Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How I Found the Savior In a CHemISTRy Class

So I have started a new adventure...I've decided to go back to school to hopefully pursue a nursing degree. I already have a Bachelor's degree, but it is one of those degrees which requires further training and education to be useful and for various reasons, I don't want to further that degree. Nursing just feels right. I have always wanted to be a nurse so...I'm 41, I have two young children at home...no time like the present right? (That was dripping with sarcasm!)  I'm not doing this for kicks. The inspiration to do this was pretty clear. It's a good thing too because I'm already asking "Why?!"

I have two classes I have to take before I can apply for the nursing program: Chemistry and Anatomy/Physiology. I opted to take the chemistry class this summer. Somehow, I made it through high school without taking a chemistry class. "How did that happen?" you ask? "I have no idea." I reply. Needless to say, this is my first chemistry experience.

We had our first test yesterday. I did everything right. I studied every day. I did all of the homework. I attended all of the labs. I asked questions. I took the sample test. My teacher allows us to have a cheat sheet which I plastered with every note possible in my teensiest little handwriting. I have even made the commitment to not study on Sundays. The test was on a Monday morning so, I stayed up until midnight on Saturday night studying and doing all I could. The morning of the test I read the scriptures and prayed and went into the test with a heart and mind full of faith.

I felt peace and confidence and I knew I was going to be okay.

Until I got to question #15 and then question #16 and then question #31 and #33.
My mind was blank. These questions were worth a lot of points. I needed to answer them correctly!
I scoured my cheat sheet.
How did I not have anything on that about those particular questions?
I prayed.
I listened for inspiraiton.
My mind was still blank.
I prayed again.
I listened again.


I did my best and turned in the test and left the room feeling quite dejected.

How did that happen?!

And then, the Holy Ghost began to teach me...

This great analogy came to my mind... The Broken Vessel  
In this story, an old broken vase, filled with holes, just looks useless. Until light shines into the vase and then shines out of the holes in the vase. It is the weak spots, where light can be seen. In other words, the light of Christ can shine through our weaknesses - healing us and blessing the lives of others.

Then the Holy Ghost reminded me that on the Saturday and Sunday before the test, during my personal scripture study, I had felt directed to study two certain verses:

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." Ether 12:27


 "... the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." Jacob 4:6-7

That was when the tears started to roll down my cheeks as I drove home from my chemistry class on Monday morning. I wasn't crying because I didn't do as well on the test as I had hoped (although that was sad).  I was crying because somehow, in a way I don't yet know, the Savior is going to teach me more about myself and more about Himself during this chemistry class.

He gives us weaknesses so we will know when He is working through us. He gives us weaknesses to keep us humble. Not because He is egotistical and wants us to think about Him all of the time but because He knows that we do not understand all things and we do not see things from His all-knowing perspective and so we NEED to constantly be turned toward Him. It is how we will make it back Home to Him.

The thing is that lately, I have been shown my weaknesses on a regular basis. Daily. Sometimes several times a day. Believe me, I could write volumes about my weaknesses. The Chemistry test was just one more instance where I was taught that I am absolutely not perfect and I need Jesus Christ.

But according to the story of the vase and the scriptures I shared...that's not such a bad thing. This quote tells more...

"...if you have problems in your life, don’t assume there is something wrong with you. Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life’s purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. 7If you’re seeing more of your weaknesses, that just might mean you’re moving nearer to God, not farther away." Bruce C. Hafen, "The Atonement: All for All"

What weaknesses do you have? Don't beat yourself up about them. Be honest and factual. You are a child of God filled with talents and skills and gifts AND flaws and shortcomings. satan wants us to condemn ourselves because of those flaws and make us feel shame, which will make us want to stop our progression.

That is not how our Savior works. I'm beginning to see that it is through our shortcomings that He will be able to draw us closer to Him because we will see how much we need Him. Do you see that too? Think of just one thing you are struggling with...is there a way the Savior can teach you about Himself through that weakness? Can you find the Savior there? If you can't - and I completely understand - I believe that if we ask, He will show us how it all can work.

So, I think what the Holy Ghost was teaching me as I drove home after my test was that...it is all going to be okay. :) I still need to do my part but a weakness in my ability to do chemistry formulas does not mean I'm a hopeless cause. It means there is a place in me where His light can shine through. It means that there are weak places where the Savior can show me what He can do - that sounds kinda exciting.

Who would have thought that a chemistry class would teach me more about Jesus Christ? 

Oh wait...I think He knew all along. 

I love how He works.

Hmmmm....I wonder how this perspective could help us know how to treat the other imperfect people around us? Just a thought... :)


  1. Dear Lisa, I have been going to the Temple weekly since Jan. 1 2013 through wich I have experienced a keen awareness of my faults and mistakes in life. I got depressed and would run to the Temple to feel better. Then a few days later I would feel bad about myself again. I got to a point of feeling hopeless, But I kept going to the Temple and one day the thought came to me: All I can do is just keep doing good and look to the future. My burden seems to have been lifted and one thing I have noticed is, that my desires and needs are changing as I attend the Temple on a regular basis.
    Thanks for the analogy of the broken vase. It is something to keep in my mind always. I love you and appreciate your blog and your fb posts. Keep up the good missionary work. You are making a difference in so many lives.
    I am proud of you too, Aunt My-Rah

  2. Along with your thoughts and your aunt My-Rah's comment, I have been lifted this day. Thanks!

  3. Chemistry has its purpose after all. I wish I'd known that in High School :).

  4. Myra thanks for sharing your experience - it has strengthened me as well. I love you too :)


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