This past weekend I was blessed to witness one of the biggest miracles I’ve ever seen!
It all begins with Anne, and oh does she come with a back story.
Anne is a 60 year old Italian lady who is 4’11” and has more spunk than anyone I know! She was born and raised in Philly and has lived a life of tragedy and horror, experiencing every kind of abuse you could imagine and seeing more death than I can keep track of. Through near death experiences, a violent mobster husband, a broken family situation, addictions, suicide attempts, betrayals, trauma, and the sudden death of her second husband (the first person whom she had ever felt unconditionally loved by) her life spun her into a long search for the love of the Lord. After years of hating God due to the bitterness and tragedy life had given her, her journey toward Him began at last.
This journey led her to a variety of different churches, each slowly building her faith but not fully satisfying her spiritual hunger.
Through a miraculous turn of events, one day she was driving home from her bible study with tears streaming down her face, hurt and confused by the words someone had said in her study group. Desperate for someone to turn to, she drove past the Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center and saw the Christus statue through the windows and the words “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” along the building. Making an unplanned U-turn into the parking lot, she walked in and was greeted by missionaries with open arms. Little did she know that this was exactly where God had been leading her all along.
Fast forward to a week later, when my missionary companion and I show up on her doorstep to begin teaching her about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–“the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:30). A few months of teaching led us to last weekend, where with tears filling her eyes and the joyous light of Christ shining in her countenance, she entered the waters of baptism performed by the proper Priesthood authority of God!
For someone who was led through a life of tragedy, abuse, and horror, she has come out refined, fortified, loved, and redeemed. She has given me a whole new understanding of amazing grace— “I once was lost but now am found; I was blind, but now I see.” She has found God, and He has truly found her.
One of my favorite things that she often says is that “God has been wanting me for a LONG time!” She looks back in her life and sees how much He was fighting for her all along, trying to bring her into His loving arms. “Well, He’s finally got me!” she exclaims.
We are ALL God’s children, and He wants ALL of us. Every single one of us.
So…does He have you? Are you willing to let Him into your life?
Think about that.
And never forget these two things: Miracles happen and THE CHURCH IS TRUE!!!
“But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.” (2 Nephi 1:15)