Wow, 43 days time, will mark a year of me being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
and what a year it has been
and what a year it has been
I will tell you though, it hasnt been an easy year, nope, not the slightest.
I will admit to you, summer of 2013 I was beginning to reconsider being baptized at all.
usually 3 thoughts tend to run through my mind a lot...
I dont know enough
I haven't been able to recognize the spirit lately
i never thought it would be this hard
I don't know enough:
everyone struggles with this, not just a convert of the church. But throughout this first year, I have been having a hard time even understanding the simplest of things. I mean, telling a difference between the different people in the Book of Mormon, pronouncing words, getting the stories, etc.
I'm into 4th Nephi in my scriptures and let me tell you, I couldn't tell you much of what is happening because it's SO hard to follow and understand. I'll be sitting in Sunday School and Relief Society and be thinking, "what on earth are they even talking about??" and to be honest, it's discouraging...
i have learned that even though i don't have a perfect knowledge of the gospel, I do have a perfect understanding of what it means to actually have the gospel in my life and have the opportunity to be lead by the spirit when I indulge myself into the scriptures.
i have learned that there is a difference between reading the scriptures and studying them. Reading chapter after chapter is hard for me sometimes, so usually before bed I will set aside about a half hour to look up scriptures regarding what I really need to focus on in my life at the moment.
for example, I have needed to strengthen my testimony with prayer lately, so in order to do that i have dedicated some of my scripture study to understanding what prayer really means..
D&C 9:8-9 (this one is my most favorite)
when i read with a purpose, rather than just to get my scripture reading of the day in, I gain something every time, I gain a better knowledge and testimony.
and in my classes, i'll take notes, very heavy notes, and whatever I don't understand I LOOK UP (scriptures, lds.org, ask friends, etc.)
Sunday study doesn't end at church, no, it should progress throughout your day and you should never leave church feeling lost or like you didn't gain much.
RELATE the messages to your own experiences
REFLECT on how you can apply what you learned to yourself now
RELY Heavenly Father, His Son, and the Holy Ghost to help guide you
I haven't been able to recognize the spirit lately:
before I start talking about this, I would encourage you to read this when you have the time:
it really helped me to understand the spirit more.
first remember who the Holy Ghost is...He is the Comforter, who the Savior promised would teach His followers all things and bring to their remembrance all things that He had taught them.
I have realized to be in tune with the Spirit I need to be in tune with the gospel.
After I was baptized I realized I was pretty much on my own (in a sense) because I didn't have the guidance of missionaries anymore and that was pretty hard to be honest.
I didn't exactly read scriptures everyday and prayer was more routine than meaningful.
I had a hard time feeling the Spirit in my life because i felt so disconnected with the gospel. Then after talking to an investigator i realized that i have been missing out on the guidance of the Holy Ghost in my life...why am i giving that up?
From that point on i focused on being a more Christ like version of myself. Everyone, as silly as it sounds, dedicating part of my life to the gospel is HARD WORK. The hardest of work i have ever done. i had gone 18 years without really a knowledge of the gospel at all, and to suddenly dive head first into it, it was a little overwhelming.
SO...i paced myself.
reading 5 minutes a night for two weeks
10 minutes a night for two more weeks
15 minutes a night for a month
(and keep in mind im not just reading chapter after chapter every single night, i'm actually studying)
and progress to whatever feels good to you after that. it took me literally 6 months to feel comfortable at 30 minutes a day. Follow what THE SPIRIT tells you, pray after you read and ask if these things are true.
but Desi wait...how do i recognize the promptings of the Spirit in my life?
glad you asked! the Spirit is available to guide and direct you .However, the Spirit speaks quietly and that's a little bit frustrating sometimes. He speaks through your feelings as well as your mind. One great challenge for me is recognize the quiet promptings.
And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.
3 Nephi 11:3
“The voice of the Spirit is described in the scripture as being neither ‘loud’ nor ‘harsh.’ It is ‘not a voice of thunder, neither … voice of a great tumultuous noise.’ But rather, ‘a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,’ and it can ‘pierce even to the very soul’ and ‘cause [the heart] to burn.’
-President Boyd K. Packer
Yesterday i had the honor to hear Elder Holland speak at UVU in the institute building. There was well over 300 people there to hear him talk, and when we all sang the hymn, warmth filled my body and my heart started beating so fast. I wasn't anxious at all, i wasn't scared, i felt at peace and the purest form of happiness and at that moment i knew that out of all the places i had to be at that moment, i knew i was where i needed to be. The Spirit had led me there no doubt.
I never thought it would be this hard:
Close your eyes and think for a second, living your life a certain way for 18 years. Living with the same beliefs, traditions, schedule, just your daily living in general is the same.
and then one day making the decision to believe something different, to have different traditions, make time for new things in your schedule, and seeing your daily living change.
really, truly, try and think about that.
that was exactly how my life has been the past year. and of course, i cherish everything about my old life, but my old life was missing one thing. The gospel. and i never realized that until i was introduced to it.
and i have come to realize that although accepting the gospel into my life has been hard work (because believe me Satan has tried everything) i have seen blessings in my life happen that never would have happened before.
people ask me all the time how my life has changed since i have been baptized, and i say the same thing every single time.
i finally have a direction in life, I know that i have a plan for me and have someone to help guide me through my trials and celebrate my triumphs with. i have a divine plan and i have more faith, faith that i never had before. I have Faith in Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ and i have faith that no matter where i go in life, i will always have someone to guide me in the right direction.