Not Lost To The Lord
All of us in our lives have had, are having, or will have struggles. These struggles, tests, and trials come when we least expect them. Sometimes, through no fault of our own, we can find ourselves in dire need of spiritual help and direction. For those that are faithful, and continue to strive to do what is right we are told that we won’t be given more than we can handle though it may seem that we are drowning in an endless see of temptations, trials, and despair (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Children, I believe, have an extra special place with our Heavenly Father. Yes, even teenagers.
In my early teens my parents separated, and then subsequently divorced shortly thereafter, my father moved to Utah, and my mother was receiving help for emotional distress away from home.
I was on my own going to School, and went home to an empty house every night. At the age of 16 I was declared an “independent” in the State of Texas, and began working full time after school. This means that all parental rights were transferred to me. It was nice in that I could write my own sick notes for school, but it was also a dark reminder of my circumstance.
It was during a particularly difficult night I found myself riding my motorcycle aimlessly around town through the darkened pine forest roads. At around 2:00 AM I pulled into a LDS Church parking lot of the Kingwood Ward Chapel, and parked under a parking lot light. It was quite. I sat on my motorcycle feeling lost, alone, and overlooked in the same church I now stared at through the dark. I had a testimony of my Savior Jesus Christ, but it was a struggle to hang on to it not being able to see the promised blessings that the gospel was supposed to bring.
I began to recount many events in my head. I pleaded to my Heavenly Father to help me understand what to do. I talked to him. I recounted once when I was at church being told that I couldn’t help with the sacrament because I wasn’t dressed appropriately. I was missing a tie. That made me feel like an outcast, and hollow inside. I talked about how the other kids wouldn’t really talk to me, or want to hang out. Most of the time I just sat, listened, went home not knowing if I would return next Sunday, but I did in hopes that “this Sunday would be better than the last”.
I never openly complained about my situation, I just thought to myself how I wanted to feel loved, appreciated, understood, and needed. I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could turn to. Who would want to listen to a lost, and lonely teenager?
Unknowingly to me at the same time I was at my breaking point the Lord was being very mindful of my needs. He sent his Spirit to stir awake a faithful sister in the Ward. A mother awoke feeling the need to go for a drive. Being receptive to God’s prompting she didn’t second guess it. Leaving her husband and children still asleep she drove out into the night looking, but not knowing what for.
She drove for a while, and as she began to drive past the Kingwood Ward church house see could faintly see someone’s silhouette in the parking lot light. Again the Sprit’s prompting came to her, and she knew that she needed to turn in.
I wiped away my tears as the van drove up. It was so dark at first I thought it was a police officer coming to see what I was up to. Then I recognized who it was. She got out of the van and walked over to me.
“Matt?” she almost whispered.
I couldn’t talk.
I merely did a sideways head jog with a shoulder raise. I tried to talk, but couldn’t.
“I want you to follow me back to my house. OK?”
I shook my head agreeing.
We sat facing each other in her living room. I mostly stared at the floor. She showed great empathy to me knowing how hard it must be to deal with things every day like I had been doing at my age. I recounted my feelings of how I felt so lost, and undesirable as a youth. Tears were exchanged as she told me about how she knew that wasn’t the case. She knew the Lord was mindful of everyone, and that night it was another testament to her about His love for us. She then began to relate the story to me about how the Lord had prompted her to go and find me.
She bore a beautiful testimony of the Savior, her love for Him, and how much He loved me, her, and everyone. Tears continued. Hours went by, and the sun began to rise. She offered me to stay and rest while she got her family ready for the day, but I was all right. I thanked her, and went home.
The Lord had sent me exactly what I needed to keep my testimony alive. He let me know that even though I felt lost I was not lost to the Lord. Ever since that experience I have never doubted the existence of my Father in Heaven, Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit. Though that knowledge hasn’t prevented me from making mistakes it has always helped lead me back to Christ.
I know that he hears and answers our prayers. Prayers aren’t normally answered as dramatically as this, but most prayers are answered through others that are receptive to the Spirit.
I am very grateful that in my youth there were people that were instrumental in the Lord’s hands in helping me to stay on the path that leads to Christ. Some were members of the LDS church, and others were not, but all were Christian. All were trying to do what is right. All loved their Savior, and helped me to see and experience that love.