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?

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