Several years ago, before I even started looking into the Church, I put God on the same level as Santa Claus. Well, almost the same level. I KNEW Santa was fictitious, but I couldn't figure out if God was "just a myth," too. My parents told me He was real, but they said the same thing about Santa. My Faith Formation teachers told me He was real, too. I wondered if they were in league with my parents. I mean, flash forward to the present, I as a cashier help parents establish and maintain the Santa Claus myth when necessary. It's quite entertaining :)
God felt different from Santa, though. There's a whole book, the Bible! So either some mastermind was lying to the entire world, or...
I prayed sometimes. I remember praying a lot for my grandma, who A Strange Christmas references. Yes, the one who had surgery Christmas Day. I prayed that she would be healthy and live for a very long time (I was maybe 10 years old, maybe younger). But I didn't know what else to pray for, or if it did any good.
Then I met these people. These Mormons. And they really KNEW that God was not like Santa. God was real. And I could even talk about Him with them! Especially with Katie. And seeing the effect He had on their lives was amazing.
And you can go read this post for my conversion story :)
Now, I have faith. I have a testimony. I KNOW Heavenly Father is there. I KNOW He loves us. I KNOW that His timing is so much more awesometastic than ours. I KNOW He has an amazingful plan for every one of us, and that plan is absolutely perfect. I KNOW that we must have faith in these things and endure to the end.
I have this ring. It's not a CTR ring. It says "Faith" on the outside. Inside, it says "Live by faith, not by sight." If I didn't have two CTR rings that I wear every day, I would wear my Faith ring all the time. And I did, before I got my CTR rings.
This isn't my ring, but it looks almost exactly the same :)
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
"And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true."
Alma 32 is that chapter about planting a seed. Remember that one? I remember reading it for the first time. It really struck me. You gotta exercise faith by planting the seed. You gotta nourish it. And it will grow. And the fact that it grows increases your faith. So it grows more. And so on :)
You have to take action and have faith in order to get that "warm fuzzy" feeling (or however you personally feel the Spirit) that confirms to you the truth of the gospel.
I read a blog post about this recently, and I apologize for not being able to point you to the specific post. It was another convert's blog, and she talked about how she "tried" to live the Church standards when the missionaries were teaching her. But she wasn't sincere. So she didn't get that confirmation of the truth. But eventually, she changed her mindset. She was still going through the same motions, but sincerely this time. And then came the confirmation :)
Heavenly Father can't give you that confirmation until you have faith.
Oh yeah, faith, that was my topic. I may have strayed from that a little.
Live by faith, not by sight. Hope always and pray constantly. You are in the world, but should not be of the world. You lived with Heavenly Father before you were born on Earth. What you see here on Earth isn't all there is. What you see people doing here isn't always good. Have faith that Heavenly Father is there, rooting for you, and you CAN endure to the end.