Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Learning From the Sin I Commit

I attended my mom's ward this past Sunday, in my hometown. I have so many wonderful memories in this town and in this ward. It's that type of town where you visit twenty years later and all the same people are still there, just with a few additional gray hairs.

It's a feel good town and I am wholly in love with it.


During the Sunday School lesson, a statement was made by the instructor which caused a great deal of defensiveness to bubble up within me. I refrained from verbally responding to her comment because I wasn't exactly sure what the source of my defensiveness was, and I wanted to chew on it for a while and process what was said before drawing any conclusions.

Unfortunately, I don't remember what the actual lesson was on. My four year oldwho refused to go to primarydrew most of my attention, so I simply did my best to pick up bits and pieces here and there.

But the comment that was made struck me like no other throughout the entire lesson. I don't remember her exact words, so I am paraphrasing; and I acknowledge that my paraphrasing may be muddied with an imperfect perspective.

She remarked:
"Members of the church sometimes say that they are grateful for their trials in which they have sinned, because they could not have learned the principles they learned from them any other way. But they are wrong of course, because we can learn those same principles without sinning."
Maybe I was defensive to the tone in her voice that I perceived.
Maybe I didn't perceive it.

Regardless of perception, I have concluded a number things after pondering on what was said...

There is never a time that it is NOT okay to be grateful for our trials.
For them, and in them.
President Uchtdorf has confirmed as much.

We have been placed here to learn.
We have opportunity to learn from making mistakes.
The mistakes we make are often sin.
We learn from the sin.
We get better.
God's simple plan.

I suppose it is possible that I could have learned the principles and truths that I have learned from sin some other way, but I feel that I would not have learned them at the depth in which I did. I know that I would not appreciate the Atonement, and the light of my loving Savior as I do if I did not feel the personal touch of His outreached hand as He pulled me from the pit of everlasting despair I was bound in.

I feel as Alma the Younger did as he exclaimed;
"Oh, what joy, and what marvelous light I did behold; yea, my soul was filled with joy as exceeding was my pain!"
Although I may have been able to learn what I have learned another way, I am grateful that I learned it the way that I did. I wouldn't give my experiences back. Too many ripples have been created in the course of my spiritual journey to wish otherwise.

I am both grateful for what I have learned and the way that I have learned it.

So no, I do not seek to commit sin just so that I can learn from it.
But I do seek to learn from the sin I do commit.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Presenting at The Togetherness Project

Hello my friends, I am honored to have been invited to present at the next Togetherness Project. 

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Little Place

"Father, Where shall I work today?"
And my loved flowed warm and free
Then He pointed out a tiny spot
And said, "tend that for me."

I answered quickly, "Oh no, not that!
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done.
Not that little place for me."

And the word he spoke, it was not stern;
"Art thou working for them or me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee.

- Author Unknown

Thursday, June 5, 2014

"You're Doing Just Fine"

This is a guest post, written by a beautiful friend of mine. I recently heard her share this story and felt compelled to ask her if she would be willing to share it on my blog. She graciously agreed.

I think it would be great if Elder Perry were able to hear the follow-up to this brief moment he shared with my dear friend, so if any of you actually know Elder Perry (or have less degrees of separation from him than I do), feel free to pass this on to him.


Just a few short years ago, I was a total mess. 

Years of physical and emotional abuse
at the hands of members of my familyhad sent me running from them, and my Savior, straight into the arms of a young man who took advantage of my insecurity. 

I hated myself and I hated my family.
So much so, that I attempted to take my own life. 

Satan had me convinced that even my Father in Heaven hated me, and that I was a waste of time and space. 

Around this time, my parents decided that it would be a good idea to go to the Martin Harris pageant. I wasn't at all interested in going, but my protests fell on deaf ears, and they refused to take no for an answer. 

I sat on an uncomfortable metal bench, waiting for the pageant to begin. Busy playing with my cell phone, I barely noticed the buzz making its way through the crowd. I glanced up and saw numerous people jumping to their feet. I was totally confused until I saw a man whom I'd only seen on TV. 

Elder L. Tom Perry...

I slowly stood and watched him make his way to his seat. I then noticed people beginning to line up to meet the towering member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. 

Before I knew it, my younger sister asked me to go with her to see him. 

Fear gripped me. 
I did not want to go.
I felt unworthy and ashamed to be in his presence due to my past sexual sins. 

But, again, my parents made it clear that I was to go anyway. 

I stood in line, heart pounding as as I got closer to Elder Perry, this stout man of God. 
The temptation to run was intense, however, my time finally came and I approached him with timid steps. 

He smiled at me and extended his hand. I hesitantly took it and chanced a brief glance at his eyes. I saw and felt an intensity there that I had never experienced before. It was like he could read my very soul. I did not feel judgement or scrutiny as I expected but, instead, I felt an indescribable wave of love envelop me. 

He seemed to sense my hesitation. And so he leaned in a little closer and squeezed my hand a little tighter, and said;

"You're doing just fine." 

My eyes welled up with tears as I smiled my first real smile in months. I felt an immense weight lift from my chest as I posed for a picture with him and my sister. 

I turned to him, with gratitude in my heart, and said, "Thank you so much." 
He smiled and said, "No, thank you. Your Father in Heaven loves you." 

That very moment proved to be a huge turning point in my life. Elder Perry's words helped me find the courage to meet with my bishop and begin working through my sexual sins. I also began to heal from the many years of abuse that I had endured. 

I am so thankful that I was able to meet one of Heavenly Father's most choice servants; that he told me exactly what I needed to hear, in the very moment I needed to hear it. I don't think I would be where, or who, I am today without this experience. 

I know that God has a plan for me.
I know that He loves me.

And, I feel so blessed to have that knowledge.

~ Anonymous ~

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

But, I Love It God

'The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away'....a phrase I grew up with. My mom would repeat it all the time, although I can't really remember what she was referring to, if anything specific.

I shared in my last post that my husband received a significant promotion, which included a relocation to Price, Utah.

Well, Price has since been taken off the table. It seems the person my husband would have replaced changed his mind and no longer wants to transfer out.

I admit, the news devastated me. Price would be so good for our family right now. It has so much of what we need and want:
  • The cost of living there is incredibly low... we could rent a 4 bedroom/2 bath house for less than we pay for our current 2 bedroom townhouse.
  • It has a really cozy small town feel, which reminds me of the small town in Montana that I grew up in.
  • The High school there has been rated top ten in the nation.
  • It's far enough away from Utah Valley to be an adventure, but close enough to still be a comfort zone.

Basically, my heart was set on it. 
And, I don't do well with disappointment. 

At the time, when I found out, I went straight to anger...

I was mad at the guy for changing his mind.
I was mad at the HR lady who delivered the news for not providing more information.
I was mad at hubs for not demanding more information.
I was mad at God for allowing my hopes to soar, while knowing I'd crash.

I was mad.... mad mad mad. And disappointed and sad and confused.

So I posted it on Facebook, as it is sometimes my venting channel, not to mention I'd already told the whole world we were moving to Price. I expressed my frustration, and without even asking, the Lord answered my unspoken prayer in the form of a meme from a friend:

Tears immediately streamed down my face as I whispered to Him:

"But, I love it God"

Thankfully, He is gentle with me. Just as the picture depicts... 

He sits with me, not above me. 
He feels with me, not from a distance.
He hurts with me, not because of me.
His desire is to reward me, not punish me.

He has something bigger for me.

I feel the Lord is allowing me the opportunity to grow and trust Him more.

And I do. I trust Him more than I fear the unknown. 
And I love Him more than I love Price.

Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"