In my wildest dreams, I could never have predicted the events that have transpired this year. Was it really 12 months ago that I was pleading with God to change my life…to change me? Has it been a moment or a millennium since I gave my all to the Sovereign Creator? It seems like only yesterday, but also decades ago. I may not always accurately recognize the passage of time, but what I do know is that nothing has been the same. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I consider myself a seeker of truth, so it’s only natural that I would petition the Source of all truth in my quest for light and knowledge. However, I was stunned when the truths He revealed weren’t anywhere near my radar! Left to my own devices, I never would have considered any of these new revelations. Since that earth-shattering day, I’ve cried and celebrated, raged and rejoiced, wept and worshipped. I’ve also spent more time digging for truth in the Bible than any other year of my life. I’ve filled the inboxes of my Christian friends with emails asking questions and sharing the learning process in my unquenchable thirst for knowledge. They, in turn, have filled mine with answers to the constant barrage of questions, along with words of encouragement and expressions of love. God’s tender mercies have overflowed as I’ve walked in this new life with Him. That’s not to say it’s been an easy journey, but walking with Him trumps any hardship or heartache that comes as a result of pledging a life devoted to Him. Nothing is too great a sacrifice for the continual companionship of God Himself!
This truth has been one the greatest gifts of the year! Mormon doctrine claims that only through baptism and the laying on of hands by LDS priesthood authority is one able to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as a constant companion. But there is a stipulation tied to that companionship; one must be “worthy” of the gift. And since the Spirit is easily offended, we are often left alone to battle our unkind thoughts, negative emotions and poor behavior. What a comfort it is to know that I am never left alone to navigate the challenges of mortality! I love this God who loves me so much that He would call me into an intimate and personal relationship with Him! How does one adequately express appreciation for such a priceless and undeserved gift? Words fail. Actions fail. But my heart bursts with gratitude that He should issue such an invitation to me!
“Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17 – ASV)
What a joy it is to know that through the power of Jesus Christ, I’ve been made new! Just as the old year has passed away, so has the old me. The me who worked so hard to prove myself “worthy of His sacrifice divine.” (LDS Hymn – In Humility Our Savior) The me who continually strove to earn salvation and “exaltation” with church service, temple attendance, and good works. The me who constantly fell short of God’s requirement of perfection. Thank goodness it’s not about me anymore! By yoking myself with Him and accepting His gifts of grace and mercy, I’ve been rescued and ransomed by the only name that has power to save! Praise be to this Almighty God and Redeemer of my soul!
I admit it’s been a challenge to let go of some of the theology, ideals and events that I’ve been taught since infancy to embrace without question. Their roots go deep, but God’s truth is deeper still. As I’ve continued to pray, read, study, and ask questions of my wise and experienced mentors, distortions and falsehoods are gradually dissipating and being replaced with truth. And there is no greater mentor than God Himself.
“Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” (Psalm 25:5)
I realize that many family members and friends are confused and disappointed by my decision to follow God outside the parameters set by the LDS church. A year ago, I would’ve felt the same way if one of them had started on this journey while I was still firmly rooted in the doctrines of Mormonism. In spite of our best intentions and desires, it’s hard to understand something we’ve never experienced before. I didn’t anticipate that my prayer for guidance would lead me in a foreign direction. A direction led by Jesus Christ Himself! Who am I that He would issue a personal invitation to follow Him, and remind me of His role in my salvation?
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:28, 29 – KJV)
“I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” (John 14:6 – KJV)
So on this one year anniversary of hearing the unmistakable call of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I make this feeble attempt to express my immeasurable gratitude for such a remarkable, though unexpected, answer to prayer. And that prayer, to know and do the will of God, continues as I walk into a new year anticipating opportunities for learning and growth…following Christ Himself, the Son of the Living God.