I don't often speak of my faith directly, but it is the bedrock of my life. Since I was a child, I have developed a pattern of living a life of faith in Jesus Christ. For me, that means for starters I pray and read the scriptures daily, both by myself and with my family. I try to center my life on Jesus, to follow His commandments. The more I do this, the more I feel the guidance of the Holy Spirit in my life, and the more I feel comfort and peace and protection, especially during difficult times.
This last summer was a challenge. I was so ill early in this pregnancy that not only could I barely get out of bed but I was also mentally exhausted and I could not handle trying to process anything that took much brain power. For the first time in my life, I rarely read my scriptures for months on end. I wanted to, but I just couldn't. I tried to pray as much as I could, but there were many days when I was such a mess that all I could do was whisper sincerely "God.... help me." I wasn't getting to church much (though I had some beautiful experiences there when I did go that I should write about in a separate post.) I wasn't nurturing my children's spiritual development. Our home fell more and more into a state of chaos and contention as our spiritual moorings were thrown off and it pained me to see that, but there wasn't much I could do about it.
(I have to say, though, that even though some things were falling apart, there was evidence that God was hearing my simple, heartfelt prayers and that He was watching over us... offhand I can think of three very dramatic instances where He stepped in when it was a serious matter of safety and it was clear that everything came out fine because of heavenly help.)
During this last month I have struggled both physically with my pregnancy and emotionally with the move and stuff, but I have had a spiritual reawakening. The mental block I had when I was so nauseated is gone and during my stretches throughout the day when I have to lie down I have been reading my scriptures and the words of modern Prophets. It has been so wonderful, like a light going on in a darkened room. I am seeking answers to questions I have been wrestling with and I am finding them. I am able to pray more specifically, and to pray for others, and to pray prayers of gratitude. It feels so good.
Last week I attended our church's women's broadcast, where the leaders of our women's organizations speak to the women of our church all over the world. For me it was a spiritual feast. For the first time in my life I went with specific, earnest questions in my heart and I got answers. It was powerful. The Spirit spoke to my heart and I knew what I needed to do to improve my spiritual health. I also knew what I needed to do for my family. I love the scripture that says "Wherefore, stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come" (Doctrine and Covenants 87:8.) We have been counseled to make our homes holy places. I realized that lately my home had lost of a lot of the holy feeling it had had in the past, and I was inspired as to what I needed to do about that. In contrast, sitting there in the chapel watching the broadcast, I felt that I was in a holy place and it felt wonderful. I want our home to feel like that: it has in the past and I know it will again.
Yesterday I attended the Temple with my two sisters. Again, it was an experience of tremendous spiritual healing and renewal. I felt the love and care of my ancestors who have gone on before me, specifically one of my grandmothers. I felt very close to heaven.
Oh so many times in the past I have taken all these things for granted: the scriptures, prayer, attending Sunday meetings and church conferences, and attending the Temple. They have seemed so routine. Perhaps I have sometimes found them tedious or occasionally found fault with them. But after having a famine of these things, I realized how much I have been fed, nourished, and sustained by these small and simple acts of spiritual devotion over the years.
This weekend is our church's General Conference, a time twice a year when we hear messages of guidance and inspiration from our living Prophet and the Apostles of Jesus Christ on the earth today. I am very much looking forward to it and I know that I will receive more comfort and renewal and direction as the Holy Spirit confirms their messages to my heart.
I'd say things are definitely looking up.