What I Know For Sure- 2019
On Monday night I had a STRONG prompting to post my testimony on facebook. I tried to get out of it by telling Heavenly Father that I didn't want to offend people and that I'd rather just post it on Sunshine In the Middle, but I felt like God was asking me to DECLARE, and Facebook to all my friends and family was what He was asking for. This is what I posted:
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have been my whole life. I’ve fallen off the path “a time or two” because I’m practicing at my faith - I’m not perfect at it. My religion (as have many others) has been attacked, questioned, belittled, and criticized. I’ve been called a “blind follower” to my face and most likely behind my back.
A post of this nature will likely be seen by like-minded friends of faith and by critics, alike. I hesitated sharing because I don’t wish to offend. And yet at the same time the very fundamentals of this country were founded on freedom of speech and freedom of religion and that’s the beauty of it. You can worship your way and I can worship mine. One of our fundamental beliefs as a faith is “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” I share my thoughts today, because at this moment I have an abundant conviction of my Savior Jesus Christ. But my intent is to praise, not to convert. I honor your faith story, as I hope you’ll honor mine.
That Jesus once lived, loved and served has provided me a pattern to follow for a full and rich life, but is only part of my faith. That he died and was risen again is my hope and my joy. He made it possible for me to wander away from him and when I turn back his arms are open to me EVERY. Time. He seeks to help me grow without guilt, but with a love that ignites me to want better for myself and for those around me. He comforts me, strengthens me and brings me peace in times of heartache and trial. Because of him, I can be forgiven of my shortcomings and I can have eternal life with God after this. Jesus paid a debt I can never repay.
But my time here is not yet finished. My faith will continue to be tried. Life is hard for everyone, and this year has tried me in all new ways. I’ve found myself on my knees and prayed until my feet were numb and my legs hurt. I’ve cried tears-and even ugly cried as I’ve navigated some challenges. I’ve drowned myself in scripture and yet...I have found heaven to be silent on these matters. I have still had times where I have felt the spirit, but my pleadings for answers to my personal challenges have been seemingly ignored.
And yet at my core I know that there is something in store for me and I just have to continue on in patient faith until it’s received. “Faith in God includes faith in his timing.”(Maxwell) The trials aren’t going away, but neither am I.
This year I have added to my scripture study listening to general conference talks given by our current prophet President Russell M. Nelson. I started with his first talk after his call to the apostleship in 1984. I have been preserved during this “heaven silence” through his messages and my testimony and faith have grown abundantly. From the very beginning he has championed women, believed in and encouraged personal revelation, declared testimony of the Book of Mormon, had a fondness for family history and temple work, discussed health and wellness with pleas to respect spirit AND body, and of course, he has shared a faith in Jesus Christ. He has studied, shared, studied more and shared some more about the life and mission of the Savior. He has given himself challenges to read the Book of Mormon in short periods of time and to read every scripture about Christ’s attributes. So when he asked the women of the church to read the Book of Mormon at the end of 2018 it wasn’t just for kicks and giggles. It was because he KNEW that it could have a profound effect on our busy, over-filled lives. And that challenged blessed me, and even preserved me.
I still haven’t received answers to questions I’m seeking, nor have my burdens be lightened, but I have felt the spirit speak to me through these talks. My faith is stronger than ever before, even in the middle of some of my hardest challenges.
I have a testimony that President Nelson is the prophet prepared for this moment in time. I can feel his faith and feel touched by his special witness of Jesus Christ. I have never had a stronger testimony of a living prophet in my whole life-and I’m not yet finished with all of his talks. But this testimony has been stirring inside me and I can’t wait til the end to declare my belief in his position and mission. While I believed in and revered prophets before, it’s not the same. I know that God has given us living prophets to guide us to the Savior and to guide us Home. (I only wish I had studied messages of previous prophets in greater detail when they were alive.)
The world is changing. My world is changing. Religion is changing. My religion is changing, and I feel honored that I get to have a front row seat for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored in it’s fullness. We are witnessing a continued restoration. It’s exciting!
Whether you know me as a friend or neighbor, a speaker or marketing consultant or as an author or podcaster. Whether you know me because our paths have crossed in business, in the neighborhood or even on the World Wide Web...may you know of me that this imperfect woman finds hope in Jesus Christ, my brother, my Savior and my friend.
Painting by Caitlin Connolly