July 31, 2021
Dear beautiful girl,
I wanted to talk to you today from the bottom of my heart.
I wanted to talk to you, beautiful girl who is wrestling with faith.
You, who have wondered what faith even is, why some people just seem to have it, and why you just have none.
You, who have been angry at religion, angry at church, angry at those who lied to you, angry … at God.
Beautiful girl, I want to talk to you, the girl who has left everything you knew about God behind and is desperately looking for the truth.
What is true if the church is not?
Beautiful girl, I’m talking to you, the girl that doesn’t know how to do the God thing with her kids. You know that shoving religion down their throat is not what you want. Raising them in a lie is not what you want. Pushing belief on them will just make them feel like you did as a kid, hating that feeling of guilt. But you also don’t want them feeling like you do now- searching, lost.
Beautiful girl, I’m talking to you, the one that is ready to finally find faith, live faith, and eventually give faith. To find your faith journey, your truth, but you
Maybe you’re fine where your at, you say, perhaps we are all just energy, and this world has proven science wins out. Religion was never fun, so why try??
But you’re here, aren’t you?
You clicked on this, and your reading or listening to this, which means you have a glimmer of hope that faith will fit in your life.
And guess what, God, Jesus the Christ never gives up on you. And faith is peace, love, joy. So if you feel guilt, anger, boredom, frustration, and are spiritually tired, your walk in faith is just beginning.
I’m so happy you are here. I have been on a lifelong spiritual journey. In the last year, I learned what true surrender is, and I am going where he leads me, and today He has led me to you.
All those things, the restless heart, I have felt them too. I have been there. And now I’m here. And Jesus was the piece in the middle.
This is my testimony. It is not the testimony that you get up and say at each fast and testimony meeting. This is not a testimony about a church or a person. This is my story of how God did not give up on me. How even when I thought He wasn’t listening, He always was. This is how he saved me. This is my story about Jesus, surrender, a lot of tears, and so much prayer. I want to share with you how I went from lost to finally finding faith above.
I get a bit conflicted about saying I was raised Mormon. To be honest, my house did not look like other LDS houses. I’m not one of a huge line of descendants. My dad was a convert, and my mom never joined the church. My friends in the church all did family home evenings and temple trips. My parents fought like the dickens in God’s name.
To give you a little back story, my parents were young, unexpected parents. My mom was offered the money to have it/me ‘taken care of’ when she became pregnant at 18. She declined. My dad had a ticket in hand to a fancy job and a ticket home to be a dad. He decided to be a dad. My parents were young and made mistakes and tried their hardest in all the right and wrong ways, but one thing I never questioned was that I was loved. Neither having come from stable homes, they were both determined to break that cycle. Family meant everything to them. Still does.
My dad was a partier, or so I’ve heard. It’s hard to imagine since he has not had a drink in about 37 years. When I was two, with me jumping on him after a late night with tequila and Mormon missionaries at their door, my dad converted to the LDS church. My mom was confused. She had been raised catholic and had been attending a nondenominational church. She went through multiple sets of missionaries, but in the end, my mom will never be part of the Mormon church. They are still married, still fight over religion, still love each other, and will never agree.
And this was how I grew up—one foot in and one foot out. My sister and I went to church with my dad every Sunday. I never fit in. I was reminded my mom would not be able to attend my wedding, and my family would not be together in the afterlife on a regular basis. At eight, LDS kiddos are baptized. I couldn’t do it. Who do I make happy? Mom or Dad? Do I keep being the outcast at church, or do I join the club? I had two sets of missionaries come and explain the LDS gospel to me. I prayed every night. I cried. I hid how much this upset me. I was mad that God would not just tell me the church was true so I could join. I was mad this was so hard. At 10, I decided just to do it. My mom cried. My dad was so happy. My grandma gave me a crucifix necklace as congratulations because she was catholic, and this made sense to her. I couldn’t tell her LDS don’t believe in crosses.
I did not know God. I did not know Jesus. I didn’t read the bible. I didn’t know His Word. I just went through the motions.
Just like the five stages of grief that people go through with loss, those who leave the Mormon church go through stages of grief as well. It is intense.
I think I always felt like I had one foot out the door because I had so much doubt, but as I have talked to other Mormons and ex Mormons, I realize I was just like everybody else. It had its full hold on me. I went through all the stages just like everyone else who leaves. I still deal with parts.
I’ll go over all these stages of ‘grief’ in a later episode.
This is the first stage- when you decide to leave everything you have ever know about God you have a brain explosion. We, humans, are wired to believe in a higher being. When you realize all you have ever known about that is a lie, your brain explodes. With it comes anger and major frustration. My first mini-explosion came senior year of high school in world history; thank you, Mr. Baer, for just teaching facts.
I said my last prayers I would say for a while.
And I had a dream where I went to the local supermarket, Jewel Osco. Everyone was saying, “Jesus is here. Go see Him!” Excitedly, I ran in. I looked everywhere, and I couldn’t find Him. They told me, “Don’t you know? He is in the fruit section where he bears fruit.” I saw Him, but I didn’t recognize Him. He seemed to know me, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t recognize Him. But I felt His peace, and I felt my restless heart.
I didn’t read the bible. I didn’t understand the references to the fruit. Why the fruit section? I didn’t understand much of the dream, but it rocked me. Finally, after all those years of prayer, God spoke to me. I didn’t understand it, and for a while, I just left.
That is the next stage-leaving God altogether. If The Church is a lie, how can you believe in anything? Did you know 85% of people who leave the church leave God altogether?
The college years were my Godless years. I just checked out.
When my husband and I got married, my dad asked if I would even consider getting married in The Church. We got married on a golf course by a female non-denominational preacher I found on the internet. I wanted no part of God.
And then we got pregnant with our first baby. It was undeniable. I felt his soul with me. There was a God. Of course, there was a God.
Over the next few years, I bounced around between the different stages. I would try to open my heart and attend other churches. I would read bits of the Bible occasionally. I dabbled in new age worldly spiritual stuff like A New Earth and Buddhism. I spent a lot of time in the anger disprove stage, where I furiously read the CES letter and the history of Joseph Smith. I want to say here that I do not believe this stage to be healthy. It does not bring faith. It does not ease the pain. But, most importantly, it does not bring you to know God or make Him known. Is it necessary? I’m still on the fence about it. For about thirteen years, I bounced around in here, grasping at truths, faithless and spiritually frustrated.
My guess, since you are listening to this, is that you are here now. Searching. You are looking for The Truth. Something concrete to hold on to.
I get it. I spent a lot of time here.
As great as my parents were when it came to family and love, they stunk at the God thing when it came to us kids. I’m not complaining. It’s part of my story, and it is what brought me here. It’s just a fact.
So where is here? Where did all these years lead me, and why did everything change. Why do I now have so much faith it is running over?
With my kids, I gave pieces of God. But because I admittedly did not understand how to share God with my kids and did not have genuine faith in Jesus of my own, we just coasted. We had love and expectations, a beautiful life, but no solid faith foundation.
This world can be ugly, and with a screen in every hand, the devil has every ability to attack like never before. I let him evil in my home, and he prayed on my daughter. Unbenonounced to me, this evil world had convinced her to believe the worst things about herself. She had no idea that God had made her more beautiful than she understood. That she was a unique child of God, and He loved her just as He created her. She hadn’t been taught to put on the armor of God or that He knit her in my womb just as He wanted her. My kids had my love, but they didn’t know God’s love, and frankly, neither did I. My kids are like my heart walking around outside of my body. And it was broken.
I was devastated. Devastated.
And I did something I had not done in years, maybe ever. I prayed to God. To the real God. The Alpha and the Omega, the sovereign creator of this Earth, the three in one, Jesus’s love, and I flat our surrendered.
I never knew what that meant. When people would say they surrendered to Jesus, it would make me so uncomfortable. This world today has an obsession with self-help and telling us girls over and over, “You are strong. You can do anything. You are in charge.” The religion I had been brought up in told me it was all up to me. I had to do the works. My salvation, my goodness, was based on me. All the self-help guru’s, all the world had told me repeatedly, is all up to me,
…and I believed them.
And here I was, for the first time in my whole life realizing, I can’t. I could not fix this.
But God can.
We’ve all heard it, Philippines 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength,” but do we listen to it. I hadn’t.
And He heard me. He listened to my prayers. God spoke to me. To my heart. He told me it would be okay because I trusted in Him, not in me.
He saved me.
He helped me help my daughter.
He changed everything.
He told me to do some crazy things. He told me to call a childhood friend I hadn’t spoken to in years who loves the Lord. He told her to ask me to do a bible study that taught me who Jesus is. He told me to read the bible. He told me to homeschool. That was probably the craziest thing next to starting this podcast. He brought people into my life. He brought an amazing youth group into my daughter’s life.
And the more I trust and just surrender, the more He just keeps giving.
I have faith. Beyond measure, I have faith and peace and joy I can’t describe.
Beautiful girl, I don’t want you to have your heart broke to find surrender. This is my story. God never gave up on me. All those years, He heard me, and He was patiently waiting for me to rely on Him. This is my story of surrender, my story of finding faith above.
Your faith journey may be just beginning, but beautiful girl, God is patiently waiting for you too. He loves you and, praise Jesus; you can do all things through Him who strengthens you.
I need to say something important here. This faith did not come without some work, not works for salvation, but work to feed my soul.
The Mormon church put a lot of emphasis on feelings with me as a child. Pray, and you will know The Church is true. If you don’t, pray harder. But there was never an emphasis on the Word. The true Word. There was no emphasis on history or facts, tangible things to ground a belief system that are so important. The Bible repeatedly says to lean not on our own understanding and the heart, and feelings are fickle. The Word of God is truth.
Yes, I prayed and prayed, but the Bible is what gave me the direction. His Word is how He speaks to us.
You may have been told not to trust the Bible. It has been translated like a game of telephone, how can we believe it? Well, that is simply not the truth. The first step to genuinely finding faith is to have confidence in His word. And that is exactly what we are going to be talking about in the next episode—the bible.