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Testimony Below: One Woman's Witness to her Children

TESTIMONY BELOW

One Woman’s Witness to her Children

 

 

By

Chelsey Woolley

 

 

Copyright © 2016 Chelsey Woolley

To my kids.

Of course.

WELCOME

One spring evening before listening to prophets speak in LDS General Conference, my husband and I wrote down personal questions we wanted answered.

Mine was, “What can I do to better strengthen my family?”

My answer came when President Henry B. Eyring got up and said, “There are things you can do early, when those you love are young. Remember that daily family prayer, family scripture study, and sharing our testimony in sacrament meeting are easier and more effective when children are young…”

Sharing my witness in front of the entire congregation was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do, but it was my answer. Then I wondered... how often do I have to do it? Quarterly? Whenever I feel like it? What?? I realized I'd only really feel I’d done my best to strengthen my children if I did it every single month. So that's what I do now. It's been good for each of us, even my husband and I. I know that.

Then I realized that I was telling stories in my testimonies. Personal, family history, valuable stories that I should record. I send an email blast every week to my extended family, and I started to tack my testimonies on the end of my emails under the heading TESTIMONY BELOW. This is a compilation of those testimonies. Enjoy!

5.4.14

I was sitting in Relief Society in our inner-city branch in St. Louis. The lesson was being taught by a little lady named Debbie Lancaster. Debbie was a retired junior high band teacher, about as wide as she was tall, and walked with a cane. Debbie was a convert and this was the very first time she had ever taught Relief Society. She read the lesson, which was on Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel, straight from the book. Even her questions were taken straight from the book -- It was an excellent lesson. And at the end of it, Debbie hobbled out with her cane from behind the podium to bear her testimony. She placed two hands on her cane and lifted it up in the air as she said, "Joseph Smith is a prophet of God," bringing her cane down with a thump on the ground at the word "God."

And just as the cane hit, it was like an arrow shot through my heart. A sudden pang of the Spirit that took my breath away and testified to me that Joseph Smith really is a prophet of God.

I’d like to add my testimony to Debbie’s that I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. That Jesus Christ restored His church through him on the earth again.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

6.22.14

I’ve had a day of feeling inadequate. Of not quite saying the right thing, or knowing what to say, and it’s reminded me of my mission.

I’m not a natural speaker. I was born into a family of awkward speakers and I decided to go on a mission, not really thinking about what I would have to do there. Which was talk. A lot. And not just talk, but talk about things that are personal and meaningful, which was uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable for me at the time.

I can remember riding the train or walking to appointments, just dreading what I was going to have to do when I got there. I remember one time, in particular. We were doing doors. Missionaries today probably never do doors, but we were, and we knocked into an apartment that was two rooms, chock full of kids our own age meeting to go to party.

It was pretty much my worst nightmare.

They said, “We’re going somewhere.”

My companion said, “Ok.”

And I said, “We have a short message about Jesus Christ. May we share it with you?”

NOT because I wanted to, but because I knew I should.

And they said, “Ok.”

We walked in and they set up a chair on a little raised thing like a dais for me, and everyone sat on the floor looking up at me. Including my companion.

So I started the first discussion. When I got to the part where Jesus Christ and God the Father appear to the prophet Joseph Smith, I felt the Spirit one of the strongest times in my life.

It was a testimony to me that Jesus Christ really did appear to the boy Joseph Smith. And also that the Lord will support and send His Spirit to even a reluctant speaker, if they will just open their mouths.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

7.13.14

I would like to say that the formation of this country was truly a miracle through Jesus Christ, that I believe was done to create the perfect circumstances for the Restoration of the Gospel.

But I want my family to know how much I love the words to the Sacrament prayers. If I was ever a prisoner of war or in a concentration camp I believe I could repeat the words over and over again to keep myself from going crazy. And, in such a situation, I know I would weep to hear their words just like I would weep to hear any of your voices.

But more important is to remember the words and appreciate them now. They bring the Spirit into any situation.

And this is kind of … odd … but I’m going to say the words of one of them right now.

“O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he has given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.”

8.10.14

The summer after my senior year of high school, because of a series of circumstances, I missed three weeks of church in a row. Before the month was out I’d quit reading my scriptures, and I’d quit praying. And I got a glimpse of the person I would be without the Gospel. It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was scary.

I love these four things: attending our meetings, the Sacrament, daily scripture study and daily prayer. I know that there is power and protection from temptation in them -- made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And without them I am nothing.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

11.2.14

A month or two ago I reread Sister Reeve’s excellent conference talk—a Christ focused home—and said to my husband, “I love this talk so much. I wish I had given it. I wish these words had come out of my mouth.”

So, as the next best thing, I’m going to quote a couple things from it, which many of you are already familiar with.

First when she receives answer to prayer while overwhelmed with a young family, she says, “It is OK if the house is a mess and the children are still in their pajamas and some responsibilities are left undone. The only things that really need to be accomplished in the home are daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening.”

I believe this with all of my heart to be true of all of our homes.

Sister Reeves also says, “A friend recently cautioned, ‘When you ask the sisters to read the scriptures and pray more, it stresses them out. They already feel like they have too much to do.’

Brothers and sisters, because I know from my own experiences, and those of my husband, I must testify of the blessings of daily scripture study and prayer and weekly family home evening. These are the very practices that help take away stress, give direction to our lives, and add protection to our homes.”

I would like to add my testimony to Sister Reeve’s that these things are not just something we do when everything in our life is calm and peaceful, we have nothing better to do, and everyone in our home is on board. These are things that we do to create calm and peace, make our days more productive, enlighten our minds and enrich our relationships. Especially when done daily over a period of years, much like watering a tree, it will someday grow into something so tall and strong that everyone around you will be able to gather strength and protection and knowledge from it.

I love the gospel of Jesus Christ and the opportunity that it gives me to become clean and free from my sins and the power that it gives me to become more than I am.

12.9.14

Sunday night, immediately after putting the kids to bed, I laid in bed myself and fell right to sleep. Also, we fell off the photography wagon last week and only got like two pictures of the kids. But I’ve had a few stories swimming around in my head that I think need to be recorded, and since I don’t keep a journal right now—only write emails, I’m going to send them to you. You’re welcome. The first two are mission stories. The last is from St. Louis.

Story #1

Every week in Vienna we visited a woman who had been baptized many years ago, but had never come to church and knew next to nothing about the Gospel. Part of the reason for this is that she was bedridden, and had been for many years.

We went to try and teach her, but we were never able to because almost the second we got there, she and her husband would start in on an endless tirade of hate, injustice and vitriol. They’d work themselves up into a froth.

My companion and I were powerless to stop them until we finally stood up to leave. Then we were able to get in a word edgewise where we asked if we could leave with a prayer, and the woman would agree and the man would leave the room. He didn’t believe in God.

It was very depressing. We did some thinking and praying and my companion and I (who were not great singers) were inspired to sing them a hymn. So next visit, before their tirade had gained legs, we sang them a hymn. And it worked. They were silent. They didn’t interrupt. Pleasant smiles spread across their faces. In short, they felt the Spirit. But it didn’t last long. After only an acceptable sentence or two they were off. But we had made a breakthrough.

So the next time, and all future visits, the second they would turn negative, we would ask if we could sing them another song. It always had the same effect of stopping the negativity and bringing a smile to their faces. Sometimes they wouldn’t hear us ask (or pretended they didn’t) in the middle of a rant, so my companion and I would simply turn to the same page in our hymn books and start singing, and they would shut up and listen.

Some visits we would do nothing but sing, and eventually we were even able to give short and simple lessons. But the truly amazing thing is that the husband quit leaving the room for prayer, and by the end of my almost nine months of weekly visits, had given the closing prayer himself.

I consider this to be one of the greatest miracles of my mission.

Story #2

Every week in my first area, my trainer and I would visit an elderly man named Herr Zaks. Herr Zaks had been a widower for many years, had no children, and after some sort of an outburst at the church had been asked to not return. (That branch had a lot of problems…)

Herr Zaks loved our visits, but once he told us that “Näher Mein Gott zu Dir” (Nearer My God to Thee) was his favorite hymn, I think they were the thing he lived for. He started to fix us a little meal (usually a piece of toast and a hunk of meat), and after we had eaten, we’d sit in his tiny kitchen, open our hymn books and sing a dozen or so renditions of “Näher Mein Gott zu Dir.”

My companion was a wonderful singer, Herr Zaks just belted it out, and I tried to hold on to the alto line, which was easy to do when I saw how much joy it brought Herr Zaks—not only to be singing, but to have us singing along with him.

A couple of months after both my companion and I were transferred out of the area, Herr Zaks died. I consider those evenings spent singing with him the best service I performed on my mission. I loved Herr Zaks.

Story #3

One fast Sunday morning I got up on the wrong side of the bed. I yelled at my husband. I probably yelled at my kids. I was mad—just so mad—I got to church feeling something like shell shock. I had no plans to participate in anything or even smile at anyone.

And then the branch president got up to bear his testimony. While he was speaking, I knew I needed to get up, and I knew what I was supposed to say. This is the only time in my life that has ever happened, and I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t feel worthy. How could I get up and bear my testimony about one of my most sacred experiences when I had just been such a jerk to my family?

So I didn’t get up. Then my baby started to cry. I think it was Moses, and I thought, “Good. Now I don’t have to get up.” I carried him out of the chapel.

While I was standing outside the doors, listening to the testimonies, this scripture in D&C 62:3 floated through my mind.

“Nevertheless, ye are blessed, for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you.”

And I knew that if anyone needed forgiveness of their sins, I did.

So I marched right up to the pulpit and said what I was supposed to say. And it worked. I could feel that my sins were forgiven, and it turned my whole Sunday around 180 degrees.

I can still remember the end of that testimony:

If you have any questions or concerns about what is true, ask your Heavenly Father. He will tell you what is true by the power of the Holy Ghost.

And what he will tell you is this:

The true church of Jesus Christ has been restored upon the earth.

Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.

The Savior lives, and

He loves you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1.8.15

As an apostle, President Monson was never my favorite, but the conference before he became Prophet, I was listening to him speak, and the Spirit spoke peace to me. It said: This man will be Prophet. And it will be ok.

My heart was softened, and as Prophet, I have loved President Monson. I know that he is called of God. I know that his words are part of the iron rod we should cling to.

And not just President Monson, but all the apostle’s words are there to guide us. We have them at our fingertips, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve received comfort or guidance or counsel from their words.

I am grateful for this blessing in my life, and I know that the Prophet is guiding me, and my family, and the church to prepare us for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2.1.15

At our house, we have a giant, plastic bin of Legos. One morning I sat down with the kids, picked up one of the instructional booklets and decided to build a ship, even though I knew it would be hard to find all the pieces that were mixed in the whole bin. And sure enough, I couldn’t find the first piece or two. So I said a little prayer, and I found the piece.

Then I thought to myself: I’m going to conduct an experiment. I’m going to say a prayer for every single piece I can’t find. Which turned out to be pretty much all of them. I would say the prayer and find the piece every time.

There were times when I thought: this next piece is so tiny and unique, there’s probably only one of them in this entire bin. It will be next to impossible to find. And I would say the prayer and find the piece.

There were times when I thought: this is ridiculous! This is not important at all—not even to me! But I would say the prayer anyway, and find the piece.

Afterwards I thought this had happened to me so my Heavenly Father could show me how very aware he is of every single one of my prayers and is answering them as soon as He is able; that he loves me and that I should never hesitate to ask for help with even the tiniest of things.

I know God hears and answers prayers.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

3.1.15

Today I’d like to share a blessing from my mission.

Before my mission, exercise was my primary form of stress relief. About a year before my mission I took up running, and the months leading up to my mission were extremely stressful for me. I was also the fastest runner I have ever been in my entire life.

That is because I would go multiple times a day—whenever I felt unsettled and had a break in my classes. And I didn’t start out with a nice warm up and stretches, I hit the ground sprinting from start to finish. Because I liked the pain; I needed it. The pain made me forget everything else.

But on my mission I couldn’t do that. First off, my entire day was scheduled and second, I had a companion I needed to stay with. I couldn’t just leave her for even a quick jog around the block.

So I threw myself into scripture study and prayer. Of course, before my mission I’d read my scriptures and said my prayers, but on my mission I really, truly learned that I could pray more frequently and harder than I could run. And the comfort I could get from the scriptures lasted longer than the comfort I could get from a good run.

When I got home I could run again, but it never again was my primary source of stress relief. I had seen that through scripture study and prayer I could gain strength to be more than I am; I could receive specific answers to my questions and specific promises and insights into my future; I could receive forgiveness and peace for my mistakes—all of these made possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ, which is the source of all power and strength on earth.

4.12.15

I was sick a couple of days this month, which is hard for me right now because I get so tired, and then I get depressed.

Anyways, on one of these mornings, when I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, I picked up my phone, and opened my scriptures. I was staring at 1 Thessalonians 2:20 which reads, “For ye are our glory and joy.”

And I knew in that moment it was a message from my Heavenly Parents to me. And I cried.

I know that God speaks to us through His scriptures, but we have to open them, and we have to read them like we expect Him to speak to us through them, and then the Holy Ghost will confirm to us that he has.

I know that our Heavenly Father, who is the most important, the most powerful, the most popular and the most perfect Being in the universe, loves you. And he loves each of us exactly the same, no matter where we’re at or what we’ve done.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

5.3.15

I know that the source of all comfort, hope and healing is Jesus Christ. He has the power to strengthen us in our trials, the power to make our burdens light, and the power, when the time is right, to deliver us from any bondage we may be in, great or small.

I have seen this many times, and I know it to be true.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

5.24.15

Here’s a random story I shared with my family and my Young Women this week:

Having a new baby is one of those things where you know what’s going to happen, everyone’s told you, but you don’t REALLY know until it happens. Then you’re like, “Oh, THIS is what everyone was talking about. Now I understand…”

When I had Ruby I felt like I hadn’t slept for weeks. I could never get caught up. One day I got her down for a nap and ran to my own bed. I had just fallen asleep when I heard Ruby cry from her room. I was so tired. I wanted to cry… All I needed was just an hour or two of sleep.

Please.

So I started a prayer. I prayed that maybe some great-grandmother of Ruby, someone who loved her, some angel would go into her room and sooth her to sleep…

My answer was: You are the angel I sent to help Ruby.

So I got up and helped her back to sleep. I don’t think I ever complained about getting up with a crying baby again (which isn’t to say I never complained about anything else :). The end.

6.7.15

I read an old talk by LeGrand Richards and I liked a part where he talked about his children, how when he thought about and saw all the good things they were doing with their lives, he was so pleased and happy that he could be their daddy.

When I read this, I thought it must’ve been his last talk, because I have a theory that apostles always talk about how important family is on their last talks, and it was his last.

When I heard that Elder Perry had died, I looked up his last talk real quick, and yes, the whole thing was about the importance of the family, which he said with his nine decades on earth, he was fully qualified to know how important it is.

My husband also heard a story from Elder Perry’s grandnephew about the last time he’d seen Elder Perry. He was at the computer in his white shirt and tie and sweats, looking very uncomfortable, trying to get some of his church work done, and he turned and simply said, “Be a good dad. It’s the only thing that matters.”

I know it’s worth any sacrifice to teach our family the gospel and to help them feel the Holy Ghost, because I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know he is coming again soon in great power and glory and I want my family to be together forever.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

7.5.15

I love the Sabbath Day. Growing up I was always super excited to have a good excuse to NOT do my homework and NOT to train for anything, and I was not at a disadvantage because I didn’t do those things on Sunday. In fact, I was blessed.

Being able to go to church practically every Sunday since I was a baby has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life. Lesson’s I’ve been taught and impressions I’ve received while sitting in church have changed the course of my life for the better.

I know that the peace and purity I feel from being cleansed by the Sacrament every week is priceless.

I know that the Sabbath Day is a wonderful gift to us and that in keeping it there is power. Power that’s available to us through the grace of Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

8.2.15

Once on my mission, we were invited to eat lunch at a member’s house. She was a young mother with two little girls, and when we arrived, they were playing music and dancing. Toys were scattered everywhere. The girls wore their own creative outfits and ate jelly sandwiches while we ate real food.

And I wanted that for myself. I wanted to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to my own little kids. I wanted to be home with a bunch of kids with sunlight streaming through the windows and toys on the floor. I wanted it so much it was painful.

Then, as you all know, I eventually did become a mother. I love being a mother. I am so grateful I could have this opportunity in my life. I know it is my greatest mission on earth. I am often being reminded by my Heavenly Father that, “These are days never to be forgotten.”

I haven’t been a perfect mother, but I’m trying my hardest, and I know that any sacrifice I make towards these ends is well worth the cost. I know my Heavenly Father is relying on me to teach my children of Jesus Christ and His Gospel, because I know that Jesus Christ lives and His Gospel has been restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and is freely available to all who will accept it.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

9.6.15

There’s a nightmare I frequently had when I was pregnant. I’d be sitting there with my family, all the kids running around, and all of a sudden my heart would sink into my gut and I’d turn to Woo and say, “We forgot to get married! We have all these kids, we’ve been living together all this time—how did we forget to get married?!”

And I’d wake up sweating and terrified before I remembered that we had gotten married. In the temple even.

I’m so grateful for my temple sealing. I love the peace and security I feel knowing Christ is a part of my marriage. Knowing He is rooting for and working harder for my little family than even we are. And knowing that we are connected by a power that transcends anything on this earth, including death, and will support us forever, as we remain worthy.

I know my temple sealing is the rock upon which my world is built.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

9.27.15

One pleasant surprise for me in the MTC was how frequently apostles came to speak to us. And we didn’t just hear from the apostles, but from their wives also.

Except when Richard G. Scott came, he was alone. His wife had already passed away. Instead he told us that even though it was late, he would stay and shake the hand of anyone who wanted to. Which was everyone. And this was thousands of missionaries—the whole MTC.

Starting at the point where Elder Scott stood, something sacred entered the room. The whole auditorium moved quietly, patiently, and reverently towards him. The closer and closer I got, the stronger the Spirit got until when I finally stood before him and looked into his eyes and he looked into mine and I shook his hand, I received a very powerful witness that this was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I know that Jesus Christ leads this church through his prophet and apostles today and I am so excited to hear from them next week.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

11.1.15

My freshman year in college, my roommate became very interested in polygamy in the early church. She would check out stacks of books from the library and read me passages out loud and want to know what I thought of it. Which was… Nothing. I didn’t care what they did back then. Plus, I knew the church was true.

But then about a year later it did begin to bother me. I still had everything she’d told me in my memory and one night everything just came to a head. I became very, very troubled. Almost sick-to-my-stomach troubled for about a week.

So I made an appointment to talk it over with my Heavenly Father. To prepare I fasted and tried to ready my heart to receive ANY answer. Even if I didn’t like it. If it came from God, I would accept it.

When the time came, I told my a Heavenly Father all my concerns, then I read my scriptures. And I received three very distinct impressions from the Holy Ghost.

One was that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God.

Another was that God loves women and He loved me.

The last was that there had been something very good about polygamy at that time; although, I didn’t need to know what it was right then.

So… I can’t explain polygamy, but it doesn’t bother me. I know that Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God and I know God loves me and gives the world for me and that has been enough to give me the peace and confidence I feel in the restored Church of Jesus Christ today.

12.6.15

Three General Conferences ago Elder Cook spoke about a 36 year old woman who did family history on her computer after her kids went to bed.

At the time, I was also 36. I also had kids who went to bed. I even had a computer, but was not doing family history work.

It was clear what I needed to do, so I set an alarm on my phone to remind myself to spend one evening a week just tinkering around on FamilySearch for an hour or so.

Right off the bat I made mistakes. I accidentally marked someone as deceased who was not deceased and it was not an easy fix. FamilySearch wanted me to prove he was alive. The only way I could do that was by talking to him. I had no idea who he was and I couldn’t find his number or address. While I was trying to figure this out, someone printed off his name and did his temple work.

After that I did safer things like entering all the family histories I have into FamilySearch and scanning in photos and documents for my grandma. Until about 3 months ago, when I found a marriage date and I was able to take 4 names to the temple for sealings.

A week or two after that I discovered the Czech Republic has scanned and posted a ton of birth, marriage, and death records online. After I deciphered those, Steve and I were able to do over fifty baptisms. That was two weeks ago.

And this week I found one birth date that merged me into over 4,000 painstakingly researched names by a man in the Czech Republic. He’s not a member of the church, none of the names have had any temple work done and he’s told me I can do it. Which is ridiculous because I haven’t done enough work to deserve this.

The only way I can explain it is by this scripture in Ether 12:31 that I read just hours before meeting Lubomir and his 4,000 names.

(And this is Moroni talking to the Lord.)

“For thus didst thou manifest thyself unto thy disciples; for after they had faith, and did speak in thy name, thou didst show thyself unto them in great power.”

If the Holy Ghost invites you to add something into your life, do it. Even if you think it’s boring. Even if you have no idea what you’re doing. Even if you make mistakes and don’t see obvious blessings or rewards for a long time. Your Heavenly Father knows what He’s asking and He will magnify your efforts far beyond your own ability after you’ve shown your faith.

I know this to be true.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

1.3.16

Since I’ve committed to bearing my testimony more often, I’ve found that, even more than before, I have nothing to say. I have to pray to get some idea of something I can share, and usually while I’m praying an experience comes into my head and I go from there. But this experience came to me last week, unbidden and that is because God knew I would try to get out of it. I’ve double, triple, quadruple checked and more, but this is what I’m so supposed to say, so here goes…

I had heard that pregnant or nursing women shouldn’t fast. Instead they could keep the spirit of the fast by cutting out anything delicious. But when I got pregnant with my first child, I didn’t want to give it up. I like to fast. I decided to try it once anyway and I felt totally normal. Just like I always do while I’m fasting, so I kept that up all through my roughly ten years of pregnancy or nursing or both.

I did drink some water, especially while nursing and there were a handful of times, usually the month immediately after giving birth where I could only skip one meal and I had to break my fast early, but for the most part, I was able to fast really close to normal.

Some of my favorite scriptures of all time are in Isaiah chapter 58, talking about blessings that come to those who properly use the law of the fast to help the poor and the needy.

“Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.

Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am.”

I want that. I want God to be right there whenever I call.

I know it’s a privilege to fast. I know God is anxious to bless us when we help those who can’t help themselves. I love my Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

2.7.16

I told this story before, but I’m telling it again. One Sunday when we lived in St. Louis, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I was just so mad. I know I yelled at my husband, I probably yelled at my kids, I arrived at church in a horrible mess. I slumped down on the bench and didn’t much care what happened next.

It was fast Sunday. The branch president got up to bear his testimony and while he was speaking I knew I needed to get up and I knew what I needed to say. And I couldn’t do it. I didn’t feel worthy. How could I get up and share a spiritual experience from my life when I’d just been such a jerk to my own family?

But the Spirit did not give up. I was still resisting when my baby at the time started to cry. I think it was Moses. I took him out of the chapel and I thought, “Oh good, now I don’t have to get up. I had to take the baby out.”

But while I was standing in the foyer the words of a scripture from the Doctrine and Covenants were placed in my head. They were:

“ … For the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven; … and your sins are forgiven you.”

And I knew if anyone needed forgiveness of their sins, I did.

So I marched up to the microphone and said what I needed to say, and the scripture was true. My sins were forgiven; it turned my whole Sunday around.

I am more grateful than anyone that we don’t have to be perfect to bear our testimonies. I know the atonement of Jesus Christ has the power to cleanse those who open their mouths and bear witness of him.

I *hope* my testimonies are strengthening my children, but one thing I know for sure is that they are strengthening me and increasing my own faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I know he lives and this is his church.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

3.6.16

One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph B Wirthlin talking about the amount we give to fast offerings.

He said, “We should decide if we are as generous with the Lord as He is with us.”

Once when Steven and I were first married, and didn’t have a lot of money, and were already paying what we felt was a pretty optimistic fast offering for our situation, our bishop challenged us to double it. He promised us at that time if we would double our fast offering our prayers would be answered and we would receive any special blessings we had been seeking.

Even though the special blessing we wanted most at that time was to have more money, we did double our fast offering and we were blessed. After a few months, Steven was awarded an NSF grant which allowed us to buy a little house and save money while he was in grad school. More importantly, we also received spiritual blessings.

I know that the law of the fast is very, very powerful and I believe there are untapped blessings there somewhere for each of us. Like temple work, the Lord is grateful when we help those who need our help and I know He blesses us with blessings that far outweigh the value of what we have given.

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Chelsey Woolley never imagined that there were things she would do for her children that she would refuse do for herself. Telling the world her most personal stories is one of them.


Testimony Below: One Woman's Witness to her Children

One spring evening before listening to prophets speak in LDS General Conference, my husband and I wrote down personal questions we wanted answered. Mine was, "What can I do to better strengthen my family?" My answer came when President Henry B. Eyring got up and said, "There are things you can do early, when those you love are young. Remember that daily family prayer, family scripture study, and SHARING OUR TESTIMONY IN SACRAMENT MEETING are easier and more effective when children are young..." Sharing my witness in front of the entire congregation was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do, but it was my answer. Then I wondered... how often do I have to do it? Quarterly? Whenever I feel like it? What?? I realized I'd only really feel I’d done my best to strengthen my children if I did it every single month. So that's what I do now. It's been good for each of us, even my husband and I. I know that. Then I realized that I was telling stories in my testimonies. Personal, family history, valuable stories that I should record. I send an email blast every week to my extended family, and I started to tack my testimonies on the end of my emails under the heading TESTIMONY BELOW. This is a compilation of those testimonies. Enjoy! ***All author's proceeds donated to families in distress***

  • ISBN: 9781310752056
  • Author: Chelsey Woolley
  • Published: 2016-06-13 05:35:07
  • Words: 6434
Testimony Below: One Woman's Witness to her Children Testimony Below: One Woman's Witness to her Children