As a teacher of young children, I’m often amused by the thinking processes of my students. Their comments in class range from hilarious to profound. Sometimes it’s easy to see how they reach certain conclusions, even though they are false. Other times, I’m baffled by their deductions. Each day is an adventure as I instruct these little ones, and sometimes learn from them as well.
With their limited world view, I am the simply the teacher who fills part of their day. It doesn’t occur to them that I have a life outside of school. In fact, when I cross paths with students in a store, I frequently see a perplexed look on their faces as they try to make sense of my existence without the context of the classroom. They think of me only as a teacher. My other identities as a mother, grandmother, sister, friend, or Christian have no place in their mind. I understand that and even expect them to see only a sliver of my true self. And that’s ok. I still love them and will pour my heart into teaching them all I can in spite of their limited understanding of who I am.
Maybe that’s why I get so frustrated when Christians tell me I was praying to the “wrong God” or worshiping a “false God” as a Mormon. Granted, my understanding of God the Father and Jesus Christ was limited and distorted due to the teachings of the Mormon Church, but my relationship has always been with the “real” God.
Just because my students don’t know the “real” me, doesn’t mean we don’t have a relationship. And just because my understanding of God is different now than in years past, doesn’t mean we didn’t have an authentic relationship. God heard and answered my prayers as a Mormon. He comforted me then as He does now. He has always loved me, and I have always loved Him.
I believed Him when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” I believed Him when He said, “I am the light of the world.” And “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies.” I found comfort in the promises of Psalm 23 and did my best to heed the words of the Good Shepherd.
I sang hymns about Jesus with fervor: I know that my Redeemer lives; Fairest Lord Jesus/Beautiful Savior; Jesus, Lover of My Soul. I looked forward to the day when I’d join Him in the mansions of Heaven that He has promised to prepare. I’ve always had a heart for Jesus…even as a Mormon.
And isn’t it likely that even Bible-believing Christians have a limited view of the Everlasting God? Doesn’t it make sense that our finite minds can’t possibly comprehend all aspects of an Infinite Supreme Being? Is God going to ignore or punish us because of our limited understanding of who He is?
I don’t know everything there is to know about God, or even about myself. But these things I DO know. I am a teacher. I am a mother. I am a friend. But most of all, I am a daughter of the King. He knows me and loves me. Nothing can change that.