The first Sunday of every month in our church, members of the congregation have the opportunity to get up and bear (or share) their testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in front of the entire congregation. It is a time to share with each other what we believe and what we know to be true.
We have been talking a lot about testimonies during our Family Home Evening lessons, and Kenadie has been very eager to practice bearing her simple yet beautiful testimony to our family each Monday evening: I know Jesus is real; I know Jesus loves me; I know families can be together forever; I love my family; I know Heavenly Father answers my prayers. She has been practicing so she can be ready to someday stand in front of our church congregation and share her testimony.
Yesterday at church during the bearing of testimonies, Kenadie whispered that she was ready to go up and share her testimony. I asked her if she was sure and told her to whisper to me exactly what she'd like to say. She confidently told me what she wanted to say and then insisted on going up by herself. As soon as she stood up on the pulpit at the microphone, her eyes got big and she completely froze. Just as her bottom lip began to quiver, I ran up and knelt beside her and told her that it was okay.
"Just tell them what you know," I whispered to her several times. It took a little prompting, but she was able to squeak out what she had dutifully rehearsed during our family nights, and then she sat back down.
Not long after that, a member of the Stake Presidency (area leadership) who was seated right behind the mic on the pulpit got up and shared with us how touched he was by Kenadie's desire to come up and share her testimony even though it was scary (it isn't very often that children get up and share their testimony in front of 100+ people!).
He then said, "I'm sure not many people could hear what Sister Christensen was whispering to her daughter, but she told her several times to 'tell them what you know'." He then went on to explain how profound this statement is.
We are all at different places in the growth and strength of our testimonies. Some of us know that there is a God; some of us know that Jesus is our Savior, some of us know that families are eternal; some of us have a testimony of the power of temples and temple work; others know that God hears our prayers; not all of us know all these things at the same time.
It doesn't matter that there are things we don't yet know. We should focus on, nurture, and share what we do know.
Personally, there are aspects of the gospel that I don't yet know to be true. I may believe them or want to believe them, but I am still gaining my testimony about them. I'm learning and growing every day. Sometimes it's hard for me to patient with myself and my imperfect knowledge and subsequent actions, but it is important for me to focus on and share those things that I do know.
There is power in sharing testimony out loud. When I do, I feel the Spirit only confirm to me stronger those things I believe and those things I know.
Perhaps this is why we are encouraged to bear our testimonies often: they are strengthened and grow as they are shared with others.
There is so much I don't know or don't understand.....
things in the scriptures; certain commandments the Lord gives us; why the Lord allows so many innocent people to suffer in this world; why He doesn't interfere with the evil that others inflict on each other; exactly what the life after this will be like.....
But I want to share what I DO know.
I know that we are the literal spirit children of a loving Heavenly Father. I know that He loved us so much that he offered us this opportunity to come to earth, gain a mortal body, and to learn and be tested through trials and blessings to prove our love and loyalty to Him.
I know that because we are imperfect, He sent His firstborn and perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to come down and show us a better way to live, to pay the price for our imperfections through His Atonement so we can return to our Father's presence unspotted, to die, and then to resurrect, ensuring that we, too, will be able to resurrect and have eternal life.
I know that families are central to this plan. I have been blessed to know a lot of happiness in my life, but the greatest happiness has always come from my home and family. What could make more sense but for a loving Heavenly Father to make a way for us to be united with our families in happiness throughout eternity?
I know that such great blessings are available through ordinances performed in His holy temples.
I know that our Heavenly Father is kind, loving, and forgiving. I know He stands ready to guide us and give us the answers we seek if we only take time to study it out and listen. He has given us scripture, counsel and revelation from past and present-living prophets, and the direct line of prayer to communicate with us.
Yes, there is sooooo much I don't know.
Sometimes the questions in my head seem to pile up and doubts creep in,
but when I remember what I know, I can't help but be reassured that what I know is precious and it is enough.
If a five year old girl can have the courage to share her very simple and short testimony with a large congregation despite her stage fright, then I suppose I can find the time and courage to share what I know as well.