This morning in my personal study I re-read President Uchtdorf's talk from the last General Women's Meeting, Living the Gospel Joyful. I was really touched by several things he said, but there were a couple things that seemed to be timely counsel for me today.
"Part of our challenge is, I think, that we imagine that God has all of His blessings locked in a huge cloud up in heaven, refusing to give them to us unless we comply with some strict, paternalistic requirements He has set up. But the commandments aren’t like that at all. In reality, Heavenly Father is constantly raining blessings upon us. It is our fear, doubt, and sin that, like an umbrella, block these blessings from reaching us. His commandments are the loving instructions and the divine help for us to close the umbrella so we can receive the shower of heavenly blessings."**I do this a lot. I made a real effort to start working on it after conference, but as usually happens over the months I lost focus and just started to feel wet and cold so I yanked that umbrella right back out again. I was grateful to be reminded of it this morning because I feel as if Heavenly Father is trying to send me a lot of beautiful blessings right now but I need to take that step of faith and close my umbrella again!
"My dear sisters in the gospel, whether you are 8 or 108, there is one thing that I hope you truly understand and know: You are loved. You are dear to your heavenly parents. The infinite and eternal Creator of light and life knows you! He is mindful of you. Yes, God loves you this very day and always. He is not waiting to love you until you have overcome your weaknesses and bad habits. He loves you today with a full understanding of your struggles. He is aware that you reach up to Him in heartfelt and hopeful prayer. He knows of the times you have held onto the fading light and believed—even in the midst of growing darkness. He knows of your sufferings. He knows of your remorse for the times you have fallen short or failed. And still He loves you.
"And God knows of your successes; though they may seem small to you, He acknowledges and cherishes each one of them. He loves you for extending yourself to others. He loves you for reaching out and helping others bear their heavy burdens—even when you are struggling with your own. He knows everything about you. He sees you clearly—He knows you as you really are. And He loves you—today and always!
"Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? Do you think your value to Him changes based on how many followers you have on Instagram or Pinterest? Do you think He wants you to worry or get depressed if some un-friend or un-follow you on Facebook or Twitter? Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe?
"He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become. More than you could ever imagine, He wants you to achieve your destiny—to return to your heavenly home in honor."
**As I've said before, this is the one eternal truth that I've never doubted and have always been able to cling to in any darkness. But there's something especially powerful about a prophet and apostle of God reaffirming my faith in God's love that helps me feel it to my core, rather than just believing or even knowing. And that is most definitely a welcome Tender Mercy today and everyday.