In her characteristic warm, relatable style, Sister Reyna I. Aburto, Second Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, invites us to consider the different ways we can reach out for the Savior’s help and guidance in a new book. Below is an excerpt from “Reaching for the Savior.”
As we go through our mortal existence, sometimes we find ourselves amid tribulation and sorrow. We experience heart-wrenching situations, and it becomes difficult to believe that when we reach for the Savior and turn our hearts to Him, He has the power to heal us. Other times, we have periods of spiritual laziness in our souls. We just go through the motions and are not “anxiously engaged” in reaching up to God so we can receive help from Him (D&C 58:27).
I grew up as a Catholic, and even though I believed in God, I did not have a clear understanding of His nature and HIs love for me. I believe in Jesus Christ but did not truly comprehend how much I needed Him in my life and that I had to be more proactive in reaching up to Him in order to be saved through His grace. I was in some sort of “spiritual sleep” and was “spiritually lazy,” without the desire to exert any kind of effort to reach up to heaven for help or direction in my life.
It was not until I was twenty-six years old that I “came to [myself]” (Luke 15:17), like the prodigal son. At that point, I had just gone through a painful final separation from my first husband; I had a three-year-old son, Xavier, whom I loved with all my heart; and I found myself overwhelmed by fear, despair, and hopelessness. It was then, through the Light of Christ, that I received a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I felt the sincere desire to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to start participating in this remarkable journey of discipleship, experiencing its ups and downs, just like everyone else.
All I needed was to have a desire to reach for the Savior, turn my heart to Him, believe in Him, and act on that belief. At that time, I was not physically lazy—I was busy and working hard to provide for myself and my son—but I was going through a long period of spiritual laziness, without stretching myself toward God.
No matter our circumstances, we all need to draw the Savior’s power into our life at all times. We should strive to have a clear understanding of our divine nature and purpose so that each decision we make in life can be guided by our desire to receive virtue and healing from the Savior. We all can constantly exert all our powers, stretch ourselves physically and spiritually, and reach for the Savior so our afflictions can be “swallowed up in [His] joy” (Alma 31:38). To attain that, we can start with the desire to draw closer to Him, nurturing that desire and exerting all our powers, until desire becomes faith and belief in the power that He has to help and heal us.
I know that we have a Father in Heaven, who loves us and knows each of us personally. I know that our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Only Begotten Son, the Prince of Peace, and that He has the power and the desire to heal us, and to embrace us in His loving arms as we go through this mortal life. He loves each of us, He knows each of us, He wants us to draw near unto Him, and “from His perspective, [we are] not that far away.” He has sent us the Comforter, even the Spirit of truth, who testifies to us of the saving and enabling power that comes from Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
We can reach for the Savior when we exert all our powers and stretch ourselves in simple but significant ways to constantly come unto Him.
Drawing upon her unique life experiences, Sister Reyna Aburto invites readers to join with her in strengthening Christ’s Church. Through her relatable style and humble approach, Sister Aburto shares her insights about growing up in Nicaragua, losing her brother in a devastating earthquake, having a spouse struggle with addiction, dealing with divorce and single parenting, joining the Church, and developing a deep conviction of the Savior’s love and the transcendent power of His atoning sacrifice. Each chapter addresses a specific way we can reach for the Savior, from studying the Book of Mormon to temple worship to strengthening our wards to ministering and more. Through trials and difficulties, personal darkness, and mental and emotional struggles, we can find small and simple ways of drawing closer to God in Reaching for the Savior. It is available here.
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.