My greatest desire is to do what God wants me to do. However, as I look back on my spiritual journey I realize that in the past, I had boundaries and limitations on what I believed He would ask of me and as a result I was not open to hearing and doing anything the Lord could potentially ask of me.
A few years ago though I began asking God what He wanted me to work on to become a better person. I always received answers to those questions fairly quickly and I would then attempt to do what God had told me.
One evening as I was reading the scriptures and praying, I again asked God to give me revelation regarding what He wanted me to work on. He communicated to me that I needed to sanctify myself and He would unveil His face to me. Although I had always believed God has and does reveal Himself to people, I struggled to believe He would ever show Himself to me. I mean, "I'm just Nicky Smith. Why would God ever come to me? I'm nothing special!" But, now this was the first time that I began to believe I could one day receive the Second Comforter and see Jesus face to face.
Immediately, I started studying what it means to become sanctified. Over time the Lord revealed to me what this entailed and how I was to do it. I knew I needed to overcome my sins and weaknesses and that this would take great sacrifice. I began to see how sanctification and sacrifice are so intricately connected.
I longed to see the Lord. However, I learned that if I wanted to have this experience in this life, I needed to ask God to help me get there the fastest route possible. I knew this would involve difficult experiences and sacrifices as I worked on overcoming my sins and weaknesses. The day I prayed for God to help me get there the quickest way possible, the trials came. However, I could see exactly what the Lord was doing and what I was to work on. Having this understanding as well as the hope that I would one day be sanctified, enabled me to persevere.
One night I had a dream in which I was sitting on my bed. The room was filled with sunlight. I then heard a voice which I knew to be Heavenly Father's voice. It is not that I recognized the voice, but rather I just knew whose voice it was. His voice came from above and permeated every bit of space in the room. I looked up and heard Him say, "This is Jesus Christ." He continued to speak but I could not understand the words He was saying, which I found frustrating. As I stood up, my room began to fill with light emanating from a space on the other side of the room. The light was much brighter than the light already in the room and I couldn't see much else. It was almost blinding. I knew Jesus was standing there. The Father had introduced the Son to me. At the same time, I felt the most incredible love I have ever felt. There is no way to describe this love. One has to experience it to know it. It was beyond any kind of love I have felt in this world. I then ran towards the light wanting to embrace Jesus, but as I got there He disappeared and in His place stood a representation of one of my biggest weaknesses. I then woke up. This dream provided even greater incentive for me to overcome all my weaknesses. I desired now more than ever to be in His presence, to feel His love and be taught by Him.
I began hungering and thirsting for more instruction on how I needed to repent. I desired the trials more than ever. I felt so much gratitude for them because I knew each one could help me get closer to my goal of seeing the Lord in this life. As the trials became more and more difficult, I observed that there were times that nothing anyone said or did could provide comfort. But, when I prayed for comfort from the Lord, His comfort was always sufficient to help me. One night as I felt overcome with grief due to a particular trial I found a quiet space and began to pray. As I prayed in the dark I cried out to the Lord for help. After about an hour of begging God to comfort me, I lay on my back staring up into the darkness. Suddenly lights flashed across the room and I felt very afraid. I then received revelation that Jesus was in the room but I couldn't see Him because I was not all clean.
Over time I learned that I needed to be sinless in order to see Jesus. I learned that this did not only pertain to outward sins, but the state of my heart too. I could see I was at times selfish, lacked compassion, felt jealous, was dishonest, gossiped, had malice, feared man more than God, had pride, lacked faith, and desired the things of this world. I want to overcome all these things. The Lord also showed me that love is the antithesis of all my sins. I knew the only way I can do so is by relying on the Lord, working with Him to become like Him.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. (Moroni 7:48)About 6 months ago last year the Lord instructed me to write a book on this process of becoming sanctified. Writing this book has been key in helping me understand more regarding sanctification and sacrifice. Through writing it, the Lord gave me added insights into how I was to become more like Jesus and how knowing Him is the key to eternal life (John 17:3). The truths in that book are from Him, not from me. He even told me what to include in each chapter, what the title of the book was to be, and He will tell me when it is to be published. It is in the final stages of editing and then I will wait on Him to tell me when it should be published (a free pdf of the book will be available too).
I have not seen Jesus yet, but the Lord is showing me constantly regarding the things I am to change. I am filled with gratitude for the truths He shares with me, even though at times these truths cause great pain to my heart. Through them, I am able to know how to change myself. Recently, the Lord has been giving me dreams showing me my weaknesses from His perspective. He gives me specific instructions on how to become the woman I am meant to become. For example, just last week I had a dream in which I was shown by the Lord how I lack compassion for others. I am working on developing that now. I know that as I continue on this path of sanctification I will receive the blessings He has promised me. The path involves much waiting and patience, but I have so much trust in Him leading me along.
I feel like I am such a different person than I was previously, when I was living in South Africa or on my mission or while at BYU. I am becoming a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am learning to see myself, the Lord, and others very differently than I had previously. Coming to know the Lord for myself is my ultimate goal. With it comes adversity, but it also beings the greatest joy and feeling of love I have previously experienced. I am excited for the trials and growth that await me.