Monday, December 30, 2013

Sometimes I'm like Lot's Wife

There are definitely a lot of differences between me and Lot's wife. However, I watched this video today, and there were quite a few parallels that made me think.

Lately, while muddling through the storm of addiction, I can't help but look back. I look back on personal revelation given about marrying Ben and I remind myself that we are supposed to be together. I look back on what we once had, or what I thought we had until lies penetrated our marriage. I long for things as they were or as they should be in my imaginary, fairy tale life. I look back and see the progress we have made. I look back and see how little has been accomplished in the grand scheme of things.

I look back and long for change.

I yearn to go back to what once was (or should have been?).

Isn't that what Lot's wife did?

As I yearn for what once was, I am in a sort of denial about things as they are.

I have to stop looking back. I know it's only normal in my case because of the betrayal trauma, but looking back won't make changes for the future. All looking back does is make me depressed and irritable. I have to look forward to the future. I have to address what is going on now and do what I can to make changes for a better future. I have to hope for what can be and do hard things now. I'm realizing now that things have to get harder before they can even remotely get better.

Things are way different than I ever imagined they could be. There are changes I'm considering making in my life that I thought I would never consider. But it's my life. It's all a result of what is going on now, and I can't change the now. I can't change anything to be like what it was no matter how hard I try or desire to.

All I can do now is follow the Spirit and keep Christ close to my heart. As I do so, I will be led to the Lord's will. I must follow His will and not look back. If I make some of the changes I'm considering (if they indeed prove to be the Lord's will), things will get incredibly hard. If I make those changes, do I have the faith to follow the Lord and not look back yearning for a time when things were seemed easier?

I know that this trial being a part of my life is not my fault. I'm just here, and I have to make the most of it. I have choice: I can accept this as the plan and use the circumstances to better myself and draw closer to Christ, or I can keep trying to live in the past while what is really happening creates a falling apart of life all around me while I live in la la land wishing for something different.

My mind keeps going to lyrics of one of my recovery songs, "Better Promises" by Hilary Weeks (from her album, Say Love):

I thought maybe you had forgotten me,
And I wondered if you listened when I prayed.
Seemed like everything I was asking for
Stayed hidden behind heaven's doors,
And I was losing faith.

I can see now as I look back,
Now that the tears have passed.

You gave me bread,
But I thought it was a stone,
And before you could tell me yes,
You had to tell me no.
If you had given me what I wanted,
I would not have seen
That you had better promises for me.

It took some time to convince me
To trust your plan and see things your way.
It was hard to trade what I wanted most
For promises that were still unknown,
And my heart was about to break.

Sometimes it's hard to recognize
The blessings that come in disguise.

You gave me bread,
But I thought it was a stone,
And before you could tell me yes,
You had to tell me no.
If you had given me what I wanted,
I would not have seen
That you had better promises for me.

And I can see now as I look back,
Now that the tears have passed.

You gave me bread,
But I thought it was a stone,
And before you could tell me yes,
You had to tell me no.
If you had given me what I wanted,
If you had sheltered me from the pain,
If you had let me settle for something less,
I would not have seen
That you had better promises for me.

**For more reference on Lot's wife, this speech is a really good one. Pray, read it, and let the revelation come to you for what you might be looking back on. I hope we can all be courageous to stand strong and look forward with a hope in what God has in store for us.

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in. We look back to claim the embers from glowing experiences but not the ashes. And when we have learned what we need to learn and have brought with us the best that we have experienced, then we look ahead, we remember that faith is always pointed toward the future. Faith always has to do with blessings and truths and events that will yet be efficacious in our lives. So a more theological way to talk about Lot’s wife is to say that she did not have faith. She doubted the Lord’s ability to give her something better than she already had. Apparently she thought—fatally, as it turned out—that nothing that lay ahead could possibly be as good as those moments she was leaving behind." --Jeffrey R. Holland, "Remember Lot's Wife"

Friday, December 27, 2013

Burning Lingerie

There are a few stories I could tell here.

One is about the trigger of lingerie.
One is about how I destroyed that trigger.
And one is how I opened up and allowed myself to be vulnerable in a situation that normally scares me.

All of these stories have something in common: I'm facing my fears, people! I can do hard things!

I'm not really sure where this post will take me. I might split these stories up into a couple of posts. We will see what happens as I write.

Oh, ps, it's possible that this post might be triggery. After all, I'm writing about a trigger (but then I destroy the trigger in the end--if that helps you make it through :P).


I remember the last time I wore lingerie. I went a long time without wearing it because of the trauma associated with the addiction in my marriage. I finally felt like I could handle it. I could handle wearing it. I wanted to feel sexy. I wanted that power and, dare I say, peace of feeling good in my marriage. I don't really know what I was thinking--meaning I don't know why I would think that wearing something calling for lust would be a good idea in my situation--because looking back I see that I was pretty much just setting myself up to be a lust object. Or, in the very least, to feel like an object.

After all the work I had done fighting the trauma and the addiction, I thought I could do it. I put it on and happened to look at myself in the mirror. I looked good (no, I don't ever use sexy to describe myself). I looked so good, in fact, that I had a panic attack about it. It stemmed from a lot of things, but the main thing I remember thinking was, "I could be in a porn video. I'm dressed for the part." [Although, to be fair, I'm sure my sexy-look is much more conservative than any porn video. But, I don't know. I've never watched one.] I kept the anxiety and panic to myself at first. I felt like I wasn't allowed to ruin sex when I had basically already told him that it was going to happen. So, I sucked up the panicky feelings and tried to go with the flow.

But I couldn't. And honestly, I don't remember what happened. That is how much it jostled my brain. Either I gathered my strength, stopped what was going on, and broke down sobbing, or I went with it and then broke down sobbing afterwords. Whatever happened, all I remember is the crying. The trauma.

I. could. not. do. it.

Ben, bless his heart, was very patient with me. I mean, he was to my face. I don't know how patient he was in his thoughts. Regardless, he seemed patient with me. I'm pretty sure we went a long time after that without sex again because that last time wearing lingerie was so traumatic for me. All I could think about when I thought about sex was lust, porn, and cheating. I constantly wondered if he was acting in love or lust. I constantly wondered if my body was a trigger for him of the other naked bodies he had seen. I wondered who he was seeing and who he was loving: me or some woman in his head?

Eventually, we packed up our belongings and moved across the country to good ol' Arkansas.

We lived with my parents for ten months, and all the while, my lingerie was packed away.

When we moved into our house, and I unpacked my lingerie, it all hit me again. Each piece had some kind of memory attached to it. There was the one from our wedding night--so full of innocence and naivety. And lies. There were the ones he liked and convinced me to wear the most. Because I was sexy in them. Barf. There were some that were just fun and reflected my personality. But sex was a lie to me. And there was one that I always wore when I dressed for myself instead of him.

The memories flooded at me as I  unpacked. And by memories, I'm talking about bad ones. Even the good memories had a sour twist to them because behind every good memory were lies and secrets.

I cried as I unpacked my lingerie. I felt like I could never wear them again.

And then I decided to burn them.

My idea of sex and intimacy in marriage has changed a lot throughout my marriage because of this addiction. It's not a bad thing. I think I'm becoming a better person. I'm learning more about the true meaning of love and how true intimacy works, and to me it's just beautiful. I don't need lingerie to make me feel rotten and dirty. When physically intimate moments happen, they just happen. They are becoming more perfect--in tune with God and the true reason why our bodies are built the way they are. I'm becoming one with my husband through intimacy, and I love how it is helping our relationship.

I don't need lingerie.

My decision to burn my lingerie was a solid two-three months ago. But then things kept coming up that caused me to push this event off. Eventually, I became scared of doing it and started rationalizing myself out of it.

Today, I thought long and hard about my lingerie. I asked myself what the purpose is in keeping it. I asked myself what would happen if it was destroyed. And then I felt fear and anxiety begin to overtake me, and I realized that I had to burn it. I'm not saying that everyone should take this approach to healing: I'm just saying I needed to.

You see, I've been fighting body image issues along with everything else. I don't write about it, and I rarely allow myself to even think about it because I hate it. I know I'm just fine the way I am. I actually really like my body, and I try to remind myself of that every day. But because of many factors that play into the anxiety and problems I'm experiencing in my life, I constantly have this underlying notion that I am not good enough. And I usually play that out through my body image.

Today, I hit a moment where I knew that something I needed to do physically to help myself heal in many areas was to burn my lingerie. So I did. The rotten stuff was so full of poison for me in so many different ways, and physically destroying that poison was one of the most healing things I have done (right alongside burning the addiction).

I started with Ben's favorites--the ones that make me look sexy. Blech. Need I say I hate that word? Then I just kept putting the other pieces on one by one. I ended up keeping one set of lingerie: the one that I wore for me. I kept it as a symbol of hope.

I know I'm not instantly healed just because I burned my lingerie. But I do feel like a piece of me is back where it belongs. I feel more peace, and I feel a little more hope. Or at least I feel like I can keep pressing onward a little bit longer.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Gifts

I haven't written on here in two weeks. I miss writing, but I just don't know what to write. I don't want to pretend things are any different than they are, but I also don't want to write a skewed, even slightly pessimistic post. I'm really working hard on being positive. Or at least not being unnecessarily negative.

This week, I've been trying to focus on what I can "give" Christ. Basically, I've been thinking about what I can do to make myself better. That means I've had to focus on my weaknesses and admit that they are there. That means I've had to admit that some of the damage being done in my relationship with Ben is happening because of me... (in case you were wondering, a lot of my weaknesses have to do with pride)

I tend to rationalize myself out of blame. Realistically, it's totally normal. I've experienced a lot of trauma and am still experiencing trauma. There is a large amount of damage being done that is in no way my fault. But, I can't change the circumstances of what is happening. I can't change what Ben has done or what he still does. I can't change the lying or hiding. I can't change his shaming. I can't control him. I have no control over him or what he does. I do have control, however, of me and what I do.

I have control over how I react. I have control over how much hope I hold out. I have control over how I treat others around me, even when I'm angry. I have control over how much I open up to people and allow others to help me.

I've been really sad. The trauma has hit me on a whole new level. I'm not more depressed than I have been. On the contrary, I think I'm a little less depressed (or falling into denial for the time-being--not sure which). I'm just feeling and dealing with things a little differently.

My dad showed me this video this morning. I don't know where he found it, but I looked it up and found it on youtube. For all you wonderful people who are struggling with betrayal of a spouse (or any tough trial for that matter), this is for you.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Understanding the Addict Perspective

God has given me countless experiences that have helped me understand things a little more from "the addict perspective." All in all, I'm grateful for every experience even though they sometimes just irritate the heck out of me. Sometimes I don't want to be compassionate: I want him to be compassionate and understanding and just stop it already. I know that can't be, and besides, I know that is way easier said than done.

So, in the end, I am grateful for the experiences God has given me that have helped me understand Ben's perspective a little more. They have helped me develop higher levels of compassion, patience, and humility--three strong elements necessary for working through this addiction together.

One of these experiences happened over the weekend. I started getting depressed about the addiction and infertility. I didn't want to open up to Ben about it because I was embarrassed about fretting over certain things (not that he isn't a complete angel when I'm caught up in my depression). And I seriously did not want to open up to God about it. I felt like He has to be tired of hearing me whine and complain about my trials. I know I will get pregnant when the timing is right, so it's pointless to keep complaining. I also know I can turn to Him and be healed from this pain I feel (regarding every trial I'm currently facing). The thing is, I just don't want to. I want to overcome this on my own. I want to be independent. I want to be strong enough on my own that I can conquer Satan and his demons bringing me down. I want to be the all-powerful Kilee. I just want to do this by myself. I don't like depending on others.

Sound familiar?

Sounds like what I have heard from my addict-spouse.

When I really sit down and think about it, I know all of that is ridiculous. I don't need to be embarrassed of the things that hurt me. And Heavenly Father is certainly not tired of hearing me cry out for comfort and healing. I know I will get pregnant when the timing is right, but I also know that if I keep leaning on the Atonement, I will be blessed in so many ways and have strength to face all of this: my physical medical issues, my depression, my husband's addiction, and my infertility. I know that as I give up my pride and focus on humility, I will grow in so many ways, I will be blessed tremendously, and I will experience peace and joy in the midst of my trials. My life will go on happily, and I will be able to work through these things.

When my husband sits down and thinks about it, he can also (sometimes/most-times) see the ridiculousness of his thought-patterns and actions. He knows what he needs to do, but it's a lot harder to follow through than just think about it.

The natural man is an enemy to God. The natural man craves independence, strength, and power. Those cravings are some of the ways Satan tempts me. When I get caught up in my pride, it's easy for him to creep in and bring me down. And naturally, everything feels worse.

Same goes for the addicts. They also want independence, strength, and power. They want to master this on their own.

I'm seeing Ben slowly turn to Christ. He is doing so more and more, slowly but surely. It's hard to see the changes, have the positive conversations, and know he knows what to do, but have everything happen so slowly. I get impatient, and when I get impatient, I tend to get angry. And then my spiral of depression comes and that is a whole other story.

My point is that God is giving me little moments where I get a glimpse of understanding of what it is like on the addict side because many of the things Ben faces, I face as well--just in a different way. I'm grateful for those little experiences because they do help me with compassion, patience, and humility. When I have the proper perspective, things work a lot better in our relationship. And that is ultimately what I want: a joyful relationship.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Christ was Betrayed Too

I've had a lot on my mind over the past week. I've asked myself a lot of questions, and I haven't really been able to find the answers.

There are a lot of unknowns with this addiction, as I'm sure it is with any addiction. Right now, much of the unknowns are focused around his recovery. I hear people talk about "true recovery" vs. "white knuckling," and I don't think I really understand those terms. I also don't know where Ben fits in. Part of me feels like he is in true recovery--meaning that he really is trying. But, I know there is a part of his heart that isn't fully there, so does that mean he is white knuckling? I don't know, and it honestly doesn't matter right now. He is making steps towards recovery, and for that I am grateful.

I'm still experiencing some major trauma. I don't know why, but it bothers me. I think I've gotten accustomed to things, or I think I have forgiven certain things, but then they don't leave me, and I get in this cycle of ruts, pulling myself out, and peace.

Most of my trauma is regarding physical intimacy. Physical intimacy went out of the relationship for a season: about three months, maybe four. I'm not really sure. It got to the point where I just couldn't do it, and he didn't question it or pressure me (thank you). We worked on our emotional intimacy. We worked on healing. I took off my ring at one point. And all of that was NICE. I didn't feel the same disappointment every month with infertility or his relapses. I've been sad at not having children, but I've been more accepting of God's plan with that. During that time, there was no pressure for anything, just the desire to improve our marriage. Things would start going really well, and then he would mess up again. Tension would rise, and our relationship would take a turn backwards. But each time it became easier to recover.

Thanksgiving marked the day we started trying to have kids again (purely coincidental date btw). Things just flowed. It felt rewarding and beautiful. And then the next time...everything hit me. Questions. Trauma. Emotion. Everything.

What is he thinking about while we are doing this?
Will I ever feel fully secure in our relationship again?
How hard is he really trying to overcome his addiction?
What if I don't get pregnant this month? Again. Then we will have to keep going...having "scheduled" sex while fighting the trauma of his addiction.

Trying to get pregnant puts a strain on your physical relationship. I mean, I can't speak for everyone. I can only speak from the perspective of being married to a sex-addict. But it does put on a strain, and it is overwhelming at times.

Right now, I think my biggest fear is that we will try to get pregnant, it won't happen, disappointment will follow, we will start getting strained, he will fall back into old addiction patterns, and then we will have to take another break. The pattern and cycle is really getting to me. I just want to be happy.

I'm praying, praying, that we will be blessed with a child this month.

I've heard countless times that maybe God isn't sending us children because we need to work out the kinks in our relationship so the baby can be raised in a functional home. Or other things along those lines. It makes me sad, and I think that possibly adds to the trauma a little bit more. I see my wopa (wife of porn addict) friends and their families, and I wonder why not me? Because yeah, sure, we have problems in our marriage, but I don't think God is not sending us children just because Ben is a porn addict, and I don't think it's fair to say anything like that to anyone. I know having children won't solve our problems, and I know some things will get a little harder. But at the same time, I feel like we are ready and possibly even need that next step in our relationship. Ben is a really good guy. He is going to be a great father. We are going to be great parents. He is trying to recover from his addiction. He is trying to put God first. He isn't perfect, but no one is.

I've definitely grown from both of these trials (addiction and infertility), along with my other trials (physical trials such as back, feet, and neck, along with the stress of some other personal things) and if anything, I think I'm being prepared for something great. I don't know what that something is, but I'm growing a lot. I feel older than I am. I have faced so many HARD trials, all at the same time, and I feel like I have aged a ton in the past four years. It's weird to look back at when I was 20 and think of how silly I was. I'm 24, and I feel like way more than four years have passed. I think I've grown in ways that normal 24-year-olds don't.

After this week(ish) of trying to get pregnant and giving in to the physical intimacy side (which was only able to come after a lot of work on the emotional intimacy side), he struggled with his addiction again. He masturbated. I don't remember when the last time before that was, and it doesn't matter. It was long enough ago that I was feeling safe, but feeling too safe. I started getting the fears and worries of "When is it going to happen again? When is the addiction going to come back, whether in little pieces or in full force?" I started closing down. I stopped communicating to him, and solid, open communication is something that we have worked really hard to achieve.

When I found out about the masturbation, tons of questions swirled through my mind. I don't feel the need to go into those questions. The main question I came down to, after spending much time studying, pondering, and praying, was "How do I turn this over to Christ?"

I've found a lot of answers and helpful things in the scriptures lately, but something I read today hit me the hardest:

Christ was betrayed by one of his disciples. I'm assuming since Judas was a disciple, that they were pretty good friends. I'm assuming that there was a lot of love and trust in their relationship. I'm also assuming since Judas was a disciple, he had made covenants with Christ to stand as a witness of Him. I couldn't find that specifically in the scriptures, I'm just using my own thoughts and understanding of the situation.

By betraying Christ, which was the ultimate betrayal, Judas broke bonds of trust and love. Those bonds are similar to the bonds we have in marriage. Christ felt pain. He probably felt heartbroken. He even felt alone when he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).

He has felt the betrayal. His betrayal was even greater than my own. Not only that, but He took upon Himself all of the pains we have felt, no matter the cause, when He was in the Garden. He has felt every bit of the pain I have felt, both from the infertility and the addiction. He has felt the pain of my unanswered questions. He has felt the pain of my trauma. He has felt it all.

He has felt it all so He would know how to succor me. He has felt it all so He would know how to lift me up.

And He can heal me. He can heal all.

He has promised to be with us always as long as we are faithful.

This gives me peace. I still have unanswered questions and pains. I still have fears, but I know as I turn it all over to Christ, I can be healed. I have a long way to go for healing. I also have a long way to go for complete humility and desire to do His will. But I'm working. And Ben is working. We are both imperfect, and I can't really expect more than hard work and steady progress on his part, even if the progress feels incredibly slow sometimes.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

We are Soldiers

"Waving the white flag is not an option." -Alicia

We're trudging through the heat of the battle--trudging onward till we drop. There is no looking back. There is no going home. We are in this for the long-haul.

We will fight until the war is won. We know there will be casualties along the way. We've seen some already, and they have broken our hearts. We only pray that we, and our families, will not be one of the casualties.

What are we fighting against? 


What will we win if (when) victory is ours?

Peace. Salvation. A better existence.The opportunity to live with God again. 

Satan is the master of cunning and evil. He is doing everything he can to rule and reign over us--to all the ends of the earth. He doesn't want us to follow God. He doesn't want us to be happy. He doesn't want us to experience true joy. He doesn't want us to feel peace. He leads us astray. He makes promises he won't keep. He will fool and trick us until we have nothing left but despair and emptiness. He will help us lose everything, and then he will leave us to fend for ourselves.

He targets our weaknesses. He uses trickery to create weaknesses so he can target us even more. He also leads us to target each other. How does he do all this? Through media. Socialization of sex. Our children. Our fears. He creates uneasiness. He creates doubt. He creates fear. He is the author of chaos and confusion.

He has no mercy. 

And he is relentless. 

My life has become a series of battles. As I have grown and gained experience, and especially as I have gained stronger faith in God, Satan has worked tirelessly. Sometimes, he has given me breaks of peace and composure (so he could sneak-attack), and I've let my guard down. It is then that he comes back working double time. As a result, I have lost some battles. But I have won more. And I have resolve. I am not losing this war. I will fight for the rest of my life. I will stand strong like Moroni and defend "in memory of [my] God, [my] religion, and freedom, and [my] peace, [my family]" (Alma 46:12).

This morning I studied my patriarchal blessing. As I studied, I was struck with how prepared I am to fight this fight. God has given me everything I need. It's amazing. As long as I use my agency the correct way, I will win. That's not to say it won't be hard. It will be hard. It will be exhausting. I've seen it firsthand. There have been many days when I didn't want to and didn't think I even could go on. But I can. As long as I have perception, perspective, hope, and faith, I can go on. I can do anything with God by my side, lifting me up, and giving me angels to strengthen me. 

I was instructed in my patriarchal blessing to find joy and happiness in this life, and that my attitude and understanding are the foundation of living a happy and healthy life. As I pondered that, I realized that true joy is a state of mind. Life could be awful all around me, but I can still find joy. I can hold on to that joy and make life amazing. It's the little things that count. 

Sometimes I struggle with my relationship with Ben. Even when he is being wonderful, I'm still recovering from trauma. And I honestly don't know when/if the full onslaught of the trauma will come back. I don't know what he will use his agency for. I don't know if he will start lying again. I don't know if he will keep secrets and live a life of adultery behind my back. I just don't know. That scares me. I have a lot to work through. Everything I just mentioned is only a small part. 

Despite how hard things can be, I can still find joy. I can live a full life, and I can grow to become a great woman who is worthy and ready to live with God again. I'm on the right track. I'm practicing the courage and strength it takes to choose joy in the midst of chaos. Life is journey to find joy and let it exist in you. 

The journey is hard. All along the way, Satan has been and will be fighting me. He doesn't want me to be happy, and he certainly doesn't want me to gain eternal salvation. But I'm not surrendering to him. I won't even let it be an option. 

For a while, I thought I was fighting this alone. I'm not. All along my path, I've found my fellow-soldiers who were lost as well. They went down other beaten paths, feeling alone or maybe lost or forgotten. Together, we're forming an army. We're fighting Satan. We're becoming more vocal in society. 

We are going to win.


We're trudging through the heat of the battle--trudging onward till we drop. There is no looking back. There is no going home. We are in this for the long-haul.

We will fight until the war is won. We know there will be casualties along the way. We've seen some already, and they have broken our hearts. But we will fight long and hard, and we will neither let ourselves nor our families become casualties.

"Oh you wounded fallen ones 
Close your eyes 
Hear the battle drum 
The cadence calling us 
March on 
March on 
Oh you wounded broken ones 
Still glinting in the sun 
Live trying `til we’ve won 
March on 
March on"

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Ben the Beast

Last week, I watched part of Beauty and the Beast at my brother- and sister-in-law’s house. I haven’t seen that movie in a very long time.

The part that was on when we arrived at their house was when Gaston tries to kill Beast. I recognized the look in Beast’s eyes: he looked like he had pretty much given up and was allowing himself to be defeated. He had no hope. Suddenly, Belle rode up on her horse, and yelled Beast’s name. When he looked up and saw her there for him, Beast gained the courage he needed to use his strength to fight Gaston and save himself so he could be with Belle.

While this was happening, I thought of the transformation that had occurred in Beast throughout the movie. At the beginning, he was rough and unlovable. He had been transformed into a hideous monster because of his selfishness, and the spell could only be broken when he learned to love and be loved. He thought himself to be unlovable, and it wasn’t until Belle came into his life that things started changing.

I discovered so many parallels in this story to my life. Because of the addiction, there have been times when Ben thought himself unlovable. He has been the beast. He has been angry and selfish and hurtful. He has done things in moments of selfishness that have broken my heart.

And yet, I see the prince inside him, and I stand by him. There are times that he and I are both stubborn and our relationship takes a wrong turn, but together, the good in him is becoming more dominant than the beast of addiction. During times when he is willing to give up, I am there. I hope that my presence will help him have courage and strength to fight off Satan and live a life of true love and happiness.

Let me be clear, I know fighting the addiction is not my job. I know that Ben has to find it in him to be healed through Christ and take the steps necessary to ward off Satan. I know that he has much work to do, and it is most definitely not up to me to make our marriage work.

However, I am discovering where my role is in his recovery. I am finding the difference between his nature and the nature of his addiction. I feel very lucky because when Ben messes up, most of the time, he has his own trauma to work through. That trauma usually has to do with his love for me and disappointment in himself for letting me, himself, and God down again. It makes him sick to know what he is doing to me. Yes, he still does it, and yes it hurts every time, but we are coming to the point where we are experiencing true intimacy again. Not physical, but emotional intimacy. I can open up to him and tell him how I feel. I can be open and honest about what the addiction is doing to me and to us, and he listens. I can accept his apology and still be hurt and need space, and he knows and accepts that. I can take my time and work through things, and he is patient with me as I do so.

I do have a role in his recovery. I am doing my best to figure out exactly what it is. Based on experiences in my marriage, I am finding what works and doesn’t work. I know I have to be firm, yet loving. I have to be stern, and forgiving. I have to keep myself safe, but I can still help him in some ways while keeping myself safe. Sometimes, it’s brutal honesty that is necessary for both him and me. Sometimes, I have to be more guarded and lean on outside support people. But I always try to be there for him when he needs to talk about things, even if it pains me—just as I appreciate him being there for me even when what I have to say hurts him.

While we work through this, I have this part of me that is full of hope for us. I’m always full of hope that I will be okay because no matter what, I have Christ, and I know I can be healed through Him. The part I rarely admit out loud is that I am holding out hope that Ben will be healed and our marriage will survive this. I’ll admit, divorce is almost always on the back burner. I know now that sometimes divorce has to happen. When we got married, I totally had the mind-frame that we would never get divorced, and I thought we could work through anything. I know now that some things might not be able to be worked through. We will see. But, I have this sliver of hope in the back of my mind telling me he will be healed, and we will make it through this. Then, after we get through this, we can get through anything. I mean, who knows? But, that hope is there.

I recognize that it could be a long while before he is fully healed and our marriage is in a great place. But, lately, we’ve been getting to a good place. When things happen that mess up the “good place”, I’m still able to reflect on the things I’m learning and use the strength I’ve gained (along with the Lord) to help me rise up and be resilient.

No matter what happens, like Belle, I’m ready to ride up in my horse and give Ben support when Satan is kicking him down. I think it’s when he is being kicked down that he needs my love and support the most (and then, when he is steady on his feet, he can support me while I collapse from the heat of the battle). Granted, that is when it’s kind of the scariest because I don’t know whether he will be in total addict-mode or hitting rock bottom and feeling humble. I pray that he will be humble and continue fighting Satan so our marriage can thrive. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Addiction: Is It About You?

This post is for those of you who have struggled with the concept that “this has nothing to do with you.”

I’ve struggled with that concept a lot since I started my recovery. Despite how that may sound, my struggle with it is not because I think the addiction is my fault. I feel very blessed to have only minimally thought about the addiction in those terms, and those thoughts were very quickly shut down in the beginning stages of my recovery. However, that phrase bothers me because I still feel like the addiction has very much to do with me.

People in my recovery groups in Utah, along with my previous bishop, constantly told me “it has nothing to do with you.” Everything seemed to be focused around not being codependent and knowing the addiction was not about me. I was instructed to lean on Christ and let Him heal me. That’s good, but it made me feel like I’m supposed to find a way for this to not hurt me because “it has nothing to do with me.” If it has nothing to do with me, I shouldn’t be hurt by it, right?

I think I’ve been waiting for that day in my recovery that the addiction doesn’t hurt me, or that I am so quick to turn it over to God that I don’t feel the pain.

That’s not how it works.

Ben’s addiction has nothing to do with me in the sense that I’m not the cause. I’m not at fault for anything he has done. He doesn’t turn to his addiction because I’m not beautiful or fulfilling enough (and if he did, I would say screw him because I don’t feel the need to change myself physically for anyone but me). He doesn’t turn to his addiction because I’m a failure of a wife. I know I’m not. In fact, I’m an amazing wife, and I have a lot of patience and love. It is in those types of instances that the addiction has nothing to do with me.

The addiction doesn’t stem from me, but it still has very much to do with me. He is my husband. He turns to his addiction rather than God or me. He breaks promises and does things that hurt me, and I’ve realized it’s okay and normal that they hurt me. Just because the addiction “isn’t about me” doesn’t mean I can’t be hurt by it. This is my life, and it very much involves me. This life I’m living is all about me. I can rely on God and still be very much hurt by the actions of my husband. It comes with the reality I’m living. He has made commitments, and I have hope that he will keep them. When that hope is crushed, it’s only natural to be hurt.

So, if this is a concept you have struggled with, know you’re not alone. The addiction isn’t about you, meaning it is in no way your fault. The consequences and pain of the addiction very much involve you, and that is normal. As you seek your own recovery, you will be healed and blessed to find the true joy and happiness you deserve even in the midst of addiction in your life.

Friday, November 29, 2013

"Why is porn bad?" Part III: My Answer

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

I hate pornography. I hate anything that has to do with sex being misused.

Did any of you read Matt Walsh's post about pornography? Did you read the comments? Reading the comments proved to me, not that I had any doubt, that pornography and sex-addiction are running rampant in society.

Deep breath.

So many people think pornography and masturbation are okay. So many people think it's normal and justifiable to act in these things. It's not.

Let's start with the easy part: pornography in relationships.

When you get married, you make promises. Those promises include being faithful to your spouse. You cannot be truly faithful if you are lusting after other people, whether it's through: a) seeking out pornographic images to lust after, b) viewing pornographic videos [and with that, you're not just watching--you are lusting right along with the videos], c) masturbating [which includes the sexual fantasies], or d) any other lustful actions. I repeat, you cannot be truly faithful if you are lusting after other people. If you lust after anyone else, in any shape or form, you are not being truly faithful in your mind and heart.

That lust, no matter how it is acted upon, will cause a deep harm in the relationship. There will be a breakdown of trust: both in the marriage and in oneself. It's hard enough to not trust the person you think you should trust the most, but it makes it even harder when the situation causes a lack of trust in your own judgment (for me, that happened because of my questioning of my judgment in marrying Ben).

Along with the breakdown in trust will come a loss of love, high stress and anxiety (possibly causing emotional disorders), and a serious lack of peace and harmony in the relationship.

Pornography rips relationships apart.

Sometimes, couples view pornography to help their sexual relationship. It's really not helpful. Even if it's being viewed together, there will often be a breakdown in trust. One of the people in that relationship will wonder if they are being compared to what was viewed in the porn. They will even compare themselves to the porn. They will lose confidence in their own bodies and their abilities to have a satisfying sexual relationship. Tension will form during sexual relations, and soon enough, it will be less harmonious and satisfying.

Many times, those worries or cares go unsaid. Those worries are not voiced because the person feels embarrassed or rationalizes it out of their head. But they are there, and they eat away at the victim of the worries.

You may be thinking, "Well, I'm not married. So this doesn't apply to me." Oh, but it does. If you ever want to be in a committed relationship, pornography needs to be out of the question. It doesn't even matter if you want the relationship to be long-term. There are unspoken rules of relationships, and one of those is faithfulness. If you ever want to experience real love in a trusting, committed relationship, pornography has to be out of the question. You might not think you're addicted, and you might think you can stop whenever you want. Okay, try to stop. I'll bet you won't be able to. Because of the chemical happenings in the brain while viewing pornography (read this for specific information of the brain chemistry), it is something people become addicted to. When the time comes that you need to stop (for the sake of your other half) you will have a long, grueling journey full of ups and downs ahead of you. For both of you. And it will suck.

It's possible that you're thinking, "I'm not planning on ever being in a committed relationship. This doesn't apply to me." Don't close down yet. This still applies to you.

Pornography desensitizes people to human interaction. Over time, relationships will be diminished. I'm not talking about sexual relationships. I'm talking about relationships with friends, co-workers, and family. I'm talking about any kind of relationship you might be engaged in. Pornography-land is a fantasy-land, and maybe on the outside, it seems like a great place to be. Like the lands of other addictions, pornography-land produces a euphoria, and it's desirable. The problem is, you become dependent on it because of all the chemicals, or body-produced drugs, that engage the brain. Over time, the brain and body will desire more. And more. And more. Jobs become useless. Friends have no meaning. Family doesn't measure up to what you gain with pornography. Thus, relationships are lost. And then you feel lonely and maybe you turn to your best friend who is there for you through anything--porn.

Not only does pornography harm relationships and individuals, it harms society.

Pornography teaches that people are objects.

It perpetuates the acceptance of sex myths in society--rape myths. Pornography teaches that sex is what it's all about. It doesn't matter if someone says no--keep pushing them. It doesn't matter if someone says no--they really mean yes. It teaches that if people dress certain ways, they want sex. It teaches that everyone wants rough sex, and it further instigates abuse--emotional, physical, and sexual. Porn glorifies rape and objectification.

Me just telling you this may not convince you. But maybe a couple of examples will help seal the case with this part.

Example 1: The Steubenville Rape Case. Last year, a high school girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her peers. She was too drunk to do anything about it. Other peers videotaped and photographed what was going on throughout the night at various parties she attended/was dragged to. These documentations were passed around via social media.

Example 2: Massachusetts teacher sexually assaulted and murdered by a 14-year old student. As far as I know, they don't know his motive, but have the suspicion that he may have been infatuated with this teacher.

I would argue that this type of behavior is a direct correlation and result of society's open arms to sex, and specifically, pornography. I know males are more sexually-minded than females, but I honestly can't imagine how such horrific things could happen were it not for how accepted and prominent the use of sex and pornography are in society, especially with the prevalence of hard-core pornography.

Pornography is the world's sex-ed, and it's wrong. Children these days are learning at far too young of an age what sex is--through pornography. Pornography doesn't teach about safe sex. Pornography doesn't teach about the emotional bonds that are established through sex. Pornography doesn't teach the consequences of sex. It teaches that sex is, and it is highly desirable. It teaches that you should become an object to be desired for sex, and it teaches that you should desire others for sex.

Not everything is about sex. There is so much more to life than sex. Sure, sex can be pleasant and enjoyable, but it is even more so if used properly. Sex is a way to express love and appreciation for your spouse. It is a way of creation. It is a building block of families.

When used improperly, sex destroys families. As families are destroyed, society is broken down.

Improper sex cannot produce true happiness. It may produce a euphoria or type of high, but when used improperly, sex will be harmful and ultimately break down that happiness that people are searching for.

True happiness comes from relationships of love. It comes from dependence on our Father and Jesus Christ. It is hard to maintain a relationship with Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ when you are acting in ways that push the Spirit away. Living a life of casual sex, pornography, and masturbation harm your spirit. It harms your ability to be close to Their Spirit. It will become a wall separating you from Them, and you will never find happiness without Them.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Why is porn bad?" Part II: Addiction

Read Part I here.

Because sex is so accepted in our society, the addiction part is pushed away or forgotten. Many people don't care to realize it's an addiction, or they don't treat it as a "normal" addiction. The abuse and deceit is behind closed doors, and when you are in public, it's all a big happy face. It's a show, usually by both the addict and the spouse. Sex-addiction is not talked about, so we pretend it's not happening. People have told us "They are just pictures", "Masturbation is normal", "You're concerned about that? That's normal. Grow up", or "You're the one with problems, not him." So many people don't understand or have become so immune to the normality of sex that it just doesn't matter to them. My friend Shay wrote a great post about sex-addiction in comparison to alcoholism. Check it out.

The majority of society seems immune to the reality that pornography and masturbation are dangerous. Because it's so socially acceptable, people don't realize that it is an addiction, and a dangerous one at that.

How? How is pornography dangerous? It's just images. It's just videos. It's normal. It's not real cheating or real relationships. How can it be harmful?

How can masturbation be harmful? That is even less than pornography...

First, let's talk about addiction in general. Addiction includes a disability to control substance use or behavior and a preoccupation with substances or behavior. An addict is dependent on the substance or behaviors they are engaging in. The addict may experience consequences and will still continue use of their substance or behaviors. The addict may be in denial of his or her addiction.

When a person becomes addicted to something, that person becomes a dependent. That person will become so dependent on the substance or behaviors that they fail to meet obligations to real life. Family life will become shot. Job responsibilities? Gone out the door. Friendly relationships will be diminished. These consequences won't happen right away. At first, the addict might not even realize or know these things will happen to them. The addict might not know their reality is going to fall apart. But, the addict just might not care because the most important thing, the thing he/she needs is whatever addictive substance or behavior he/she is engaging in.

Addiction is not light. Because the body becomes dependent on the substance or behavior, there comes a time when the tolerance level is not enough. The body is too used to that level and craves more. Pretty soon the body requires more to achieve the desired effect.

I recently had a conversation with one of my teenage sisters about addiction. Many kids at her high school smoke weed. Right now, they don't seem to be suffering consequences, and she was questioning the morality of smoking weed. "All that happens is they experience euphoria," is what she said, followed with, "So why is it wrong?"

When people first engage in addictive behaviors, they may not experience consequences. They may see it as an escape from the problems life has dished them, or they may see it simply as a way to experience euphoria. During this first stage of developing the addiction, they may not (they probably will not) realize the damage that can come--because the real damage and consequences aren't immediate. That's basically what happened with my husband. The fantasyland in which he lived was an escape from his reality. Pornography and masturbation provided him with a safe place to land when times got tough. There were no immediate consequences. He just liked how it made him feel. Eventually, though, the tolerance level increases as the body craves more. Eventually, there can be very serious consequences.

It's easy to see the consequences in drugs like alcohol, marijuana, meth, or heroin. Those drugs cause all kinds of problems. For example, a person could experience a simple lack of concentration, but that lack of concentration could eventually lead to job loss. These drugs could cause a person to become physically violent. They could cause memory loss, and a person might not remember what their actions were while under the influence of those drugs. And as a person developed a higher tolerance and dependence on the drug, violent acts and crimes could be committed to access the drug. Families are torn apart. Friendships are lost. These are the easy effects to see.

With sex-addiction, it's not as easy to see the consequences. The consequences that happen are either very private and not talked about, or they are ignored because "sex" is our society's way of life.

Sex-addiction and sexual behaviors are harmful and dangerous. Sex is something you can become addicted to, and the consequences are very damaging to individuals, families, and society.

Read Part III here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

"Why is porn bad?" Part I: The Question

I was recently asked by a close friend something like, "Why is pornography bad?" I wasn't asked this in criticism for the choices I have made with my husband or of my desire to fight pornography and sex-addiction. I was asked this because so many people really have no clue. The person who asked me this was picking my brain because he would not know how to explain to someone why pornography is bad if they didn't believe in God, had no morals, or just fell into society's trap of acceptance. It's something he has thought about a lot because he also wants to find a way to fight it (and E./N. if you're reading this and I just butchered this first part, sorry. I'm trying to remember this conversation as best as I can).

This brought on an hour-long conversation. When my husband arrived (we were eating dinner at this couple's house), I said, "Jump right in, we are talking about pornography." I love that these friends provide a safe refuge for issues like this to be talked about.

The issue of pornography and sex-addiction is tricky.

There are people who believe in God and see nothing wrong with pornography, masturbation, or being sex-minded. Some people who have an overall high moral fiber may think pornography or masturbation is okay. And then, people who don't believe in God may think sex in any form is okay.

There are also the very religiously-strong who believe and know that pornography is wrong and the misuse of sex is wrong. Even some people who don't believe in God may feel that pornography is wrong (I don't actually know anyone who doesn't believe in God, but I have hopes that there are people out here who don't believe in God and feels something wrong with it. That may be too high of a hope, though. Not sure).

Maybe it's just me, but I'm finding the group of people who find sex-addiction, in any form, to be wrong is small and getting smaller. Society is becoming more accepting of it. Not only are we more accepting of it in men, and women just have to deal with men's desires, but women are being tempted to sex-addiction even more. And it seems that everyone is okay with it. I know not everyone is, and there are people wallowing in the depths of addiction who are not okay with how accepted it is in society. I'm stereotyping society as a whole because it seems to me that in general, the misuse of sex is becoming more and more accepted. Except it's not even considered the misuse of sex. It's just sex. Using sex is becoming more acceptable. Sex seems to be our way of life.

Exhibit A: I teach high school. I hear and see things that show me sex is just accepted. Some students have talked to me about rumors going around about them and how hurt they are by the fact that people think they are sleeping around, but they are the minority. Granted, I could be completely wrong because I realize not everyone comes and talks to me about that stuff. But from conversations I overhear, I truly think it is the minority that keep themselves clean. And that is just from casual sex. I have no idea about those particular students' views on pornography or masturbation. Any reference I have heard, from both girls and boys, about pornography or masturbation has told me it's just what they do. It just is, and they seem to kind of welcome it in.

Exhibit B: I dated a guy in high school who was shocked that I had never viewed pornography, nor did I have the desire to. I also had guy-friends who slept around. I knew of people in my high school who filmed themselves and showed those videos to other students at school. And it was all for a good laugh or pleasure. It was weird to them that I wouldn't involve myself in that type of activity. And for some, it became a game to "corrupt me".

Exhibit C: I met someone at the Togetherness Project whose marriage counselor, who also counselled her husband individually, convinced her husband that the only reason his actions were wrong was [hold on to your hats here] because he was married. If he was not married, he could do whatever it wanted because that is how the single life is. So, he filed for divorce, and is living a life full of sex. It may not be an addiction to him, though, because that is just what guys do. Ever heard that one before?

Exhibit D: My husband's counselor told him that whenever he had the temptation to look at pornography or masturbation, to have sex with me. That would make me his own personal porn puppet, and the intimacy and meaning of our sexual relationship would be gone. My husband had the dignity to not even bring that up until I was talking to him about people I knew who had been scarred by things said/advice given by people they thought they could trust. Thanks, Ben, for knowing that would not be okay. The counselor, on the other hand, thought that was good advice. And that advice is probably "normal". He also told Ben that masturbation is okay and normal except for the fact that we are married, and our marriage is what made those fantasies and actions wrong.

These are just four examples. There are so many more I could give! Our society is changing. Some people think we are becoming more accepting and tolerant, and that is a good thing. It's not. Certain morals are changing or becoming the minority. People are losing the ability to feel the Spirit of God in their lives. It honestly scares me to think about where our society is headed.

So, with society being so accepting of sex in general, how do we explain that pornography, masturbation, or other misuses of sex are wrong?

Feel free to comment with your ideas of how to answer this question!

Read Part II here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Reflections on a Sunday

Last Sunday, I was looking forward to the coming week with a little dread. It was going to be very hard, and I could NOT wait for Thanksgiving Break.

Every single day this week, I was incredibly blessed. I know without a doubt I was carried through the week by the grace of God. So many little things happened that showed me He had not left me alone and that He loves me. I had a lot of things in mind for a post today, but I feel it would be selfish of me to write about anything other than a testimony of God's love for each of us.

No one's trials are easy. Everything we face is catered specifically to us--to help mold us to become our best selves and to gain eternal salvation. We can take our opportunities of trial to draw closer to or farther away from God. No matter what we choose, He still loves us. At times, it's hard to recognize His hand through the thick fog of darkness. But then, sometimes it's easier to see His hand than other times. I've definitely had my fair share of weeks and trials where it was hard to see Him, and I'm so grateful for every opportunity that has been given me to draw closer to Him. I'm especially grateful for the many opportunities He gave me this week to count my blessings and express thanks to Him.

As we express gratitude, our ability to feel the Spirit and see clearly increases. I've experienced that many times in my life, and I certainly felt it this week.

We are never alone. Sometimes we feel like we are, and I truly think it is at those times, when life is at its highest level of difficulty, that He is carrying us. We may be so concerned with what is happening around us that we barely notice we are not, in fact, carrying ourselves. I know what it feels like to be alone. I also know what it feels like to look back and realize I was never alone. He is there. He really is. He loves me, and He loves you. If you can't see Him, keep your eyes peeled. Pray that you might start recognizing the little things. Maybe keep a gratitude journal. Whatever you do, have faith in Him.

He is there.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guest Post

I've written a guest post that is featured at Lights Along the Shore and Addiction Hope and Recovery today! They are currently doing a series of tips from women in recovery. Check it out on Tuesdays and Thursdays for more tips from women in recovery. So far, the posts have been very powerful and uplifting.

I can't wait to start my trek to Utah for Thanksgiving. We are leaving tomorrow after school. The past two weeks have been crazy busy. I've worked between 60-70 hours both weeks. I'm seriously looking forward to some down time, family time (aka nieces and nephews time), and blogging time. I have a lot of thoughts jumbling around in my head that are bursting to get out.

31 hours to go! Love you all! See you on the other side.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I've sat here for almost 20 minutes trying to figure out what to write. I had so much swirling around in my head, and I was so excited to write. I can't get anything out, though. I'm too sick, too tired, and too stressed to actually write any of the things that were jumping to get out. They just get jumbled and messy, and I can't even go back and read what I've written to make sure it makes sense because it just makes my head spin. I should have gone to bed an hour ago, but I couldn't. Too much to do.

Bah. I can't wait till Thanksgiving Break.

Just know, blogging world, I was thinking about you. And I love you.

Just know this too:

"Hope is never lost. If those miracles do not come soon or fully or seemingly at all, remember the Savior's own anguished example: if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be strong, trusting in happier days ahead." --Jeffrey R. Holland

It's hard to trust in happier days ahead when the future looks so bleak. There are happier days ahead. I'm finding mine, and I know there are more to come. And even if things are so, so hard, remember there is opposition in all things. If you are feeling lonely and depressed, there must be opposition. I've found that the more intense my negative emotions, the more intense the opposite positive emotions. Things will go up.

And, if you're running on empty, refuel. Take time for yourself so you don't run out of gas at a busy intersection. That would really stink. Find what you need for you. I'll tell you what I do to refuel: I listen to my soul food playlist. I smell my favorite candle. I pray. I do relaxation breathing and fall asleep. I read. I talk to friends. I dance.

Have a wonderful night/day :)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Hell-Week's Disguised Blessings

Yesterday (well, this whole week) was impossibly long and hard. Thursday night/yesterday were my time to crash and burn. I almost cried at school. Luckily, it was during my favorite class (my catering class-nine students), and they are so amazing in there. I mean, it was a very awkward moment, but I just told them it wasn't them, it was me, and I was simply having a rough day. They love me, and they held me up. Then the rest of the day (I have one of those students three class periods in a row, and four others of those students two class periods in a row), they let everyone who was even remotely rude to me know that I was having a bad day and to knock it off. The rest of the day, all of my students were very protective of my emotional state. They fed me with compliments--telling me that I'm a great teacher, they love me, and that I'm beautiful. It was so amazing to feel that power and love around me. As a high school teacher.

I'm supposed to be in Branson this weekend. My friends are having a girls' weekend without me. That's a story in itself, and all I'll say is I had too much work to do, so I chose not to go as an act of self-care. Going was supposed to be self-care, but with progress reports going out Monday (and how backed up I am in grading and other things with school), the idea of going became pure stress. I decided to stay home so I could get as much as I can done because next week might be hell-week at school. I have so much to do. Plus I woke up feeling sick yesterday and worse today, so I'm glad I can just lay in bed doing my school-work and not be walking around outlet malls in the cold.

Last night I was at school until seven. SEVEN! On a Friday. Did I mention I got to school around 7:10 am? Right when I was feeling sorry for myself (around 5:15) two of my favorite students came in to say hi. They were setting up for the cheer competition today, and decided to take a break and see if I was still there...What kinds of students would expect a teacher to still be at school on Friday at 5:15? Inspired ones. Actually, they wanted some cookies that they were supposed to come get after school but forgot about. Nevertheless, I felt very blessed that they came to visit me and chat for a bit, and I do think it was inspired. About an hour later, a couple more students came to borrow my vacuum to vacuum turf off of something as they were setting up for the competition. These are my two funniest students (and I can never get enough laughs in, especially when I'm depressed that it's 6:15 on a Friday night, and I'm still at school), and it was another little blessing that I knew was from God.

I have stress hives. Not to mention the pain in my back, neck, and feet, which are constant. I wanted to do some form of exercise today, but I'm sick. So, I'll just lay here and do school stuff while I'm wrapped in blankets trying to keep warm. Things could look really down, but I know I'm so blessed. Throughout this entire week, which has had incredible highs and lows (Seriously. Insane amounts of tears, but insane amounts of joy too), I have been blessed. I'm sure later today I will get depressed again, but I'm just grateful for the moments of clarity I have when I know I'm extremely blessed.

Last night, we had pizza for dinner, made a fort with my 13-year old sister, and watched a movie with her. Today I might paint ( would be amazing if I could paint!), and I'll for sure do some ADDO and study my scriptures.

It's actually a tender mercy that I had so much to do that I couldn't go to Branson. I am getting some necessary time for myself. Everything I had to do was too much to do after coming home from Branson, but it's not so much that it's taking up my whole weekend. Well, actually, it was, but I crossed some stuff off my list. I'm simplifying for myself. Kind of like how I chose not to grade some assignments because it was too overwhelming. Anyway, right now I'm supposed to be at a Stake Leadership Training for Young Women's, but I skipped it for self-care. And I think God understands that. When I prayed about what to cross off my weekend, I felt very strongly that I need to take care of myself this weekend. What a blessing.

God sees me. He knows me. He knows exactly what to do for me. And I have the Atonement to lean on.

Christ has felt pains, afflictions, and temptations of every kind (Alma 7:11). That means this kind. The kind I feel when I'm severely depressed. The kind I feel when I'm struggling with the responsibilities I have at school. The kind I feel when I'm stuck with the addiction in my life. The kind I feel because I'm not wearing my wedding ring, and the kind I feel when I put the ring back on.

He has taken all of our infirmities (physical and mental weaknesses) upon Himself (Alma 7:12). Because of that, He is filled with mercy, and He knows exactly what we need to be lifted up. He knows because He has felt it. He knows when I need merciful students to feed me with love and compliments. He knows when I need my husband to buy my favorite pizza and decide we're making a fort and watching a movie. He knows when I need my sweet sisters to make me laugh. He knows when I need my principal to email me telling me how great of a job I'm doing and that my work doesn't go unnoticed. He knows when I need my young women's president to ask me how my week is going and expect an honest answer (there is another person I opened up to about the addiction this week :) woot!). He knows when I need students to come talk to me about their own trials. It gives me perspective, and it also shows me that I am in the right place right now and am making a difference for them. I love my students. He knows when to prompt me to cut down and give me peace about cutting down on things in my life. He knows when to give me moments of peace and clarity. This list could go on.

He sees me. He knows me. He is always there for me. And, even though I know that, sometimes I still get a little mad and prideful because things are so hard.

But He is always there waiting for me with open arms. In the meantime, He sends angels to help lift me up.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


You know how much I love music. I have a special playlist called "Soul Food" that is full of my recovery songs. This one has been playing over and over in my head this week. It's relatively new, so I couldn't find a good version on youtube. The lyrics are inspiring and oh, so helpful.

(click on her name to read how she came to write this song!)

I was raised to be BRAVE 
To stand up & stand out 
To wear my name like I know 
The people I came from & who I am now. 

There’s a banner held to the sky 
Down through the ages it’s been held high 
And I’ve found fearless blood in my veins 
That makes me the lightning every time it rains 

I was born to stand tall 
I was born to face the wind 
I was born to feel heartache and heal again 
Born to open up my heart 
Raise my hands and sing 
I was born to fill the measure of my wings 
To be a light in the storm 
I was Born 

I want to live until I die 
Leave a fire in my children’s eyes 
So they can run through the fields 
And feel that sweet wind lift their dreams 

We were born to stand tall 
We were born to face the wind 
We were born to feel heartache and heal again 
Born to open up our hearts 
Raise our hands and sing 
We were born to fill the measure of our wings 
& be a light in the storm 
We were Born 

When your fire’s burned down to the embers 
Just recover and remember 

You were born to stand tall 
You were born to face the wind 
You were born to feel heartache and heal again 
Born to open up your heart 
Raise your hand and sing 
You were born to fill the measure of your wings 
To be a light in the storm 
We were born 
I was Born