I talk a lot about my faith in my blog. It affects every aspect of my life and it means SO much to me. To me religion is more than just something you talk about twice a year on Christmas or Easter, and it’s more than something you talk about on Sunday’s. To me, religion is something that affects every single facet of my life. That doesn’t mean I’m out preaching to every person I meet, or that I pray over which cereal I should eat in the morning, rather it means that I try to continually live by the principles I believe in regardless of the situation.
I say try because I’m not perfect at it. My faith isn’t perfect. It’s something that I have to continually work at and strive for. And I believe that a loving Heavenly Father will help me do that.
Today I’d like to share with you how I got to where I’m at with my faith. It’s something that is intensely personal, but I hope it can help others on the same journey as me – others trying to strengthen their faith and live better happier lives. It’s kind of a long story so it’s one I’ll be releasing in parts.
I was born to good parents. My home wasn’t perfect, but no one’s is. My parents did their best to teach me and my siblings good values. They set good examples for us and took us to church where we learned invaluable lessons about little streams that give, that we are children of God, and that Jesus came to John the Baptist. My early childhood was charmed. I was a very precocious and happy little girl. I enjoyed church, especially the singing part, and I never felt the need to question it. When I turned eight I was thrilled to be baptized. I wasn’t forced into baptism mind you. My parents are big believers in giving kids agency and they very seriously gave me the choice. I chose to be baptized because I felt good when I was at church.
When I was 10? Maybe 9? We moved. It was a tumultuous time for me. I was changing physically and my surroundings were SO different from what I was used to. We moved from an area that had only just barely been turned from farms to subdivisions to a ritzy neighborhood filled with big houses and expensive toys. I learned very quickly that I didn’t fit in. It was the first time in my life that I experienced what I would consider to be great trials.
Things went very quickly from not fitting in to full blown bullying. It was like I had a target painted on my back. There were two distinct groups that bullied me. One was at church (made up of boys and a couple of girls that probably thought they were just teasing the weird girl) and the other at school (a more malicious group that crossed the emotional threshold into physical bullying a couple of times). It was really hard. I often felt like I had no friends.
I tried to change myself, to fit what these people wanted me to be, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t be shy. I couldn’t be timid. I couldn’t keep my nose out of my books. I couldn’t stop humming my favorite songs. I couldn’t magically fix my eyesight and stop needing my big round glasses. The bullying continued into young women’s age. And while things were still really hard, there was a silver lining. You see, this is when I started needing the Lord. I had a particularly kind young women’s leader who taught me that I was loved and made me feel so special every time I saw her. I would go to her class right before Sunday school where I would endure what I considered to be torment. Her spirit got me through. If it wasn’t for her I’m not sure I would have kept going. She helped me to feel something I hadn’t really recognized before, the guiding influence of a loving Heavenly Father.
Today I am grateful for the bullies that taunted and pushed me. They led me to something more. It was through this trial that I learned that I really needed something more.
That was the first step of my conversion. And things began to get better after that.