It’s time for you to get to know me… just a little bit better.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I want to share a story with you. This isn’t something that I’ve written a lot about or shared online. Now, this isn’t a story just for people who are LDS. This is a story for anyone who ever thought they were too far gone or had burned too many bridges.
Alright, enough with the cheese. This story won’t fit in one blog post so I’ll be sharing this with you over a few posts.
I was 4-ish years into a long-term-relationship when one of my friend’s marriage ended. It was hard to watch her go through the pain of adultery and divorce. She hadn’t been going to church regularly but through this struggle, decided to start going again. I thought it would be a good idea to tag along.
Now – some background: I was raised LDS, for the most part. After my parent’s divorce, I ended up living with my dad full time and going back to church. Part of my motivation for choosing to live with my dad was the church. The feeling that I got when I was in their home. the happiness that I felt when I went to church on Sundays and mutual on Tuesdays. I knew there was something good about it and I devoured it up. I read the Book of Mormon over and over and completed my Young Women’s requirements as soon as I could. But something changed as I went through high school.
My depression got stronger and I was weak to respond to it. It overtook my thoughts and pushed the Spirit out of me. I ended up moving out of my dad’s house and stopped going to church. I made the very big decision to have my name removed from the church’s records as soon as I turned eighteen.
So years later when I started going to church with my friend, it was the first church I’d been to in about 5 years. It was different than the church that I grew up going to. It was in an old Mexican restaurant and was the kind of church that played music with drums and guitars. I enjoyed it but I felt something missing. I felt something missing when the pastor was up there teaching from the Bible and it took me awhile to figure out what it was.
It wasn’t until a year or so later that I allowed myself to be completely honest about what I wanted. I ended the very unhealthy relationship I was in and found myself on my own for the first time – really ever. It was then that I realized what was missing from my life.
It was God.
It was the Church that I had grown up going to and it was the Spirit that I’d had with me since I was ten years old.
In the LDS church, we get baptized when we’re eight years old. When we are baptized, we make a promise to Heavenly Father – to live the way he has asked us to, to be representatives of Jesus Christ and his teachings and to bear his witness. In return, we get the Holy Spirit and the promise of eternal life.
Let me explain the Holy Spirit to you for a moment because it is a life changing thing. The Holy Spirit is a personage of spirit who is here on Earth with us. The Holy Spirit is that still small voice that warns us of danger or wraps us up in a blanket of comfort on a hard day. It is the difference between light and dark.
I lived my life in the dark for over 5 years. I renounced my God and said I was strong enough to survive this hardened world on my own. Oh, how wrong I was.
Okay – so I was alone for the first time and had the ability to decide what I wanted to do next. I made the decision to quit drinking alcohol, coffee and focus on rebuilding my relationship with my Heavenly Father. At this time, I lived approximately 2 minutes from where I worked, so I was able to go home at lunch and read my scriptures.
Immediately, I felt a change in my life. Things were brighter because of the small choices I was making. I knew that I was doing the right thing and choosing the right path for my life.
But part of the problem was a choice I had made 5 years prior – taking my name off of the church’s records. This meant that my baptism, my confirmation as a member was gone. My promise that I made to my Heavenly Father broken and his promise to me – unfulfilled.
So, I knew that I needed to do more than pray and read my scriptures in the comfort of my home. I needed to go back to church.
How could I? I’d made so many poor decisions. I’d burnt every bridge with the church that I could find and I didn’t know if I could do it. I didn’t know if I could humble myself and admit all the mistakes I’d made.
Next time - Twice Converted Pt. 2 - I’ll tell you all about my nerve-wracking return to church.