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I always thought I would "have 'em quick, raise 'em up, get 'em out of the house and get on with my life." After having 4 children, divorcing, and marrying again for eternity, my husband and I were asked to help raise 3 more children. Somewhere along the way I realized that the most valuable part of my life had become raising my children! I love to read, garden, and cook and look forward to traveling with my husband after the kids leave home, but following my core priorities of God, family, and faith has richly blessed my life.
I was baptized into the Catholic church as an infant. During the time surrounding my birth, my mother had been investigating the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints without my father's knowledge. As my baptism concluded my mother began to cry. At first my father thought he had somehow offended the Priest during the service, but once they were outside my mother confessed that she knew the Catholic church was not true. She felt that any church that could call a newborn infant unclean by virtue of the doctrine of "original sin" was in error. Within the year she had finished her investigation of the Mormon church and received a witness that it was true. On Christmas Eve my mother met my father at the door dressed all in white. She had decided to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Soon thereafter we were sealed together as a family. Five children later, she died of cancer. My father re-married a women with 3 children and they had 4 more kids together. Two of my brothers died before the age of 3. Living with the foundation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has carried me through the tides and tidal waves of life. When all else falls away, Christ is there to save. I am a Mormon because I am seeker of truth and I have never been able to find a truer witness than the Holy Ghost.
I have a great testimony of the power of inviting the Spirit through reading the Book of Mormon as a family. It is sometimes the only thing that keeps peace in our home! The combination of 4 kids from mom, a new dad who had never been married or had children, and guardianship of 3 kids who were added as a result of adversity in their natural home, has been a recipe for conflict. When I feel the edges of our tapestry fraying, I literally stop and call everyone together to read. Hearing the history of a people fraught with conflict, prospering in harmony when they listened to God or dwindling in misery when they forgot, is powerful. The spirit of our home changes immediately as the Holy Ghost manifests to our family.
I have a great testimony of the power of the Holy Ghost to guide in "the little things" as well as more pressing problems. Often, after a sincere prayer I get a quick flash of inspiration that lets me know where to go and what the Lord would have me do that day. Sometimes a jingle or song occurs to me and I realize the answer within the lyrics. During a particularly difficult time, I remember looking at the clouds and seeing doves in their form and knowing peace was forthcoming. Realizing that if I am "in tune" with the spirit I have access to all the help I need is a great comfort on a daily basis and in a more universal way. I know that I am not left without the help of the Lord.
Baby steps...knowing my weaknesses and prioritizing my values. Never feeling ashamed or embarrassed for having a religion that has imbued every aspect of my life! When the kids have friends over, we just invite them to participate in the basics: reading the scriptures each night, praying before meals and bed, and any other aspect of the culture of Mormonism. When my husband and I were asked to help raise 3 more children who didn't have a stable home, we prayed for guidance and confirmation of the Lord's will. They have been a blessing in our lives. I have served in Primary, Young Women, and am currently called to serve in Relief Society. All of my callings have been both rewarding and challenging. I love that there is no paid ministry in the LDS Church. We serve equally, qualified by inspiration of the Spirit of God.