Since I have grown up in the Church, people expect me to have a strong testimony. And for a long time I thought I did. But then a Sunday School lesson on testimonies made me realize that mine was not as strong as I thought it was. I just repeated what other people said, and I really didn’t know the truth for sure in my heart. I decided that I needed to pray.
Over the next few days I began to pray sincerely and I started to read the scriptures every night. Nothing happened.
Suddenly my father was called away to be with my grandmother. She had been in the hospital for a while, but she had taken a turn for the worse. When I finally was able to see her I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t be the same active, fun-loving woman that I knew.
As I stood there and looked at her body hooked up to machines, I realized, to my surprise, that she was extremely peaceful. Someday I wanted to be able to have that kind of peace in the presence of adversity. What I needed was a testimony. I still didn’t think I had one, and I didn’t know why. I was praying and reading the scriptures, but I hadn’t yet had the “special” feeling that so many people get to let them know when they receive an answer to a prayer.
Then my grandmother died. The funeral was beautiful. The speakers were comforting. What moved me, though, was not the flowers or the kind words that were spoken. It was a song. As we sang “O My Father,” I could see, in my mind, my grandmother singing with us, actually talking to our Heavenly Father. It was the most beautiful experience I have ever had.
That afternoon, when the family was gathered in the living room, one of the nurses at the hospital who was also a member of the Church came to talk to us. She told us that our grandmother had wanted to give her grandchildren something special. She presented each of us with a single red rose in a vase with a card that read, “Always with Love.” Then she said our grandmother loved each of us and that she said, “Tell them I’ll be waiting.”
That was what I needed! I kept saying it over and over in my mind. “I’ll be waiting. I’ll be waiting.” And then I knew where I was headed in life. I knew that the only way to get there was through the Church. I had truly received an answer to my prayers and I thanked God for it.
I still do not have the “perfect” testimony, but it’s strong and it’s my own. As long as I keep praying, reading the scriptures, and doing the things that I know are right, my testimony will grow even more. Then I will be able to meet my grandmother again, and she will say to me, “I’ve been waiting for you.”