I recently met Al Fox Carraway at her book signing here in St George.
She was delightful and so sweet. I’ve followed a little of her story here and there and I was really excited to meet her and get a copy of her new book!
I just wasn’t prepared for how good the book was going to be (not that I thought it wasn’t going to be, I just didn’t anticipate getting so swept up). One night I got into my bathtub, intending to lounge for 30 minutes or so and get some reading done. Three hours later I was still there, cold and stiff and unable to stop reading. My husband came in worried “You’re still in there?!?!”
You guys, her book is so good.
I’ve always been drawn to converts to the Gospel. I think it’s because they had to decide they wanted to be there. I know too many people who were raised in it (including myself) that haven’t really had to fight for it. Reading her conversion story took me back to my own-as much as I was raised in the church I really feel like I still went through a significant conversion to the gospel. When I left my parents house I had to decide for myself what I wanted to believe, how I wanted to believe and how I was going to live. It was a big deal for me.
Her book chronicles meeting the missionaries completely uninterested, being overwhelmed by the spirit, knowing what she needed to do, and getting baptized. Reading about her joining the church in New York, having to give up so much and then feeling like she needed to move to Utah killed me. She gave up SO MUCH to move, only to be ridiculed and ostracized by this awful culture that I live in (Go read THIS story). That broke my heart.
I look back at those nights I spent screaming on the floor, yelling at God, “I can’t do this! This is too hard, I’m not this strong!”; those times when I asked where He was or why nothing was coming together yet; those moments when I was brought down to desperately low levels of anguish that I had never before felt. What amazing blessings! Every single one of those times brought me to where I am now and closer to God. Every single one of those times brought me greater understanding and opportunities and blessings. Without those times and without Him, I wouldn’t have a single thing I have now. The best thing you could ever do for yourself and your family is obey God.
Her perseverance is so inspiring-deciding to only look for the good and see the good and commit to just loving the gospel and working in the gospel is amazing. Her love of the temple made me realize how lucky I am to live so close to one and want so badly to spend more time there.
A blurb from her journal, included in the book:
I left (the temple) a changed person. Every aspect of my life is better. I even look better. I am better than I was even just a few days ago, and I know I will continue to be better just by going back. That’s what the temple does for you. You leave better. You leave stronger. Comforted. Calm. Priorities straightened. Motivated. But it’s a physical change, not just spiritually or mentally. And it’s not just the first time you go but every time. There is a noticeable contrast. I am a different person. There is a huge contrast. I am protected. My whole life has changed forever, for the better. I feel it. Jesus Christ lives and works in His home-our temples. And you can feel it. You can take it with you ad have it as part of you. And we can conquer. Triumphantly. We cannot be led in the wrong direction if we are going to the temple. We cannot fail. We can’t . I know that if the temple is not the centerpiece of my life, I will not be able to handle the trails that are to come. He has given use literally everything we need. I will return often; that is where I belong.
If you get the chance, read her book. It was a fantastic read and I love everything about it. It’s full love love and tears, energy and testimony. It motivated me to look within and remember why it is I go to this church and do some of these things-I needed that so much going into this new year. Not only did I fall in love with Al Fox Carraway, her book brought me closer to Christ.
Do you follow Al Fox Carraway? Tell me your thoughts below!