Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Where am I going with all of this?

    Yesterday, I did something that was so scary for me.  I put a large part of my heart out there for people to see.  I feel free!! Where am I going with this though? I have sought for truth wherever I could find it.  More in the last 10 years than any other time. I think that as children, truth comes so easily and quickly, but we see as children.

 1 Corinthians 13:9-13
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

       There came a point where I realized that my belief system was based off of what I was told growing up and not a personal testimony of my own.  I got to the point where I didn't just want to believe, I wanted to know. I had so many questions and my experiences did not line up with things that I had learned growing up. I wanted to know why. Why was I told not to talk to drunks, or give money to the poor, or that a person who sinned had to suffer immense pain and sorrow, when Christ did all of those things for me. In many ways, I am the drunk, the poor, and the sinner. I want Christ to come to me. I want to receive Him, like the leper did, I want to have the faith to touch His robe and be healed, I want to accept the sacrifice that He made for my soul and in humility repent and come to Him, not in guilt, shame, or sadness, but with love and gratitude, knowing that He loves me and has done so much for me. I was tired of believing that only a prophet could have these things. I knew that God was no respecter of persons, but why when I would bring up my own desires, would people tell me, it isn't possible.  Christ doesn't come to people like us. People like us?  We are God's creations, we are His masterpiece, but we are not worthy to see our Savior, who saw each of us as He suffered in Gethsemmene, who suffered and bore all our sins, all our infirmities and all because He loved/loves us?  Yet we are not enough to seek His face?  If Zion is the pure in heart and the pure in heart shall see God (Matthew 5:8) (D&C 97:21) and if according to my beliefs growing up, only the prophets who have been foreordained to such a privilege, are the only ones, then do I have any hope of being in Zion?  Do I have any hope of receiving salvation?  I cannot believe that God is so exclusive, and He isn't!

Acts 10:34 34 ¶Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him
     This tells me that I have as much right as anyone to receive all that the Father is willing to bestow upon me, and that I have the privilege, if I seek after Him to have the mysteries unfolded to me.  Just like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many others did.  Nothing can be held back from me, if I trust in Him and seek Him always. I have been told that if I just follow a man who does talk and communicate God's will, that I will be just fine. Independent of whatever I receive, I must cast it aside, and do only what this man has said is right, especially if it goes against what I have received.  There is a level to that, but when do you stop moving on someone else's knowledge and start moving in your own? My relationship with my Savior and my Father in heaven is my own.  It will look different for every person that has one with Him.  I cannot depend on someone else receiving revelation for me.  I cannot depend on someone else to tell me where or what I should be doing with my life.  A man who leads a church cannot and does not comprehend what I am dealing with on a personal level, therefore I must receive revelation directly from the source.  I have made choices based off of what others think and feel, many times abandoning my own personal revelation, but I have also reaped that reward.  I was no closer to my Savior, my faith had not increased and I continued to be co-dependent on others for understanding and knowledge. I am now choosing to stand in what I know to be true, for myself. 
      So where am I going with all of this?  I am going to my Savior and Father in Heaven.  I am seeking them with everything that I have. I am setting myself free from the box (paradigm) that I have grown up with.  I am asking questions.  I am getting answers.  I am going to be one with my Savior and Father in heaven.  That is where I am going with all of this.  Into their presence.  What if I don't come into their presence until I die? (some will ask)  Well then, they will know that I did not falter in my desire to seek after them, and they will know the deep intense love that I have for them. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coming Out!

      I am so tired of not being myself, of hiding who I really am from my family and friends.  I have chosen to write a blog to allow myself the opportunity to express my thoughts and share my heart more openly with whoever desires to know where I come from.  I am nobody special, no one that anybody should seek after or follow.  This blog is in no way supposed to give me notoriety or bring me any kind of attention.  I don't expect many to read it, but I really just needed to be free to express myself.  This to me is the best way to do that.

     To begin with, my name is Michelle Taylor.  I am the daughter of two wonderful parents.  I am the wife of an amazing husband who has taught me so much and the mother to seven very busy but sweet children.  I am grateful to be where I am today, but sometimes that is harder to say than others. 

    As a small child I remember being taught in church (I grew up Mormon) about Joseph Smith and his vision.  I love that story.  A simple, humble, boy was able to see the Savior and our Father in Heaven.  He was guided, instructed and taught according to his faith.  I so desired to have this experience for myself.  I always thought that only prophets or special people who had been foreordained to do something special and important could ever have this opportunity.  One Sunday we were reading in the scriptures and there was a verse where God stated that He was no respecter of persons, but that any who would come unto Him, would receive Him.  I felt a burning within me that this was true and that I could, one day, if I searched for Him, be able to receive Him and have the experience that so many in the scriptures have had.   I had faith in this, so strongly that I was so excited for the Second coming of Christ, I awaited for Him every day.  I wanted to see Him and when I was sad or struggled I prayed so hard that I could be in His presence and that He would hold me in His arms.  It hasn't happened yet.  Over the years I started losing my faith in God.  I had a hard time trusting that he was even there.  Even so, I wanted to be like my Savior.  I would try to love those that others wouldn't and I had a great desire to help others come to Christ, to feel the love and faith that I had.  As time went on, I graduated High School and moved out of the house.  I made mistakes that I was so sorry about all the time.  I wanted to be better.  I didn't know where to go or what to do.  I didn't necessarily want to leave where I was, but one day, I saw a picture of my life, and then a picture of the life that I had wanted.  The two did not match up and there was no hope that in my present situation that it ever would.  So I felt the need to move back home.  I had never felt it like that before, but I knew deep within me that God was talking to me, guiding me, telling me to go home, even though I had been told that God cannot speak to those who sin or that those who sin cannot hear God.   I was scared.  I did not want to deal with the consequences of my mistakes.  I prayed that God would give me strength.  Within a week of being home, I saw the man who would be my husband.  Within 5 months we were married.  He would hate me saying this, but he is a wonderful man.  He has taught me so much about having faith.  I felt so alive and full of hope, I had felt forgiven and my life was finally moving in the direction I had hoped and prayed for.  Putting two different belief systems into one marriage is a difficult thing.  We both had to come to some understanding and agreement on things.  I grew up believeing that the patriarch was the one who led the home and ultimately made all the decisions.  He didn't want that.  So we both had to feel out the spirit and find answers through prayer.  Unfortunately, I had never really been one to pray to get answers.  I knew it was important to be at the right place at the right time.  The scriptures tell us that we need to pray for that, but I didn't really know how to feel the spirit in that way.  I was scared about making the wrong choice so many times.  I had to learn that God has the power to teach us what we need to know and help us be where we need to be, even when we are so full of weaknesses. 
     Several years pass and we are at a point in our lives where we feel we are doing our best to follow the spirit.  We have seen miracle after miracle in our lives and we were starting to feel like things were looking up, financially.  My husband had a great job.  I was pregnant with our fourth child and had 3 little girls under the age of 4.   We moved and I went to sign the lease while my husband was at his first day at work.  As I went to sign that lease, I felt this darkness, just come into me.  I felt so unsettled.  I thought about not signing it, but we had nowhere else to go and my husband was very excited about this home.  Unfortunately, no cell phones, or I would have called him.  So I made the decision to sign.  I still get sad when I think about that situation.  I was more afraid of man than I was of God.  Needless to say, we struggled the whole time we were there and it was the hardest time of my life.  During this time, I could easily be found in a corner of the house, crying, begging, pleading for God to help me through my struggles.  My husband was working two full time jobs just to make ends meet.  One on the night shift and the other in the evening.  Sometimes the night shift job turned into 12 hours and he would have maybe 4 hours of sleep.  We were falling apart.  I started having panic attacks.  I would go to bed every night wondering if I was going to live through the night and asking God that if I were going to die, to protect my little children, until their dad could come home and take care of them.  It was a very dark time for me.  I didn't know what would happen and the panic attacks were putting a strain on our marriage.  During this time, it was a struggle to keep going to church, trying to keep up a fa├žade about who we really were and what we were struggling with.  I craved the spirit so much in my life, but felt that I had done the unpardonable sin when I signed that lease and that I was being punished(that isn't what I believe now).  We ended up moving in with my in laws and I was so grateful to just have people around.  We ended up going through bankruptcy and we were able to finally get things under our feet again.  I prayed so hard for help during this time, as our marriage was still struggling.  I knew I needed to see a counselor, but wanted one who understood my faith and wouldn't recommend drugs as the answer.  God answered my prayer and provided someone who came right in the nick of time.   He followed to spirit to come when he did, because I was ready to call it quits.  dWe moved into a little mobile home and everything seemed to be getting better.  We were able to connect to God once again.  I still had the anxiety and panic, but I was learning more. One of the lessons we were learning at the time, through our scripture study was about the lilies and the birds how they toil not, neither do they spin, but God watches and takes care of these things. Luke 12:27-40.  Did we have the faith we needed in God.  Could we be so focused on building the Kingdom of God and trust wholly in the Lord?  For about 4 months we were prepared.  All we ever wanted to do was to be ready to help people when they needed it, but financially we were starting to get there, until Heavenly Father asked my husband to give up his job.  His well paying job.  This was a very hard decision to make, but I knew from experience that sometimes the things God asks make absolutely no sense.  We were fine for a few months and then my husband decided that it was time to get a job.  He had a few, but it never worked out for very long.  There were times when we were given large sums of money, which we used to help others who also needed the help and there were times when all we had was twenty dollars and God asked me to give it to a beautiful family and let them know that God was watching over them.  As I watched tears stream down the fathers face, not so much for the money, but because he knew God was watching over them, I knew that God was happy with the sacrifices we were making.  At the end of the year of struggle, my husband tried to get a job and we couldn't find anything.  We went into fear.  We were afraid and we had no way of knowing where we would get the money to care for our family.  We were told about a position with the employer that he originally left and felt it was time to go back.  God has blessed us for the sacrifice we made.  We have received all that we had lost and gained so much more.
       During all this time we were learning things that were helping our testimony grow and faith in the Father become stronger.  The things that we both had wanted (to walk with Christ) had come to the forefront of our minds again.  We had this goal and this hope.  We learned that we cannot look to men for guidance, that ultimately it is our personal relationship with God that will lead us back to him. I am thankful for the struggles and the hardships that we have had that have brought us closer to God.  I understand Him better than I did when I was a little girl praying for Him to come hold me. The gospel of God is independent of any church or organization.  We can all come to Him and seek His face.  He loves us, He wants us to come to Him.  So many times we put our spiritual dependence on our family, our church, our friends, or our spouses, that we do not seek to have that relationship for ourselves.  I know, because this is what I did.  I never fit in to the church that I grew up in.  Medallions and awards for accomplishing good things were never my motivation.  If I did something spiritually it would be because I wanted to for God.  If you do anything for self gratification, you are not doing it for the right reasons.   People are good.  It doesn't matter their religion or their background.  We need to be willing to love each other and be there for one another. 
      This was a long post, and a small portion of my history.  Just to give some background.  I am far from perfect, and I doubt myself on a daily basis, but I cannot doubt what God has taught me through my weaknesses and my failures.  I must share my testimony.  Some will not like it, I am sorry.  Some will wonder how I got from point A to point B.  Others will know how much of a struggle I have gone through and be happy that I am finally standing in my truth.  I am not an angry, vindictive person.  I just want to share my heart, in the hopes that there will be others who need to open up and can feel safe doing so, knowing that I too will share my heart with them.  I will share more about my feelings as time goes by and  I have things I want to share.  I love you all, and may God bless you in your search for the Light of Truth.