To be honest, as I was scrolling through this Facebook page I felt so inadequate to be putting my simple thoughts on a page filled with beautifully written words, by some amazingly inspired and strong women. Then I remembered why I “Choose to Believe.” I Choose to believe because I know that no matter how small or inadequate I feel, Heavenly Father still loves me. Just the way I am. He can hear my simple prayers pleading for help throughout the day. He sends me angels here on earth, many in the form of you wonderful sisters, helping me with my kids, being great friends and examples to me. I choose to believe because I know that this simple mother of 5, here in Layton Utah is loved by her Heavenly Father. I know that He answers our prayers, and I know that if we choose to find the good in the world, we will always see His hand it.
I choose to believe because I love Heavenly Father and His son, my Savior Jesus Christ. My love for them binds me to them. I have felt Their love for me in real, tangible ways - my own spiritual experiences with God. Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke about these experiences in his talk “Spiritually Defining Memories” from the April 2020 General Conference.
I was recently thinking about what I was doing a year ago at this time. The kids were all in school. I was trying my hand at some home canning and thinking about Halloween decorations. Fast forward a year and canning is about the only thing that is familiar. We’re now a good six months or so into a once in a hundred year pandemic and it has put its mark on just about everything- church, work, school, and social lives. Meanwhile, our country is in an extremely divided time politically. There is civil unrest and protests around the nation as we try to work out our issues with race. There are wildfires that are consuming large swaths of the West. Even locally, there are contentions about school schedules, and wearing masks, etc. IT CAN BE A LOT.
I look around and I feel like today’s world is the world foretold about in the scriptures of the last days. There is uncertainty and fear all around us. When I see this and the doubt that is overcoming so many, I find myself being thankful to my parents for teaching me the gospel. Because they taught me, I am afforded the ability to choose to believe or not. I choose to believe for so many reasons. However, the biggest reason I choose to believe, and act on that belief, is so I can give my children the same choice I was given. It is my greatest desire to be with my family for all eternity. I choose to believe for them.
I choose to believe because I know that when I have trusted in Him he has led me through life’s ups, and perhaps more importantly life’s downs!
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When life gets difficult, I remember this scripture, I repeat it often, and I draw closer to Him. There are times I’ve found a quiet spot and prayed...literally opened my heart to him, and He has brought comfort and peace to my soul! Other times I’ve opened my scriptures and found guidance and direction applicable to me and the situation I’m facing!!
I have been pondering this question for a few days now, “Why do I choose to believe” and the answer that I keep thinking is that it is scary to think of what the alternative is. The Gospel brings me peace and hope. My daughter is serving a mission in Newport Beach California. When people ask me how she is doing I can’t help but smile. She brings light into my life; I can see the light of Christ in her eyes and I can feel the spirit (she calls them spirit chills) when she shares her experiences with us and all the tender mercies she is experiencing even in a Pandemic. People are looking for this same peace and hope that we already have and she gets to share the Good News of the Gospel with them. I feel so blessed each day that I know that God knows me, that he hears and answers my prayers. I am so grateful for the tender mercies in my life and my children’s that strengthen my testimony and remind me that God Is there, that he is in the details.
In this unpredictable world that we are experiencing, it has been easy for me to feel anxious and frustrated. I have learned to pray with more intent and I have searched the scriptures more diligently . I believe, because doing these things brings me calm and peace and I feel His love for me. One thing that has never changed is the need to love others more. The guidance that the Holy Ghost has whispered to me as I teach beautiful children at school is to just love them more. Show more kindness and understanding. Speak softer. As I strive to do these things I have felt happiness in the storm of this life.
With everything going on in our world right now, I find myself feeling anxious at times. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all the confusion and chaos. When I find myself heading down that unsettling path, I remember that my Heavenly Father loves me and has a plan for me. And that everything will work out according to his will. Having the knowledge of His plan and of our Savior’s Atonement in my life is such a comfort to me. I can rely on my Savior to bring me peace. That’s why I choose to believe.
What a unique moment in my life to write you a note on why I choose to believe. I have some challenges I am facing right now that are weighing very heavy on my shoulders and in my heart. And while I am sitting here writing this, at my feet sit the fragrant aroma of yummy peaches, filling my nostrils knowing the deadline I am facing will prevent me from getting them bottled. Some things you just must let go.
Last November I was counseled through a Priesthood blessing to increase the amount of time studying the scriptures. I pondered the blessing for a few weeks and then decided on my plan of action. I’m so grateful for that blessing! As I read and studied the scriptures for a few additional minutes each day there were so many teachings that seemed to jump off the page, things that I hadn’t noticed before. As I look back on difficulty of these past several months it is the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon that has helped me to keep going. I have also found great peace in General Conference talks.
In the October 2019 Conference, Elder Peter M. Johnson of the Seventy gave some incredible counsel that I am just now beginning to fully appreciate.
Why do I believe? Nothing is sure in life except the love of our Savior and the Gospel. As the world is in total chaos right now, I am so grateful to know something that is true and that I can believe in. My sister told me of a challenge her husband gave to her. When she is in the car alone, not to turn on the radio. Let there be silence so she could “hear”. I loved that challenge and try to do it myself. It is a time where I can just focus on what the Savior wants me to do, a time where I can just hear Him. I am thankful for that time alone to listen. It brings me peace. I am with people daily that don’t have the same belief as me but hope by my example they can see what the Gospel brings into my life. Awhile back a co-worker of mine asked me if I would pray with her. She is not a religious person but knew that I was and hoped that I could help her. There we were in the back room of my business and I offered up a prayer with her as she was going to the doctor that day and was worried. Heavenly Father blessed her life that day. Our Prophet also helps me to stay believing. He brings such hope and love when he speaks to us. I am a little anxious about his comment that “We need to buckle up”, but know that if I am doing all I can, I will be blessed. I don’t know what is coming down the road, but I am just leaning on the scriptures, family, the words of the prophet, and the Holy Ghost that will get me through “still believing”.
I choose to believe because I know what it is like to choose otherwise and I have learned how quickly the light of Christ can leave you and darkness can start to creep in. I somehow thought that certain things would hurt less if I chose to believe that the Gospel was not essential to happiness. Shockingly (haha), it didn’t work and I found myself struggling with anxiety and depression even more than usual. I distanced myself from those around me and felt overwhelmed. I knew what I needed but it wasn’t easy. I was embarrassed and ashamed and had to humble myself. It didn’t take long to feel the light start to come back and heal my soul. The trials we all go through, quite frankly can stink but I can testify that the difference between choosing to walk them alone or with our Savior by our side, is literally choosing light over darkness. In the end, I realize my Savior was always there just waiting for me to let him back in.
I often feel a little envious when I hear others testimonies of how they have never wavered but I have actually become grateful for my experiences, they are what makes me who I am today. I have a simple testimony and I am not eloquent with my words but I have come to realize that I am enough. Whether we don’t feel worthy or maybe just can’t find the energy to muster the strength to get on our knees, it’s OK! He is there waiting patiently with unconditional love. HOPE is all we need and CHOOSING to believe is the first step. It is never too late! Our Savior will never leave our side and I am so grateful for that knowledge.
I choose to believe because I know my Heavenly Father and Savior know me personally and love me beyond my understanding. They both want me to be happy and successful especially in these trying times. The spirit has confirmed these things to my soul. I know we are all loved and cherished. The Lord is very aware of the spiritual battle we face on a daily basis and we have been prepared to live in these trying times. We know the outcome of this battle. We know the Lord will win this battle and He will come again! I feel so much hope in good things to come because of this knowledge. I choose to hold on to the iron rod so that I can be with Him again!