Interim Dean of the McKay School of Education Kendra Hall-Kenyon invited students to find and place their strength in the Lord during her devotional address on Sept. 27.
Referring to her six-year-old son Max, Hall-Kenyon spoke about the daily challenges that individuals face and their eternal importance. “You can have a no problem day, but you can’t have a no problem life,” she said.
Hall-Kenyon explained that times of trial and testing will be mixed in with the “no problem” days, and will continue to come repeatedly over the course of an entire life.
“Sometimes we might think if we have enough faith or are obedient enough, we can be saved from life’s challenges,” Sister Hall-Kenyon said. “This misunderstanding may be partially rooted in our interpretation of the oft repeated promise, ‘Inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall prosper in the land.'”
Hall-Kenyon said “it is easy to misinterpret this promise” when one focuses on financial rewards, popularity or fame, or any other worldly recognition.
Hall-Kenyon also shared multiple lessons she’s learned from her own experiences finding strength in the Lord, amid the trials and challenges of her life.
Lesson number one was to put one’s trust in the Lord. “Trust is created in a relationship. You trust your parents or your friends because of your experiences with them,” Hall-Kenyon said. “I trust my mom because I know in whatever situation we are in she will see the good in me. She knows all my flaws and faults but, in every situation, will still find the good. I trust her, because of my 50 years of experience with this, time and again she will see the good and focus her attention there; no matter what”.
Hall-Kenyon compared her relationship with her mom to her relationship with Christ. She said that although the love of a parent or Christ is unconditional, it is important for individuals to do their part as well.
“We need to build and strengthen our relationship with Him – we need to have experiences with Him and come to know Him is as our Savior and Redeemer,” Hall-Kenyon said. “We build a relationship with Jesus Christ through sincere prayer, studying about Him in the scriptures and trying to emulate His attributes”.
Hall-Kenyon said lesson number two was submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord. She shared that her older brother Jason became a quadriplegic due to a car accident at age 15. She said at the time, Jason’s doctor told him “his high school graduation would likely be delayed, he probably wouldn’t be able to go away to college, he would have few, if any, job prospects, and would likely live with our parents for the rest of his life.”
However, Hall-Kenyon said Jason exhibited resiliency, strength and unwavering faith in God. “He found his strength in the Lord and chose to submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord,” Hall-Kenyon said. “Through His faith in Jesus Christ, Jason experienced the ‘enabling power of the Atonement’, which allowed him to do more than he could have ever done on his own.”
Hall-Kenyon then spoke of Jason’s accomplishments. “He graduated with his high school class, he came to BYU and became the student body president, he got married and had a family, he began his career as an insurance agent and even became his son’s lacrosse team coach,” Hall-Kenyon said.
“We all have burdens to carry in our lives and those burdens look different for everyone. My brother Jason endured many physical challenges throughout his life—none of which he likely would have chosen,” Hall-Kenyon said. “He could have easily focused on his challenges. He wasn’t perfect, but each day he chose to have faith. He chose to respond with patience and trust in the Lord. He found his strength in Jesus Christ.”