Atonement: for Saints & Sinners

“How can the Atonement help me with my trials “

 A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: ”How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.”
She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
Found the water info here

This same concept applies to the different things we carry around with us during our life, whether is be sin, sorrow, heartache, grief, addiction and so on.

 Heavenly Father will not take away all of our pains, trials and heartache- 

But he will help us through them by strengthening us through the Atonement, so we can carry them.

Mutual nights are perfect opportunities to have a little object lesson- we are going to have someone hold a glass of water and talk about it- how can the water become lighter or less of a burden without taking it away? 

I taught this lesson last Sunday (3/17/13) and we chatted about the water, I asked if it looked heavy, then asked one of the girls to hold it.  I had her hold  through out the whole lesson, after a bit she would switch hands and we would just chat about it getting heavier.  It tied into the lesson perfectly because at the end of class she wanted to put it down and get a break from holding it.  We talked about letting things go and giving them to the Lord, even if it was just for a little bit. 

Because we tend to generalize the Atonement we forget that the Savior has been through it all- all of our sorrows, sins, heartache- it all- sometimes we forget that he would know how it feels- and because he knows how we feel he would probably be able to guide us and strengthen us during those times in our lives- when the things we are carrying become overwhelming and paralyzing.  Through him we can become strengthened.

Jenny Phillips has a great song that goes along with this called “In the Strength of the Lord” from last years CD 

Sister Chieko N. Okazai said:
“We know that on some level Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane.  It’s our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything.  Sometimes we don’t think through the implications of that belief.  We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family.  But we don’t experience pain in generalities.  We experience it individually.   Than means Jesus knows what it felt like when your Mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you.  He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election.  He knows that moment when the brakes locked, and the car started to skid.  He experienced napalm in Vietnam.  He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.
“What does that mean? it means he understands your mother-pain when your five year-old leaves for kindergarten  when a bully picks on your fifth grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has down’s syndrome.  He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two year old, when someone gives your thirteen year old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen year old.  He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children who ever come are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife are sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years.  He knows it all.  He’s been there.  He’s lower than all that.- from the book- Lighten Up

It was a good reminder that the Atonement is for all of us and with things that might not seem like a big deal can weigh on us and that the Savior can strengthen us in what ever it is we are carrying around.

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  1. Anonymous

    March 18, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. It is something that I hadn't thought of in a while, and I needed to.

  2. Charisse

    March 18, 2013 at 12:17 am

    You are so welcome- thanks for letting me know you stopped by, I really appreciate it. It has been a great reminder what a great plan he has.

  3. Steve

    March 21, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Thanks, this is a great object lesson for helping our kids (and ourselves) understand about the atonement. I also think it is great to help them understand about trauma and abuse. Often we wonder why some 'little things' seem to throw people off, not realizing that many of us have been struggling to 'hold that glass' of water so long that any added 'little thing' can be our undoing 'like the straw that broke the camels back'

  4. Charisse

    March 21, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thank you Steve it is so true, we (or me) often forget this side of the Atonement and also how important it is for us not to judge others- we do not know how long they have been holding the water- What a wonderful plan he has prepared for us- we have to try to comprehend it 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love the feedback.

  5. Lauren Gardner

    March 27, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you for posting this! I need it for my lesson on sunday!

  6. Charisse

    March 27, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    You are so very welcome! I would love to hear how it goes 🙂

  7. Leah H.

    April 16, 2013 at 5:05 am

    This is wonderful. I found this blog through Pinterest and I don't need it for teaching a lesson or anything, but the quote you posted was much needed. I need to remember that Jesus knows every single one of my pains. How wonderful to have a friend who truly understands what you're going through, that you can talk to all the time!

  8. Ann

    April 30, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Thanks for sharing this message

  9. Charisse

    April 30, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    You are welcome- Thanks for stopping by- this is one of my favorites

  10. Charisse

    January 7, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Thank you- thank you for taking the time to let me know, I appreciate it.

  11. Charisse

    January 7, 2014 at 5:39 am

    Thank you Leah for your comments, it is something I need constant reminders of it seems like.

  12. Lindsy Davigeadono

    March 6, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Than you for this great idea! Going to use it this sunday in Young Womens. I think the girls are going to love it! 🙂

  13. Charisse

    March 6, 2014 at 4:26 am

    I would love to hear how it went, Thank you for sharing this with me.

  14. lisa winnett

    March 28, 2014 at 6:36 am

    I love this idea! I think it will would well with the lesson "How can repentance help me every day?"

  15. Unknown

    April 1, 2014 at 6:23 am

    Thank you for sharing this, it would have been a great lesson for me to understand years ago. But it's all sorted out now and I hope I can help my young women to understand this principle a lot sooner than I did.

  16. Charisse

    April 1, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I bet it would, I would love to hear about it. You could email me at charisse(dot)harris(at) gmail (dot) com
    Thank you!

  17. Charisse

    April 1, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Yeah something I wish I knew earlier as well, and something I have to remind myself of every now and then. Thank you for your comment, I really do appreciate it.

  18. Anonymous

    January 19, 2015 at 4:09 am

    Love it! Teaching YW on Sunday and needed an object lesson about Jesus Christ and the atonement!

  19. Unknown

    February 27, 2017 at 12:57 am

    I wanted to thank you for the analogy of the glass of water concept. It really hit home for me. I few weeks ago I spoke in Sacrament. I decided to talk about change and the atonement in my life. I used this with a water bottle. Afterward people were very touched and the image of holding that water and how it gets heavier even though the weight of it actually doesn't change. So thank you!

  20. Charisse

    February 27, 2017 at 1:02 am

    It still does to me too :)Thank you so much for your comment!

  21. Ruth

    March 7, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Charisse, this is a great object lesson!!! I'm using it for my Laurel class this Sunday. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  22. Charisse

    March 7, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Ahhhhh Hi Ruth- Thank you, ya it resonated with me too 🙂 love you

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