For the past year, I have prayed like never before. It has been the hardest year of my life.
Since I was 20, I have felt very secure in my choice of religion, but during the past year I have found myself questioning. I guess most people would if given my circumstances. I felt faithless and I have been ashamed of myself.
Nonetheless, I have persevered in prayer. I have remained obedient, even when I felt like my prayer wasn't being answered. I kept asking God to reaffirm my faith. I love God with all my heart and I would never want to dishonor Him by following an untrue path. But, for months I felt like He wouldn't answer my prayer. I wasn't sure why.
The other night Sophia kept ringing a jingle bell and we asked her to stop because she was driving us crazy. She said ever so nonchalantly while ringing the bell to her own ear instead of ours, "What? I don't hear anything. Remember, we don't believe in Santa. This should not be annoying you." Thank you Polar Express.
Well, lately, I have felt like a non-believer. No matter how much I wanted to hear the bell jingle, it just wasn't working. Others will say that it's not true because I have always believed, but really, I wasn't hearing what I felt like I should be.
Well, tonight I wouldn't be more convinced of an answer to prayer if God himself arrived on my doorstep.
It has been said that God does his mighty works through other people.
It has also been said that "by their fruits, ye shall know them."
Well, this Christmas, the works have come. And they keep coming. I can't make them stop.
We have had so many anonymous gifts left at our door, that I have completely lost track. We have also had friends who have tried to pretend that their kids just wanted to get our kids something for Christmas. We have had other friends bring stockings fully stuffed for every one of our children. Every gift has been equally thoughtful and equally appreciated. It has been totally humbling, yet wondrous to behold.
The climax of the giving came the other night when while one friend was making a delivery, another friend doorbell ditched with more gifts and a gift-card.
Tonight, was the clincher for me. Someone left us a bag of multiple gift cards and some treats. They left us $40 in Chuck E Cheese bucks, a $50 movie card, and $50 to our favorite local used book store. My kids were going absolutely nuts. It's been a hard year for them too, and this was just too much at once. It was like Christmas wasn't even big enough to contain their excitement.
I had to walk back out to the van to cry. I didn't want my family to see me lose it.
And lose it, I did. I poured my heart out to God and thanked Him with all my might.
I thanked Him for His love, and for watching over us. I thanked Him to be surrounded by such wonderful friends. And I mostly thanked Him for finally giving me my answer.
If my church wasn't true, why would the people I surround myself with have such wonderful works?
Now, I also know that I have some wonderful Non-Mormon friends who may have been part of this Gold Christmas miracle, and for them I am also grateful. But, tonight, while I read the card with the aforementioned gift, I knew God was telling me that He has let me struggle, so that He could show forth His power, which lies in the people's hearts...His love is a living force for good.
And let me tell you something. That love and power is described as light because there is no other way to describe it. It's warm. It's invigorating. It's mighty. It's the giver of life. It's all-encompassing. The only way to receive it, is to let it consume you.
And after the crappiest year ever, and the months and months of prayers of mighty supplication, I all of the sudden found myself surrounded by the light. In fact, I was the light. In every direction I looked, all I could see was good. All I could see was love. And all I could see was the face of God. With a smile. It seemed to say, "I'm so proud of you for sticking in there Alice. Now go to Chuck E Cheese and enjoy some downtime."
Oh, and, "Be still and know that I am God."