Growing up fear was a constant companion of mine. I was taught to be fearful by abusive parents, and by kids who bullied me and sometimes threatened to kill me because I was a little different from them. I learned that nothing in life was certain and that at any moment I could have everything taken away from me. See, some people in my life just took what they wanted from me, whenever they wanted it. There was no respect shown to me by those that were supposed to love me, my opinions didn't matter, I was treated as an object, I was nothing more than a slave to their desires.
I was taken away from my birth family at a very young age, but I was old enough to understand that I wasn't ever going back. I was molested raped and abused in so many ways that fear was all I ever knew. I was afraid to wake up in the morning and to go to sleep at night. I was afraid to go to school and even more afraid to go home at the end of the day. I was afraid of summer and christmas vacations because thats when the abuse at home was the worst. I was afraid to eat because I was always told I was fat and ugly. I didn't want to tell anyone because I was afraid they wouldn't believe me. I was in a constant state of fear with very little reprieve.
Then one day it all changed.
I woke up one morning and realized I had nothing left in my life that mattered to me. I was severely injured from being assaulted, I was told by doctors that music could no longer be a part of my life, and those that know me will understand just how much music means to me. My parents hated me, and my friends didn't want anything to do with me because It seemed like I was in a contant state of depression, and let's face it who wants to be a part of that? I didn't want to be a part of it, but it was my life.
I decided that I needed to do something different, I needed to know where to go next. I had no future plans I had no immediate plans, so I did the only thing I could think of to do. I prayed. I prayed so fervently for several hours. I told my Heavenly Father that I would do anything He asked of me as long as He made it perfectly clear to me what His will was for me, no questions asked.
The very next day I received a knock on my door. Jehovah's witnesses were there. I invited them in and listened to what they had to teach me and then told them that I would not be joining their church. I didn't feel anything while they were there and I knew that Heavenly Father would make the answer clear to me as to what I needed to do.
Two days after my earnest prayer, there was another knock on my door. This time when I opened the door I immediately began to cry. Tears streamed down my face as the three young men spoke to me. They asked me why I was crying and I told them that I needed to join their church. I didn't know anything about them or the church they belonged to, I didn't even know that this particular church existed, but I knew that I had to be a part of it.
When they picked their jaws up off the floor, they told me they were missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I invited them in and they began to teach me about Jesus Christ, who He was and what He has done for me and all mankind. I listened while they taught me of a young boy of 14 who wanted to know what church he should join, and in answer to his earnest prayer saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I began to see parallells between my life and Joseph Smith's life. He had questions and recieved answers to those questions because he showed faith and asked Heavenly Father. And I did the same and Heavenly Father answered me.
My family were and are still devout Catholics and had raised me to be the same. I was the choir director and my mother was a part of that choir. So when it came time to be baptized in the LDS church I struggled to set a date. Then the three missionaries that taught me were all transferred and two new missionaries came in. The one missionary challenged me to be baptized in four days. I explained that if I get baptized my mother would probably come after me and try to hurt me. He said to me "where is your faith?" If you die right after you are baptized what is there to fear? I would be clean from sin and I would have celestial glory with my Father in Heaven. He asked me if it mattered what happened to me once I was a member of the Lord's church, and my answer surprised me. It didn't matter what happened to me. I would be putting everything in the Lord's hands, having faith that no matter what happened I would be okay.
I was baptized on Mother's Day May 8th 1994. Now I would love to say that everything in my life changed and was perfect after that, of course I still had problems to deal with just like the rest of the world, but I made new friends and found my birth family and music was restored and many doors opened to me. I replaced all the fear with faith, and I know that having faith has saved my life many times. The people that have hurt me in the past are no longer a part of my life, but I still pray for them. I can do that because of the incredible love my Heavenly Father showed to me, I now know that he loves all of His children no matter what bad things we do. He has taught me how to love my enemies and throughout the years has showed me an outpouring of blessings and many miracles which I may share in a future blog.
In conclusion white paper always looks whiter when its next to something black. I have been shown so many miracles and amazing blessings. However I needed to be shown the dark first so I would later understand the light when it was presented. The Lord showed me pain and suffering and allowed me to be dragged down into darkness so that when He knew I was ready, I would easily know and understand the Light. How can we know something is hot if we have never felt cold. How would we know light if we are never shown darkness. I still struggle with health problems and with fears from my past, but when I show faith in my Heavenly Father those pains and those fears are wiped away. I am grateful for these eternal lessons that my Heavenly Father teaches me daily, and I look forward to the many lessons still to learn. My life has become a wonderful journey filled with faith hope and love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ and I will always be eternally grateful for all the people that He has put in my life to teach me these life lessons, both good and bad, because they all amount to one amazing mortal life experience.