“My Lesson on the Atonement,” Ensign, Apr. 1998, 52–53
I had been praying over a period of several weeks to better understand the Atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ. One morning while helping my young son Kyle get ready for school, I found myself growing impatient as time drew near to catch the school bus and he wasn’t ready. A neighbor girl stopped by to walk with Kyle to the bus stop. Worried she might miss the bus, I sent her ahead. This meant Kyle would also have to walk alone, and he complained bitterly to me.
I knelt down and looked him in the eye and roughly scolded him for taking so long to get ready and then complaining to me about walking alone. As I looked at him, I saw his eyes fill with tears, and he pulled his hat down over his eyes so he wouldn’t have to look at my angry face. I realized how vulnerable and tender children are and how loud and reproving I had been. I stopped and tried to apologize, helped him get his boots on, and sent him off to school.
As I watched this discouraged little person run for the bus stop, I thought of my inappropriate actions. Of all places and all people in this world, home and mother should be a refuge—a place to find peace and love. I berated myself for my carelessness and failings as a mother and felt absolutely terrible.
Suddenly a gentle and loving thought came into my mind: this is what the Atonement is for. Tears came, and I prayed for forgiveness. I pleaded with Heavenly Father to bless my son so he would not suffer for my mistakes. I still felt sad, but I knew that through the Atonement things could be made right again.
Weeks later I shared this insight with a friend. As I talked, I pondered why I had been blessed with such a powerful testimony of the Atonement. Again, a gentle thought came into my mind that this had been in answer to my prayers. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find” (Matt. 7:7). Even though I had been praying for more understanding of the Atonement, I had failed to see a direct answer to my prayer until that reminder came to me.
I know Heavenly Father loves each of us and wants us to repent of our shortcomings and also to rid ourselves of feelings of discouragement. How grateful I am for the Atonement, which brings healing and forgiveness into our lives.