Vicki Jackman: The Lord loves and expects effort

Editor’s note: This narrative is part of a Church News series titled “Women of Covenant,” in which women of the Church discuss their personal experiences with priesthood power and share what they have learned through following President Russell M. Nelson’s counsel to “labor with the Spirit to understand God’s power — priesthood power” (“Spiritual Treasures,” general conference, October 2019).

Not long ago, I received some new assignments in my calling as a Young Women general board member. These new responsibilities seemed huge and well outside my comfort zone. I felt unsure about how I was going to accomplish them. Even more than that, I felt woefully inadequate. I found myself asking, “How does an ordinary run-of-the-mill girl from a fruit farm in Brigham City, Utah, qualify to even be in this calling in the church?” 

The more I thought and stewed, the more overwhelmed I became. My insecurities plagued my heart and mind, souring everything I did and filling me with feelings of intense inadequacy. I knew I wasn’t heading in a good direction, so after a hot meal, I knelt in prayer asking Heavenly Father to forgive me for murmuring and prayed for strength beyond my own to lift my load, and then I fell into bed.

Vicki Jackman, Young Women general board member.
Vicki Jackman, Young Women general board member. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

During the night, I woke up, still agitated and fretting about my ability to do the work. I repeated my earlier prayer for strength, and immediately I remembered the account in the New Testament of the Savior fasting in the wilderness for 40 days. Satan was relentless. In all the temptations he dangled in front of the Savior, the one that constantly recurred was one of self-doubt, “If thou be the Son of God…” (Luke 4: 1-13). Satan never quit. While hanging on the cross, passers-by taunted the Savior with the same words of doubt, “If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matt. 27:40). But the Savior never faltered. Despite what might have been an easy lie to believe, He never questioned His divinely given assignment. He knew He had been given power from the Father to accomplish His work.

I realized at my midnight moment, that if I allow Satan to make me question my divine worth, he wins. Suddenly, I felt a rush of power, a feeling that without God I can’t succeed, but with God I cannot fail (Helaman 5:12). 

God loves me. I am His beloved daughter. This is His church, and as such, my assignments are not about me, they are about Him. Peace settled into my heart as I was taught this eternal truth, and I was overcome with the Savior’s love for me. I knew I could do this.

Rising early in the morning I offered a heart-felt prayer full of gratitude and headed up Provo Canyon on my bike with my husband.  As I rode among the majestic mountains on either side of the canyon, I recalled what President Nelson told a sweet little primary girl. Being a prophet was hard work. Jehovah asked Moses to go to the top of Mount Sinai, not to meet Him halfway, but to walk all the way to the top. The Lord expects and loves effort. 

Pedaling my bicycle, I thought back to the first ride of the season. It had been brutal. But that day, I felt an ability to ride the same course with ease. Yes, the Lord loves our effort, but He will strengthen us so we can bear up our burdens with ease (Mosiah 24:15).  He will immediately stretch forth His hand to lift us (Matt. 14:24-32).  

Vicki Jackman biking in Provo Canyon near Provo, Utah.
Vicki Jackman biking in Provo Canyon near Provo, Utah. Credit: Courtesy Vicki Jackman

I realized that when I was set apart as a member of the Young Women General Board, I received priesthood authority under the hands of one of His ordained Apostles. As I honor and keep my baptismal and temple covenants, I am blessed with priesthood power, God’s power, and I will qualify for His divine help in each part of my life: my marriage, children, grandchildren, parent and family relationships, friends and neighbors, ministering sisters, and callings in the Church. 

I have often felt empowered to say or do something beyond my own mortal ability.  I know I can reach out to Him when life gets difficult and He will sustain me. Difficulties will never go away in this mortal sphere, but with His power, I can feel comfort, reassurance, peace, and joy. 

Righteous brethren bear the priesthood, but we as women are the recipients of the power of the priesthood as evidenced through the power of the Holy Ghost, the power of godliness, and the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ in all aspects of our lives.

President Russell M. Nelson said, “The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life” (Spiritual Treasures” October 2019 general conference). How grateful I am for priesthood power. It changes my life every day.