I walked into sacrament meeting on time this week! The age of miracles has not ceased. It was fast and testimony meeting and the Lord said, “Do it.” So before I had time to decide that getting up in front of all the church people and revealing my vulnerability was a terrible idea, I marched up to the podium. I thought, “What do you want me to say?” He said, “You’ll know what to say.”
At first I tried not to meet the eyes of the people I was speaking to. I told them about the last couple of months and my battle with depression and anxiety. I told them about my efforts to fight off Satan’s pernicious lies about my inadequacies, that although I am a fallen woman and I fall short of his perfection, there is hope and salvation. I testified of the Savior who has given me the strength to say the things I’ve never been able to say and do things I’ve never been able to do. By the end of my testimony, I couldn’t see any church people; just people. Broken people living in a fallen world, people who need the Savior just like I do. I closed my testimony with the witness that Jesus Christ is the only path to salvation and that he loves each person in the room just as much as he loves me, and that love has changed my life.
Maybe it was just me, but it seemed that my testimony and my honesty opened the way to others who said things that perhaps they would not have dared to say. There were a lot of real people at the podium today and it was kind of amazing. The black brother who spoke after me, I did not recognize. His voice sounded of Africa, but I could not be sure. Another brother spoke. He has known suffering. His wife knows suffering. He spoke of suffering and how it shapes us and that suffering doesn’t make sense especially when those who experience it are innocent of any sin. But that suffering can bring marvelous blessings when we turn to the Savior.
That testimony spoke to me. I talked to him after sacrament meeting and he thanked me for my testimony. We discussed some of the thoughts that had spurred him to speak. I asked about his wife, and he opened up a little. I told him to have her call me if she needs someone to talk to. I think he knew that I meant it.
I talked to another brother. He knows my pain and we have talked many times. He looked at me with love in his eyes. “You were so brave!” I don’t know if he knows that is the virtue I covet more than any other. He couldn’t have given me a better compliment! I was brave. I was honest. I was real, and I spoke for Him! Isn’t that amazing? I spoke for Him! I was his handmaid, his broken handmaid.
We sang “The Spirit of God” in sacrament meeting, and I was so loud it was a little embarrassing. My heart soared with the words and the fire that I felt inside me. There is no better praise to God than song! He heard my voice and it was beautiful to him. I testified not just with my words, but my voice, my heart, and my soul that poured out.
The Spirit of God like a fire is burning,
The Latter-day glory begins to come forth!
The visions and blessings of old are returning,
And Angels are coming to visit the Earth
We’ll sing and we’ll SHOUT with the armies of heaven
Hosana, hosana, to God and the Lamb
And glory to them in the highest be given,
Henceforth and forever, Amen, and Amen!
It’s true! It’s true! He lives and he loves me. He has redeemed my soul, and I will praise him forever.