cultivating faith

To be honest, I've been struggling with my faith lately...  So I was a little nervous when asked to participate in an experiment as part of a Relief Society lesson.  So I want to preface my experience with what someone told me: We all go through cycles.  I used to believe that faith, and testimonies, were concrete.  And maybe for some they are, and maybe for some it can be.  But for me, and others I know, faith is something that comes and goes.  Sometimes it's weak, and sometimes it's strong.  And that is ok.  That is when our free agency comes into play.

Instead of beating ourselves up, concerned that we must be doing something wrong, or that we're somehow evil, we simply choose: We choose every day, and sometimes every moment in every day, to have faith.  To cultivate it.  We choose to believe, because we want to believe.

I chose to read 3 Nephi 17 because of what it teaches: that Jesus knows us and pray for us, a truth (I'm sad to say) that I had forgotten.  I figured it was an appropriate topic for me to study and put to the test.  So after a week of reading, cross-referencing and praying, I felt like I had nothing to share.  I mean, I was nervous to begin with, and now I was starting to panic.  I had nothing to share with the class.  Sure, I could point out some uplifting scriptures, but I couldn't share anything personal because nothing spectacular had happened.  Until late one night/early morning, when something did happen.  My eyes were opened, my heart was softened, and the tears began to fall.  In short, my prayers had been answered.

  • vs 2-3: "I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.  Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again." - this is a perfect description of my entire week.  I chose to continue with my study throughout the week, even when it seemed like nothing was going to happen.
  • vs 8:  "For I perceive that ye desire that I should show unto you what I have done unto your brethren at Jerusalem, for I see that your faith is sufficient that I should heal you." -I was envious of those who had stories to tell, stories where their faith/testimonies were strengthened.  I didn't have stories (or none that I could readily recall).  But I had the desire, and I chose to move forward.  My faith was not perfect, but it was sufficient.
  • vs 7, 9: I have read these verses many times, and have always appreciated them for what they were: faith in action, where miracles happened.  But then I realized that these illnesses were not just physical in nature, but also spiritual.  How many of us have moments of blindness?  How many times do we find ourselves unable to hear the Spirit?  God is still a God of miracles, and there are certainly cases where those with physical illness(es) are healed.  But there are many more of us who are sick in spirit.  And He can heal us, too.
  • I was eventually lead in my reading to D&C 84: 72: " And the poison of a serpent shall not have power to harm them."  -And who is that serpent?  It is none other than Satan, the serpent who plants those thoughts of doubt and despair.  Poison that makes us spiritually sick and in need of God's healing power.
  • There were many other things that I learned that night, but I will leave you with one last scripture (D&C 112:13): "And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them."
I do not know what tomorrow will bring, and I do not know where my faith will take me.  It might even leave me again.  But what I have learned is that the Lord is always there, waiting and ready to heal us.  It's simply a matter of choosing to believe.  Because there will be times when our beliefs weaken, and all we can do is choose to believe.  When skepticism tempts us, we cultivate that faith.  And when our faith returns, we ignore that serpent and decline his poison.  We clench that iron rod, whether we're standing still or moving forward.  We choose not to let go.  We choose to hold on.  *B


  1. Thank you...so much

  2. Thanks for sharing this Beth ! I do read your Blog very often, even though I don't always comment ( we MISS you guys by the way ! ) I loved reading this because it brought me peace. My Faith falters every now and then - there, I admitted it ; ) Our little Family has been knocked down more times than I can count and it seems like it's getting harder to get back up again . . but we always do. Sometimes it takes longer to get up and sometimes we bounce right back. But I love what you wrote about that. Thank you for sharing. We hope you're enjoying GORGEOUS Washington !

  3. Beautiful thoughts! This is great for all of us to think about. Thanks for sharing!


You're currently in the process of making my day. So thanks for that! *B