Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why I Share My Faith



Once upon a time (in high school), I shared the most important thing in my life (the gospel) with someone who I cared a lot about (my boyfriend).  Sound familiar?

Eventually (the summer after we graduated), he was baptized into the church.  And although I wasn't at all sure yet that he would make the gospel a life-long commitment, our love blossomed quickly that summer, as young love does.  I was a woman now of 19.  I was a freshman in college, and I began to allow myself to envision a future with him.

I can't say, however, that I was completely surprised when, a year and a half later, he called me at school to tell me that he didn't really believe in the church.  I was shocked, however, to hear him say that he didn't even believe in God.  

For all of the words that we had exchanged both in person and in writing up until that point in our lives, in that moment, I had no words.  I was completely and entirely at a loss for what to say next.  All I knew...all we both knew...was that it was over between us.  He knew I wouldn't be married anywhere but in the temple, to a worthy priesthood-holder.  Although we loved each other very much...that just wasn't going to be enough.  And we both knew it.

So there were no words left for either of us...only pain.

I have no idea what he did with his pain and disappointment, but I know what I did with mine.  I turned to the Lord.

Years later, much of that evening is a teary blur, but one part I remember as clear as day, and I doubt time will ever erase it.  

I remember hanging up the phone and dropping to my knees.  I was alone in my dorm room, trying to get the words of a prayer out.  In desperation, I begged God, "Please, don't leave me alone.  Please, don't let me be alone!"  I must have sounded a lot like a child who cries out for her Father to rescue her from darkness.  

In response to my prayer, I received an immediate, undeniable, personal assurance that there is a God, that He knows me, and that no matter who walks in or out of my life, He would always stand by me.

In the decade and a half that has passed since that evening, I am happy to say that He has kept that promise.  And I have tried to stand my Him as well.

It was difficult, at first, to stand by Him.  I needed time to heal.  

That next semester at school passed like a strange dream.  I went to class, but didn't remember much.  In fact, I felt almost nothing at all, for a long time.

When I started to wake up from the numbness, I began getting a taste of just how sad I really was over my loss, and then I started to smart from it all.

I told myself that never again would I share my faith with anyone...ever...never, ever, ever!

I had conversations with myself saying that I just didn't care anymore.  Even if someone stood up in class and asked me directly, "Are there any Mormons in this room," I decided that I would say nothing.  

It just wasn't worth the risk, I decided, of ever feeling that kind of grief again.  I wanted to protect the things that meant the most to me, by keeping them to myself.

A few weeks passed like this.  I probably didn't have much to share with others anyway.  I felt so hollow inside.  But I continued to go to church and attend institute on campus, of course.  And one day, a few weeks later, I cracked open my Book of Mormon and began reading again. I am not sure what I read, but I suddenly realized how selfish I had been, how childish.

I immediately repented of my temper-tantrum, and in the same breath, I covenanted with the Lord that I would always share the gospel and be an instrument in His hands in bringing His children to Him.

Within days of this realization, people began coming out of the woodwork, people who wanted to know about the gospel, people who the Lord had already put in my path, who I had already become friends with, people who needed to return to the fold, who were just waiting for me to break free from my stupor.

It was nothing short of miraculous.  And the Lord showed once again that He did indeed exist, that He was actually acutely aware of me and of my feelings...because He felt them too.  

That experience bonded me to the Savior in a profound way, and should probably be considered the birth of my adult testimony.  

I learned from that experience first-hand how much God cares about each and every one of His children.  


So, why do I share my faith?  Because I care about them too.


When I read The Book of Mormon, I read the words of many people through history, who have seen the Savior, who have heard His voice, who have obeyed His word and learned to trust in Him.  The Book of Mormon is proof that God knows and communicates with ALL of His children, regardless of when or where they lived, that Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind, and that He lives.


I add my testimony to theirs when I say:  I know that He Lives.  And I want you to know it too.  If you would like to know more about what we, as member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe, please read here all next month.  If you have a question that you'd like me to address in my blog posts, please email me at jocelyn.christensen@gmail.com.



The Book of Mormon Forum



*If you are interested in reading more testimonies like this one or blogging along with us in The Book of Mormon Forum nextmonth, please grab a button and send me an email with "Book of Mormon Forum" in the subject line.  I sent an email out with details last night, so if you haven't received that email...let me know!  Thanks!

20 comments:

  1. I had a similar experience with my jr. high best friend.

    I need to be more brave.

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  2. fun to hear of your life experiences-keep a copy for your children one day to read...missionary time-I left three book of mormons with new cousins in Iceland...

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  3. Wow!! Thanks for sharing that!! I am glad you continue to share the gospel. I am glad my hubby shared the gospel with me. We dated for a couple of months and one day he asked me to go to church with me. From then on, I was hooked!! I wish I could have the same courage! I'm a work in progress!!! Beautiful post!!

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  4. Although I am not Mormon, I understand your passion for your belief. I love God so much and he has never, ever failed me. Man is so fickle and finite, I have learned to lean on the "everlasting arm" of Christ.

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  5. That was awesome!!! Things like that can either make or break you. I am glad that you chose the right~

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  6. Thank you for an excellent post. I like a good cry in the morning ;)

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  7. Thanks for your thoughts -- incredibly challenging to all of us..

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  8. Love this post! I need to send you an email now =0)

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  9. You are a wonderful missionary, Jocelyn, and a great example to all of us.

    =)

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  10. Beautiful, thank you for sharing such a personal experience. You really brought the spirit to my morning and gave me an inspiring lift for the day.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your faith, with all of us!

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  12. That was a beautiful post, Jocelyn! Thank you for sharing-- I have been through similar experiences in my life and can completely relate. I'm so grateful for a loving Savior who carries us through our difficult moments.

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  13. Beautiful post! When I was in high school in Pennsylvania there were no members my age within 30 miles of me to date. So, I ended up dating a guy in Lewisburg for a bit, but after a few dates I told him we needed to break up because we marry who we date and I would only be married in the Temple and he couldn't take me there. I SERIOUSLY said that! Long story short-- he joined the church and went on a mission, but sadly and I dear-john'd him. But what an amazing experience that was... and he is still going strong!

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  14. What an absolutely beautiful post! I am so excited for the next month.

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  15. Wow, what a beautiful testimony. What a well, thought-out words. Thank you.

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  16. Wow very inspiring! ok I will do my best to overcome fear and share with all my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Much thought, much prayer involved and much work to do also. Thanks!

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  17. What an inspiring story! Can't wait to read all the great testimonies that will be shared in the coming months! :)

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  18. I was asked to get up in 8th grade and share my testimony and beliefs to the class. It was scary! But it was wonderful at the same time. Great st you shared here too!

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