“Blessings I Received from a Year of Come, Follow Me,” Ensign, December 2019
Throughout this year, there was never a perfectly convenient time to study the New Testament individually or as a family. There was never a “Wow! My kids are doing absolutely nothing and sitting well behaved on the couch, just begging to study the scriptures” moment. There was never a “The laundry is folded, the dishes are clean, and the kids are asleep—what a perfect time for personal scripture study!” moment either.
In truth, following Christ and His commandments is rarely convenient. Peter had just had a huge catch of fish when Christ invited him to become a disciple (see Luke 5:3–11; see also Matthew 4:18–20). Matthew was at work, sitting in the taxpayers’ booth (see Matthew 9:9). One man was about to bury his father (see Luke 9:59). A rich young man was asked to give up all he owned before he followed (see Mark 10:21). James and John were mending their nets (see Matthew 4:20–21).
Although discipleship is not always easy, making sacrifices for Christ brings blessings, both eternal and temporal. Through my consistent studying of the scriptures throughout the year, I have received four wonderful blessings in my life:
Being able to find peace in trials
Having my faith strengthened by others’ gospel perspectives
Being inspired to dive deeper into the scriptures and apply them to my life
Most importantly, developing a closer relationship with Jesus Christ
As I was packing boxes to move yet again, less than a year after feeling strongly that we should move our family across the country for a job that ultimately didn’t work out, I felt frustrated and exhausted. I was tired of trying to make decisions. I was tired of trying to find friends. I was tired of moving my family. But I didn’t doubt the revelation we had received a year before. I felt strength—the strength of knowing that not all revelation plays out the way I think it will. I received that strength from my personal New Testament studies.
As I taped up boxes, I thought of how terrified the disciples were when they were sailing with Christ and were caught up in a storm (see Mark 4:36–37). Yes, if they hadn’t been followers of Christ, they might not have experienced that storm, but they also wouldn’t have witnessed a miracle. I reflected on the miracles that had come during my own storm-like year, and I felt peace. This same calm assurance came to me many times during the past year as I consistently studied the New Testament.
Using Come, Follow Me has created a community of gospel learning in my life. I am constantly being lifted up by the unique perspectives of my friends, family, and ward members as we read and have discussions about the same passages of scripture.
My husband and I are more aligned in what we’re studying than ever before and have had countless opportunities to talk about the New Testament this year. I even use an app to hold a Come, Follow Me study group with some of my friends, and I follow accounts on social media that provide uplifting material that follows the weekly scriptures and themes. The sense of being all in this together as we study the gospel has brought fulfillment, perspective, and joy into my life.
The Come, Follow Me curriculum provided an open, consistent framework for me to study the New Testament each week. The questions provided sparked a deeper, more meaningful look into the scriptures than I have ever made before. The deeper I consistently dived into the scriptures, the more I saw ways to apply the teachings.
Because I was intentionally doing my daily personal study, I was able to find scriptural tie-ins to my children’s everyday lives that made the scriptures more accessible to them. I naturally found connections to the weekly scriptures during singing time with the Primary kids. And most importantly, I found ways to apply the teachings to my own life.
As I felt stretched to my limits in the midst of a trial, I envisioned the Savior sleeping through a storm (see Matthew 8:24) and listened when He seemed to say, “Come, follow me and rest.”
As I was up late at night with my child who should have been in bed, losing my patience, I pictured the Savior suffering the children to come to Him (see Matthew 19:14), and He seemed to say, “Come, follow me and have patience.”
As I was frustrated when blessings seemed to go unfulfilled, I thought of Lazarus, who was dead for three days, of Mary and Martha weeping with grief, and of the Savior then raising him from the dead (see John 11). He seemed to say, “Come, follow me, and blessings will come according to My timing.”
As I felt fear doing something that seemed impossible, I imagined Peter walking on the water and then sinking as he tried to walk to the Savior (see Matthew 14:22–33). He seemed to say, “Come, follow me, and believe all things are possible.”
The New Testament has become a lifeline for me. The verses are living testaments that encourage and empower me daily to become the person Heavenly Father wants me to be.
The home-centered program puts the responsibility of learning truth on me. While learning together at church is important and beneficial, Come, Follow Me places emphasis on learning for ourselves at home, directly from the scriptures and the Spirit. I realized the only way to know the Savior personally was to actively seek Him out and to learn of Him in the scriptures every day. From the scriptures, I learned:
It is so critical for us to not just listen to others’ opinions on who Jesus Christ is but to search Him out and get to know Him for ourselves both through the scriptures and through sincere prayer. As we do these things and make sacrifices to get to know Him personally each day, we will find Him.
Following the Savior’s Resurrection, the Apostles were out on a boat in the Sea of Galilee, and eventually they recognized the resurrected Lord on shore and went to Him (see John 21:3–8). It seems to me that one reason they knew Him was that they had already made sacrifices to respond to his invitation to follow Him.
It’s never too late to answer the Savior’s call, “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). Because He never stops calling us, He never stops believing in us, and He never stops loving us. As I make sacrifices and do my best to answer His call, dive into the scriptures, and pray, it is my greatest hope that I too will recognize my Savior when I see Him one day—that, like His Apostles of old, I will hear Him and run to meet Him.