Monday, June 29, 2015

A confession about my faith

I've blogged about this video before, so apparently I wasn't done learning from it then. I must confess something... sometimes I feel my faith and my testimony is much different from others. I've seen people have spiritual experiences so easily, it's almost as natural for them to believe with no doubt as it is for them to breathe. I've seen people not live their faith and still have the strongest testimony. While I have had sacred and beautiful spiritual experiences happen in my life witnessing to me the truth, I must confess, they don't always stay on my mind or become written on my heart as long as I wish they would. 

My faith is imperfect, my testimony has to be rebuilt hour by hour or I doubt. Why? I wish I knew. How grateful I am for my many weaknesses though, my weaknesses are one of the greatest safety nets I have. It is through the gaps in my life that give me a reason to a pray and a reason for my faith to become rebuilt and steady and sure. The past little while has been hard, trying to really figure out all that I should do and exactly who Heavenly Father wants me to become, the daily moments can become long and exhausting. But one thing I do know, He won't let me fall so long as I don't doubt. I had to learn this lesson the hard way. 

In this video, Christ is walking on the sea as He assures them, "Be of good cheer, it is I; be not afraid." I've been thinking a lot about the Lord's assurances, wondering why they come to me sometimes but not always. It's been a process to learn it's not the Lord who stops sending his reaffirming words to me, it's not like he's saying "Oh, she'll be okay if I forget about her for awhile." It is actually I that stops them from coming. The problem is I do it without even a realization of it. I let the smallest fears and distractions come into my mind and just like Peter, I look down and stop looking to Christ with a bit of doubt in my heart and I immediately sink. Sinking has to be one of the worst feelings on the planet!

As Elder Holland tells of this bible story "It was only when his faith wavered and fear took control, only when he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the ominous black gulf beneath, only then did he begin to sink into the sea. In...terror he cried out, 'Lord, save me." 

This quote breaks my heart, because that's me, that's what I tend to do. I look away from the Savior with wavering faith and when I realize I am sinking too far and can't do it on my own, I then turn to him. I'm so grateful the Savior doesn't run away saying "Ashley, you betrayed me. You forgot to put your faith in me and my assurances, now I can't help you." It breaks my heart because I feel I don't always deserve his selfless and unconditional love. He doesn't care how long I was lost or how many moments it took for me to believe again and recognize I needed him, he is there just as he has always been and will continue to be. He ALWAYS has his hands ready to lift me out of the water no matter how far I have sunk, willing to carry me back to the safe ship. 

His forgiveness and His love is constant and never changing. I've been learning a lot about agency and about His guidance. How does He guide us, when it is us that are choosing the daily decisions that make up what our life will become? I believe that He knows us so perfectly and He knows our hearts because he has experienced all the joy, sorrow, pain, and happiness our hearts have been through, so he knows the exact moment we will start drowning and looking for him. He knows it because he felt it, so he is constantly prepared with an open heart to forgive and to love, knowing the exact moment we will again let him in, as it is always our choice. I can't even imagine if he didn't know my heart perfectly.

While we are here to experience pain and trials, and sometimes these pains become more than we remember signing up for, the pain will NEVER be greater than the peace we can experience from his love. That peace is the reason why I believe. The peace of the Savior is the greatest blessing I could ever know. 

Do you have any distractions keeping you from feeling the peace and love the Savior is always willing to pour out upon you?

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