My Testimony Kept Me

by Ange Nelson
All of my life I have been blessed with the gift of knowing that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. It's never been something I questioned. Not to say that I've had an easy life, but as time goes on, I'm realizing more and more the blessing it is to just KNOW.

About a year ago, I was faced with a challenge from my childhood that I had kept hidden my whole life.

I was sexually abused.

It was a secret no one knew until last year. I hadn't told my parents, my husband, or anyone else in my life. For years in my heart I knew eventually this situation would need to be confronted and addressed, but another part of me thought that because somehow I had been able to forgive him, the rest could remain hidden.

There are lots of ramifications in life after suffering through abuse of that kind, a lot of which is unseen to most people. For me, it has been a lifetime of emotional battles. Never feeling good enough. Ever. In any circumstance. In any situation. Physically. Spiritually. I'm never good enough. Over and over this has played in my head for as long as I can remember.

It has always been easy for me to see the value in other people--to see others as true children of our Heavenly Father. To teach Primary children who they are and to look at the sisters in Relief Society and know they are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves them has always come easy for me. What hasn't come so easily is to believe the same about myself.

My journey to really KNOW of my divine worth has taken years, and to be truthful, I'm still working on it. What I do know is that in the past year, although it's been truly hard to face this trial from my past, I have felt the love of the Lord. Bit by bit I have felt the atonement working to calm and cleanse my heart.

I feel very much like Sister Hedwig Biereichel (in Daughters in My Kingdom) when asked, "How did you keep a testimony during all these trials?" Her response was awesome, and I have felt the same: "I didn't keep a testimony through those times--the testimony kept me."

How grateful I've been for the gospel that challenges us not only to know something, but to become something. Some days I'm even grateful that things aren't always easy. I'm grateful for those quiet moments when I feel a reassurance that I am His daughter. Those moments sustain me through the times when I sometimes forget that divine message.

I know that in many ways, the journey this past year is perhaps just the tip of the iceberg for me. But, I also know and am grateful that even amidst trials, struggles, and uncertainty--especially amidst trials, struggles, and uncertainty--the gospel brings peace. And I have felt it.