I just got in from church a few minutes ago, and I’m feeling high after getting my spiritual batteries recharged. From those of you who aren’t regular attendees of any church, you just don’t know what you’re missing. Where else can you go where most people are on their best behavior, kind and loving and imbued with the spirit? If you are a regular attendee and you don’t have that kind of experience, maybe you should investigate another church. Or maybe you should look within yourself to see if therein lies the problem. But that’s a story for another day.
Today I want to talk about my sweet, brave, beautiful little granddaughter whose courage affected her grandmother so deeply that today she (I) bore my testimony in church. It’s not as though I never do it, but it’s not something I do on a regular basis. Why? Because it’s a long walk to the front, because I figure everyone already knows what I have to say, because I’m not as deep or spiritual as others….the list goes on and on. All excuses, none very good.
I LOVE Fast and Testimony Sunday because I get to hear about how others feel about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the scriptures, Joseph Smith, prayer, and a host of other wonderful topics. I get to hear faith promoting stories and anecdotes from other people’s lives that boost my spirits and renew my resolve to be a better person. Hearing from fellow church members helps me feel closer to them and fosters a feeling of unity and fellowship. However, I know I should do more than listen. I should speak. It’s not right to always be a taker; one should be a sharer too.
So today with memories of Brooke’s recent testimony in my heart, I followed her brave example and walked to the front. I won’t go into a lot of detail. Instead, I’m going to copy and paste some of what her mother Carrie wrote about this little 4 year old who bore her testimony last week for the first time. Although this is usually done on the first Sunday, their ward’s schedule was changed because of Ward Conference this week.
Last week, Brooke looked up at her mother and told her that she wanted to go to the front to bear her testimony and asked her mother if she’d help her. “I explained that if I helped her, it would be my testimony and not hers. We then talked about how a testimony consists of things we know and believe, and I then asked her what some of the things were that she believed. We discussed things like: Jesus dying for us, following the Prophet, loving our family, and loving Jesus. I helped her practice what she wanted to say, and then she made the long walk up to the front. Rich quickly looked down at me from the stand when he noticed her approaching; I mouthed to him that she wanted to do it, and that she was going to do it all by herself. Once it was her turn, Rich helped her get the stool out and get the microphone ready; he then sat down, leaving my courageous four year old to share her heartfelt testimony. From my vantage point, all I could see were her sweet curls, so unable to see her angelic face, I focused on her words. Brooke talked about things like keeping the commandments, following the Prophet, loving our family, and loving Jesus. As I intently listened, I thought about how proud I was of her, how proud I was of her bravery, her courage, and her strong, incredible spirit! My pride in her grew even more when she returned to her seat, looked up at me, and said, “Mama, that felt really good!”
“I, at a loss of words, just looked down at my precious angel and smiled. Oh, how I hope and pray her love for Heavenly Father and Jesus continues! As a mother, I am determined to do all I can to help them truly love Heavenly Father and Jesus; I want them to do what is right throughout their life, not out of fear, but out of love! I want them to have the desire to do what is right as a way to show Heavenly Father and Jesus how much they love them! I work so hard to try to teach them all I can, but today Brooke taught me; she taught me about being courageous, and she taught me how important it is to be brave and stand up and tell everyone what you believe.”
With thoughts of my valiant little granddaughter in mind, I bore my testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ and to the peace that comes from a sure knowledge of His redeeming sacrifice. Yes, I know things aren’t always “sweetness and light.” I know there is much suffering and that things sometimes happen that are unbelievably painful, things that leave you questioning, “WHY?” I also know that a strong testimony and prayer can bring a peace not of this world.
Thanks Brooke…for your courageous example. I’m hoping others will follow your lead and BE BRAVE.