When I was a teen I worked full-time as an international runway model. I retired from the industry shortly after I turned 18 and have been speaking to Young Women groups about finding true happiness for the last 10 years.
At some point during every talk, I look into the faces of those strong little women and think, “within the next few years, these girls are going to drink, smoke, go too far with boys, get discouraged, feel hurt and pain.” These little sisses, like all of us, are in some way or another going to sin, wander, and stray.
Youth in the Church are accustomed to hearing the idea that if they go certain places and do certain things, the Spirit or presence of Christ will leave them. This is 100 percent my simple opinion and I really have no authority, but I just can’t stomach that idea.
If a lamb is wandering into danger does the shepherd call out, “you are getting too close to the edge. I’m sorry, but there is no way I’m risking going after you.” Heck no! When a lamb is in danger, the shepherd does all that he can to get as close as possible to his little one and carefully guide her to safety.
I understand that we can make choices that make it difficult for us to feel the Spirit, but I don’t think it’s because He isn’t around. Yes, we can dull our sensitivity to His influence, but no we can’t make Him give up on us.
Having been where so many of these girls may be headed and knowing the pain that can come when you think Christ has left you, I finish every talk with something along these lines:
Jesus Christ died for you. There is nothing you can do that will make Him leave you or love you less. Your Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother love you fiercely and will always be by your side. There will be moments when you will feel alone. Christ felt that kind of loneliness on the cross when He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46, emphasis added).Elder Holland taught, “a perfect Father did not forsake His Son in that hour. Indeed, it is my personal belief that in all of Christ’s mortal ministry the Father may never have been closer to His Son than in these agonizing final moments of suffering” (“None Were with Him”).
When you are struggling, God is nearer than ever. He is not ashamed or annoyed. He loves and gets you. He is working through the night to guide you to eventual peace. You did not earn His love or presence nor must you be a perfect Mormon woman to keep it. Heavenly Father and Mother and Jesus Christ are with you every step of the way whether you like it or not.
Just my two cents. This was probably more for my heart than anyone else. Off my soap box for now.