This morning my mom picked me and my little sister up for the amazing opportunity to go and spend the morning with Elizabeth Smart. If you don’t know or remember she’s the young girl who was abducted from her bedroom in Utah at the age of 14 and didn’t make it back home until 9 months later. Somehow, our stake relief society managed to get her to come speak to us for the afternoon.
I’m not sure what I expected from the event, having watched everything on the news almost exactly 10 years ago, but it went above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. Her grace, composure, and light spirit were amazing contributors to what she had to say. She managed to make what could have been a very dark subject into something introspective and heavenly.
I remember her saying that one of the first things her mom said to her after she was found was “What this man has done to you is horrible. He’ll go on with the rest of his life thinking nothing of you while you’re left with the mess. The best punishment you can give him is to be happy!” What amazing advice to give to her daughter in her moment of need but how universally applicable it can be for us all. We may not have a man coming and stealing 9 month of our lives and performing all kinds of atrocities to us but we constantly have Satan attacking our lives and trying to wreak all kinds of havoc. The best punishment we can give him is to be happy!
After she was done talking to us she opened the floor up to questions. One woman asked if she had ever lost hope during the time of her abduction. Her answer surprised me considering she was only 14 at the time. She said that early on she remembered a conversation with her mother where she had told her that there were only two opinions that mattered in life. One was her Heavenly Father and the other was hers (her mother). She said proceeded to tell her that her Heavenly Father has a perfect love for her and that no matter where she was or how old she got she would always love her because she was her daughter and would always be her daughter. In Elizabeth’s darkest hours she remembered that and knew that was enough. She never gave up hope because she knew that she was her mother’s daughter, that she loved her, and that they would be together again, whether in this life or the next!
Such amazing strength and faith by such a young girl but it also goes to show you how wonderful her mother was in raising her in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It just goes to show you that every minute can be a teaching opportunity with your children. Even if we’re unsure if they hear us we don’t know what part will find its way into their hearts.
I’m so thankful that my dad watched the kids so that I could go be apart of such a wonderful event! And a huge thank you to Elizabeth for coming and sharing her amazing testimony with all of us.