I think it’s funny there are so many people that didn’t realize I’m from New York, haha. I grew up in Rochester and stayed there up until I prayed about going on a mission shortly after baptism when I was 21—but got the answer to move to Utah instead. I would have lessons with the missionaries in the Sacred Grove, that’s where I said my very first prayer and where I eventually got my testimony.
I haven’t been back in years. Long enough to where no one in my family has met either of my kids. We’re back visiting right now, (yay!), and just spent yesterday in Palmyra. It’s beyond crazy to be back home where it all happened. A flood of so many tender memories just completely overcame me. (Especially since my 7-year baptism anniversary was just 2 weeks ago).
I gave up everything I had for this church. Seriously. Everything and everyone. For those of you who’ve read my book or heard me speak, you know the challenges I faced because I got baptized. (Loss of all of my friends and family, and so much more).
And yet as I think of all my trials and what I lost or left behind, even still I’m not sure I can say I sacrificed anything, because when you follow God you, will always get MORE than what you “give up.” And you will always be led to the absolute greatest things.
It’s just…I love church. I love church because I love God. I do, I love Him. I know what life has to offer me without Him and I don’t want that. I don’t want to live again without Him and His ways. He has blessed me much too much to ever push Him aside or have Him be an afterthought. And even though I still have trials that leave me literally screaming at Him or wondering if He’s left me, I ultimately know I am being led and changed to something much greater than I even knew was an option for myself. I know that because it has happened every.single.time.
I love that.
Knowing that God is real and the gospel is true means that your life will never be the same. Always better, though! How grateful I am that life did not go the way I had in mind, ‘cuz it has been profoundly better than what I ever imagined it would be, greater than I even knew existed.
Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. You may not have gone where you had in mind, but you will end up where you need to be with better blessings. Forever grateful for the trials and new paths I have been asked to travel, because what I have now makes life oh so good.
I was thinking a few weeks ago what I wanted to say about my baptism anniversary that just passed by I realized there’s too much. It’s much, much too deep. It’s much, much too everlasting. So, this is what I came up with: I wouldn’t have a single thing I have now if it weren’t for God and His ways. My soul and me thank you.
Every day God has continued to show me even greater things. He never stops surprising me. I went 21 years without knowing Him and now that I know Him and have seen what He has done for me, it makes me seriously ache knowing how many people who do have the gospel don’t do anything about it—they don’t turn to Him and allow Him to show them what He can make of your life.
I used to say that sacrifice is never a bad thing if we have a testimony. But really, something cannot be a sacrifice if we are getting more in return. Turn to God, dudes. He knows the way to the best ever created and will help.
I hope everyone finds the courage to follow Him, to receive the best things ever created.
If you feel like He has turned His back on you—turn around.
Trust God with your life–after all, He’s the one that gave it to you.
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