out fruit snacks (you gotta give them something to get their brain waves started) and I kept feeling stuck. Only 10 minutes into the lesson time and I was almost done with what I prepared. Then a child mentioned something about how they loved fruit and BINGO! the light came on and I knew how to approach the subject. Thanks to the inspiration from above, we had the BEST lesson. Let me share with you how it whet (BTW -- my writing will never do it justification -- teaching by the spirit gives so much more impact).
I asked them what their favorite fruits and veggies were -- Apples, mangoes, bananas where shouted out then one student mentioned carrots, then another, then another, then another until they all were talking about how yummy carrots are and all the wonderful ways to prepare them. Being an educator and currently teaching a Human Nutrition class my mind started working. We talked about how pure and delicious carrots were when you pick them out of your own garden and get them raw with all their natural enzymes, vitamins, and all out yumminess. Then we talked about all the other forms -- boiled (sweet and delicious), baked, and the class favorite, made into carrot cake. I explained to them that every type of processing of the food through boiling, microwaving, shredding, baking, etc. destroys some of the enzymes and nutrients making them less healthy for you to eat. They are still good for you -- still yummy but once you manipulate them, they cannot go back to the totally raw nutrient rich state when you pick them out of your garden.
We then talked about how some enzymes are used in the cells to be gate keepers. They allow only those nutrients that are unchanged or that match the enzyme shape to come inside. Processing foods can modify the natural enzymes in such a way that they are not allowed in.
The subject then turned to our bodies. As a child we are pure -- just plucked from a Heavenly garden where we are nurtured until we are ready to face the world. Yet daily we are faced with the challenges of where to go, what to do, how to be. Are we going to give in a drink just once? Are we going to give our purity to another person and not wait until marriage? Are we going to look at television and Internet programs that will change the way we view intimacy? Are we going to stay pure -- in our purest form -- that we may be able to enter the gate of the Temple of God?
If we succumb to temptation and make poor choices, these choices can change us so that we are not in our pure and natural state -- just like the enzymes are changed in the carrots. Sometimes it will even change us so much that we will not be able to enter through the gate of the Temple -- we are not worthy to come in an partake of the beauty and purity of the Temple ordinances.
Many times people will justify in doing things just like what is found in 2Nephi 28:8
8 And there shall also be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry; nevertheless, fear God—he will justify in committing a little sin; yea, lie a little, take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor; there is no harm in this; and do all these things, for tomorrow we die; and if it so be that we are guilty, God will beat us with a few stripes, and at last we shall be saved in the kingdom of God.
I told them to not let this fool them and I testified to these children that the Savior has prepared a way for us to repent of the wrongs we have done but once you make that change there is no going back to the pure form of abstaining from wrong doing. You will feel the regret, the remorse and the shame for years to come even after you have partaken of the miraculous change of repentance.
We went back to the discussion of enzymes to provide an analogy on how our body (over time) can adapt to these changes and even modify the nutrients so that they can enter the cell. They aren't the exact same as the original, but with the modifications they are just as able to enter the cell and help in the work. This too is true for the repentant soul. They too can go through a miraculous change and become worthy and able to enter into the temple to help in the work. This is the beauty of the atonement.
I urged them to stay strong and stick together. To help each other make the right choices. I also urged them that if they have made wrong choices to talk to take the steps necessary to become pure again.
I hope that this abbreviated discussion of our Sunday school lesson captured the spirit of what we were trying to learn today. I am so thankful for personal inspiration and for the opportunity to share my testimony with the noble youth in my ward.