I was blown away by her willingness to be so honest.
“I am a recovering addict,” “Ana” said in one of the first meetings we had as a new ward. She openly shared her struggles with drugs, and how much the Church’s addiction recovery program helped her.
If she was afraid of what we would think, she didn’t show it. I don’t think she was, though. She was comfortable enough in her own skin — comfortable in the reality that our struggles in mortality include weakness and even sin — that she wasn’t afraid to say “I’m not perfect. I’ve made mistakes.”
And we all respected her more because it wasn’t just that she was willing to share her struggles, but that she then testified so boldly, so powerfully, of how God helped her and changed her. The Spirit was strong and I felt uplifted, filled with hope that I could face my sins and weakness and shortcomings with faith and hope.
Another woman who comes to mind is “Emily” — a woman who taught lessons that taught me much about the scriptures. But she also just talked about her life and struggles with depression, and as an imperfect mother of a large family. “I only yelled once yesterday! I’m proud of myself!”
It’s not that I believe we should revel in our weakness and sin. But she wasn’t doing that. She was rejoicing in her progress, and acknowledging in her confession that the beauty of the gospel message is that because of the Savior, Jesus Christ, we can progress, change, grow.
And they reminded me that I don’t have to be perfect.
The truth is that we are all imperfect, and I am grateful for women like Ana and Emily who are willing to share their weakness and how the Lord helped them find strength. They remind me of what the Lord has said:
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.