Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why I Did It

I changed my profile picture of Facebook.

It may look like I followed the crowd.

It may look like I'm just trying to do something cool to "fit in" with what could be seen as the "cookie cutter" Mormon crowd.

It may look like I didn't put much thought into it and just decided to change it on a whim.

None of that is true.

For those of you who don't know where it comes from, there was an even created on Facebook called I'm a Mormon profile picture week.  You can find it here.  I was invited through someone and honestly thought at first that it was just one of those silly things that people do for no real reason.  Something to put us all in the same round hole whether you are shaped that way or not.  A giant "Gooooo Team!" right after General Conference. As I read the details though there seemed to be a bit more to it. 

The person who created it stated that "My hope is that you will participate and invite all of your Latter-day Saint Facebook friends to do so as well. Those not of our faith on Facebook may be surprised to discover they know someone who is "Mormon". And I pray that through that simple thing, sincere questions will be asked and gospel related conversations will be had. Together, we can help bring people closer to Jesus Christ and His restored gospel."

I liked the idea.  I liked what it could do.  But I still wasn't sure I would do it.  Not until I heard Elder David A Bednar's talk on Sunday afternoon.  Lest you should think otherwise he did not say to join this movement.  He just said something that pricked my heart.  A few things really.

His talk was about sharing the gospel.  He said in so many words that sharing what has helped us in our lives is not unusual.  We do it all the time in many different ways.  We share pictures of things that make us laugh, stories that bring joy, household products that helps us clean better.  I mean come on people, we live in a world of sharing everything and we have the power to do so at our fingertips.

And yet.

When it comes to sharing the most important things in my life, I hesitate.  Not because I don't think they are worth sharing but because I'm afraid of being mocked, of having my heartfelt words and experiences trampled upon.  I don't actually know anyone who would really do that but the fear is still there.  And that's just silly.  Silly but not.

I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I love it.  I love the role that it plays in my life.  I love the simple pure teachings of Jesus.  His love.  His compassion.  His courage.  His example.  I love and am so very grateful for the compassion and mercy that he shows towards me.  The compassion and mercy that I have felt and cannot deny.  

My life has not been easy.  No one's life is really when you get down to it.  We all have trials and times in our lives that make us show our metal.  We all have hard decisions to make, sometimes daily.  We all have experiences that are difficult whether of our making or not.

I used to go through some of these things and shake my fist at the heavens.  Wonder why they were happening to me.  What had I done to deserve these things.

And yet.

The things that have made me shake my fist are some of the very things that have caused me to learn and grow the most.  They have brought me closer to Christ and God.  They have brought me more peace than I thought possible.  While going through the trial it's often difficult to see the whole picture.  Really difficult.  However, as I look back on my life I can't help but see so many tender mercies.  So many things that I thought had gone wrong were really so very right.  I can see God's hand in so many things.  Enough to know that as I walk forward now, not seeing clearly the path before me, I know that I will be alright.  I know that as long as I do my best to follow Christ, to love those around me, to serve, to have compassion, to give the benefit of the doubt, to show mercy... God will take care of me and my family. He will light my path and help me become who he needs me to be.  Who he wants me to be.  

I know there will be more trials, more stretching of my faith and more times that I may be tempted to shake my fist.  But I also know that God is in the heavens and he has not forgotten us.  I know of his love and his intimate interest in my life and desire for my welfare.  And I know that it is not exclusive to me.  He is interested in all of his children, which is all of you.

I am a Mormon.  A Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I love it.  I live it.