Starting anything over again can be so hard. Finding your way back to that straight and narrow path can seem so daunting, and impossible. My dear friends, it can be done! Like anything, it takes work and commitment.
One of my biggest fears in going back to church was; what were people going to say about me? I wonder if they know my sins? If thoughts like these creep into your minds, please remember that those questions are in no way relevant to the members of your ward. If you have things that you feel you need to discuss with your bishop, then yes, he will know. If you feel the need to share with someone in your ward, then that is your choice. But nobody knows what you have done. We are directed to not judge others, it is not our place. Everyone sins; it’s just that they sin differently.
There’s a saying that I remember learning in Young Women’s, “Endure to the End.” I believe in that saying more now than ever. There have been times where I think to myself, “My goodness, it couldn’t get any worse!” Then I quickly shush myself as yet another obstacle falls in my way.
Exact details of the story with my second husband are not relevant now, maybe one day. But, that turn of events lead to my boys that I had with my first husband, being given to my first husband. I lost custody. I was beyond devastated. I didn’t know how to go on. These are times I literally cried out to my Father in Heaven, begging for direction and peace.
I remember while I was staying with someone who was so kind to let me stay with his family, walking past a church after an altercation with my second husband. It was a weekday, and I walked to the side of the building that could not be seen from the street. I sat down and buried my face in my hands and just rocked back and forth, sobbing. My cry was muffled, it was the daytime, and nobody was around. I didn’t know what to do; I didn’t know where to go. I only knew I had two choices; give up, or endure this ordeal to the end.
Though it may be hard for you to make that first step into the church, take it one step at a time. You don’t have to quit smoking first, or drinking, in order to take the first step back. In my opinion, the first step is what you feel most comfortable with. For me, really the comfort of knowing I could always pray to my Father in Heaven was enough to get me back into the mode where I had been reminded He was always watching and listening to me. I wanted to stop using inappropriate language, I wanted to become meek and humble again. I was in a situation at that time where I really needed to seem tough. What usually comes out of our mouths in situations like that is not very nice. So, I began toning it down a little.
The next thing was really wanting to just flip open the scriptures and reading something that might inspire me. And when nothing really stood out, I began flipping to scriptures that I knew. Scripture mastery scriptures and scriptures I had learned in Young Women’s and Seminary. I didn’t necessarily need to read large sections of the scriptures in order to know that I felt better just reading their words. I also didn’t always feel the spirit, but it was enough for me to know that He was pleased with my task. And that gave me peace.
It still took me a minute to really feel like I could resist the anxiety from people asking questions. I know I am being very vague, but I’m still not ready to explain all of the details yet, but, everything I went through had caused some major Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of course it wasn’t diagnosed, but the signs were classic symptoms. I didn’t even watch television or listen to the radio. It was like I skipped a whole year of my life. I am just now finding out about things that happened in that year that at first I think, “Where was I?” “Why have I not heard of this person?” Then I realize the timeframe. It’s pretty crazy stuff.
When I finally started to go back to church, I went with my parents, so it wasn’t like I was alone. I took my daughter to church as well, and she loved it! It made me happy to hear the little things she was learning. She was inspiring me to do more! Of course, I’m not always 100%, but I do try. I sometimes feel guilty, but I do my best to go the next week. Sometimes having a child prevents that though, as I’m sure most of you are aware. My favorite thing about having my daughter is she’s five and I have taught her to memorize the first two Articles of Faith. She’s still working on the third. She gets some of the words mixed up. But I usually work with her every night. It’s something I look forward to at bedtime.
Initially the first couple of years I was going back to church, I went to Sunday School with my parents. Well, this year, I decided to really push myself to do more, and to kind of have a refresher course. I decided to take the Gospel Principles class. I love that class so much, that I even try to read the lesson beforehand! The teachers that rotate are amazing, and I feel I have only made my foundation stronger by giving myself a refresher course.
I know from experience that you have to commit to doing good things. You have to commit and promise yourself to never give up. People around you may seem to know more, or have a stronger testimony than you. Don’t let that stand in your way! We are all individuals that may learn differently, or we chose a different path for part of our journey. Whatever roadblocks stand in our way should never stop us from pressing forward. Endure to the end! Even the smallest testimonies can be strengthened and turn into something greater than what was in the beginning.
I'm a Supermom and wife who works full time. I love cooking for my family and friends. But most of all, I love the Gospel and my journey back to it!