Becoming a Woman of Faith
By Mandi Marquardt
Almost a year ago, I dreamed a dream and it changed my life. Not in any big, noticeable way, not in any way that anyone would really notice. But this actual dream changed everything, it gave me a hope, a power, a deeper connection with God and a love of myself that I had never before experienced.
They say that to truly love another you must first love yourself. I don’t think that is a selfish kind of love, but maybe it’s that love where you learn to see yourself as God sees you, your potential, your importance, and your beauty.
This dream I dreamed is incredibly sacred and personal to me, and one cannot share those things lightly. So I don’t. The dream was mine, and I felt it was a personal message to me from God, but I’ve also felt prompted at many times to share at least part of that experience with others, and that is why I am writing this.
Once upon a time there was a Mormon girl, with a deep testimony of the Book of Mormon, the Prophet Joseph Smith, of God being her Heavenly Father, and of a loving Savior and Brother Jesus Christ. She did what was asked of her in faith, but too often she put everyone else and their opinions or perceived opinions before doing what she thought was right, and she suffered for it. She was kind of stuck, just existing.
Then one night she met a wise old man, sitting on a bench outside her home. The man came and told her that she needed to meet his niece. The girl met the niece, fell in love, and got married and even though this cost her some friends, family, and even the church she loved. But she felt in her heart she was absolutely making the right decision.
Then the girl noticed something, love had begun to change her, to empower her. Suddenly she was fearlessly living her life. She was accomplishing amazing things, because someone loved her for who she truly was, and believed in her, she believed in herself and dared not only to dream, but to strive to make those dreams a reality.
And though her family and some of her friends had abandoned her because she chose to love someone they didn’t approve of, she found she had gained a new family, and new friends, and even some of her old friends had stuck by her side, and even some old friendships that were once broken were healed. And she was mostly happy. But a small part of her hurt, very deeply for what she had lost, and that her family felt they couldn’t support her, but she buried it deep inside.
Then one day her wife came to her, and cried a bit, and expressed her own hurt that the Mormon girls’ family hadn’t been there at their wedding, and wasn’t talking to them. The Mormon girl, was in the middle of reading her Book of Mormon, as she did every day, and her wife asked why she still read a book from a church that no longer accepted her.
The Mormon girl explained, that regardless of what anyone else said or did, she knew that God existed and loved her, and the core of her beliefs had not changed. She was still that girl of faith. In fact, she was more that girl, because her decisions now were based solely off what she believed to be correct, not on the opinions and acceptance of others. She did not regret her decision. Her wife loved and accepted her exactly as she was. And because of it, she believed in herself and loved and accepted herself enough to reach out and truly become herself, and help and empower others to not just endure life, but to thrive at life.
I woke up from this dream. I felt it wasn’t just a dream, it was a message to me from my Heavenly Father. He loves me, completely. He doesn’t just want me to endure life, he wants me to thrive at it, and to help others to thrive at it. I can never do that when I hold back for fear of what others will think of me, for fear that they might reject me, or that I may disappoint them. Just because I may make a choice that seems to go against what I have been taught, it doesn’t have to change who I am as a person of faith. In the past year, I have grown closer to God than ever before. I am no longer a conflicted, depressed person struggling to find a way to just exist. I have gained the confidence to trust myself, and God, and thrive.