Now I know I mentioned in my last post that I would talk about baptisms in my next post and I will be. First though I wanted to talk about blessings.
My life is filled with blessings. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook them when my days are long or my kids are being difficult, but they’re always there and I try to always remind myself that I am so very blessed in my life. I have a husband who I love and who loves me. I have two beautiful and healthy children. I have a job. I have a roof over my head and food in my belly. There is so much to be thankful that are just simply a part of my daily life that it can be so easy to get used to them, to overlook them or even take them for granted. Today someone mentioned that it was so nice of me to give away some of the baby stuff we still had and while I definitely appreciated the thanks and getting that acknowledgement (who doesn’t like to feel appreciated?) I also however found it odd because I had just been glad to get rid of the stuff that had been taking up space in my son’s closet and impeding my everyday routine for the last couple of months. Still it got me thinking about how doing what I do by giving away things we no longer a use for is just one way that I am able to give to others, to help them in hopefully a similar way that I have been helped. My friends and family have helped us so much along the way raising our kids and I find it really satisfying to be able to do the same for others. It’s like paying it forward. I think that in itself is also a blessing. To me and to those I am able to help. I’m blessed that I have the luxury to give to others and they are blessed by being able to receive things they need. I have found that this really is a natural high and just puts me in such a better mood.
Okay! On to the business of baptisms!
So in the LDS church those who are eight or older can be baptized, up until the age of eight it’s believed that you’re not old enough to sin and thus do not need to be baptized in order to go to Heaven. This was huge to me. I mean I could never fully comprehend why a baby would need to be baptized. What could the baby have possibly done that needed forgiving, that needed repented? That’s how I saw it, whether that’s correct or not. Still I thought it was amazing that the LDS church believed similar to what I already did.
So before I was baptized, but after I had met with the Elders and learned from them about the church and the plan of salvation, a good friend of mine said something to me that gave me peace. “You shouldn’t get baptized until you have a testimony of your own.”. It was the truest thing that had ever been said to me. Now at this point I had already read parts of the Book of Mormon and prayed about the truthfulness of it, I had started living by the Word of Wisdom, and I had met with the Elders on quite a few occasions (side note: I had three great Elders who really made the entire experience amazing and fun). While I had understood everything they had taught me and I believed that what I was reading was true and right I still felt wary of being baptized.
After my friend said that to me though it made think. What was my testimony? If someone was to walk up to me on the street and ask me why I believed in God what would I tell them? How would I explain my faith to that person? And if I couldn’t what business did I really have being baptized? I believe wholeheartedly that you should be sure (at the very least for yourself) about your faith, about your own beliefs before ever being baptized. It’s an important decision and it’s not something I think should be done lightly or on a whim. You should be sure it’s what you want and if you’re not then you’re not and that’s perfectly fine.
Alright so what is my testimony? What would I tell that person on the street demanding me to explain my faith? Well here’s what I’d have to say to them:
As a child I never attended church, I never prayed, never put much thought in God or religion. If I had maybe I would’ve understood much sooner that despite all the bad my life has had in it, God has a plan for me and everything I’ve gone through and dealt with has brought me to this moment with my kids and my husband. I know now that I am exactly where I should be, where He intended me to be all along.
When I was a teenager I told myself and others that there was no God. I held fast to that false belief because the truth was that I was angry, and not just at God but at just about everyone in my life and myself, for things that weren’t my fault or God’s fault. If I admitted that God was real, that I believed in him then I would’ve had to deal with my anger and my pain and I wasn’t ready to do either. The thing is though, you can’t be angry at someone you don’t believe exists, so even when I denied my belief it was always there.
Now, I cannot point to one event in my life that has made me believe in God. I cannot say that there was this one moment or time where things were insurmountable and that’s when I turned to God and my faith was restored or made stronger. I do not believe that God goes around showing off by granting big and flashy miracles, but that is not to say big flashy miracles don’t happen because they do, I’ve just never seen one for myself and since I haven’t seen one for myself I cannot testify to them. However what I can testify to is the small everyday miracles that people often over look, but that I am ever searching for.
My belief comes from these small everyday miracles that go unnoticed by so many so often that it seems like a crime. These miracles include: a baby laughing, a rainbow shinning through after a storm, flowers blooming after a harsh winter, the changing of the leaves in the fall, the pure innocence a child has before they become an adult, the strength a single mother has to provide for her children, the strength a person has to trust another even after being betrayed and broken. I believe that God is all around us, in the very air that we breathe and the sun that warms our skin and if we pay attention to the things around us we will see His work everywhere we go.
I was once a person that subscribed to science and science alone, but I no longer subscribe solely to what science has to offer me because science only goes so far and at the point where science runs out there is God and I believe that he has given us everything we need to be faithful to him so that we might rejoin him when our lives here on earth have ended.
So since this post is getting kind of long let me wrap up with the story of my own baptism. While some of you might have been there or even been a part of it, I still love to tell it. I was baptized on June 7, 2014 by Elder Matthew Parrish and confirmed the same day by Elder Adam Alvey. I also got to share my baptism day with a good friend of mine and that made it all the more memorable. Now I’ve been told that the baptismal font tends to be on the colder side where the water is concerned. However for my baptism this wasn’t the case at all. In fact we had to wait to actually start the baptisms while cold water was added so the water wasn’t scalding! The experience itself is like nothing else I have ever experienced. I don’t know if I’d ever be able to accurately describe what I felt as I was submerged in that water or when I broke the surface. I felt clean, whole, brand new, but none of those even put together really reach the true depth of the experience or the warmth and love I felt.
Now that clean and like new feeling didn’t last, as I am an imperfect person as we all are, but that warmth and love? I can still feel that, sometimes it’s harder to feel now, but when I’m praying or I’m at church or I’m reading my scriptures, or even sometimes when I’m sitting quietly just thinking I can feel it and I know that He is still with me and that I have not been forgotten.
Thanks for reading! I hope you all enjoyed this one!