Emily Belle Freeman
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THIS IS MY JOY

AND MY GREAT REJOICING

I Commit

Yesterday we went on a six mile walk. My ten-year-old niece, Savvy, asked if she could come.  She wasn't sure if she could make it.  Six miles.  I told her it was all downhill.  So she came, along with my daughter Grace, my mom, and another niece, Ella.

We talked about a lot of things. ..including our favorite quotes from General Conference.

While we were talking about gospel stuff Savvy, who is nine, asked "how does the judgement work?  Will Heavenly Father just look at You for a second and say 'nope, sorry, you didn't make it'?"

My mom and I both answered "NO!"

So we talked about that for a minute.

I told her one of my favorite people (Brad Wilcox) told me he thought the judgement would be a lot different than we imagine.  He explains that the Savior will be there.  He will grab our hands and beg us to come into Heaven, to live with Him forever, to accept all that He has to offer, and that it will ultimately be our choice if we want to choose Jesus...the same way it is our choice here on Earth.

Savvy looked at me and said, "that's it? Well that's easy."  She walked away totally content.

My mom and I laughed.  Oh, that it were really that easy to choose Jesus every day.

It was the last half mile of the six miles when everyone wanted to give up.  "Call for a rescue vehicle!  My feet hurt!  You are taking us the wrong way!  I think we are lost!"

I kept explaining that we weren't lost, and that, in fact, we were almost to our destination, which was a really fun lunch, trust me.

It was at that moment that we came upon a gate unlike any gate I had seen before.

It had locks all over it.  The locks symbolized commitment...an anniversary.  An engagement.   Years of marriage.  But a lock could also symbolize a personal victory or a future victory. I fell in LOVE with that idea.  I told the girls if they finished the six mile walk I would buy a lock for each of them to put on the fence.

As we finished walking to the little cafe I thought about personal victories and future victories.  It didn't take long before I remembered my conversation with Savvy at the beginning of the walk.  To choose Jesus.

A future victory.

One that we could work on every day.

When lunch was over we went back to the gate with a tiny gold lock for each of us.

We celebrated the fact that we had walked six miles.  A personal victory.  A reminder that we could do hard things every day.

Then we talked about a future victory. To choose Jesus.  Every day.  For the rest of our lives.

We committed that we would.

"Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them." Jeffery R. Holland

I don't know who started that tradition of putting those locks on that beautiful gate.  But for whoever it was I am extremely grateful.

Because years from now if any of those three darling girls doubt their belief in that which is most important I will drive them to St. George and take them back to the gate.  We will reach our hands up to the left side of the gate and touch those six gold locks, and I will remind them at one time they knew what was most important.

Choose Jesus.

Even when it is hard.

Every single day.

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Emily Freeman