I was asked a very general question a few weeks ago, general questions are usually hardest to answer. I was asked, with all of the experiences I’ve had with speaking and blogging and whatever else it is that I do, what have I learned? I thought, holy cow, I’ve learned something new everyday that I consider vital to know how can I answer that? With all the places I travel to in just 1 week alone- all of the opportunities that arise in just 1 week alone- and in just one week alone I speak to and meet hundreds and hundreds of people- I have been blessed with reoccurring humility to do what I do and to meet who I meet- how am I supposed to give a simple answer to this? I was pondering and reading through my journals on everything I’ve felt and struggled with and learned, but the answer had to come and be in a form of a 10-minute sacrament talk. As of late it hasn’t been often that I have been in my own ward, and with moving soon it was a very great possibility that this was the last time I’d be in the ward, and for sure the last time I’d be able to speak to them. I thought, if this is the last time I ever get to speak to them, if this is the last thing I ever get to say, and this is the last time some of them may ever see me, what do I want them to know most?
My answer came from a very powerful experience I had just a week or two previous. I was supposed to speak on a night that I had the worst migraine you could imagine. It brought me to tears. I couldn’t even think straight let alone go and speak for an hour. It was absolutely terrible. I was praying to Heavenly Father, more so of a scream and yell at Him than it was speaking, saying I couldn’t this, there’s no way, not tonight, not feeling like this-but- if He wanted me to, I knew that He would help me. The answer didn’t come clear, but the next thing I knew I found myself driving to Payson Canyon to a girls camp. I was talking to Heavenly Father all the way there and I received an answer. An answer that came so clear it was like I was reading a billboard. An answer that came so powerfully I physically felt it. I was consumed. I was taken over. I was crying, except this time it wasn’t because of my head but because of my answer. Heavenly Father answered my prayer saying, ‘Al, you go tonight…you go and you make sure that you tell those girls…how much I love them. Al, go to those girls and tell them…that I notice them. That I’m listening. You make sure you tell those girls that I’m right here.” It came so clearly that I responded out loud saying, ‘Ok, I’ll tell them!’
Headache dispersed. Motivation, love and urgency took over.
My favorite part about speaking is two-fold. First part is sitting right before I’m about to get up and speak- and looking out at everyone. I love it. Opening hymn- scanning over all those who come and every time I am able to feel just a sliver of what God feels for them. Just a quick, small glimpse to how He sees them. And it’s overwhelming. It’s powerful. It’s beyond humbling. Next is after speaking. Every time I speak I stay and I meet people. I love hearing from them. I love hearing their testimonies. Their struggles and trials. Their losses. Their gains. Their opportunities. Blessings. Miracles. I love every bit of it. I love meeting those who feel that they are not where they want and should be. I love meeting those in the middle of a hard time. I love meetings those just got through a hard time. Those who are doing the right thing on the right path. I love meeting those who are crying. Those who cannot bring themselves to even say anything to me but just hold my hand and look me in the eye and I can just feel. I love it. I love everyone. That is where my strength comes from. That is where my inspiration comes from; is you. And having said that…
What I have truly come to really learn and feel and know to be very true is that God does care. That no one goes unnoticed. What I have truly come to learn and re-learn, and feel and re-feel, is you do matter. You, personally and individually make a difference, you do! What you are doing does not go unnoticed.
I have met a ton of people- different people, different situations and experiences, sure- but- the same Christ. The same Heavenly Father. The same love. He does not love me more or less than He loves anyone else. He does not love anyone else more or less than He loves you. No matter who you are, no matter where in life you are, no matter what you’ve done, or are not doing- no matter your sins or accomplishments- no matter income or calling- on or off the path-that love that He has for you- personally and individually you- is always there. Always strong. Always real. That love that He has for specifically you, never waivers. His love for you never dims. I have felt that so consistently and so overwhelmingly that I can’t adequately enough express this into words to describe.
And that is what matters most. If this is the only time you will hear from me…if this is the only thing you know… I plead with you to make it that God loves you. God loves you, personally and individually you, so much! It’s real. It’s powerful. And you can feel that- always! Comfort will always be there; Christ will always be there! And I love that. It’s real. This is real. Heavenly Father is real. And I don’t know what I’d do without Him. And I’m grateful I don’t ever have to.
Turn to Him. Feel. Re-feel. Strengthen.