I love these girls. I love serving in Young Women's and getting to know these sweet girls. I am so glad that my girls have such good, good friends.
I understand how disappointing it is to have a spiritual experience and have a desire to be better and then make a mistake...and I think situations like this are one of the reasons I love Alma 22: 18 so much. Aaron is teaching King Lamoni's father and King Lamoni's father, the king, prays, "O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee..." I love this because he has the DESIRE to give away all his sins in order to know God. I am certain that he wasn't perfect from that moment on. I am certain he still sinned, but he no longer desired to sin. In Alma 41:3, 5 it says,
"And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good....The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh." (bold added by me, not in the original)
I believe our Heavenly Father is very merciful and just and he rewards us not just according to our works but also to our desires. I have desires to be patient and forgiving and full of love, but sometimes my actions don't meet up with my desires. I believe that He knows my heart and blesses me based on my desires and my actions. That's not to say that we shouldn't try to become better and try to give up our sins and try to make our actions match our desires. But, at least for me, I often have better success having good desires and so I am very thankful for this merciful plan.
Elder Holland said,
"...surely the thing God enjoys most about being God is the thrill of being merciful, especially to those who don't expect it and often feel they don't deserve it....however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you don't think you have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ's Atonement shines."
What a blessing that is!! I hope I can do a better job of teaching my children to understand and use the Atonement. How thankful I am for my merciful and loving Father in Heaven.