Monday, February 16, 2015

Instant answers don't produce lasting testimonies

This has been a weird day because it snowed hard -core here in Tennessee--well, a few inches--
but everything is shut down because of it. We are snowed in, and it's been a fun adventure. 

This week has been full of tracting, finding and organizing. And the Lord threw
 a few little miracles in our path here and there!

We were also able to tract into a lady who we had met a week before at a
 fancy service opportunity. Out of all the places in Franklin, we found
 her home, and she was so excited to see us that she let us right in. Divine
 intervention! It was a fun little tender mercy.

 The last couple of weeks we felt prompted to heart attack some of the
 members in our Ward that might be needing some uplifting. Heart
 attack, meaning putting hearts on their doors. So, this one lady,
 I adore her, is one of those spiritual giants, that you just want to be like. 
We felt like we should put some hearts on her door, and this week when
 we went to see her, she told us the coolest thing. So, she had a bad
 night, and was just trying to hold back tears. The next day she
 decided to try and be productive, and cut hedges in front of her
 house. While doing that, she was overcome with sadness, and just
 started crying, and as she rounded the corner to the front of her house, she
 saw hearts all over her door. She said, she couldn't believe it, and
 it once again, solidified to her that God knows her, and He is looking
 out for her. I was so touched when she told us. I never would have
 intended that to be the result, but the Lord had a plan for her. She
 looked at us, and told us to NEVER IGNORE A PROMPTING. I learned in
 that moment that the Lord knows more, and we just need to trust him
 enough to act, which is the hard part. I want to be better at
 following promptings. 


 This week, I also got asked to give a 5 minute talk in church about a
 time, I had to overcome a trial of my faith. I thought, ah, such a
 personal subject, and I think it's hard to admit moments where you
 have struggled or doubted your faith. I prayed and prayed about
 what to talk about, and I kept thinking about gaining my testimony of the
 Book of Mormon. So, since it's been on my mind, I thought I would
 share it with you.

Since I was about 12 years old, I have read the Book of Mormon every day,
hoping to gain a strong testimony of it. Now looking back, I see specific
answers to my prayers, but at the time I didn't. I would always wait until I got 
to the end of the Book of Mormon and read Moroni 10:3-5, then kneel 
down and ask God if the book was true. I was so nervous, anticipating 
a certain feeling or response, that somehow I always missed my answer. 
At least, that's how I felt. 

So, time went by, and I read the Book of Mormon over 10 times. Each time again, 
I would kneel and wait for the moment when I would have a revelatory experience. 
My nerves and my  doubt hindered my faith. But I continued on. I knew that Jesus 
was the Christ, and the Book of Mormon testified of that. I knew I had received 
comfort and blessings in my life from reading it. And as time past, I felt
impressed to serve a mission even. And so I moved forward with that.

 When I got to the MTC, I felt the doubt start to grow in my mind. All the
 times I felt like I hadn't received an answer after reading Moroni's
 promise . . . it started to bug me, like "why didn't I deserve an answer
 to my prayer?" And I remember praying so hard one night, committing to
 fast because I needed a testimony of this book in order to teach the people 
in Tennessee. My heart desired to know sooo badly! Probably
 more, than I had ever desired to know before.

 The next day the lesson in class happened to be the Book of
 Mormon. I remember as the teacher was speaking, thinking,
"Help me! I need to know!" And during our personal study time, the teacher 
came up to me and said, "I felt like I needed to come and study with you
 today." I have never felt so strongly like the Lord was right there
 with me. I told her my concern, and she opened up the Book of Mormon
 to 2 Nephi 33:10-11.

 10: And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the
 earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye
 believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe
 in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of
 Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that
 they should do good.

 11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye--for Christ will
 show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at
 the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar;
 and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these
 things, notwithstanding my weakness.

 The Spirit hit me so strong. I have never felt it like that in my
 life. I couldn't deny the power of the Holy Ghost telling me, that
 yes, this book that I loved, that I had read faithfully, WAS TRUE.
 I've never felt so much peace and joy as I did that day. I was
 skipping around the MTC, just so full of joy, knowing that every
 moment I spent to find out if it was true was all worth it.

 Pondering back on this experience a year later, I realized a couple of
 things. First, that's it's okay to not know, and to have questions, as
 long as we seek God in finding our answers. We cannot say, I never got
 an answer so I'm done . . . then you are right, you will never get an
 answer. We have to continually act on our faith, and when we need the
 answer most, it will come.

 I also realized that it's important to pray to recognize the answers
 to our prayers. I feel like I didn't know, just because I wasn't open
 to knowing in any other way, than with Moroni's promise. I looked over
 the Spirit I felt, as I read it daily. I looked over the person it
 helped me become. Oh, my pride, it surely gets me every time.

 And the last thing, I learned was, my prayers are usually not answered
 as fast as I would like. I think I pray sometimes, like I am typing my
 question into the Google search bar, expecting an instant answer.

Instant answers don't produce lasting testimonies. 

True conversion takes time, and so we need to be patient with ourselves. 
It doesn't mean God is not listening, or we are not worthy, it just means 
we have to have faith, trusting and growing continually.

 Looking back, I wouldn't change my story, even though I was kind of
 embarrassed that it took me so long to receive/recognize my answer. So
 I don't tell it often, but I'm learning that it's more important to
 say what would please God, and not what would please men.

 Wow, that was a lot, but I want to bear my personal witness, that I
 know that the Book of Mormon is true. And it means the world to me.
 Our personal journey to gain our testimonies, is the most important
 journey we can ever embark on in this world. (1 Peter 1:7)

Here are my photos from the week: 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I love to read your wonderful reports!