Dear 100 Hour Board,
What is a testimony-building experience you have had recently?
Dear Faithful Fanny,
My roommate gave a talk about Heavenly Mother on Mother's Day and I cried the whole time. To have our divine Mother and example of who we women will be in the eternities taught from the pulpit was simply amazing. It increased my testimony that, in the eternities, I won't be completely ignored or forgotten, or have my identity completely swallowed up in a man's. Sometimes that's hard to remember. Seeing people's reactions to her talk showed me how desperately we all want to learn about our Mother in Heaven, and gave me more faith in members of the Church.
-guppy of doom
About a week ago I was attending the temple in Sao Paulo Brazil. Most of our group was wearing headphones so they could listen in English. I'm not used to seeing large groups of people wearing headphones in the temple, so I was sitting and thinking about when I had the thought "Do I have my 'spiritual' headphones on?"
The rest of the time I was in the temple I tried to listen with my "spiritual headphones" and I learned so much! I had been having a hard time recognizing impressions and it was really comforting to be reminded that it's possible to actually receive inspiration. I'm still struggling a bit with receiving answers to my prayers, and I've got some big decisions coming up, but I feel like I've been developing a better relationship with God recently. It's been reassuring and has given me some confidence in the future.
During a recent weekend when my wife & kids were off visiting family, I had a good chunk of a Sunday afternoon and evening that I spent thinking and writing about the sorts of stuff I discuss in this question. The Spirit helped me understand things better, and it was just a really good experience. Getting a lengthy, quiet period to ponder once in a while is awesome.
Also, General Conference was great.
First, a few weeks ago I was talking with an LDS therapist (because holy cow parenthood!), and something she said was so great. I was talking about how stressful it is that I can't dedicate the kind of time or attention to scripture study that I feel like will yield the kind of spiritual results I'm looking for. She reminded me that we can ask God to consecrate our efforts. I am not usually a person who thinks, "God wants us to study our scriptures, so if we do, He will give us blessings" - typically, I think that it's more like, God asks us to study our scriptures because the act of reading will put us in a spiritual yield space where the Spirit is more communicative (because we have opened up our spiritual receptiveness.) I still believe that, but her comment reminded me that God ALSO works miracles and wants to talk to us, and the Atonement sanctifies us and our experience if we're trying and earnest. We really are not earning our spiritual experiences in the way I was thinking - it's still all God blessing us and "are we not all beggars" territory. Anyway, it's not like I can just blow off meaningful scripture study now, but God can bless me spiritually in line with what I need even if I can't do everything I would ideally want to do all the time. The Spirit really taught me a mini Atonement lesson in that concept, and it's made a big difference in my understanding of grace and my spiritual well being.
That, in combination with some other experiences lately, have reminded me that God's approaches don't always follow the conventional logic that I am expecting to see, and that faith should always be part of everything I do.
It's not exactly recent, since it happened last summer.
After I quit my job, I felt like I needed/wanted to be a temple worker. When I went in for my interview, I was sitting on the couch thinking about how much I'd like to play the organ. It'd been a dream calling of mine when I did baptisms in the Provo temple my freshman year of college. The counselor in the temple presidency asked me what I'd been thinking about while I was waiting, but when I told him he asked if I had my heart set on playing the organ. And so, against my gut feeling, I was called as an ordinance worker.
My first day was training, but I couldn't get comfortable. Being an ordinance worker demands a lot from someone with both anxiety and depression, and I just couldn't do it. I asked the shift leader about switching, and they were extremely gracious in helping me find a way to serve in the temple that best fit me. I ended up becoming an organist and playing two to four times a month up until the month Lil' M. was born. It was a great fit for me, especially when I ended up becoming pregnant. It was just an hour and a half shift (as opposed to six hours) in the afternoon (not five in the morning) and I didn't really have to talk to anyone, nor did I have to smile while people were around.
For me, it was a testament to how much God knew what I wanted. Even when I was placed in the spot that didn't fit me well, God still helped me to get to a position where I could serve in the best of my capacity.
I wasn't excited when my elder's quorum started discussing a certain subject a few weeks ago. I didn't want to make a scene, but I decided to risk it and raised my hand to (delicately) raise an issue with something we were talking about and ask for others' opinions. Several people shared their thoughts, but they were all respectful and thoughtful. I don't think I changed anyone's mind (and my mind was certainly not changed), but I felt closer to the rest of the class and felt like I could be relatively open with them. So it strengthened my testimony in the other members of my ward.
A few months back I was praying about a thing which I felt very stressed and frustrated with myself about. A very clear thought came to my mind that brought me comfort. It was blunt but comforting. I was so stressed and so frustrated that the thought quickly left me and I could not remember what it was. I tried and tried to remember but everything I came up with was negative and discouraging.
Flash forward a few weeks and the thing had now blown up in my face. I mean, it wasn't terrible but I was hurting. So I'm venting and crying on my little brother's shoulder. He is affirming me and helping me feel that I am good. And as he tells me that the Lord isn't mad, that he trusts me, and that I've done everything I can to obey Him--the thought came back.
I think that when my brother helped me feel my relationship with the Savior I was again open to what He had been trying to tell me. It strengthened my testimony because I felt God's love for me through my brother's ministering.
This last weekend, Dr. Occam, Baby Z and I drove up to Rexburg with three of our friends to deep clean the apartment of another friend dealing with cancer, two severe chronic illnesses, and some personal problems. We didn’t have time to go to church, and the three friends are varying degrees of inactive anyways due to the fact that being gay makes it hard to be in the church.
It was the best church I’ve had in months.