I used to sit in my church pew knowing that I had it all together. My family was doing the right things. We weren’t perfect, but we were on a righteous path. I often cast my eyes around the congregation and could subconsciously nod approval at the other families who also appeared to be on the right path. Other families were broken. Obviously, they made some choices that took them off the path because if we keep the commandments we will be blessed, or so I assumed.
And then . . . the bomb dropped! I found out about my husband’s infidelities.
Since that day, my view of the church and the people in it has changed. The church and the people have not changed, but I have. After struggling with questions about Priesthood authority, Divine revelation, and more importantly, the subtle lack of focus on the Savior, I finally settled on this: I need to work on ME!
I believe in Christ. The church, for me is a vehicle that helps me learn and grow closer to Christ. My understanding of the Atonement has been limited, but that is because of ME. Until now, I never had to rely solely on the power of the Atonement. Christ’s doctrine and teachings have always been spoken and taught through the church curriculum and its leaders but I didn’t fully grasp the meaning because I didn’t think I needed it. I had a very basic understanding of my Savior and, for my life as it was, that was enough.
I’m beginning to feel gratitude for the necessity of reforming my faith. Currently, I sit in the same pew at church but my eyes see things so differently. As an imperfect being with an imperfect life, I am among other imperfect individuals and families. We are all striving for the same things. We want to be happy. We want to secure a place with our Father in the hereafter. And, most importantly, we want to know Christ. We are all at different levels of understanding. When I hear shallow comments during class discussions, I simply remind myself that I was once there. My visions used to be rather shallow. I’m still there some days. I’m still learning. If I begin to feel impatient or judgmental about what I hear or see at church, I remind myself to “let it go.”
I once thought because my kids served missions and got sealed in the temple, and because my husband and I each served in a variety of leadership positions, and because we easily portrayed ourselves as happy and faithful, that my future was secure. But none of those things seem important, now. Ward activities, missionary work, and service projects . . . those things can wait a bit. They are not my primary focus at this time. I need to be right with Christ. Regardless of how many callings I have or how my children turn out, I need to know Christ. And that’s why I attend church.
I go to church to find Christ. And I feel like He is there.
I have a lot of experience in the church that has built a strong foundation under my feet. I’ve overcome trials, including the death of an infant son, but discovering my husband’s indiscretions has been a trial of my faith like nothing else. I let my questions sit in my heart. I take them to church with me. I know I will find answers as I strengthen my relationship and faith in Christ. That’s all that matters to me. I’m holding on to Christ.