Today was Fast and Testimony meeting, and for all of you non-LDS people that means it was a chance for members of the congregation to stand up during the main service and bear their testimonies. It's not scripted, and there is no one telling you to go up - its simply an opportunity if you feel so compelled to share your personal thoughts on your faith.
My children love to do this. I'm not sure if they do it because they feel prompted by the Spirit or because they love the limelight (ahem, K2), but I indulge them for two reasons: 1) its something they can do completely on their own and 2) I know that those small, child-like expressions of belief help to solidify their faith and will serve as the building blocks for their future testimonies.
So today, after the service started and the kids realized it was Fast and Testimony, they were ecstatic. They both asked "can I bear my testimony?" and together race walked up to the podium. Their testimonies were typical stuff - I love my Heavenly Father and I know He loves me, I love my family, I know the church is true. When they were done they came back down the aisle beaming at their accomplishment.
Fast forward about 10-15 minutes and I glance over at K2 who had been munching on jelly beans and listening to her friend's mom Emily bear her testimony. She looked up at me and pointed to her stomach as if to say it hurt so I responded with the obvious "quit eating jelly beans". She shook her head and whispered to me that it wasn't that her tummy hurt, it was just that she had such a powerful feeling inside of her and it was making her cry. I asked her to describe the feeling and she said it felt like she should bear her testimony again.
I explained that we really didn't bear our testimonies twice in one meeting, but that she could always bear it again in her heart. And then I tried to explain that what she was experiencing was the Spirit, but she just seemed so bewildered by the powerful feeling inside her. We left the meeting and I took her to the foyer and explained that the Spirit testifies to us of truth, and that when we hear truth and recognize it, it often feels very powerful inside of us - so powerful that the tears are just forced right out of us. It was an odd sensation for her - wanting to cry when she wasn't hurt or scared or mad. So she just laid on my chest and sobbed it all out and I held her, recognizing the power in the moment and how incredibly lucky I was to be sharing it with her.
When she was done she wiped her eyes and asked if we could go back into the service. I took her by the hand and when we sat down she reached for scriptures and read them for the rest of the meeting.
It was, without a doubt, one of the most profoundly precious moments of my life. I am helpless to explain why I have been gifted these two amazing human beings, but sometimes I am in such awe when I study their perfect faces and imagine our forever family that a powerful feeling surges within the pit of my stomach and all my tears are forced right out. And the lesson I just tried to teach K2 comes back to me, full force.