Friday, May 25, 2012

Looking Back to Move Forward

This past week, I've been thinking a lot on my role in the Church.  I've considered the events that have transpired since the days of my investigation, some miraculous; others mundane, but all have made me who I am in Christ. 

When I think on the early days of my conversion, they seem to my memory to be halcyon days where the Spirit strove with me.  I think about my conversations with the missionaries, many of whom became my dear friends.  I remember the loving-kindness of my ward family and best friend, who supported me as others turned away.  When my bishop blessed me to be able to endure the three weeks before my baptism, he cautioned that they would be some of the most difficult days of my life.  In those three weeks, I considered that I could lose the love of my mother and the man I thought I would marry.  I was right about one of them. 

When I consider the tenacity to which I held to the gospel then, I wish I could go back and re-live some things since.  I would like the chance to do better... be better.  A few days ago, my husband asked me what I would have changed about my wedding and reception if I could.  When I was completely honest with myself, I acknowledged that there really wasn't much.  I wish my sister-in-law hadn't had a massive headache and had been in a better mood.  I wish my sister had been feeling better.  I wish the music would have worked.  I wish I hadn't ticked off my matron of honor the day before the wedding.  Above all, I wish I had put my foot down about the dress I really wanted (it didn't have a gigantic bow in the back that made me feel like a Clydesdale mare in a parade).  Still, try as I might, I can't go back and change the fact that my family was angry with me for marrying in the temple, a situation that marred the day far more than my butt-enhancing bow.

These past few months, as my husband and I have struggled mightily with finances, Church callings and employment issues, I have come to rely on the sealing power that binds us.  If we had waited to marry in the temple, I'm not sure what would have happened.  I'm grateful that we had the desire and the strength to do things in the Lord's time.  Besides, there's nothing that says we can't renew our commitment to one another in a few years, and I promise you, the dress will be Molly Mo fabulous!

As much as I wish I could change the past, I can't.  I can't change the fact that there have been times when I have been less than Saintly, or fallen flat on my face because I haven't given my best effort.  I can, however, repent, casting off the dross of sin and sorrow I've lingered on at times.  I can rejoice in the atoning power of Christ, and be thankful for the covenant-affirming balm of the Sacrament.  I can spend time in the Scriptures, learning more about the sacrificial love of my Savior... and by the grace of God, at some point in this whole refining process, I can forgive myself.  I am the only one holding me back from grace and peace.  I think it's time I let myself look forward with faith that, through Christ,  I can become someone even better than the best I once was.  Brothers and sisters, let's flourish together, shall we?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wives, Contend with Your Husbands!

I hope that caught your attention. 

Over the past few days, I have become increasingly irked by the posts of a friend of mine decrying the institution of marriage as a sacred covenant between man and wife.  I'm not upset with him because of his assertion that gays should have rights; that's another issue altogether.  I am, however, very disappointed in the route he has taken in an attempt to make me feel as though my marriage is outdated.  One of the issues he focused on was Ephesians 5:22, which reads:  "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands as unto the Lord."  What most people think of when they hear this passage is not of submission, but subservience. 

For example, because of my faith, I believe in the power of the priesthood which my husband holds.  This priesthood power entitles him to revelation for our family concerning spiritual and temporal matters, and I am fully prepared to accept his counsel in such things after we have taken time to pray together.  I am submitting to the will of my husband only after he has submitted to the will of our Heavenly Father.  However, if I come home exhausted after working a 16-hour day, and the first thing he does when I walk though the door is to ask me to make him dinner a la June Cleaver, I'm going to have a little problem with that.  And it's not going to happen. 

The opposite of submission is not progress.  It's not even equality.  It's contention.  I know from experience that when I am being contentious, Chris is suddenly no longer my best friend with whom I want to spend eternity.  He becomes my sparring partner, and the words I hurl at him don't make me feel powerful.  They make me feel weak and small-minded.  If I have let myself become upset to the point of contention, it's because I haven't communicated well.  Instead, I've assumed that he won't listen or doesn't understand.  I haven't even given him the benefit of hearing what I have to say. 

Let's look at the husband's role in all of this.  Ephesians 5:25 says "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church and gave himself for it."  So...your husband is to love you so completely that he would lay down his life for you if necessary.  In return, you are to respect the priesthood which he holds (if he does), respect his walk with the Lord and his ability to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit, and counsel with him on those matters.  It doesn't make you less of a woman to respect your husband.  He is, after all, the man you love, the one you have chosen to spend at least this life.  He should be your best friend.  Be sweet.  Be kind.  And if your husband loves you as he should, there is nothing he won't do for you. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

The more I read her blog, the more I am certain that Jia and I should be best friends.  Today in a sort of roundabout way, I was challenged to "pour my heart out."

Here goes nothing.

Most of you know that I struggle with depression, anxiety and PTSD.  I have come to terms with these issues, and while we're not the best of friends, I can stand to be in somewhat close proximity to them without going off the deep end...anymore.

A few months ago, a neurologist I worked with diagnosed me with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.  Even though I wake up every day tired and in pain, I refuse to accept this.  However, considering how many times in the last year that I've been taken down by respiratory infections, nausea, fevers, migraine headaches and general malaise, I have to admit that it doesn't look good for self-denial.

I don't look sick.  Every morning, I struggle to get out of bed, and I think of something my mother used to say when I complained of not feeling well:  "Clean your room, you'll feel better."  Except that my room is clean, because my husband does the housework.  So, I get up and come in to work, and cry on the way home because my job isn't paying all the bills and I have no health insurance in this state to see a doctor who might be able to help with the weight and the infertility and the pain and the tiredness, and I find myself sliding into depression so deep I just want to sleep because when I sleep, the pain goes away...

It'a a vicious cycle.

And to be honest, I don't see a way out of it.  I have to work.  I have to find a way to exist beyond the pain and keep pushing myself to do better; do more if I ever want to get out of debt... but at what physical cost?

The only place I know of where I could exist pain-free is Utah.  I don't know why this is, whether it's the higher altitude, thinner air, abundance of sunshine, or someone dumping mass quantities of happy pills into the water supply.  I know I need to get there someday, and I hope someday is soon.  I don't know how much longer I can stand to feel this way day in and day out.

Linked to Pour Your Heart Out

Friday, May 4, 2012

Abuse and Neglect

I have been woefully neglectful of this blog.  I admit it.  It's not as if I haven't had things to write about, but more that I didn't really want to detail and expound upon the downward spiral I have been on for the last month. 

April has always been a difficult month for me.  For some reason, it's the month in which I am absolutely and unequivocally reminded of the chemical imbalance that lends itself to my depression and anxiety issues.  This year, I have been plagued by headaches, the likes of which I haven't known in a long while.  For those of you who suffer with migraines, you know what I'm talking about. 

My job is difficult, more difficult than I ever thought it would be, but I love the work.  I decompress by talking things over with my husband, and, as was the case last night, spending some quality time with an equine friend.  Sometimes I think about what life will be like when I am out in Utah, and how amazing it would be to host a rehab program for survivors of abuse (both equine and human).  Connecting with horses has done more for me in the last two years than the countless hours I have spent in counseling.  There is something immensely healing about the trust that exists between horse and rider, and the knowledge that neither of you will make any progress without trusting the other. 

As for my faith, I'm glad to say that my testimony has not wavered, despite the mental attacks I have been going through for the last month.  What has faltered is my ability to do everything.

I am no Molly Mormon.

Wow, that stung a little.

I tend to hold myself up to standards I would never expect from anyone else.  For my work to be exemplary, as well as for my house to be spotless, meals to be flawless, Church callings magnified to the nth degree... you see where I'm going with this.

Well, my work must be exemplary, and my callings must be magnified.  But admitting to myself that "the rest is just details" has been a chore.

This weekend, if the current migraine goes away, I will be planting sunflowers in our community garden.  The worst is over, and I feel like playing in the dirt.