Thursday, May 30, 2013

Weakness and change. And PMS

It's been a while since I read the Healing Through Christ workbook. Why? I'm not sure. I think just because I have been writing this blog and doing the 12 steps through LDS Family Services. But I definitely need to incorporate more Healing Through Christ.

Today, I started reading through step 7 because of how *blah* I have been feeling for the past day or two. I found a lot of awesome stuff that supports me and reminds me that what I am feeling is normal.

I was reminded that when I start trying to overcome my weaknesses, I won't change all at once. I mean, I knew that, but like I said yesterday, I have been expecting too much perfection from myself. I have barely allowed myself to breathe. I have gotten down on myself every time I have messed up, and I haven't been very forgiving of myself (step 8: forgiveness, coming up soon!).

I was also reminded to take things one day at a time. I will have days where I can overcome my weaknesses. And I will have days where it's really hard, or I feel like I can't, or I just don't want to (cough cough... today). AND THAT IS OKAY! It's okay. My healing is a process. Where there is a process, there are cycles. And that is more than okay. That is normal! I'm normal. Woo hoo.

I loved this quote by Elder Hafen. When I read it, I was like AMEN.

"Struggling with those problems is at the very core of life's purpose. As we draw close to God, He will show us our weaknesses and through them make us wiser, stronger. If you're seeing more of your weaknesses that just might mean you're moving nearer to God, not farther away." (Healing Through Christ pg 68).

I do know I am moving closer to God. I can see it, even though I am stubborn and rebellious some days. It's okay. I am seeing more weaknesses, but that is because I am more in tune with the Spirit and more sensitive. Yay.

BTW, on a less serious note, yesterday, I mentioned that I'm PMSing. That is definitely part of my issues and negativity. And I kind of don't care right now.

:) This just about sums up PMS (for me, anyway):

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


I don't really know what I'm feeling.

Well, I feel a lot. Today, this week, this month--they have all seen and felt a lot. It's all caught up with me today. Maybe because I'm PMSing. Maybe just because. Maybe because of the fights I keep having with my sister and my mom. Maybe because I sometimes feel misunderstood, alone, and forgotten .

I'm grateful for so much. I'm grateful for my job. My husband. My family. My calling. My dog. My scriptures. The Holy Ghost. Ability to receive revelation. Flowers. Trees. Color. The wind. Storms. Sunlight. Books. Paint. My camera. Writing. Fabric. Food. [to name a few...]

I'm also grateful for trials. I'm grateful for pain and weakness.

I'm also tired of trials. I'm tired of pain. And weakness.

I've tried to be so strong lately. I've been on this high, trying to reach perfection. I guess one of my weaknesses is not accepting imperfection in myself.

I've tried so hard to overcome my weaknesses. I even prayed for practice overcoming my weaknesses. I prayed for experience. So, obviously, The Lord has heard and answered my prayers. Now, I need to turn to Him in these times where I feel so weak, small, misunderstood, alone, and forgotten. That's another weakness. I don't like to ask for help.

I have been asking for help, though. Maybe not enough? I don't know. I'm just writing this so I can figure out what's going on.

Over the past week or two, I have had so many experiences where I have remembered humility, and I have tried to turn myself over to God and receive strength. It's exhausting to see how often my weaknesses cause me to fall short. It's exhausting to be constantly apologizing or feeling the need to apologize because, once again, I have let someone down because of my weaknesses. I'm just exhausted.

I know I need to turn to The Lord, and I know I need to read my scriptures (I haven't yet today). I feel like I know what I need to do: I just don't want to. Because I'm tired.


I will, though. I'll do what's right. I'll pray and read my scriptures. Right now.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

2 Nephi 32:8-9

"And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.

"But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."

These verses really hit home today.

Over the past several days, but today especially, I have had moments where I feel like I just need to pray. Sometimes it's because I feel some kind of panic. Sometimes it's because I am overcome with sudden joy and gratitude. Sometimes it's for another's welfare. I have been much better at recognizing those promptings, but sometimes I don't follow through with them. I need to follow through with them. I need to "pray always."

Today has been very go-go-go. I have felt rushed all day long. I have had my bouts of peace, though, and overall, it has been a very good day. While I was in the bathroom at my chiropractor's office, I felt this sudden urge to pray. Here? In the bathroom? No. I don't know why I felt so self-conscious. It's a one-person bathroom, and they keep it really clean. It's not like it's a gas station. I think I felt self-conscious because maybe someone was out there waiting to use the bathroom and I thought they would find it weird if I was in there for forever, and before I came out, they heard no flush. No big deal really. After battling with myself, I ended up kneeling down right there to pray.

It was kind of a quick prayer. I just told God some of my feelings but mostly expressed gratitude for what is happening in my life right now.

At the time I felt prompted to kneel down and pray, I also had a lot of reasons running through my mind why I shouldn't pray. Like normal. Whenever I feel prompted to pray, there are always reasons why I shouldn't. Those are temptations of Satan. Heavenly Father wants me to pray. In fact, He wants me to "pray always, and not faint." He wants me to pray for everything, and He will consecrate my performance. It's such a comfort to know that if I pray always, He will help me achieve the things that I need to. I can pray for humility. I can pray to be able to handle the stress in my life. I can pray for my friends. I can pray for strangers I come across. I can pray for my husband. I can pray to be a better wife. I can pray to be more grateful. I can pray to be a better listener. I can pray to be more understanding.

There is so much to pray for.

Prayer is such a simple tool to help bring us closer to Heavenly Father. It is simple, and it is beautiful. I am so grateful for prayer, for the ability I have to talk to my Father in Heaven, and for the blessings that come from developing that relationship with Him.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A prayer for humility: and the aftermath

The past week has been a whirlwind. Crazy. My husband called the weekend alone the weekend from hell. 

One night, I can't remember which one, I was thinking about what I'm doing for step 7. What am I doing to turn my weaknesses over to God and let Him help remove them? As I thought, I just felt that I needed to pray. I haven't been able to get much alone time to pray. So I took advantage of that time, and I prayed. 

Basically, I told God everything I had been thinking and my fears of really turning over my weaknesses to Him. As I prayed, I soon found myself telling Him that I know the one thing I really need is practice strengthening my weaknesses. I asked for opportunities to practice patience, dealing positively with change, not stressing to the max, and not blaming my husband for things just because I don't want to take responsibility. 

It scared me that I prayed for that. I felt a lot of peace, and I knew I needed experiences to help strengthen my weaknesses and turn to God, but really. The idea of what could be coming my way was a little on the frightening side. 

Without going into detail, let's just say that my prayer was most definitely answered. From that point on, I experienced A LOT of high stress situations. Many times, I had to ask myself what was going on and remind myself to think humility. 

Actually, praying so vocally and heartfully (I think I just made up that word?) about humility that one night made it easier to remember humility when the situations arose. Whether it was a big or little situation, I thought humility, and then I felt peace. It helped keep my eyes open to what was going on and what I needed to do, rather than shutting down.

I was definitely not perfect. There were times when I felt like I was being completely overcome by Satan. Sometimes, I had to tell my husband to just let me lay on the bed while I battled it out in my mind. Sometimes I had to battle spur of the moment and try not to do something crazy because of my wrath or stress that was setting in.

This is the visual that always came to mind: I'm laying in a cold, dark room--fighting darkness, anger, and/or stress. It's overwhelming. I feel like I am trapped in a corner, with Evil approaching me with handcuffs. Evil is asking me if I want to do this the easy or hard way. I think of my options. I can give up and let darkness set in. And I fail. Or I can let someone save me. I see light. I pray. Eventually, I win. 

That win was sometimes just barely, and I still needed to repent for harm done to others while I battled with myself. 

The good thing was I managed all of the tough things that came my way this past week. During the times that I started falling too far into darkness, I could at least see what I was doing. I could see where my actions were hurting others around me, and I was quick to apologize. There were even times where I said, hey right now I am battling some extremely stressful emotions, so please don't take anything personally that happens in the next ten minutes. 

I'm still learning, but I would definitely say this week helped me go a long way. I'm not perfect, but my I feel more purified. 

While I worked on fixing my weaknesses, my husband and I grew much closer together. I can't really pinpoint why or how, but I do know that the main reason why is because that will happen when we are both working on drawing closer to Christ. He and I have both been making great strides. As we have drawn closer to  Christ, we have moved even closer together too. We (I) have even been able to feel safer with intimacy. 

I'm still afraid for relapses. But, I'm trying not to worry about that until it happens. I have learned that I need to take things one day at a time and focus on things as they come at me. 

With that, I'm starting this week on a more hopeful note, and I hope that it won't be as stressful as it looks like it will be. But, I expect myself to keep turning my weaknesses and trials over to God, and I expect myself to continue being humble. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Expectations and Humility

Expectations have been a hot topic. I really like and appreciate what both Jane and Harriet have said, even though their words are different from each other. They have given me a lot to think about.

I wasn't planning on writing an expectation post. This post just sort of happened due to what I studied this morning and the prompting I had to try to put to words all the thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head.

I don't know exactly what my definition of expectations is. I think I would go for a happy medium between both of what those marvelous women have said. At some point, I have expected and seen the bitter disappointment from my expectations falling short. I have expected my husband to conquer his addiction (back when I didn't really understand it) quickly out of his love for me. I have expected him to notice and say something (he always *winkwink* notices, just not always says it to me...) when I wear a new outfit, cut my hair, do the dishes without asking him for help, make the bed, etc, and been disappointed when he has fallen short. I have expected a lot from him, and sometimes it is really not healthy.

As I have experienced healing and recovery, my view of expectations has changed. I realized this while I was studying humility this morning in the study and understanding section of step 7. Now, to me, it is more of a hopeful optimism (as Harriet has said). I expect, in a hopefully optimistic kind of way, my husband to  keep his covenants. When he doesn't, because he does mess up, I expect him to repent, and I also expect myself to forgive him and still keep my covenants.

I don't force my husband to do anything. I have worked really hard on my codependent tendencies and obsessive desire to control what he does. I'm not like that anymore (most of the time). I just optimistically hope that when he messes up, he will have the confidence, courage, and humility to tell me. I expect that he will confess and forsake his sins, and that we will work on recovery together. I expect that he will work harder next time. And, I truthfully expect that we will have a celestial marriage. That is an optimistic hope. It can happen.

Humility is crucial in all this. Like I said, I had these realizations while studying humility today.

"When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities" (Ezra Taft Benson, see page 44 of the ARP guidebook).

Humility, step 7, is the greatest act of my love for God so far. Ultimately, through step 7, I am trying to become more like Christ. I am trying to take that change of heart I experienced in step 6 another step further. I am trying to become a new person by allowing God to remove (help remove) my character weaknesses. I am sincerely trying to give up my weaknesses, pride, and will because I love God, and He expects me to use my journey in life to become better. Out of my love for Him, I am trying to fulfill His expectation, which requires humility.

When I first started the 12 steps, my definitions of expectations would have been something extreme. It was more along the lines of forcefulness (it has to happen because I expect it). I went through the whole program, and my heart was considerably softened. Now, I am more than halfway done with my second time through the 12 steps, and my heart has been more than considerably softened. My first time through really helped with my codependency, and my second time through is really changing me. 

One of the character weaknesses I am working on changing right now is my inability to cope well with change. Along with my inability to cope well with change lies stress and anxiety. All of those things relate to how I view expectations. If I expect things forcefully, with an extreme desire for whatever I'm expecting to actually happen, I freak out when the expectations aren't met. My body balls up, my head clouds over, and my stomach ties in knots. That is something I am seriously working on. It's a huge character weakness for me. If I expect things with a hopeful optimism while drawing nearer to Christ and humbly praying for the help and strength I need to deal  with whatever disappointment comes my way when my expectation hasn't been met, then that is a huge step for me. And if I expect in a hopefully optimistic kind of way, then I can deal with the disappointment from unmet expectations in a more Christlike manner.

Everyone has different views of expectations. I'm in the process of figuring mine out with what is healthy and appropriate for me. What I am trying to overcome is the forceful type of expectation that I used to have.I want a more Christlike type of expectation. As I have delved deeper into step 7, I am seeing more and more how the power of the Atonement can change me and how much truly better off I am with Christ on my side.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Humility is a Choice

While I was driving on Sunday, I prayed for some revelation on step 7 for myself. How to overcome the fear of humbling myself? How to take the next step? My answer was to pray to overcome my weaknesses, individually and specifically.

As I thought about how to do this, I contemplated things like praying for everything to go wrong so my patience is tried or praying for things to happen that are out of my control to help me with dependence (or at least to help with my control freak-ness). Those ideas scared me, so I kind of pushed away those thoughts until I could take more time to ponder how to "humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove [my] shortcomings." 

Skip ahead to yesterday. Let's just say yesterday was less than perfect. It could have been worse, though. Some things happened at work that were very challenging, and I got pretty down on myself. As I was fighting that darkness and trying to figure out how to turn that over to The Lord, my husband told me that he had a small mishap (I'm so grateful for his honesty. Bad timing is better than not telling). Then, I got sucked into some fears and darkness regarding that. And then in the evening, things did not happen as I wanted. I went to bed way later than I planned, ate too many cookies (which always makes me feel worse), and I received a blessing for one of my physical trials and was told that my trials are specifically for me to have patience and trust in God, have faith in what is in my patriarchal blessing, and that I will be healed (someday...don't know when yet). I then started fighting darkness there because my first instinct was to be mad at God, which is never a helpful choice. I was mad because I finally asked for this blessing after not wanting to for a while because I knew I wouldn't be healed. I guess it's one of those things where having the faith to not be healed is harder. I knew He would say to have faith and trust and patience, but I wanted so badly to be healed, and I had the faith that I could be healed, but I was afraid that I wouldn't be healed. And I wasn't. I've been patient. I've had faith. I've trusted (or tried to trust) a lot. So, it was not comforting. At first.  Which is why I was getting mad.

I really had to fight for the anger and darkness to go away. Those are two companions I never want, but Satan is strong. If I am weak, he (they) can usually creep in pretty easily. I had to pray and read my scriptures and really try to get the anger to subside. I didn't want to be mad at God. As I wrote in my journal about my blessing, the anger went away, and I was filled with peace (for a time. I got angry again right before bedtime as everything hit me again. I was going to bed too late, and I knew I would have to get up early for work, and blah blah blah. Sometimes, I really irritate myself, and I wonder how my husband puts up with me).

On my drive to work this morning, I thought about yesterday. I felt a lot of peace with how hard I tried to fight off the anger and the steps I took (I didn't write about everything on here) to overcome my temptations to anger and anxiety. I reflected back to my revelation on Sunday during my drive. I thought about step 7, and my weaknesses, and what I need to do to overcome them. Everything that happened yesterday showed me all (or most) of my weaknesses and how dependent I am on God. My experiences yesterday showed me  that without the help of God, my weaknesses can overtake me because I can't do this alone. 

 This morning, when I got to work, I went into a secluded place and prayed. I prayed for help and guidance in overcoming my weaknesses. At the end of my prayer, I had a distinct thought. One word. Atonement

The Atonement is what will help me overcome my weaknesses.

There are two action steps listed in this section of the guidebook.

1. "Seek for the power of the Savior's Atonement to become effective in your personal life by meditating on the sacrament prayers."

Next time you hear the sacrament prayer, change the words to make it personal to you. Reflect on those words during the administration of the sacrament. How does it change your perspective of the covenants you make and your understanding of what Christ has done for you?

This is something I have done quite frequently since the first time I did this step. Replacing words to make the sacrament prayer more personal reminds me that the sacrament is for my soul, that I witness to God that I am willing to take upon me the name of Christ and that I will always remember Him and I will keep His commandments. In return, I will always have His Spirit with me.

Doing this makes the sacrament come alive and reminds me of the covenants I have made. It helps remind me more often during the week of my covenants to come closer to Christ and live as He would have me live.

2. "Pray humbly for God to do for you what you cannot do for yourself."

What do I need God to do for me?

I need Him to help me be more patient and trust in His timing.

I need Him to help me deal with stress better.

I need Him to help me handle change and let go of needing to be in control (I'm kind of a control freak. What can I say? Who doesn't like things to go their way?).

I need Him to help me accept responsibility for my actions and stop trying to blame others for my weaknesses.

I need Him to help me not freak out when I go to bed late. And I need Him to help me remember that when I sincerely pray to be well-rested and get up on time, He always blesses me with that.

I cannot overcome those weaknesses on my own. I can't. I tried. I am stubborn, and I like being independent (those are also weaknesses I need help overcoming), and I have tried to do this on my own. I just can't. I can't be the wife and lover I want to be when I have these things dragging me down. I can't become more like Christ and have Christlike love in my marriage when I won't turn my weaknesses over to God. There are lots of things I can't do unless I pray for God to help me. 

Humility is a choice. I am learning that everything is a choice, really. I choose to be angry. Sometimes it's hard to control, but when I am really angry, it's usually because I choose to give up fighting Satan. I choose to say negative, hurtful things. I choose to be too independent and not turn myself over to God. I choose when I am happy. I choose to be excited. I choose to be sad.

Now? I choose to be humble.

"Therefore, blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble; or rather, in other words, blessed is he that believeth in the word of God... yea, without being brought to know the word, or even compelled to know, before they will believe" (Alma 32:16).

On a side note, Christ was humble. He did the Lord's will, even it caused Him to bleed from every pore and, eventually, die. He gave credit to God for the great things He did.

If I want to be like Christ, shouldn't I also choose to be humble? 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Angels are on our side

My brother got married yesterday. My husband stayed clean enough to be at the temple with me (and hopefully will stay clean for a while)!!

While the sealer was talking, he said one thing in particular that stood out to me. As he talked about our ancestors and future posterity, he said "I believe they are all up there praying for you, praying for you to make right choices." 

Wow. When he said that, my husband squeezed my hand, and I almost started crying. Granted, that was perfect for my brother, and I hope it gave him strength. But it was also perfect for my husband and me to hear on a day that we could attend the temple together (tender mercy). 

I LOVE that we have the power of angels to strengthen us and pray for us. I love the thought of those who have gone before us, who know what heaven is like, cheering us on. And I love the thought of our future children hoping for their daddy to stay on the right path and their mommy to stay strong alongside him. 

I love that we are on this journey together, and I pray every day for us. 

I am also praying for all of you out there, especially those whose blogs I read and I can see your story unfold and feel your pain. Here is a shout out to all you beautiful women. Stay strong. Stay close to the Spirit. Let Him guide you. He loves you. And, you have angels cheering/praying for you too! 

Friday, May 17, 2013

"I'm gonna love you through it"

"She said, 'I don't think I can do this anymore.' He took her in his arms and said thats what my love is for. 

"When you're weak, I'll be strong. When you let go, I'll hold on. When you need to cry, I swear that I'll be there to dry your eyes. When you feel lost or scared to death, like you can't take one more step, just take my hand. Together, we can do it. I'm gonna love you through it." -Martina McBride

As I was listening to this song today, it hit me that the words to this song could represent our relationship with Christ. 

How many times have said I don't think I can do this anymore? When I don't think I can, I can always turn it over to Christ. He does wrap His arms around me. I have felt it. Feeling a hug from Heaven is one of the most tender things I have experienced. 

Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father are my best friends. They are always there for me in ways that no one else can be. They are my strength. They are there when I cry. They lead me through the darkness, and I know that together, we really can do it. 

This week has been kind of weird. I can't really explain what I have been feeling. It's complicated. I have definitely had high moments. I have felt the presence of heavenly beings. But I have also had some anxiety and fear threatening to overtake me. 

I think it's because my husband has been struggling with his addiction off and on. And he started his own blog, and he wrote about things that I didn't know about (link to his blog coming on my sidebar soon). He also has sprung some things on me without giving me much time to react.

We are also experiencing some heavy trials that, together, make everything really hard--like finances, his unemployment, my health issues and physical pains, and the other stuff I mentioned in my Mother's Day post. 

We don't get tons of time together... Which also makes things more difficult. So, I guess it doesn't surprise me that I have felt so weird this week. 

I know the things that have kept me from slipping into darkness are what I have consciously done to keep the Spirit in my life. I have prayed more often. I have sent up praises in gratitude more frequently. I have tried to express my love to my husband more. I have made a lot of efforts to study my scriptures whenever I can throughout the day. And I have poured out my heart to God a few times. 

I know I could do better. But I am extremely grateful for my Heavenly Father and Christ for being there so much this week to protect me from myself and Satan. And I'm grateful that they are there to love me through it, all of it. 

Humility, strength, and understanding

Last night at group, we studied step 7: humility. Perfect timing? 

Humility has been on my mind a lot this week. So have a lot of other things. 

Humility is something I always struggle with. I mean, I'm not an extremely prideful or boastful person. But I'm independent. I don't like relying on other people. So, that's where my pride lies. I have come a long way, and I really try to rely on The Lord. But, sometimes (usually  when things are pretty bad), I try to do it on my own. With the addiction stuff, I stubbornly want to heal on my own. I don't want help, and I don't like the fact that I need help.

I need God. Step 6 was crucial because I needed to really gain the desire to lean on God. And step 7 is critical to actually turning myself over to Him. Thankfully, I have gotten to the point where I do want that change of heart. I want my weaknesses removed. I want to sanctify myself and become more Christlike. To do that, I have to humbly ask God to remove my shortcomings. 

It is scary to think of my life without some of these weaknesses, which actually helps me better understand how hard it is for my husband to gain the desire to fully rid himself of his addiction. On my side, I sincerely do not love how I feel when I am really angry or when I close myself off to him emotionally (and all that other bad stuff that happens). Those are coping mechanisms for me, and it is scary to think of not having them to fall back on. They protect me. My husband's addiction is a coping mechanism for things going on in his life. And it is his "protection," in a sense, from  negative feelings or things he has experienced. So, thinking of how I feel about fully ridding myself of my weaknesses reminds me that he is human too, and he has an even stronger emotional attachment to the things he is trying to turn over to God.

I need to have the humility to admit that I can't rid myself of my weaknesses alone. I need to have the humility to ask a higher power for help. I need to have the humility and faith to lean on God's strength. I need humility to lean on the Savior's love.

Like I said, I have already come such a long way. But, there is always room for growth, and I am nowhere near perfect. I hope I can continue building my humility and faith so I can be a strength to my husband. We are a team. We can be a great team, and an even better team if we can get through this. 

I'm grateful to have the 12 steps to follow to help me grow closer to Christ. I am grateful for the understanding I have gained, along with the strength, patience, and faith I have developed. I truly am grateful for the growth I have experienced because of the trials I have gone through, and am currently going through. 

I am grateful for my sweet husband and I hope he knows how much I love him and that I am his biggest cheerleader! He is utterly fantastic, even when I act like I don't like him at the moment :) 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Step 7: Humility (Part 2)

These are the quotes I love from step 7 (all located on page 41). They are really powerful and teach different messages about humility. 

These quotes were kind of a pick-me-up for today.

I just love step 7 because it reminds me what I need to do to turn myself over to God. I don't really know what to write, other than just sharing these quotes. I hope, as you read them, your heart will be touched like mine was. I have tried to write my feelings and thoughts about what I read, but I just can't put it to words. So, I'll let the Spirit do the talking on this.

"Step 7 represented for each of us such total surrender to the Savior, that many of us could not help but cry out in our hearts, as Alma did, 'O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.'"

"Holding nothing back, we pled with the Father that He, in His infinite mercy, would forgive us for all our pride, transgressions, and shortcomings. We asked that He would grant us grace, that through Him we might maintain this new way of life." I know. It's kind of weird to read this because you think, well, I'm not the one with the addiction. But, I do have my pride and shortcomings. I do need help overcoming them and becoming new. I want to want to not be mad at my husband all the time. I have done so good lately, but I have felt the darkness and anger creeping in. I want to rid myself of the desire to just be mad. To do that, I need God's grace.

". . . we are all beggars before God and have no hope of salvation by our own efforts but only through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ."

"All mankind were lost; and behold, they would have been endlessly lost were it not that God redeemed His people from their lost and fallen state."

"We had to learn to accept life on God's terms and wait upon His purposes and His timing--even in the removal of our shortcomings." This statement always gets to me. I was thinking a lot about this on my way to work, actually. Obviously, my husband made a choice in his past that very much impacts our lives now. I think God could change my husband. Somehow. I really think God could change him. But, that would take away my husband's agency. It would take away his ability to learn and grow. I think at this point, there is still so much for both my husband and me to learn. God sees that. He will strengthen us and help us, but He won't remove my husband's addiction because he needs it to grow. And so do I.

"We learned to live with the same humility and patience that Alma and his brethren showed when their burdens were lightened but not removed."

". . . God desires us to conquer our weaknesses in this life by coming to Christ and being perfected in Him."

". . . salvation does not come by our own power, but by His."

". . . His suffering, not yours, ensures your redemption from sin. Your sacrifice is only a reminder of His 'great and last sacrifice' on your behalf." I love this. My suffering is only a small peek at what my Savior suffered for me. My small sufferings help me appreciate the Savior more and grow to love Him.

Monday, May 13, 2013

"I Seek Not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father"

Today, I was trying to decide what to study. I walked into my room to look at my options, and my eyes fell on the Lorenzo Snow book we are using this year in Relief Society. My heart leaped, and I knew God wanted me to find something in this book.

I scanned through the table of contents, and my heart settled on chapter 11: "I Seek Not Mine Own Will, but the Will of the Father."

The chapter starts out talking about Pres. Snow's 85th birthday, and the celebration he experienced at Brigham Young Academy. In response to the words of love and admiration that were shared about him, he stated, "I understand very distinctly that you are not paying this honor to me as Lorenzo Snow, but because of the cause I represent in connection with my brethren, my counselors and the members of the Quorum of the Twelve. . . I feel that whatever I have accomplished that it is not Lorenzo Snow, and the scenes that have brought me to this position as President of the Church--it is not Lorenzo Snow, but the Lord has done it."

Wow. I know the prophets are humble, but I am really struck with his complete humility in his saying that all the people were not celebrating his birthday because he is special, but because of what he has accomplished through Christ. I really needed to hear that because sometimes I get caught up in my pride and forget that every good thing I do is of God.

Pres. Snow also reminded me that even Christ, our God who created the earth, our Savior--whom without, I would be nothing--said, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek no mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me" (John 5:30). It's amazing to think that Christ, who has such an important role in our salvation, even has the humility to admit that he, of himself, can do nothing. That was another good reminder of humility for me.

Pres. Snow also said, "When we seek God's will, we follow a course in which there will be no failure." How many times have I been afraid of failure? A lot. One of my deepest fears is that I will fall short of eternal salvation. Or that I will fall into Satan's temptations or his black hole. It's nice to hear the gentle reminder from a prophet that the way to avoid those failures I fear is by following God's will.

The last thing I found really helpful today in my study was D&C 88: 67-68, "If your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you, and that body which is filled with light comprehendeth all things. Therefore sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God." For the past few days, I have fought the darkness a lot. The darkness is most definitely not a happy place to be. If my eye is single to God's glory, my whole body will be filled with light. If my eye is single to God's glory, there will be no darkness in me. So, I need to sanctify myself, so my mind becomes single to God's. I need to dedicate myself to Him. I need to allow my will to be His will. That is how I can defeat Satan and keep out of his dark snares.

I really loved what I read in this chapter today, and I wanted to share it. It perfectly ties into step 7 (humility). 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day?

I have a lot of hard days, but over the past few years,Mother's Day has risen to the top of the list.

My first Mother's Day as a married woman, I cried for the eternal family I wasn't sure about. Of course, I wanted to have children so badly (eventually. I can't remember if at that point we had seriously talked about having kids), but that was only about six weeks after learning about my husband's addiction.At the time, I was in a lot of pain, and the thought of children and eternity that I wasn't sure could happen brought even more pain.

Last year, we were trying unsuccessfully to have children.

This year, we can't even try right now because of my health problems.

We both want children so badly, and with the time spent trying unsuccessfully along with the time spent unable to try, Mother's Day is just depressing. Then I think about all the women who have unwanted children and all the children who are abused, and it is even more depressing.

I tried to make this day about my mom, rather than my lack of being a mom. I tried to be joyful and unselfish. I really tried not to think about the hard things I am facing and just focus on the sacrament and sharing the joy with the other moms. But... I had to go out to my car and cry for a little bit between sacrament meeting and Sunday School. I prayed with all the hope and might that I had in me, asking God to take away this pain today and to help me go in and face my Sunday School class without a tear-stained face. And you know what? He did. It was the most immediate answer to a prayer that I have received.

I am so grateful for the ability to have open communication with God. I know He hears and answers our prayers. Some answers come faster than others. Some answers we may or may not want to hear. But He always does what is best for us. I am especially grateful that He answered my prayer so quickly today and helped me to overcome the feelings of self-pity, despair, and selfishness I was sincerely trying to avoid.

So, to all you mothers out there, happy Mother's Day! To all you who are struggling with an addiction between you and what you had envisioned as eternity, to all you who are in that position and don't have children, happy Mother's Day! Life can still go on, and you can still find peace (and you can still raise righteous children with your spouse). Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Step 7: Humility (Part 1)

I think step 7 is crucial to finding the peace and healing that the Atonement  can offer us. Specifically speaking, as a wife of an addict, I think humility is crucial to forgiveness and love.

Through the recovery process, I have fostered a lot of negative feelings towards my husband. It was especially bad in the beginning, but it has also cycled throughout my whole recovery. During the times when I have really been able to look at my weaknesses and see how they are holding me back from my full healing potential, that is when I have seen the most light and felt the most peace.

"Step 7 represented for each of us such total surrender to the Savior that many of us could not help but cry out in our hearts, as Alma did, 'O Jesus, thou Son of God, have mercy on me.'"

I need mercy. I need mercy extended to me in many ways to help me recover. I have needed help offering my will to Him. I have needed help overcoming my anger. I have needed help forgiving my husband and feeling peace. I have needed grace to help me live a new way of life: a life where I am not constantly trying to bring Husband down because of what is going on (yes, I'll admit I have purposely brought him down in revenge for him bringing me down... and then it always hurts me more to see what I have done when I have lashed out in anger). I have needed grace to help me live a life where I am focusing on Christ and trying to live as He would. When I have focused on Christ, I have felt much more peace.

I know that the Lord can't change me unless I let Him. I know He can't speak peace or healing to my heart unless I let Him in. I have to surrender my pride and once again admit that I can't do it on my own (and that when I have tried to, I have failed). Only He can bring me peace and healing, but He can't if I interfere and try to follow my will instead of His.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Reflections on the road to recovery

We are approaching Step 7: Humility

The key principle is, “Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings.”

All of the steps require humility in some form, but in step 7, humility is the primary focus. I am so excited for this step!

First, I want to reflect on the journey. So far, we have admitted that we are powerless to heal on our own (or overcome our own forms of addiction—co-dependency, anger, anxiety, depression, etc). We have believed that the power of God can restore us to complete spiritual health. We have made the decision to turn our will and life over to Heavenly Father. We fearlessly made an inventory of ourselves. We have confessed our sins to a trusted person. And we experienced a change of heart and become ready to ask God to remove our weaknesses.

We have come a long way.

If this is your first time through the 12 steps, think of how you felt at the very beginning. If you were like me, your heart might have been completely filled with anger (with a little room to breathe?). You might have experienced so much rage that you forgot what it felt like to feel trust and peace. You might have been in so much pain that you contemplated leaving your loved one with the addiction, or you might have contemplated suicide. Do you still feel that now? I’m sure you do—but in phases. I do. It comes and goes as a cycle. And over time, and through healing, the cycle has had less negative and way more positive. Overall, I am happy. I feel peace. I feel joy. I feel love. Yes, this is my second time through the steps, but even during round one, by the time I had reached the halfway mark through the 12 steps, I was on a spiritual high (if you aren’t, don’t be afraid. Healing comes at different speeds and in different ways for everybody. Keep pushing forward with faith and trusting God. I promise, healing will come). I no longer blame my husband for everything bad that happens to me (I still do sometimes—but it’s a habit I am trying to break). I no longer break down or wallow in self-pity when my husband tells me he masturbated or viewed pornography. Rather, I feel pain for him. My primary concern is for my husband, not for myself. Whoa.

I have come a long way.

Two years ago, I was considering ending my marriage because I felt lied to and tricked. We even decided before we were married that divorce would never be an option, which made me feel worse for considering it. That also made the pain of feeling tricked worse because I felt like maybe he wanted us to make that arrangement because he knew I would have reason to want to leave him.

Now, I don’t consider ending my marriage. Even if it gets really bad again (which I hope it won’t, but really, who knows), I am dedicated to making it work. Even when I go to the temple alone. Even though I have to keep secrets from everyone I know and love. I love my husband more than the trials that come because of his addiction. Until he is ready for people to know this is one of our trials, I am okay keeping it to myself. I do hope that one day (soon? kind of?), he will feel comfortable enough to say, “Yeah, I struggle with this. But I am trying to heal.” He could be a great strength to people, I just know it.

At this point down our road to recovery, I would like to share with you a few of the big things I have learned. And, if anyone would like to add to this list, email me, and I will post it J

      1.  Addicts can change. So often, I hear really judgmental statements about addicts or former addicts. It breaks my heart when I hear such negative things. Yeah, some people don’t change. Some people may not be willing to change, but everyone can change. And we really don’t know what is in an addict’s heart. My husband is having a hard time letting completely go of his addiction, and he still messes up, but have I completely let go of my addictions? Have I completely let go of my anger? Am I perfect? No. So, I feel that my job is to be compassionate and loving. Supportive and encouraging. I don’t condone his behavior, but I also try not to judge him. I try to listen and love. Really, through my recovery process, I have found myself trying to be more like the Savior. “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone” (John 8:7).

      2My husband’s addiction is not a reflection of how poorly I fulfill him. I am not at fault for his actions regarding his sexual addiction. I think many people with a loved one who struggles with addiction blame themselves for whatever reason, but we are not to blame. It is something that the addict has struggled with for a long time, and it is way beyond us. So, if you are struggling with the self-blame game, turn it over to God. Let the Savior take that pain from you.

      3The addict already has a Savior. I don’t need to try to be his savior. I do need to bear my testimony of the Savior and help my husband see the light when he is clouded in darkness. But, it’s not my responsibility to carry his pain. The Savior can help me with that.

      4. The Savior can change me. 

So, like I said, we are approaching step 7, which is humility. Are you ready? I am (next post).

Thursday, May 9, 2013


I love it when I'm studying and then BAM! light hits me right in the face. For the past few days, I have been studying the Atonement, and I want to share with you what I have been thinking about and feeling!

The following is directly from my journal that I have been writing while studying.
Disclaimer: these are my thoughts and that does not mean the questions I have posed for myself or things I have learned are doctrine. They are just my thoughts and things that have helped me understand or at least feel peace.

I'm reading a talk by Elder Ballard called "The Atonement and the Value of One Soul."

"The Savior’s precious birth, life, Atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane, suffering on the cross, burial in Joseph’s tomb, and glorious Resurrection all became a renewed reality for us. The Savior’s Resurrection assures all of us that someday we, too, will follow Him and experience our own resurrection. What peace, what comfort this great gift is which comes through the loving grace of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of all mankind."

What does all this mean to me? Well, His birth was, first of all, a miracle. Second, His birth signified that His life here on this earth was like mine. He lived a life of man. During that life, He was tempted by Satan. And, I'm sure that His temptations were far more painful and harder to bear than mine (I think that the closer to God you are, the more Satan tempts you and tries to make you switch sides). He lived a life of perfection. I can't, but because He did, and because He suffered my pains and died for my sins, if I turn to Him, I can live with my Heavenly Father again. Without Christ, I would have no nope of exaltation. I would have no way back to Heavenly Father because of the eternal laws of justice. Without this merciful sacrifice, my life in eternity would be ruined. I would have no progression. I would have no lasting happiness. 

Indeed, this brings great peace and comfort to me. He has felt it all. He has felt everything I am experiencing, and more, because He felt it for everyone. And still, He wants me to follow His plan. I don't need to try to change His mind about the plan. He knows what is best. 

When He was on the cross, was there a time when He felt like the plan for Him was wrong? Did He want to turn back? I don't know. There are times, even when I have received revelation, that I question the plan. There are times that I want to turn back because the road is too difficult. Sometimes, I feel like God has left me on my own (even though, I really do know that He hasn't).

He exclaimed, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Is it possible that this pain was more than He thought it would be? More than He expected? Was it almost more than He could bear? Did He truly believe that God had completely left Him? Did God leave Him alone?  Have I not felt all of that before?

I have. And so has Christ (maybe. or maybe my thoughts on this are wrong, but it definitely makes me feel more understood by Him). And because Christ has felt that, it helps Him to succor me.  

When Jesus was on the cross, His will (at that time, and you will see why I think this) was to not fulfill the Atonement. "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." In D&C 19, it says that He "would" that He might not drink the bitter cup. But because of who He is and His character, He overcame His will by doing the will of God. Christ loved God so perfectly, that He did God's will, even when it was so painfully hard. Christ trusted God's plan, and I'm glad He did because if Christ had given up, we wouldn't have a Savior. 

Christ has felt more pain than I ever will or could. Even He, who was perfect, felt so much pain that He was tempted to not want to complete the sacrifice. If God was willing, Christ was okay with not completing the sacrifice. He did it because it was His plan. Maybe without a push from God (because God sees all), Christ wouldn't have done it. Maybe He was losing sight of the eternal perspective, and He needed the strength of the angels to come help Him.

Christ could have saved Himself from it all. But He didn't because of His love for God and His love for us. When He died, He gave His life up as a ransom for us. He didn't die because anyone forced Him to. He gave it up when He was ready, when He knew the Lord's will was done. 

Giving up my will

Recently, I was faced with a challenging experience that really forced me to put my trust in God.

I like to think I am all-faithful and trusting in God, but when it comes down to it, I still have my moments of weakness and doubt. I still have my fears of giving up my will to do the Lord's.

I am happy to say that in the past 24 hours, I have grown quite a bit in the trust category, and because of my experience, I think I am ready to start step 7 on my next post. My lovely husband reminded me of Elder Bednar's CES fireside a few months ago. Basically, he reminded me that I can have faith to get what I want, or I can have faith to let go. The faith to let go and let God work His will is usually harder.

I might lose my job. I might lose the job that I have put so much time and energy into for the past few months, a job that I love and give a lot of service through. It's a job I was led to by God, so I was struggling with the idea of losing it. But, in the past 24 hours, I have come to terms with the possibility of losing it, and if I do, I know that it's not because of anything I have done wrong or that I am not good enough. If I lose my job, it's because that is not where God wants me. If I lose my job, I will be dedicated to figuring out exactly what God does want me to do.

I honestly don't know if I will lose my job or not. I was hired temporarily, with the knowledge that it could become permanent if the person who went on leave chose not to come back. That person is not coming back, but the job is open to the public. So I have competition for this job. Very strong competition, I am told.

I know that I am great at my job, and I know I have given a lot of service and done a lot of good through my job, but maybe God needs me elsewhere. I have put tons of effort in so if the job opened up, they would want me. My direct manager likes me, but the ultimate decision is up to a bigger board.

It's kind of scary... being willing to completely give up my will to do God's. But I'm ready. As I prayed last night, I felt God tell me that He will put me where He wants me, and I have accepted that. 

It's a very special feeling to realize that I am ready to give up what I think is best for what God wants me to do for Him. 

Next post, step 7 :) 

Ps, I had my second interview for this job this morning, and I felt really good about life afterward. I rocked the interview, but we will see. I am excited to find out. Because no matter what I find out, I will be pointed to where God wants me. 

1 Peter 3

I want to share what I studied in the scriptures last night. This is a copy and paste directly from my journal.

1 Peter 3:15
   But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

What does it mean to sanctify the Lord in my heart? It means to bind myself to Him and dedicate myself to His sacred purposes. I need to have His purposes in my heart. I need to live with hope and love and exemplify His work, and when people ask why I am so hopeful or how I have so much joy, I need to tell them why, and that is through God and Christ, and that I am sanctifying my life to Him.

Have I been sanctifying myself to Him? I'm not perfect at it, but ultimately, that is what I want to do. I know that this life would mean nothing if not for God and Jesus Christ. I know that I am here to be tested and to live with them again, and I know that I am supposed to do their work. I do want to be a servant to them. I want to see joy and happiness here, and I want to share that with others. I want to be a beacon of light in this world of darkness and decay. I want others to feel what I feel.

How can I sanctify myself? Through trying to follow God's will. Through selfless service--to my husband, to my family, to members of my ward, to everyone I come in contact with. I need to see beyond myself.

1 Peter 3: 17-18
   For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
   For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

When I read this today, it made me think of the fact that just because we follow the Lord's plan for us and are doing the right things does not mean things will be super easy. We will still suffer trials and hardships, even when we are "well doing." But, it will be better if our sufferings come and we are doing well than doing evil. The trials we could experience from doing wrongs could be much harder and feel more hopeless if we are not doing good and leaning on Christ.

Christ was perfect, and he suffered more than anyone. Why would I think that just because I am following the Lord's plan, I should have an easier time? I shouldn't think that at all.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Working on overcoming weakness

I have been sitting here staring at my computer screen because I feel like I should write a post. However, for a long time, nothing has really come to me to write. Then, I started writing this, and words from my favorite sacrament hymn came to mind, so I'll start there.

"Reverently and Meekly Now" (LDS hymnbook #185) is one of my all time favorites! Verses 3 and 4 are the ones that really get me:

"Bid thine heart all strife to cease;
With thy brethren be at peace.
Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be
E’en forgiven now by me.
In the solemn faith of prayer
Cast upon me all thy care,
And my Spirit’s grace shall be
Like a fountain unto thee.

"At the throne I intercede;
For thee ever do I plead.
I have loved thee as thy friend,
With a love that cannot end.
Be obedient, I implore,
Prayerful, watchful evermore,
And be constant unto me,
That thy Savior I may be."

I love this hymn because 1) it is written as if Christ was speaking. When I sing it or ponder it during the sacrament, I try to picture Christ there by me, speaking these words. 2) It's just beautiful. The words bring such peace and strength to my soul.

I'm getting close to being ready to move on to step 7. I'm still a little stuck on "Change of Heart," though, because I don't know if my heart is fully changed or ready enough to move on. Like I have said, I am struggling with a lot of different trials right now. I have many things running through my mind, but the main thing is: do I accept Heavenly Father's will for me? Do I want to accept His will for me? Do I trust that He does what is best for me?

The answers to those questions are tricky. I like to think that I accept His will. I do want to accept His will, but sometimes (and I'm sure you can relate), I really don't like His will. Sometimes, I don't think it's best, and I don't want to do it anymore. I know deep down that Heavenly Father's will is the best. I know He sees what I cannot see, and therefore, I really shouldn't complain about His plan for me. But, still, it's hard. It's hard to accept something that you don't fully understand or see. 

Sometimes I forget what the Atonement is all about. Sometimes, I forget that He suffered the pains I am suffering right now. Sometimes, I forget that He has felt this, and He did it willingly because He loves me. And, He would do it all again even if it were just for me.

I like this scripture it has in the "Study and Understanding" of step 6:

"Ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
"Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world. . ."
"And none of them which my Father hath given me shall be lost."
(D&C 50:40-42)

In that section, it tells us to re-write these verses so they are specifically addressed to us. When I did that, I felt so much peace and reassurance of God's love. These verses bring me a lot of hope and strength when I get discouraged. I am a child of God. I cannot bear all things now, and He knows I can't. But, He tells me not to fear because I am His, and He has overcome the world. If I am His, I won't be lost.

Step 7 is humility ("Humbly ask Heavenly Father to remove your shortcomings). Like I said when I started step 6, this step is preparatory to step 7. We just need to experience that change of heart and become "entirely ready to have God remove (our) character weaknesses."

I'm working on it. Some of my weaknesses, I don't really know how to live without. Living without some of my weaknesses is a scary thought. One of my weaknesses is anger. When I try to get rid of it, sometimes I still hold on because of silly reasons (for example, I want so-and-so to know what they did was wrong and really feel bad about doing that to me. etc.). So, I know I don't have to be perfect, but with my recent stresses and everything, I want to really feel like I am willing to give up my weaknesses before I move on to step 7 because I don't think doing it half-heartedly will get me anywhere.

Another one of my weaknesses is impatience. And. . . I really don't know how to get rid of that one lol. I need to keep praying and studying patience in the scriptures.

I hope you all have a great Sabbath!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Christ can carry me

Today, I was thinking of one of our trials, and I started getting really irritated about it. I know, I know, me? Irritated? No way ;)

But seriously, I was super mad/annoyed at this trial because I feel like it's just not fair, and quite honestly, I am tired of things being hard. This particular trial is one that is getting really hard right now. It has been ongoing for a few months, but it is finally now that I am getting to the point where I don't know if I can keep holding on. For a second, I was kind of mad at God and expecting Him to take it away...

What am I doing right now? Well, I'm working on a change of heart. I have a lot of work to do still, obviously. But we all do. As I was thinking about this trial and reflecting on my attitude, I realized that now is not the time to turn away from God and be mad. He is shaping me into something only He sees, something better.

Now is the time in this trial where God is watching me to see what I do. Will I lean on Him more, or will I decide I am fed up and move on without faith?

I choose to lean on Him in faith. I choose to build my strength and become the good and faithful servant I want to be.

"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them" (Book of Mormon, Ether, Chapter 12, Verse 27).

I will turn my weaknesses over to The Lord so He can help care for me and make me stronger. Life is a journey. It's not easy. It isn't supposed to be easy. My trials are still hard, and some days I feel like I am in the middle if a marathon, but, if I let Him, Christ will carry me when I can no longer walk.