A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to play the piano for our ward's first sacrament meeting since holding church in our home. I wanted to make sure I took some time to play the piano in the chapel before that Sunday, so I borrowed a key and headed over to the building on Saturday afternoon. As I balanced my hymn books and belongings and made my way into the foyer, I was completely unprepared for what happened. I looked around at the furniture, the office doors, the artwork depicting the Savior, and within a matter of seconds, it was as though every church building I had ever attended throughout my life became clear in my mind. Meetings, services, callings, activities, interviews, funerals, early-morning seminary, baptisms, firesides, General Conference sessions. Every moment...all of them were present. And as I stood there in the silence with the knowledge that no one else was there, I began to weep: for each of the memories soaring through my mind, I wept. All of these church buildings, all had been havens from the storms of life. I prayed, through my tears, with such gratitude in my heart for all of the blessings my Father in Heaven has given me. I prayed, out loud, that He would continue to bless me and my family for the things of which we currently stand in need. I prayed that I could continue to be an instrument in His hands.
Sisters, the Church - the gospel of Jesus Christ - has been the one sure, constant part of my life that has consistently brought me peace, assurance, and purpose. No matter where I have been or whatever my circumstances, I know that my testimony and my ability to be able to rely on the Savior can remain steady and unshaken. The last few months in particular have made it increasingly difficult to stand on solid ground and anchor our faith when so much noise vies for our attention, but even in my darkest hours, I know that the Savior is with me and does not leave me comfortless. In this mortal existence, there is much that is confusing, disappointing, and unstable. We will all be let down by someone or something, either relatively insignificant or completely devastating. But still, I choose to believe. I choose to believe that Jesus Christ, our Elder Brother and our Redeemer, does not fail us. I choose to believe in Him and the joy that He brings; I am grateful for the opportunity to make this choice each day.
"Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." Doctrine and Covenants 64:33
The most recent experience of knowing that Heavenly Father and my Savior are aware of me and love me happened this past Sunday. I had become lax in my Come, Follow Me studies and decided to sit down and take notes on just 1 section from the week. As soon as I started reading, I felt a sense of peace and acceptance as if the Lord was telling me, “Welcome back. You’re ok. Keep moving forward.” These kind and loving thoughts give me the desire to move into this new moment and do a little better because my Heavenly Father and my Savior know me personally and they love me. They will never give up on us and are anxiously waiting with open arms to bless us.
I choose to believe because of what the Savior offers. As the messages I'm hearing in the world become more confusing and chaotic, the Savior offers me clarity. With an increase of contention around the world, I can turn to the Savior to calm my heart and mind. He offers perfect compassion for all as controversy seems to be everywhere. The world cannot offer what the Savior can. The world leaves me empty and confused. I want what only He can give so that is why I choose to believe.
Why do I choose to believe? Because my Heavenly Father knows me: my name, my insecurities, my history, my mistakes, my dreams, and my potential. He provides trials opportunities that make me grow, and blessings that I don’t deserve. The more I study the scriptures and the gospel, the more sense it makes to my spirit. Obviously, not everything makes sense to my mind, especially during these times when injustices are exposed, and chaos is all around us. 2020 as a whole isn’t making sense! But when I reflect on what I do know – that priesthood power is real, that the Holy Ghost is quiet, that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have patience when the world around me doesn’t, I choose Them. I choose the peace They bring. I choose the comfort They provide. I choose Their Plan of Happiness and Their Good News. I choose to look to the leaders They have selected, and I sustain, human though they are. We are all in this perfect testing ground – and what a test it is! I love my Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ, and I know they love me. I’ve felt their love in the quiet times, and that love sustains me in the chaotic times.
I’m honored to add my testimony to the many that have been shared about why I choose to believe.
I choose to believe in my Savior Jesus Christ because He never lets me down. He has saved me many times through the small and little trials of my life. He has especially been there through the tough days of infertility, divorce, miscarriage, sickness, heartbreak and disappointment. He has carried my burdens for me, made my trials feel light and brought joy when there should have been sorrow. I know He is real. I know He sends His holy angels to administer to me in times of need. I know there is power in His holy priesthood because I feel it help me and change me as I choose to serve Him. I know that the Savior is coming again and I strive to be worthy to live in His presence. I know that I will continue to receive His help and guidance if I seek it as I journey through these last days of trial that we are all going though together. God is Good. Jesus Saves. If we are prepared, we shall not fear.
We live in a time where there are many distractions and so many people far and close are enduring hardship in one way or another. It is easy to let the influence of others impact our focus whether it be negative or positive. I choose to believe there is good and beauty everywhere. I choose this because I have seen the good and have felt the love of the Savior. I choose to pray to Heavenly Father often. I strive to keep the Holy Ghost near me. I choose to have the Lord be the one to influence, impact and guide me.
As I contemplate the past few months I realize how much I have taken for granted. Church attendance, travel, steady ground, jobs/financial security, gathering with friends and family, shopping and buying what we need when we need it, going to a hair salon... just to name a few. I'm happy for things slowly getting back to normal, and was very grateful to have been able to attend church today for the first time in months. My prayers continue for things to get better with this sickness that our world is facing, along with other problems that seem to divide people.
I choose to believe and have faith that our Heavenly Father has prepared us for this time and it plays some part in his plan for us that we can't always comprehend (Mosiah 4:9), and that we should take heed of the counsel of the prophet and apostles. This can also stress me out a bit; especially when things don't go as WE plan... but prayer and my testimony of our Savior also calms me and gives me hope. I know He lives and is there for us always.
Because I believe in Him, I know that I came into this life to be tested. Often my tests are uniquely my own. Lately, my test is the same as everyone else’s. After the paralyzing fear wears off, sometimes in a few minutes.... sometimes in a few days....I begin to ask questions. How did CoVid-19 happen? What are the characteristics of this virus? What are the symptoms exactly? How do I protect my family?
My fear shrinks as I begin to find answers from experts and also answers in my thoughts and heart as I study His holy word from ancient and modern prophets. Choosing to believe allows me full access to a loving Father in Heaven, to the infinite atoning power of His Divine Son and to the quiet whispers of the Holy Ghost who comforts, warns, inspires, directs and testifies of truth.
Choosing to believe keeps me vigilant in preparing spiritually, physically and temporally for future natural disasters and brings much needed understanding when rioting breaks out across our great nation. Choosing to believe in Jesus Christ brings peace to my soul, stability to my mind and keeps my heart open to more fully love and show appreciation to those who serve to protect us and to show compassion to those who suffer and to those who are full of anger.
My very favorite scripture helps me endure to believe everyday. It’s found in 2 Nephi 31:20. “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfast faith in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, this saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.” May this scripture help & bless you too, in the name of Jesus Christ amen.
As I struggled to gather my thoughts to write this message to share with you, I knew I needed to pray. Then tears began to flow down my cheeks as I felt my Savior’s arms around me for the first time in a good long while. I have resisted my personal prayers during the past weeks. My thoughts have been in such turmoil as I’ve tried to process the changes our world was going through with first the Covid-19 virus and the economic consequences of the quarantines, then the civil unrest that has raised such an emotional outcry from our brothers and sisters of all races. I know now that the adversary had persuaded me to avoid calling upon my Father in Heaven for comfort so that I would suffocate in darkness.
As I turned to the scriptures, Elder Uchtdorf’s talk from the General Conference in October 2008, “The Infinite Power of Hope” appeared to be highlighted on my screen as I signed into LDS.org. I knew the Lord had answered my prayer with Elder Uchtdorf’s words. He said, “The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be. Despair kills ambition, advances sickness, pollutes the soul, and deadens the heart. Despair can seem like a staircase that leads only and forever downward.” He goes on to say, “Hope is one leg of a three-legged stool, together with faith and charity. These three stabilize our lives regardless of the rough or uneven surfaces we might encounter at the time.” I knew I still had faith that Christ was in control during all of these new trials we’re dealing with, but I was missing the hope which also made it difficult to feel charitable.
Sisters, the Lord IS in control. There are no surprises for Him. No one can thwart His plan. This I do know and knowing that our Father in Heaven is in control brings me much comfort and hope. We’ve been taught to seek the Lord through scriptures, prayer and fasting in order to resist the feelings of despair that the adversary would have us feel. I know I must continue to seek Him throughout each day, even more so when I’m feeling resistant to pray. This I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I choose to believe because I know I have a loving Heavenly Father that wants me to learn and grow in this life and return to Him. I know my Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for me so that can happen. I know I have ancestors that had unbelievable strength and faith in the gospel that are cheering me on from the other side. I often think of them and the many trials they endured to help me through rough days. Life will never be smooth sailing all of the time. That was never the plan. I don’t usually know why I’m faced with the trials that come my way, but I can either let them crush me and tear me down, or take God’s hand and let Him guide me through and strengthen me to be the person I need to be to return to Him.
I choose to believe because I can feel my Savior’s love surround me when I turn to Him. I know everything we face in this life will be worth it when we endure with faith and finally enter the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ again.
Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me D & C 50:41. I was called to be the Relief Society President in my ward one week before the nation shut down due to Covid-19. Already feeling intimidated by this new calling, fear began to creep in as we began to navigate through our new normal. I kept telling myself to “Fear not” and to rely on my Savior, Jesus Christ. So I prayed more intently and dove into the scriptures and General Conference. Since then, I have felt a wave of comfort and love come over me. I realized that I wasn’t doing this calling alone, that I had the support of my family and especially the Lord. I was fully relying upon the Lord and he was making my weakness become strong. I know that my Redeemer Lives and He is aware of each of us during our trials and moments of inadequacy. I am so thankful to be a member of this church and to live at this time as we get to help prepare the world for the second coming. This is why I choose Him, I choose to Hear Him everyday of my life!!!
This page has been more poignant to me than I could have imagined. It has brought me comfort and peace, and enlarged my faith. We don't ever plan on walking through a crisis of faith with someone very close to us. We don't plan on having our beliefs challenged by those we thought were on the path with us. It's hard to not have the answers to their questions. I've found myself wondering, "what if they're right? Have I been following blindly, without thinking for myself? Am I being scammed, played, defrauded?"
But every time these thoughts come to my head, they are pushed out by the title of this group. I choose to believe. No one is pressuring me, tricking me. I choose this gospel.
Those thoughts are pushed out by an inspired primary song. "Even though it's still hard, with questions that arise every day..." Or "I will choose him again! For he's our Savior and Friend..."
When I feel like things around me are crumbling, peace blossoms when I feel the sunshine in my face. I see those poor crunched tulips that I ran over bloom with bright confidence, not caring what other people might think of the way they are growing.
Joy bubbles through the doubt when my toddler finally convinces me to jump on the "twamp" with her, even though I know I'll probably pee my pants doing it.
Every one goes through trials. Everyone has questions sometimes. But I am so grateful for these tender mercies from a loving heavenly father. These little fireflies of assurance are just enough light in the mist of doubt and depression and darkness to remind me that I DO have a testimony of my own. There are questions and doubts that arise, but every time they do I get one of these little flickers reminding me that Heavenly Father knows as loves me. And then, again, I choose to believe.
I choose to believe because I know my Savior lives and loves me. This past year has brought many events – and unexpected changes – for our family. Through it all, I choose to believe because I know that no matter what we are asked to do, if we do it with faith and hope, and an eye single to His plan, (even if we don’t know the outcome) we can accomplish all that is set before us and all that we are asked to do. I choose to believe because it brings me comfort. It brings me peace, happiness, and joy to know that I can feel the love of a Heavenly Father who is aware of me, who knows me, and who loves me unconditionally. He is there for me. I cannot deny that He is in every detail of my life. I have felt His love and His witness in many ways. I choose to believe because of my testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ and His eternal plan! ~Ericka Schade