I started attending church little by little
my questions and beliefs had not changed, but my heart was open to the possibility that I was wrong.
It was an odd sort of realization that I wanted the church to be false, but I avoided doing the work to really figure it out; which is the predicament I am currently in. I Sat in sunday school and would be furious about how they taught specific things- one of which was a bashing session on people who had left the church. Somehow they were all experts on the intentions of people's hearts, and assumed the motives for leaving were always selfish. Even as I type this, I want active members to know that they need to stop assuming people's motives for leaving, and realize it is much, much harder that it appears to be. We don't just wake up one morning and stop coming to church. We don't always base our decision because someone offended us, or because we sinned and felt guilty but didn't want tot change. It's not a lack of faith. Oftentimes, we explore other options- praying to god it will lead us back to church and re-affirm our testimonies. The possibility that Joseph Smith may not have done the things he said he did hurt to even consider. So the point of my rant being- stop judging. heaven forbid you have a crisis of faith and everyone just assumes you have a lack of faith, and uses your story as an example in sunday school for the class to pity.
The Turning point.
I sat in sacrament meeting, listening to people get up and bear testimonies, and even though my mind was going 100 mph with skepticism and bitterness towards all these ignorant people; my physical body was calm for the first time in weeks. Tears uncontrollably ran down my face, and I had to get up and leave. I was really confused, and honestly a little pissed off that this was happening. I had worked so hard to get as far away from Christianity as possible, and now this?
But it made me curious, and so I kept going back.
I got really sick.
Sicker than I had been in a long time, and the ramifications lasted for nearly three months. I have been well my whole life, and this took up much of my thoughts. It was devastating.
I was dizzy all the time, and nothing seemed to help. I was dehydrated and wasn't eating enough due to the dietary limitations my doctors had put me on, in order to manage my anxiety. But really the only thing that helped was staying off of facebook.
It was at this time that I realized that I had lost my gift of discernment and the presence of the Holy ghost, because that intuition thing I called the holy ghost was failing me. Normally I am dang good at diagnosing what my body wants, but I was so lost in fear. I didn't know what was wrong. I didn't know if it was my blood sugar, or my iron levels, or a sensitivity to chemicals... and it didn't help that the doctors didn't know either! that concerned me the most. I also couldn't seem to communicate my symptoms adequately, which was probably the most frustrating.
The days were miserable. I was alone with the kids and left to push through this dizziness during the day. I was dizzy in my sleep. I was dizzy sitting, standing and walking. but driving seemed to be fine.
it was hell for a long time, and I started earnestly praying and seeking God for the first time in a while. I was willing to have the Lord prove me right when I asked for his help. I begged to be healed. I sought repentance for the things I had done. I started reading my scriptures. I did everything in my power to make things right with My father in heaven again. And up until that point, I felt no shame or guilt for my mistakes.
Somehow, when I decided to be humble enough to turn to God for help instead of figuring it out on my own, I felt the godly sorrow surface. I knew I couldn't do this by myself as I had originally thought.
I finally understood why I needed a savior.
I was willing to buy into the Christ myth if that meant I felt peace about the things I had no control over, and the wrongs I had done.I slowly started putting him to the test, and when I started getting answers to my prayers...
I needed him more than I needed air.
and it wasn't just my prayers he answered. No, he would grant things that appeared in my thoughts or in comments I would make. I remember being at my dizziest, and hadn't slept in a few days. I was texting my mom, talking about the things I associate with comfort and said to her " I wish I could sleep. I would kill for a soothing rainstorm right about now."
I put one of those rain sound apps on my iPhone and played it that night to see if it would help, but it's not the same.
and the next day, it rained, and I had the best nap that afternoon- and I knew heavenly father was listening.
That was when I handed my heart back to him, piece by piece.
The peace and comfort I feel now is unprecedented. I have a sense of calm that I never thought I would get back again. I had to taste the bitter to know the sweet.
I still have not re-developed a testimony for Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, and I purposely hold off on doing that work until emotional stability sets in. Even though I don't yet believe that Christianity is the only way we are guaranteed salvation, and many other things that most Christians DO believe, I take refuge in Christ and his atonement, now more than ever. My conversion isn't over yet.