(NOTE: This testimony is shared as part of my article “General Conference Changed My Life“. If you found this before you read that article, please check it out so you are reading in context. Thank you. Tanja)
I always wondered where my faith began. My life has been far from fairytales you see in a movie. But at the same time, God has worked miracles on me.
I think back to when I was young and scared; scared of the world and the people in it… For the world I lived in was filled with nothing but hurt, loneliness, and rejection. Rejection from my parents, when I was in foster care moving from home to home, school to school, rejection of other kids’ friendship. But what hurt most was rejection of myself, ‘cause I thought there must be something so wrong with me, so I hated myself…
But I can attest to this, there is One who never rejected me: the Heavenly Father was there the nights I cried myself to sleep, to comfort me. He was there all the times I was beaten or abused, giving me the strength to get up off the ground and stand strong.
He didn’t just give me strength to endure, but more important: fear. Yes, the fear of whom I would become without His love and support. For His guidance is what kept me off the forbidden path. Without him, I would have lost my way. I have made some bad decisions in my life, but no matter what situation I was placed in, I had that fear: the fear of the Lord to keep me from doing something that would ruin my life or keep me from turning my back on Him.
He has never turned His back on me, from the first time I knew the Spirit was with me at the age of 8, to now, 23-years-old. He has been my life-long friend and Savior, the Light in my darkest days, never fading and forever true.
Now I don’t want this to sound like a dark story, for my childhood may have been hard, but through the Lord and His love and understanding, I have come to embrace my past, and learn from it how to help and comfort those who have had the same upbringing.
This is one of the miracles I spoke of, along with many others in my life that Lord has blessed me with. None are more sacred and dear to me that the Crouch family.
He answered my prayers of many years, to find a family that truly loved me and would never turn their backs on me. The Crouchs came to me when I was 15. I was in a facility for troubled youth who didn’t have families. The night I was told about them I had got down on my knees, like so many times before, to pray for someone to come take me away and love me. But this time was different. What happened that night, I knew would change my life forever. I had always had some kind of feeling when I prayed that I knew if the Heavenly Father was listening, and He was definitely listening–for when I asked if this was, for the family I was meant to be with, a feeling came over me that I could not explain, a connection with the Spirit that left love in my heart that has never left.
The love He placed upon me was the beginning of a new life. The Crouchs introduced me to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where I found true faith. This means so much to me, for the Spirit has been with me for so long, but to find true faith and understanding, to be sealed to your family and the ones you love for eternity in the temple, to have a testimony of a loving and caring God who had protected me all these years, I am so thankful.
I pray that in my lifetime I will have many opportunities to spread the word and my story, hoping to find someone lost and show them no matter what trials they have faced or are going through, the Lord and our Heavenly Father loves them and never leaves their side. He’s waiting patiently.
I know I have far to go when it comes to knowledge of the scriptures, but I have knowledge of true life experiences and proof of the blessings of the Lord. I will spend the rest of my life building my relationship with the Heavenly Father.
I can honestly say I never lost faith. I look forward to the future and building my testimony. For whatever the future may bring, I’ll have the Heavenly Father by my side.