Although in many ways my testimony is weak, and my living of it much weaker, it is the most precious thing I have and the gift I wish to share with you.
I believe in God. The wonderful beauty, variety, and forces of the earth testify to me daily. The changing seasons. The miracle of life. I believe in our Creator and the Father of our Spirits. Sometimes a simple moment brings a rush of joy that testifies that God is - the look of the sky, a child's smile, the flight of birds. I see greatness in people in grand deeds of courage or in the goodness and courage of daily living and I know they are His children and of wonderful potential. Sometimes I really believe as well as know that even I am His child. On occasions, I have felt His love for me and been amazed.
I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. At Christmas time we all think about the little baby in the manger. I am awed and amazed that the Creator of Worlds would come to earth as a helpless baby and live so humbly. I think of His life and teachings, so simple, so profound. I can hardly believe that He went to Gethsemane and the cross because he cares so much for each of us - for me! I can hardly to bear to imagine even part of what He suffered in body, mind, and spirit. I know I do not live nearly worthy of that love and sacrifice. But, I keep trying to do a little better. I know that He was resurrected, that He lives. I know that He has saved us from death and will save us from our sins, if we let Him.
I am amazed at my great good fortune to have been raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I hope and believe that had I not been so blessed that I would have found and accepted the Gospel. Fear that I might not have, makes me so grateful that Mom did and gave it to us. I believe, no, I really KNOW the church is true. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored through prophets and brought to us through the church, is the answer to every problem and question, if we will only learn to be humble and accept them. I am so grateful to live in a time of prophets. Their words delivered to my mailbox every month. The opportunity to sit at their feet and hear the prophet's voice twice every year. Such incredible, unbelievable blessings!
I am grateful for the scriptures, though I have not yet learned to truly be at home with them as I ought. Do you realize that for centuries, they were just not available to people?! What scriptures that were on the earth, were available to only an elect few, who dispensed what pearls they chose among the masses. We have so many copies of scripture in our home! More than one per person. What a tremendous blessing! I am grateful that the Lord asks us to come to him about anything and everything. I love the verses in Alma 34:17-27 in the Book of Mormon that urge us to pray at all the times of the day and all the places we may be and all our endeavors and concerns. I am dumbfounded at my own hesitation to accept His wonderful invitation and command. I know that the Lord hears and answers honest prayers. I know He wants us to be open with Him. I know that we are safe with Him. I know that we can pray about every little thing and that despite world concerns, He listens, cares and answers. I like to think of a prophet's wife who said she never put a loaf of bread in the oven or bought a pair of shoes without a prayer. When I grow up, I will be like that.
I am thankful that the Lord let me live in modern times. I love the blessings of plumbing!!, hot water, and electricity. I love the postal service, the telephone, the computer to help shorten the distance between loved ones and bring a world of wonder and information into our homes. I am grateful for modern transportation and good roads. I like the comforts of modern living that are unimagined, impossible luxuries compared to the way most of humanity has lived and far too many still live. I am grateful the Lord lets me live in such comfort. Even more, I am grateful that when family members are separated by distance, we need not be cut off from each other. I so miss my children who are not close by! How grateful I am for frequent contact! What a great lesson it is too, of the love and home with Heavenly Father that misses us and wants us to talk to Him and to prepare to come back. I love my country and am so grateful to be American. I know that God inspired the foundation of this country. I am thankful for the great men who served as His instruments in founding, preserving and leading the United States of America. This land is so rich and beautiful. So diverse and wonderful. Physically and culturally so rich. We enjoy such freedom, such opportunity, such peace that comes from a strong nation with the rights of the people rigidly safeguarded. I realize as much as about anybody that the country and its people are far from perfect, but oh, they are wonderful, and there is or will be none greater, until the King of Kings establishes His perfect government. I am so grateful for those who have and do protect our country, its people and its freedoms. The Armed Forces, especially, but also the police, and firemen, doctors, true statesmen, and all those who choose lives of service and sacrifice. Who face dragons for it and us.
I am so grateful for my children. Besides my testimony, there is nothing more precious than they. I am so humble and thankful that the Lord loved me and trusted me enough to send them to me. I have been blessed with children beautiful inside and out. I enjoy their similarities and their differences. I am so pleased with their choices and the good lives they live. I enjoy being with them. Being with them in person or in spirit makes me feel rich. I am unbelievably blessed. I am thankful for so many friends, relatives, leaders and teachers, most especially in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who have and continue to help me raise my children. I am delighted and grateful for my "children"who have married into our family. Such wonderful men. Good, faithful, loving, kind, patient, fun. (and they're cute, too) I hope and pray that my other children will be as blessed in their choices and that we will all fit together as well.
I am grateful that throughout my life, I have been blessed with truly good friends. People who have loved and accepted me despite my many failings, and yet who also uplift me and make me want to be a better person. I am grateful for people I can trust, laugh with, cry with. That some of my best friends are family is indeed a rich double blessing.
Despite the evil and trouble in the world and personal difficulties, I know that God lives and loves us and that if we will trust Him, all will be well when it really counts. I give you my testimony with my love. In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.