Sunday, April 14, 2019

Day 12: Embarking on a new journey


Sunday. 14 April 2019.

Last night I stopped in at Walmart after having spent time in a temple (for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My family had informed me that we were out of milk, lunch meat and a few other grocery items. I always try to make sure we have food to get us through the Sabbath because we don't shop on Sunday's in case of illness and the need for medicine or extreme illness)

I did my shopping and then went to check out. I was pleased that there were several empty lines! I approached one checker who was sitting and leaning on her hands and staring off into space. I told her that I go through her because saying jokingly: "I don't want you to be bored." She said that she wasn't bored she was very tired and then added that her life was falling apart and she felt miserable.

As I proceeded to slide my card to pay I said that we could probably swap stories of our misery. I then told her the tip of the iceberg of what's happened to me. She's like "Why? How come that's happening?" I said I couldn't go into it. But she then shared her misery, "Well, my husband was just put in jail a few days ago?" While my anguish is deep and some aspects of what I've gone through are unfairly humiliating, her story is obviously more tragic.

As the line was still empty I stayed and visited with her a few minutes. She just kept saying, "I don't know why he did something so stupid." I asked her "Was he into pornography?" She said that in fact after he was put into prison she looked on his tablet and discovered that he has been. As I figured!

You see, I've done a lot of research the last few months and have discovered that pornography only leaves devastation in it's path. Pornography very rarely stays "just pornography" it leads to much worse deviances of social behavior which can lead into vile, degrading, deplorable human behavior (sex trafficking, prostitution, sex addiction, affairs, child pornography, etc..). I was not surprised to learn that her husband had done stupid things. Pornography eats a persons brain up by causing dopamine overload.

Oh, I'm not saying the brain can't be rewired. It can! People can fix their lives and free themselves from the entanglement of porn, but it takes a LOT of COURAGE to get help and then it takes a lot of effort and diligence. People involved with porn must seek help. Being able to account for your actions is part of the healing and learning to come out of the dark, secret closets of sin. It takes 12-step programs, feedtherightwolf.com, ADDO, or any number of programs and sponsors to help provide support. I will list some resources below in the P.S.

I told her about how sorry I feel that she is going through "Betrayal Trauma" (research this to understand more) and I said I'd pray for her. I asked if I could give her a hug and she and I was able to hug her before I left.

My time spent on speaking supportively and encouragingly and giving her a hug were very small acts in terms of the size, but I hope that I was a drop in the bucket of friendship that helps support this grieving wife on the rocky journey that lay ahead of her. (She plans to stay with him and help him work through it. He has expressed a desire to get help.)

As I left Walmart that evening, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for placing someone in my path who was willing to receive my friendship and love. In the process of reaching outward I was able to find some solace for my own sorrow. It helps put my experience into proportion.

Although today was a very painful day to me as I (and my family) embarked on a new adventure-- one that stems out of someone else's dishonesty about me-- I took comfort that it could be worse. I took comfort knowing that my testimony of Jesus Christ doesn't waver just because cold cruel winds of fate have blown me into a new social circle. I am blessed to have my husband and children by my side. Whenever I was inclined to feel miserable I just thought of how no one I love is in jail-- and I would pray for that sweet young woman.

Whatever hard thing lay before you, I promise that with the help of Christ you can do it. I felt his strength today as he calmed my violent shaking, nausea (from fears) and my bitter tears amidst a new and foreign experience. I reminded myself that the Savior has suffered all things for each one of us and "with his stripes we are healed."

Remember to keep your chin up and your eyes on Jesus Christ!

Christine

A few Addiction recovery programs

LDS 12-Step Program (This program is FREE): https://addictionrecovery.lds.org/steps?lang=eng

http://www.feedtherightwolf.org/

https://www.addorecovery.com/about-us

Sex-aholics anonymous: https://www.sa.org/


I also recommend these websites to understand pornography and other related problems:

https://fightthenewdrug.org/

https://endsexualexploitation.org/

https://rowboatandmarbles.org/



Thursday, April 11, 2019

day-9- Comeback Woman!

11 April 2019

I've decided to start naming the post the day I'm on of facing my fears and making a comeback from sorrows I've experienced since I had a bomb dropped on me!

Oh, don't worry! It was not a literal bomb-- but a very real but figurative bomb of words spoken to me in a chilly office last Tuesday night on the night of April 2, 2019.


If you've read my blog (and most of you haven't!) you'll know these last 7 years have had a lot of unpleasant things happen. In fact, I led a pretty peaceful life to the point of the year 2012. (Well, okay, I'm not going to include the abuse of my childhood. That's a whole other life experience!) I've overcome some challenging and very private odds and obstacles.

While I can't share the details of these tip of the iceberg-like experiences, it is sufficient to say that some people would have disavowed their life-long culture to seek different shores. But, I know it is God in whom I trust-- not imperfect, but well-meaning people who, like me, are just trying to make sense of the rough terrain of this mortal battlefield of life!

What I find is that as I look to Heavenly Father in faith and gratitude that I am blessed to climb the exhausting stairs of life and sometimes I can look back down the steps and think-- "Hey, look how far I've come! I can do this with the help of the Savior to help pull me up the next step!"

I recently sat on my 11-year old son's bed in traditional fashion at bedtime. (He and little brother take turns each night with Mama. Though the 9-year old really does NOT like taking turns. He wants to cuddle with me every night! Haha. Too funny!:)) I always tell him that I know it's hard to share when you are 9, but that I love his big brother too!) Anyhow... my 11-year-old surprised me when he asked me during our visiting: "How have you seen the hand of God today?" He's never asked me this before! This is a question I implemented years ago with my family when I heard Elder Henry B. Eyring of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints post a similar question in a talk he gave.*


I was more than delighted to have my son ask me that question! It means that he listens to me! I told him how that night at the adult session of stake conference (versus the family session the next day) I had sat alone. (My husband was home sick.) At one point of the conference we were asked to turn to our neighbors to discuss how the new Come Follow Me scripture study program is going in our homes. https://www.lds.org/study/manual/come-follow-me-for-individuals-and-families-new-testament-2019/03?lang=eng

I haven't really sketched in pencil for many 
years. I'm an amateur, but I still 
enjoyed the effort. :) 

I was feeling sad and distressed and had no plan to join in (I was just sitting and sketching a picture of Jesus which represented my anguish of spirit), but a kind man ("Brother") slid over a chair closer to me to involve me in conversation. This kind church brother has a sweet, thoughtful spirit about him. He shared his family experiences and listened with interest to mine. And, it's hard to put words on it, but I felt better by his efforts. I guess what I felt was included, even when I had intended to put up a barrier of exclusion to all the world. That small act witnessed God's awareness of me.


Today I saw the hand of God in a small and simple way too. I took my 3 youngest children in to the dentist at 8 am. Each had a cavity! (Don't judge me please! Yes, they need to floss and apparently brush better, but they do brush morning and night. They don't floss. I've invested in some flossers/picks to try to help them!)

The upside of the dentist visits is this time allows me to visit with our favorite dentist. Over the years he's become a friend (only at the office) and every time I go there he always stops to visit with me, even if my children are only scheduled for a cleaning with the nurses and not with him. We go every 3 months and I have 5 kids... so I see him often!

Here's what was a delight to me and was one of the ways I saw the hand of God today... When he finished up my 3rd child he told me that I am "a breath of fresh air" to visit with!" I was thoroughly delighted to hear that! That one little phrase helped me to catch a glimpse of my identity. It helped me know that while one person in my life is actually adding a hellish element and suffering to me from intentional torment, that not every one is out to hurt me or speak ill of me. His words were like drops of rain on a parched desert flower! I felt grateful!


Before getting a chocolate-dipped ice cream,
my sweet children had fun bouncing
the balls around!
Of course, I feel grateful for many things. If I'm being honest, I recognize that my ability to be grateful is a gift. I've prayed every day for Heavenly Father to bless me with a grateful heart. I've prayed everyday for years to see life through His love. I've prayed to find joy in sorrow. And you know what, as I study the scriptures, pray, and seek to make my life pure before Him, I have seen an increase in my ability to feel grateful. I urge you, reader, to seek a gift of a grateful heart-- and then to look for it each day!



So, back to my day. After 2 hours at the dentist (some of that was solely talk time!:) my children and I walked to a nearby store and bought donuts and fresh strawberries and then we walked to a nearby bus stop. (We only have one vehicle and my husband had dropped us off at the dentist this morning.)

 It was a crazy spring day and decided to become a full-fledge snow storm! It was chilly and for half an hour we hid inside a nearby building eating our donuts while my boys ran up and down the stairs. Once we got on the bus, I stayed on a very long route 4 towns over to watch my daughter get off at her school, then we followed the route back 2 more cities for my sons to go to their school, I checked them in and then walked a short distance home. (Sorry for the details but this blog is my basic journal. The details are more for me than you.)

On the bus ride we had a lot of fun visiting about life. One time I asked them what I like to take photographs of and it was happy for me to hear how well they know me because one son said, "Rocks and trees" True!

My other son said "Mountains and landscapes"

They started chiming in other answers, like: "Us!" "Gates," "Doors," Okay, okay, I like taking pictures of lots of things. (I am a photographer!)

But we had just talked about the horses we passed and I was looking for one more answer. I gave them the clue that horses live there. "Barns" they shouted nearly in unison! That's right! I love old rustic barns.


Well, anyhow, as I had time with my children without cell phone or internet distraction, I just felt so grateful for the sweetness and the goodness of their souls! I felt thankful for my health and grateful for the beautiful place and I live. And I felt, and feel, grateful that I can see the hand of God in my life.

How do you see the hand of God in your life?
Christine


*Here is the talk of Elder Eyring's that I reference: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/o-remember-remember?lang=eng

This particular quote from it about journaling helps to illustrate where I got the idea for asking "How have you seen the hand of God today?" to my husband and children: "...as I got to the door, I heard in my mind—not in my own voice—these words: “I’m not giving you these experiences for yourself. Write them down.”


I went inside. I didn’t go to bed. Although I was tired, I took out some paper and began to write. And as I did, I understood the message I had heard in my mind. I was supposed to record for my children to read, someday in the future, how I had seen the hand of God blessing our family. . . I wrote [what I had just seen] down, so that my children could have the memory someday when they would need it."





Wednesday, April 10, 2019

10 April 2019, Wednesday: My Scripture in the Night

Yesterday, I turned in a 28-page research paper to my British Literature class for BYU-Idaho. I worked on it for several weeks and when I finally scoured through it for the 20th time, I submitted it. Despite all the sorrow I've felt lately, I felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to have completed such a major undertaking. (15-pages was the minimum-- but apparently I had a few more words to say!;)

I felt so grateful for being able to complete it under the severe trial that I face at this time, but I know that Heavenly Father gave me divine help. Even as I read through it there was a part where I had to go back and say, "Hey is that a quote, or did I write that?" because it was Really Good! Of course, I study very hard and I know that the Lord increases my offerings because I'm willing to keep learning and studying and educating myself about Him, Jesus Christ, the gospel, and about important history influences on society, and so much more. 

When I went to bed that night I realized that I feel more at peace than I have in weeks. Oh, I still had my same worry but having that success helped me feel like I'm not totally stagnating in the chaos of life! 


During the night something profound happened, I heard some beyond marvelous words of a scripture. I smiled in gratitude, but I was unable to wake my sleeping self and mark it on my cell phone. Hours later I rolled over and I remembered I had heard a scripture, but I couldn't remember it. 

I asked a prayer to know what it was. Immediately I heard it. I made this note on my phone: "If God be for us who can be against us" 4:19am. I didn't know where is was from but a search taught me that it's Romans 8:31 of Bible KJV

Now I don't know how you'd feel, but to me it felt like God was saying that He is on my side and that He will protect me. If you knew the circumstances of my life, you would understand why this means to much to me! I felt immensely grateful.

About an  hour ago (around 5:30pm) I was studying for my final and the line of that song I shared about forgiveness here at this blog played into my thoughts. I kind of dreaded hearing that again because that song has been a warning before that someone is about to do something tremendously painful. However, I listened and I realized I was hearing this section of the song: "When the last bell tolls You'll be free of blame You can continue to grieve But know the Gospel is true You must forgive those who lie And bless them that curse you Forgiveness."

I feel certain the message is that in time I will be absolved of false accusation! I rejoice in the thought of that blessed day. For now I will show my complete faith and trust on the power of the Lord to provide and protect me as He sees fit.

This is really long, but honestly, this is more of a journal (albeit public!) for me. I would be glad to know I could bless the faith of others with my life, but for now I expect I shall read this alone. So I will share a story I just read in a history of my church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)

"As the Saints prepared to abandon Far West, Phebe Woodruff lay in a roadside inn in western Ohio, suffering from severe headaches and a fever. She and Wilford had been traveling west for two months with the Fox Islands Saints, plodding through snow and rain to reach Zion. Illness had attacked many of the children, including her daughter, Sarah Emma.

. . .Before stopping at the inn, Phebe had been in agony every time the wagon jostled over the rough road. After she almost stopped breathing one day, Wilford had halted the company so she could recover.

Phebe was certain she was dying. Wilford blessed her [We call this a priesthood blessing] and tried everything to relieve her suffering, but the fever grew worse. Finally she called Wilford to her side, testified of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and urged him to have faith amid his trials. The next day, her breathing stopped altogether, and she felt her spirit leave her.

She watched as Wilford gazed down at her lifeless body. She saw two angels enter the room. One of them told her she had a choice to make. She could go with them to rest in the spirit world or return to life and endure the trials that lay ahead.


Phebe knew that if she stayed, the road would not be easy. Did she want to return to her careworn life and uncertain future? She saw the faces of Wilford and Sarah Emma, and her answer came swiftly.

“Yes,” she said, “I will do it!”

As Phebe made her decision, Wilford’s faith was renewed. He anointed her with consecrated oil, placed his hands on her head, and rebuked the power of death. When he finished, Phebe’s breathing returned. She opened her eyes and watched the two angels leave the room."


(found at: https://www.lds.org/study/history/saints-v1/32-though-all-hell-should-endeavor?lang=eng . There are other amazingly powerful stories at this link.)

In reading her story, I felt empathy for her headaches, pain, fatique, and sickness. I am starting to feel better after nearly a full week of illness, but I also know the feelings of fear, worry, sorry which she surely felt during these struggles. 



From reading her story, I felt strengthened to face my pioneer-like journey with courage-- even though the way before me seems impossible. Like that good sister, I also know that "the road [will] not be easy." I know in some ways I'll have a "careworn life and uncertain future," but I also know that angels will attend to me in my times of need! I've decided to show daily diligence to the Lord so that I too can "fight the good fight!" 

I still have a foreboding that things are going to get worse before they get better, but I have decided that I will act on faith because the power of God is not limited like I am. Humankind sets limits on the power of God because we can't think that big, but the power of God is BIG-- it's ENORMOUS and ENDLESS!

Let's trust everything we are and hope to be to Him. He will make things right in the end if we keep our part of the bargain and do our best to live in a way pleasing to God. #Thankful4Repentance

Love, Christine


Here's a link about Priesthood blessings:  https://www.lds.org/topics/priesthood-blessing?lang=eng

Monday, April 8, 2019

8 April 2019 -Monday: Brave Enough for Love? I'm not sure yet!

Here I am watching conference for The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
on my sick bed yesterday. Sorry, I don't
feel much like smiling, even though
I feel very grateful to God. I hope you
can appreciate that. On an upnote, the
conference was AMAZING.
You can watch it here:
https://www.lds.org/general-conference/conferences?lang=eng
I feel so much better from the virus that I feared might try to set into pneumonia or a chronic cough-- but didn't! I feel it's a BIG blessing because I'm asthmatic and usually I'm sick with a cough for 6 months (no joke) after a cold has hit me. I'm still feverish, but I'm kind of thinking it's the heavy burden of stress I'm under. I'm going to pray that I don't settle into a depression where I have plenty of reason to. 

But, I don't want to talk about being sick anymore, except to say that even in my sickness I feel like God has blessed me with a fairly quick recovery. It's true that I've been sick in bed for 6 straight days, but that's in part under an emotional duress that I haven't learned to carry well yet. 

I'd probably still be in bed a lot because I'm also in the middle of my college class finals (my study place being my soft bed-- with my enormous college books, laptop, and tissue!) 

I have a lot of writing and studying I try to do... which I do in between crying, 
LDS conference talks (listening to their voices are very soothing), 
peaceful songs, 
scriptures, 
prayer, 
and a cat nap here and there!

I'm trying to find peace from my anguish. I'm thankful to say that as I listened I did feel calmed (despite my tears). Even the nausea I was feeling from my fear subsided. Another blessing!

What I really want to share is the song that came to my thoughts. This is what I wrote of the experience in my journal: 
I've been hearing this song since praying with the boys on the way out the door to school: 
'You must never lose faithYou must never lose heartGod will restore your trustAnd I know you're afraidI'm as scared as you areBut willing to be braveBrave enough for love" 
 I guess the angels are begging me to keep my heart afloat. But I feel a devastation that cannot be put into words. To which I just hear the word "Recompense" 9:45am. I guess I will be recompensed for my unfair treatment, but it's unimaginably painful to me now...
Interestingly, those words are a small portion of from another part of the song I've been hearing lately! The song is "Forgiveness" from the Jane Eyre Broadway Musical. It is a profound song!


I can and DO  forgive those who are involved in hurting me because my heart is not angry, just sad and misunderstood. I'm finding it much harder to be "Brave enough to love" because I feel betrayed and very untrusting! 


I cannot see what good can come out of this, but God does and He seems to be promising me that as I hold onto Him in faith that He will help me become one of the weak things become strong.  

(See the meme. That's a scripture out of The Book of Mormon-- which is another testimony of Jesus Christ. It is wonderfully complementary to the Bible! Each adds to the other's truth. Request your free Book of Mormon here: https://www.mormon.org/site/free-book-of-mormon )

I discovered a really cool program today on Youtube called "Hope Works." It's pretty much like a short Tedx talk, but it's Christian based. 

Here's one that really stood out to me because I realized I'm like the broken china doll. And God is going to help put me back together again! 

I've been broken and I have a foreboding that before this is finished that I'm going to be more broken than I ever thought possible. But as this wonderful speaker Liz Wiseman reminds us of God has the power to heal and bind up our broken hearts!


I am so thankful for the power 
of Jesus Christ's all-encompassing atonement which frees us from the momentary sentences of mortality. 

For those of you who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you probably take comfort from the words Joseph Smith heard in liberty jail by the voice of God. I close with them as a reminder that we can get through the hard things. 


With the help of Jesus Christ, we can get through anything!   

Love, Christine

Friday, April 5, 2019

5 April 2019- Friday



I took a turn for the better last night. Somewhere during the night I wasn't having to breathe through my mouth to sleep (since my nose was completely stuffy from this terrible cold virus). 

When I realized I was sleeping so wonderfully well, I said a sleepy prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father for blessing me to make such a drastic improvement from just a few hours prior. I was getting worse by the time bed rolled around and I feared I might be getting pneumonia. But as I slept so well, I knew that God had used his power to bless and give me marked healing. 

As I slept, I even had a wonderful dream. 

In my dream I was in a very large semi-indoor room (meaning it had some covering but it was still very open, without walls) of people I didn't know. It seemed like a picnic or something. There were rows of tables lined up, and people were standing in line. I noticed two people in a conversation. One person was telling the other that they'd like to write a letter, but they didn't have an appropriate surface. Another person handed them a bowl. And they seemed content. But I saw that this small cereal bowl was ineffective as a writing surface because of the curves. I rushed away with and idea. I went over to my supplies nearby and pulled out a smooth flat piece of Masonite board that I watercolor on. I happily hurried back and offered this to them instead. They were very appreciate. We visited a minute and then I went on and looked for other people in the room to talk to or help. 
This is 2 Sundays ago. I wasn't truly feeling happy, 
but it's a better photo than the one I share down
below! Remember me smiling!:)

The interesting part of this dream was the feeling of being completely happy. I was unencumbered from any type of sorrow. I felt a peace and freedom that I haven't felt in a long time. It was a beautiful feeling. It felt as though I was standing on a perfect Spring day with a smile on my face and I felt such love for all of Heavenly Father's children there in that luncheon gathering-- even though I didn't know them. In my dream I just felt so thankful to be making friends, feeling God's love, and felt a sense of purpose in my life.

When I awoke from that dream, I felt (for a few moments) the lingering happiness as my head lay sleepily on the pillow. I felt immeasurably happy. All felt right with the world.... at least until I became more awake and cognizant that I was laying there feeling physically weak, weary, and totally consumed with an anguished heart. I wished that the feeling of that dream could be my reality! And, I am sure it will be one day! The sooner, the better! (And in honesty, I felt that perhaps it represented the new future my family and I are moving into next week. So I took hope from that.)

I keep debating on whether or not to put this
photo of me, but I guess we all have times 
where we cry, right? I haven't always cried like
this, but it's a season... a season in passing I hope!
A little while later as I was studying a conference talk from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I heard these specific words of a well known song play into my thoughts: "When you try your best but you don't succeed Lights will guide you home..." I began to sob. I sobbed in sorrow and gratitude knowing that Heavenly Father and Savior are very aware of the depth of my anguish. 

The complete words of the song I heard:


Fix Ya by Cold Play

When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse

When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
An

d I will try to fix you

High up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
If you never try you'll never know
Just what you're worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face
And I

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from all my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

What I know is that One step at a time they are leading me Home. And they are leading you home too, if you will follow. The more we step toward that light, the closer we get to learning the truth of our divine identity, and of learning more about His perfect and merciful love that reaches out toward each one of us-- even in the very darkest corners of sin and despair. 

May we each make the concerted choice to move toward His perfect light and shun the evil that is so prevalent everywhere in the world. The Love of Christ is sweeter than any momentary pleasure of all sins and addictions combined. 

Please, Come Unto Christ, this very day!

Christine



Thursday, April 4, 2019

4 April 2019: Sadness and Sickness for Spring Break

It's been a while, but I need a new outlet to express myself.

My sorrow is dear.
My fear intense.
My uncertainty of the future high.

I've just gotten some really terrible news that affects every member of my family. And well, life isn't looking particularly cheerful.

Being stuck in bed for days with a fever, stuffy nose, head pain, and chest congestion leaves me feeling very un-Pollyanna like! (Pollyanna is a cheerful young girl from an old Disney movie:)

I feel confused and burdened and weighed down with grief. Okay, I've probably mentioned that already!

I'm generally a very optimistic person, but I have a lot of self-doubt and concern for my safety, so I hope you'll indulge me in some sorrow!

However, I want it to be known that while my world is spinning on a newly titled axis that I feel the power of God continue to bless and comfort me. My comfort hasn't come with the visitation of angels but by quiet assurances of music to my thoughts. 

Somehow, I'm going to get through the darkness of this season and the tears I'm crying (and which my 18yr. old daughter cried yesterday in learning the misfortune of our family. I haven't told all my children yet) will be dried in God's own due time.

One of the ways I have been comforted is with this song by Michael Crawford:  


You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
Who abide in His shadow for life,
Say to the Lord, "My Refuge,
My Rock in Whom I trust."

Refrain
And He will raise you up on eagle's wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

You need not fear the terror of the night,
Nor the arrow that flies by day,
Under his wings your refuge
His faithfulness your shield

For to His angels He's given a command,
To guard you in all of your ways,
Upon their hands they will bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Refrain
And He will raise you up on eagle's wings,
Bear you on the breath of dawn,
Make you to shine like the sun,
And hold you in the palm of His Hand.


I've got to get back to writing a research paper, and there is no way that I can recount all the tender mercies of the Lord. But I just want to remind myself  that through Him, I will remain resolute to the cause of righteousness. I have, and will yet make many mistakes and sin, but I am hopeful He will forgive me and give me the courage  act on faith in His name. 

Jesus Christ gives us Hope for brighter tomorrows if we reach out for His hand and turn away from sin.

Fight for truth and righteousness, there is no sweeter joy, peace, and love on earth than that which is found through Jesus Christ. Love, Christine










Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Girl Among the Graves

Sunday was an emotionally difficult day for me. Normally church lasts for three hours but immediately after the Sacrament prayer amen I jumped up and made a beeline out the door before anyone in our large congregation of more than 200+ people had even stood up from their pews.

I knew exactly where I was going with all the turmoil that consumed my troubled spirit. I was headed to the cemetery. Oh, sure, I know what you're thinking. She is one strange woman. Well, I suppose I am! But I have long felt that cemeteries are sacred places.
Photo I took of Tyler as he helped
his sons get ready for a funeral.

My beloved brother-in-law, Tyler was buried at this cemetery.
He died when he was 30. Leaving a young pregnant widow and3 boys under the age of 8. Heart complication (from his pacemaker). Tyler was such a dear and trusted friend to me. He was so tremendously kind to my husband and children, and I learned so many things.

Tyler holding my (now 19-year-old) baby at the small family
birthday luau we had when he turned 1. 
One of the greatest lessons he taught me was to relax and let people do their own thing. This advice was offered in my stress of hosting (in our old family home-- the gathering place) mass amounts of the family for a funeral and feeling so stressed in wanting to meet the needs of all the guests, but not knowing how because they had their own quirks of how they did things. I was calmed by his advice that day and many years since.

His grave is the dearest family I have buried here. My beloved Mom is buried in central Utah, and I'm unable to go that far.

The face of misery. :(
Tyler was a true friend to me, so going to his grave makes me feel at home. Haha... yes, at home among the graves!

I unhappily stormed out of my church building and walked uphill many blocks in my small, hilly town. I can't tell you exactly how I felt (which is very important to me). I guess it was a mix of fear, anger, and sadness. I wanted to feel numb, but then the thought struck me that I was not walking along, but that I had a band of loving angels surrounding me in my sorrow. That thought caused the tears to well up. Though I fought that emotion. Anger is a less vulnerable emotion, you know?!

But I allowed my heart to soften and "listened" and contemplated as I sat on (and then by) Tyler's headstone. I did a lot of praying and soul-searching. I pleaded with God to know if I'd been living the right way and doing things to please Him. I wanted assurance that I was right before God. I wanted to understand what was happening. I wanted to know a lot of things. But as God often does, I got some sweet assurances, but I did not have ALL my questions answers.
I've always wished I actually
would look sad, instead of
looking mad.
I assure you I'm not
mad-- like I look here!
Just very sad. It's a good reminder
not to judge people
by their expressions! ;)


Some of these assurances came in the form of remembering. Like remembering the beautiful talk by Elder Wirthlin "Come What May and Love it."






I snapped this just after hearing the song "On Eagle's Wings,"as I walked out of the cemetery. 
I did feel a little better, but this is the best smile I could muster. 
As I turned to leave the cemetery and walk back for the last 15 minutes of church, I smiled and expressed prayerful gratitude when into my thoughts played a Michael Crawford song: "I'll raise you up on Eagle's Wings"



1. You who dwell in the shelter of our God,
who abide in this shadow for life,
say to the Lord: 'My refuge, my Rock in whom I trust!'

Refrain:
'And I will raise you up on eagle's wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of my hand.'

2. The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
and famine will bring you no fear:
under God's wings your refuge,
God's faithfulness your shield.

Refrain

3. You need not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day;
though thousands fall about you,
near you it shall not come.

Refrain

4. For to God's angels is given a command
to guard you in all of your ways,
upon their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Refrain

'...and [I will] hold you, hold you in the palm of my hand.'


========================

I'd been fasting that day that I'd have the strength to bear my complex emotions. I also was fasting for my sister, and also a dear friend in need. I am uncertain as to how they were blessed, but when I returned to church I felt a considerable calm to my concerns. I was able to stand among friends and act with a pleasantness I could not have otherwise done. I felt so thankful that the power of God can work in our lives as we look to him. 

I don't have all the answers. 

I don't know where things will go from here. 

I don't know how all the complexities will play out. 

What I do know is that whether I walk in sunshine or storm, I will walk with God. 

May we seek Him in all we do. He has the power to heal and redeem us. Let us trust Him with every fiber of our being!


~Christine


P.S. A Bonus Songs to offer you Courage:)

#MyHopeisYouAlone #EvenifYouDon't #ItisWellWithMySoul #JesusiWillCling2You



#TheJourneyAheadisBeautiful #withGod #LoveseesFartherthanyouevercould #atthisMomentHeavensworkingeverything4yourownGood #TellyourHeart2beatagain #stepintoHislightofGrace

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