A few months ago, our life was beckoning for change.
We had lived in our little suburban home for 4 years but started to feel an itch for something different. We exercised a lot of faith over this big decision and felt the Lord truly guided us to our new home. The move felt extremely bittersweet leaving the only real home we had known, but somewhere deep down we felt it was the right decision.
The day we signed on our contract, we were sitting on our new back porch trying to imagine the life we had in store for us. Brady noticed the church directly in our backyard and laughingly said, “hey! Maybe now we’ll start going to this church” and I smirked it off but in my head I thought it was a sly coincidence. Our first Sunday in the new house, we walked into that very church.
To put things into perspective, I grew up in a home of mixed faith which pretty much resorted to no faith. At 18, after several extremely dark years in my life, I found the light of Christ in an unlikely place. From that day on, in November 2007, I have been living my life strictly for God. I had a wonderful christian church where I lived at the time and when I moved away, knowing it was what the Lord wanted me to do, I missed my church terribly. Where I was born and raised and currently live (again) it is a predominantly LDS community. I tried out the handful of christian churches in our city but didn’t feel a direct pull to any of them. I continued to watch our church online, but prayed for a place that my whole family could fit into.
Brady was born and raised in the LDS faith but somewhere in his late teens took a hiatus and didn’t find himself back for longer than expected. We found a common ground in our own mixed faith and began to raise our family in the most God centered way we could manage. While I knew I would love a church home for my family, I was happy with how we were living and what we were teaching our girls. I truly never imagined our life would be where it is today, but if I have learned anything about following God the last 6 years, it’s that things don’t always look like you think they will.
A couple of years ago, one of my best friends (and the best example to me) said “you’re like the best mormon I know and you’re not even mormon.” I laughed and laughed and responded “it’s because I’m a good christian!” It’s possible she had never met a regular christian like me and it’s absolutely certain I had never met a “mormon” like her. She was funny and down-to-earth and doesn’t have a judgemental bone in her body. If this is mormon, I thought, maybe I should look into it.
Of course the first time I walked into an LDS church wouldn’t be for a couple years, but I feel like the Lord was readying me in these subtle and sometimes silly conversations. He was leading me to the books I read and showing me different people in the world. Really, he was teaching me a huge lesson about judgement myself and loving truly the way Christ loves. Beyond the labels and misunderstanding. He loves and I knew I should too.
On that short walk to church that day, I would have thought I would be nervous. Walking into a brand new church with people I didn’t know (other than a small handful of gracious neighbors that had already stopped by to welcome us) but I felt the exact opposite. I felt the most loving peace fill my soul and as soon as we sat down, I just knew I was in the right place. I felt my heart become a little more whole than it had been. I felt a place of belonging like never before.
I wish I could tell you that once we found the right place for our family, all was well in the world. But that is when the most amount of testing I had ever personally felt began. Being from a family of mixed faith, as I’m sure a lot of you may relate, not everyone has been happy with our life choices. It’s a very interesting feeling to feel like you’re in the right place with God, but are unable to please your friends and peers. It’s been painful and it’s been hard, but I have come to know these growing pains and I know my soul is being moved in a way that it needs to be. So often I have wondered if I was in the right place, and as I look into myself I know that I am truly happy at my core. I have seen blessings in our family that I didn’t know were possible, I have learned more in the last 6 months about myself and relationships than I think I’ve ever learned in my life. It definitely has been a struggle, but a beautiful struggle and one I know will benefit me for the rest of my life.
Yesterday was a special day for my sweet family. Brady was ordained an elder in the LDS church. The day was spiritual and wonderfully special. I feel so blessed to be living the life I’m living right now. Even though it’s sometimes complicated, it’s still wonderful. We are learning from our struggles everyday and being lead more in the direction we’re supposed to be.
This has been a hard post for me to write. Harder than you’ll know. But yesterday, I posted this picture on instagram and I had such a flood of blessings and well wishes. The response moved me to tears and helped me feel so much peace in my heart that I had been missing.
I hope that in writing my story, all these stories I share on this blog, I never ever come across as knowing I have it all together or that I’m doing the best things. If anything, I hope my message is one of a girl who followed God and is striving to live the life that was intended for her. That if you trust God, he will lead you to exactly where you need to be and to where you’ll be completely happy.
I can honestly tell you, at 24 my life looks about 100% different than I imagined it looking when I was younger. But I can also honestly tell you, I know I have never ever been happier.
Thank you so much for your love and support for my family. It really means so much more than I can explain.