God’s Greatest Masterpiece

One of my most memorable days included a 13-mile hike, great scenery, and some one-on-one time with my dad. The day started early as we headed off to hike the west rim of Zion National Park in southern Utah. After we hiked for a while, we stopped to take a break on a large boulder overlooking the gorgeous canyons.

In that tranquil moment my dad related to me the story of the Creation. I sat there listening to him and basking in the beautiful workmanship of my Heavenly Father’s hands. Dad finished the story and told me to really look at the masterpiece in front of me.

He then explained that no matter how wondrous and beautiful this place might be, I was God’s greatest masterpiece. I am His daughter, and He loves me. He made this world for me, for all His children, and gave us dominion over it (see Gen. 1:26–28; Moses 2:26–28). So, my dad told me, in those moments when I was discouraged, when I felt I had no worth, when I didn’t want to go on, I needed to remember how much I am loved.

Dad’s little sermon couldn’t have come at a better time. I had been so blue and so discouraged. As I walked down the trail, I was filled with a sweet peace and a sure knowledge of my Heavenly Father’s love for me. That day I gained a greater appreciation for this world, a deeper love for my dad, and a stronger testimony of the love of my Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

[illustration] Illustrated by Sam Lawlor

Wanda Maxwell is a member of the Bloomington Fourth Ward, Bloomington Utah Stake.

Help on My Exam

When I was in grade four, the day of our exam came. I was nervous that I might not pass the exam. While waiting for the school bus, I reviewed what I had studied the night before.

After I had reviewed, I gathered with my family to read a passage from a scripture mastery card. The verse was about prayer and the power of priesthood blessings. While I was listening, I was prompted to ask my father to bless me so I could pass the exam. As he blessed me, I calmed down and had peace of mind.

At school, I saw my classmates studying for the exam. The bell rang, and our teacher gave us the test. Before I started it, I went to a room, knelt down, and prayed. I went back to my classroom confident I could pass the exam. When I had finished the exam and was walking out of the classroom to go home, a classmate asked me, “Jarrel, do you think you’ll pass the exam?”

I said, “Let’s just find out tomorrow when we check the papers.”

When I got home, my mother asked me, “How was the exam?”

I said, “It went fine. I answered all the questions.”

The next day, I saw my scores—I passed the exam. I was very happy and thankful. I went home, knelt down, and thanked Heavenly Father for the wisdom and guidance He had given me during the exam. I then thanked my mother for helping me in my studies and my father for giving me a blessing.

I am thankful for priesthood blessings because they have helped me and so many members of the Church.

Jarrel N. Macariola is a member of the Tangub Ward, Bacolod Philippines South Stake.

Short Example

For the Strength of Youth has really helped me understand why I need to dress modestly. It states: “Prophets of God have always counseled His children to dress modestly. … Show respect for the Lord and for yourself by dressing appropriately” (14, 16).

During the second week of school, I realized that people actually noticed how I dressed. A teacher was going over the school’s dress code. She said the girls in the class should wear longer shorts. She then said, “Everyone look at Amy’s shorts. This is how long your shorts should be.” She had me stand up. None of the other girls looked as if they cared, but it sure made me feel good. I am glad I was able to be a good example to my class.

I love the Savior and Heavenly Father, and I know they love me. I know if I follow God’s commandments I will be blessed. And I know that the gospel and Church standards help me in my life every day.

[photo] Photography by Christina Smith

Amy Dallon is a member of the Millard Ward, Omaha Nebraska Stake.

Prayer in the A.M.

I was good at saying my evening prayers. But morning prayers were a different matter. I always managed to find an excuse for not praying when I left my room in the morning. The Spirit would often prompt me to think, “I really should be saying prayers every morning.” I tried but often failed after a few poor attempts.

For about a year, I had been praying for an answer to a question. I was planning to go to university, but with just a few weeks to go before my application forms had to be finished, I still didn’t know what to study. I couldn’t work out why I had not received an answer.

My nervous and often desperate feelings of confusion became so bad that on one particular night I lay awake in bed, tears in my eyes, unable to sleep. Why hadn’t Heavenly Father answered my prayers? I had patiently prayed for a year about various courses and options, but I felt I still hadn’t received an answer.

One night while reading the scriptures I came across Alma 37:37: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God.”

I had read that scripture before in Primary, Young Women, seminary, and Sunday School lessons, but this time I really understood what I was reading. I made up my mind to pray every morning. I left little notes everywhere to remind me, and sure enough they began to work.

A few days later, I received an answer to my prayers about what to study. I knew what I had chosen was wrong, and I knew what I had to do instead. The cloud of uncertainty that had hung above me lifted, and the prospect of university became much brighter. I was even excited.

Heavenly Father did answer my prayers, just as the scriptures said He would. I know He loves us and listens to our prayers. I had to listen to what the Spirit was telling me to do and exercise a little extra faith and effort before my prayer was finally answered.

[photo] Photograph by Jed Clark

Amy Boylan is a member of the Plymouth First Ward, Plymouth England Stake.