Last time I guest posted for That Wife, I wrote about the marvelous transformation that was taking place in my life. I had just joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you haven’t read the first part of my conversion story, you can do that here, or over on my own blog. I mean it, go! Like all converts, I think my conversion story is uniquely beautiful.
Today, it has been just over a year since the day I became a member of the Church. Now that I’ve been a member of the Church for a year I’m not considered a “new” convert anymore, but I know I have plenty to learn. In this blog post I’d like to talk about the changes that have happened in my life since I joined the Church. In my last guest post I said that nothing about me or my life would change – and in that I was thankfully wrong.
When I joined the Church I was living in New York City, unemployed, kicking my addiction to caffeine, but still so happy and completely on fire about the Gospel. I knew that joining the Church was exactly what I needed to do and so I did it. I pushed all of my fears and concerns aside and just jumped right in. No one could have said anything to me during that time to make me think it was the wrong choice – I know, because a lot of people tried.
My family and friends were astonished. They had never seen this coming. While most of my friends were supportive (after a few chats to make sure I wasn’t some brainwashed zombie/robot), a few were really hurtful in the way they expressed their concern, including one of my best friends. My mother was initially very against the whole thing but has, over time, gotten used to the idea. My father and brother haven’t said much.
After the first five months of being a member, I had no choice but to move back home to live with my parents. I was out of money and still hadn’t found a job. As much as I hated the idea, I was sitting in the Temple one night and felt an incredible peace about the whole thing wash over me. I knew it was the right choice.
I’d like to say that knowledge helped make the transition smooth and easy, but it was anything but. And I whined a lot. Coming home was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. No matter how good of a relationship you have with your parents, moving back in with them after 6 years on your own is never fun or easy. My parents and I are on good terms, but we have very different ideas about almost everything. My membership in the Church was a major change for them to adapt to – especially the fact that I don’t spend money on Sundays.
Still, time has worked wonders. Facing all of the difficulties has helped me realize how important it is to me to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know where to turn when things get tough. There have been many tears in the past year, and I’ve spent a lot of time on my knees begging for help. All of this has strengthened me in ways I never thought possible. My best friend and I have grown closer as a result of our “disagreement” (for lack of a better word). My relationship with my parents has deepened and matured. I’ve learned what’s most important to me and what I’m willing to fight for.
This year hasn’t been all hard things though – don’t get me wrong. After a year of unemployment, I have a job that I absolutely love. I’ve been able to pay off my credit cards, and I’m looking forward to having some money in savings so I can move out of my parents house (hopefully for good this time).
As I briefly mentioned above, I have been able to go to the Temple (many times) to do baptisms and confirmations for the dead – an experience that I really treasure. There is nothing quite like stepping outside of the world and leaving all of your cares behind, even for a short time. The opportunity to be in such sacred space is something I love.
This year I am looking forward to going to the temple to receive my endowment. I don’t have a date set just yet, but I know it will happen sometime this summer. In the meantime, I’m preparing by studying my scriptures and reading almost anything I can get my hands on that will help me to be ready to make such sacred covenants. I will also take the Temple Preparation class offered at my ward beginning in a few weeks. My bishop gave me a really excellent book that I recommend to everyone, but most especially those who are endowed or preparing to be endowed.
Also during the past year I’ve had the opportunity to work with the sister missionaries as they teach the Gospel to people who are interested in learning about the Church. Doing this has strengthened my testimony of the Gospel and helped me see how profound an impact it can have on the lives it touches. I will always have a special place in my heart for full-time missionaries who give up 18-24 months of their lives to share the Gospel with people who might not have ever heard it.
Really and truly being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has helped me in more ways than I can ever express. In many ways I am still the same person I was over a year ago, but in just as many ways I am so much better. I have grown, not just in the Gospel, but in ways I never could have anticipated or expected. Most importantly I have figured out who I am and who I want to become. I have found happiness that I never even knew was possible.
I know that all of this is made possible through our Savior, even Jesus Christ, who loves us so much He gave up His life for us. He lives, and so does our Heavenly Father who knows us better than we even know ourselves. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true and that the Gospel has been fully restored. I know that without this knowledge, I wouldn’t be where I am today or even the person that I am today. I am so thankful for this knowledge.
I am happy to answer any questions that any of you might have about my conversion story. You’re welcome to come read more about everything that has happened in my life over at my own blog – and certainly to follow along with what happens next. It’s been an awesome ride so far and I know the future holds even more amazing things.