Monday, November 23, 2015

My Biggest Fear as a Mother

I have a zillion fears as a mother of a daughter, but there is one in particular that stands out in my mind. It is the fear of my daughter losing her sweet spirit.

Because of this, I let this fear rule my life. It determines how I raise her, how I talk to her, how I let her act and talk, and who I let her talk and play with. Ever since I gave birth to Atley, I felt very strongly impressed to safeguard her heart. She was an extremely colicky baby....to the extreme. It drove me mad!! (not the angry mad-- the I'm-losing-my-cool-because-i-can't-help-my-sad-baby mad) it was like Groundhog Day every day. I would wake up just hoping that it would be the day she would stop crying, and every day my heart would break anew. She literally cried every second that her eyes were open, unless we went somewhere totally new, in which case she would be calm for a little bit. She also had bad reflux which scared me to death !!! I was a stressed maniac for 9 months, when Atley finally grew out of both symptoms. To my relief, she developed into a very gentle, kind hearted toddler. During this time of growth, I prayed desperately for inspiration and guidance on how I could be the best possible mother to her unique spirit. One of the distinct impressions I receive over and over is Keep Her Sweet.

Now, everyone has different opinions on raising kids, and every kid is different. So this is just my story, based on my kid and my personal revelation in raising that kid. I've never yelled at Atley, spoken harshly to her. I don't yell at anyone else in front of her. We don't use the word, No! As in a scolding form. I've never spanked her and have banned any kind of physically violent behavior from my home. I DO speak kindly and softly, in a way I would want to be spoken to, and in a way that I would approve of HER speaking to others. I use time-out as a form of discipline, but I hold her gently in my lap and speak softly to her about why we are in time-out. I also use the discipline at the second offense, instead of letting her get away with poor behavior multiple times, or getting away with it all together, so she has learned quickly that time-out means TIME-out! I Praise, PRAISE, PRAISE, the Heck out of her. I avoid criticizing as much as possible, and if I have to, I use words like, We don't do that because, or that isn't nice, instead of Don't! Or, that's bad! I tell her she is a good girl often, like ten times a day. I let her be involved in everything I do, if she is interested, even if it is messy or inconvenient, that way she is learning a skill and knows I will always make time for her. If I have to tend to her little brother, Travin, Which is often because he is only 2 months old, she has to learn to wait and be patient--- has to, being the keywords, because she still cries and gets jealous. If she can help, I let her help me with him, if not, she has to cry and wait until I am done, but I tell her calmly why she is waiting. I NEVER I repeat NEVER let her treat other children with mean words (in her case, mean toned gibberish) or mean actions. If she does something that isn't polite, I stop her at the FIRST offense, ALWAYS, so she learns right away that we cannot be mean to people. Sometimes she copies another child's behavior (arrrrggg.....my least favorite thing about being a parent) in Which case I pull Atley aside and explain to her why she cannot do it. Hopefully the other parent does the same--- but don't count on it.  If that's the case, I try to keep Atley away from the meaner kids.

This has all worked out so far as a positive choice for both me and Atley. I have seen how sweet she is around other kids, exhibiting normal toddler behavior when trying to take a toy from another, but she does not yell or scream or hit to get the toy, and when I correct her for trying to steal, she generally responds well. Only at our house with her absolute favorite toys will she cry for a second, but I always remind her that we share with friends and we do not steal. Each play date she shows improvement, sharing better, and even giving toys to other kids before they ask. It melts my heart how kind Atley is, how excited she gets to be around other kids her age, and how well she interacts. On the other end, it breaks my heart when kids are mean to her. It is no secret that bullies target the nicest children. This was proven when I took Atley to a nearby Museum last month, when a 6 year old, yes a 6 year old, blatantly yelled at and stole from my 1 year old. You'd better believe I took the toy back and gave it to Atley and told that rotten boy not to steal, and he had the nerve to them sass me. I just removed Atley from the area, but I was shaken the rest of the day.

I am totally aghast with the attitudes of children these days. I cannot fathom why that little boy thought he would go up to a tiny girl and steal from her, yelling at her that she couldn't play with the museum's toys, and then proceed to say that to me with total teenager stank eye on his face...

I am horrified that there is very little respect and courtesy taught within the home. It hurts me to see Atley treated so poorly, especially when she is soooooo happy to play with other kids. When they pick on her, I feel a burning rage I have never felt before. Watching her submit Or surrender her toys makes my feel goods explode! At the same time, I know she is being more Christ like- yes, I compared my 1 year old to Christ, and yes we are commanded to become "even as a little child"-- which is why I know it is so important to help nurture Atley's sweet spirit, rather than let it turn bitter amidst a bitter, cruel world. I don't care who makes fun of me, and who tells me, That's just how kids are. Bull$h**. My butt would have been handed to me by my parents if I acted the way some kids do....and there's a reason we live in such a hateful society. Kids are not being raised to be kind and gentle. They are entitled to whatever they want, because that's how they are being raised. Its basically a free for all, with no discipline and no general right and wrong.

Okay, breathe. Can you hear the steam coming from my ears?

I won't claim to be the best parent because I'm not and I'm going to make mistakes, but I will still pray every night to be the best I can for my children and I know that I alone with receive the response. I know that I can't tell other people how to raise their kids, because they should be getting a response of their own. But it saddens me that so many people DONT put in much effort on raising their kids in decency, and that the general book of right and wrong has been discarded. It saddens me that Atley will mimic other kids bad behavior and I have to repeatedly correct it. It saddens me that she is taken advantage of, bullied, and picked on by other children. BUT, it makes my heart SOAR that she is doing so well as a toddler. It makes me smile when she said, Tees? (please) when she waves and says, Hi! To each and every person she sees....then, Bye! Even when they don't respond. I love how many hugs and kisses she gives me and her little brother. I adore the way she picks up toys and hands them all to the other kids she is playing with. She will run and jump in her bed at nighttime, give kisses, and then fall asleep without a hassle. In the morning, she walks in and runs up to me, so proud that she slept in her big girl bed. I love that she responds to compliments and praise, and feels bad for disappointing us.  I know I've done something right, because she is such a good girl. It makes it totally bearable for when she decides to have a random toddler meltdown. 

My fear is that the world will change her. She is only 19 months, and will grow and face this awful world of mean, mean people. She will have her heart broken. She will know failure and pain. But I want her to remain, ALWAYS, the sweet girl she was born and I hope she knows that being kind and courageous is far more important than being like everyone else. In my home, in these 4 walls, we use respect and love to communicate. We learn to treat others the way we want to be treated. We act like Christ.

My home is my temple, it is second only to the holy house of the Lord. It is my sanctuary and I will aggressively defend it and my values. It is my prayer that my baby girl never loses her gentle ways and that I will be able to do the right things in raising her to be fit for the wild journey she will take.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Modesty: The Hottest Complaint



Welcome back! It's been a bit since I updated my blog, so I've added a few this week. Today's thoughts are based on modesty, and the standpoint of the LDS church on dress and appearance.
The reason why I felt inspired to write about this is because of something I heard someone say once. It was an unmarried LDS (sort of) woman about 30 years of age and she said, "I don't have to dress modestly because I haven't made those covenants." It took a lot for me not to ask her what "covenants" she was referring to.

Lets back up a minute.
It isn't a secret to the world the LDS people where certain under garments that they receive once they go through the temple for the first time and get what are called their "endowments". Before that, they wear regular underwear just like everyone else. I guess, what the girl I mentioned above was thinking, was that because she had not been through the temple, and had not received her garments of endowment, that she did not have to dress modestly. 

Much restraint was required on my part to correct her erroneous opinion on the LDS underwear. You know me and my big mouth...You would be proud that I didn't argue, or even make a peep about her comments.

But I couldn't hold my response in forever! Instead, it made it to my blog. ;)

 I would like to clarify something. First, modesty is a choice. It isn't something LDS people are forced into. Second, it has little, if nothing, to do with the endowment process or garments.
To prove this isn't a personal opinion, I've pulled information off of LDS.org that shines light on the topic of modesty, and the viewpoint of the church.

To begin, modesty is taught to every church member. Male and female. And it starts at a very early age. There is something called The For Strength of Youth pamphlet that kids at the age of 12 read and study. It also has a small progress activity kids can complete and receive recognition for.  There is a category in this pamphlet titled Dress and Appearance. To read the full article, here is the link: https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/dress-and-appearance?lang=eng

I will quote just a portion of the article now:
"Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.
When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and you can be a good influence on others. Your dress and grooming influence the way you and others act.
Never lower your standards of dress. Do not use a special occasion as an excuse to be immodest. When you dress immodestly, you send a message that is contrary to your identity as a son or daughter of God. You also send the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval."

After I reread this, the previously mentioned girl came to mind. Her opinion of modesty is clearly reflected in her choice of dress, which reflects the truth of the statement above. In the church, we are counseled to be groomed in a manner that is appropriate but also humble and respectful since our bodies are gifts, temples even, in the likeness of God. This counsel begins at age 12, perhaps even earlier if parents choose to talk about it within their home. It isn't reserved for older people, or those who have gone through the temple. It never says being modest is a covenant you make when you get LDS underwear.

Next, I want to mention that modesty is not just a way you dress, but a way you act. As quoted on lds.org, "Modesty is an attitude of propriety and decency in dress, grooming, language, and behavior. If we are modest, we do not draw undue attention to ourselves. Instead, we seek to “glorify God in [our] body, and in [our] spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:20; see also 1 Corinthians 6:19)."

I recall my teenage self and those years of self discovery. I was quite thrilled with attracting attention to myself, especially from those cute boys I so desired approval from. Most of the girls my age didn't have strict modesty standards, and I was embarrassed by the rules my parents set. When I was in my early twenties, I reveled in the freedom I had with my wardrobe and attitude, experimenting with immodesty to every degree. What I discovered was not to my pleasure. The attention I received was not what I had imagined. The boys I attracted were not of good value, nor did they value me. I realized, after a couple of foolish years, that My body would only receive the respect I treated it with. On top of that, I understood that by using indecent dress and behavior to gather attention I was showing how insecure and lost I truly was. In my older years, I've discovered that true beauty is quiet, and real confidence does not need attention.

Carol McConkie stated, "Please remember that the principles of modesty shared here apply to both men and women, sons and daughters, and remember that even as we teach and exemplify modesty, we never condemn those who choose short skirts or “rainbow hair and the many splendored rings.”2 Always we exemplify compassion and Christlike love for the individual while we remain loyal to the standards the Lord has set."

Modesty in dress and appearance and in thought and behavior will help prepare us to make and keep sacred temple covenants. To bless and protect Adam and Eve, God gave them coats of skins to clothe them before sending them out of the garden. In like manner, God has given us a covering of covenants in mortality, symbolized by our sacred temple garments."
This brings me to the topic of the garments. I understand them As the symbols that they are, and the protection that they offer. While they do require us to be modest in clothing, because we are to keep them covered, the blessings we receive and the covenants we make concerning the garments are not focused on modesty as in a hemline or neckline. People who dress modestly only because they wear garments have misconstrued the meaning of modesty, and sadly, do not at all understand the covenants they made in the temple. I pray they soon study and figure out why we DO wear garments, BECAUSE THE BLESSINGS ARE POWERFUL AND BEAUTIFUL! In addition, there are blessings for those who are modest without wearing garments.

There is a common misconception that being modest means you can't be "sexy " or "pretty". In fact, a woman I worked with once said, "You can't make garments look cute!" I was aghast. I beg to differ, actually. I'd like to meet the person who thinks I can't look pretty because I cover my knees and shoulders. Yes, I'll brag for a second, I have made a hobby of fashion. I full all 5 of my closest and love to dress in coordinating ensembles every day, and I feel warm and fuzzy when people comment on how nice I look. Yes, I think I dress very cute, thank you very much. For the record, I feel beautiful, even MORE beautiful, when I respect my body and when I am complimented as a modestly dressed woman. Just the other day, Bertha, the sweet Hispanic cashier at Walmart, commented what a beautiful woman I was, standing there without makeup. (i had just put my dog to sleep and sported a sad, tear streaked face) God bless Bertha, and women like her everywhere.

It takes a lot of courage to be modest, in a world full of immodesty. It is very easy to go with the latest fashion trends and blend in, whether in appearance or action. To those who choose to follow the Lord's principle, there are great blessings in store.

1. To dress modestly is to invite the Spirit of God to be with you always.

I find it interesting that people will feel andoned by God, or wonder why their prayers aren't answered, of feel resentful of their situation in life, blaming God....I used to be one of them!!! But the truth is, the Spirit cannot abide in unholy places. Perhaps me, and these people, were not being modest in our lives. I know without a doubt that this was the reason I did not feel God in my life. Some people refer to it as karma, but for others it is the hand of God. If we aren't vesels for the Lord to work, then why would we be shocked to find ourselves in hardships here on Earth? May we be a little more aware of how we act, how we spend, how we talk, and how we love our fellow men.

2. Modesty helps us stand as a witness of God. When behaving poorly, we condone the evils of the world and show to those around us that we do not believe in morality or chastity. We do not stand above the corruption of the world, or stand for God, in honor of Him. Being a modest human, in deed, in thought, prepares us to become like Him and testifies to Him that we love Him,. It shows gratitude, humility, bravery. 

Modesty is a choice, it can be made by anyone, at any age, of any gender. It is a reflection of love to our heavenly father and, because of its nature, keeps us in tune with the Spirit. It makes us more like Christ, and LESS like the popular world.  Of course it might be difficult at times, and we may feel less accepted, but did Jesus feel popular and accepted ? No, in fact, he was hated by the whole world.


In conclusion, I would like to say I am proud of my choices to live a more modest life, by dressing appropriately, by spending less money on worldly things, and by deciding to care less about the approval of the world. I have a long way to go, but I will continually strive to be a witness to God, for myself and my children.

Friday, November 20, 2015

ARP Talk: My Side of Addiction Recovery

I was asked to give a talk in my parents' ward as a part of the Addiction Recovery Program volunteers. The lds church as a whole is trying to spread the word about the ARP and I was more than happy to participate. I was a facilitator for the 12 step meetings before having my son, and I will one day return to volunteering. It is something I feel passionate about. The following is a condensed version of the talk I gave. Hope you enjoy it!
"There is no cookie cutter addict. Most of them are people you know, who look like you and me. "Normal" people who may even act "normal". It is not exclusive to non-religious persons. Within our LDS community, there are addicts that live in silence and fear, who rarely seek help because of this stigma of shame surrounding addiction. I want you all to look at me and each other, and realize something....we all have temptations. And, quite frankly, we are all going to have an addiction of some sort. The degree of severity ranges, some examples including dishonesty, anger, pride, food, shopping, gambling, social media, gaming, drugs and alcohol, or pornography. No one is exempt from Satan's temptations. Denial and codependency are also big problems within the realm of addiction. We should feel comfortable knowing we are not alone in our struggles instead of shame. "Unto man I give weaknesses." God gave us our talents, but he also gave us our weaknesses which means He trusted us with them. He provided the tools necessary to overcome them. Remember, the atonement of Jesus Christ is the number one tool.
The first image of me is during a time when I was married to my first husband. I comically call him Husband 1.0. I Met him when I was 17 and we were married at 19 in the temple. I knew going into the marriage that he had struggled with an addiction to pornography on and off since he was 12 years old, and that his family had a history of addiction. But we loved each other and I thought I could carry those burdens. That's what marriage is, right? Bearing one another's burdens, long suffering, enduring to the end? Well, during the course of our short marriage I experienced a rapid deterioration of my husband's spirit and his addiction exploded. His addiction to pornography expounded until he was living and breathing the artificial, manipulated, lifestyle Satan has created to destroy the sanctity of our procreational powers. The havoc than ensued consisted of verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Satan had such a firm hold on this man that I felt the presence of the Adversary himself every time my husband walked in the door of our home. I tried everything, from couples therapy, to ARP meetings, I sought help from his family members and friends, and prayed for guidance in the temple. But nothing I did could save the addict in my life. He was not willing to save himself.  This man was a product of his environment, the son of a drug addict father and a codependent mother. They both allowed pornography into their home, which their 3 young boys curiously snuck into. Neither parent had strong moral values and thought that their son, knowing his issues, was "just fine". With zero support and hope, my husband's spirit and marital commitments crumbled under Satan's influence. The mental degradation, physical ramifications, and spiritual defamation I experienced in that time tore me down and led me into the next chapter of my life.
Phase two. Really quickly, please understand that I was a good person, temple worthy the majority of the time. If you think bad things don't happen to good people, you are wrong. I am a prime example of that. So, after a lot of prayer, and confirmation from a priesthood blessing saying I should "guard my womb", I walked away from my marriage. This is where Satan attacked my vulnerabilities. During my weakest moments of anguish, he highlighted some of my temptations. Pain had exposed them. One of these was alcohol. I found it to be the only way to numb the pain. Over the next few years, instead of trying to rebuild my self esteem and heal from my wounds, I hid the trauma beneath liquid courage.  I am lucky I never reached the point of physical dependency, but I was emotionally addicted. Alcohol was the first thing I turned to after a bout with PTSD, after a bad day, or a stressful day at work. Unfortunately, I did not know how to exercise self control. I did not drink socially, I could not contain it to one or two drinks. I was poisoning myself almost every time, waking up the next morning with foggy, forgotten memories. But to me, it was worth it, because I also forgot in those moments the pain of my past.
Hearing phase one, you might not blame me for this, especially if you can relate. Regardless, there is a bright, conscious awareness in all of us that can see where I went wrong.
Before I started going to the ARP meetings, I unknowingly began taking the steps on my own. I remember one night, after realizing my life was in trouble, I prayed to my Heavenly Father. It was one word. Help. I did not know how to pray and I was embarrassed of my actions. I was still living in an environment of alcohol and drug use. Still, each night, I would pray. My prayers turned into, "help me not WANT to drink." because deep down, I still wanted it. After a while of praying I noticed a change. I started to become ill every time I drank. I'm not talk I By about my usually hangover. I mean, I would try to have one or two drinks and I would become very sick. It was like I was allergic to the alcohol. It made alcohol no longer fun, but more importantly, It made alcohol no longer an outlet of pain for me. I hadn't had the strength on my own, but finally, with the help of the Lord, I was able to cut back until drinking didn't even have the slightest appeal to me. That, my friends, is a miracle.
Finally sober, I entered phase three of my life. At long last, I faced the pain, abuse, and heartache I'd endured. I realized that the more you numb your Pain, the more it hurts when you finally feel it. I went through the 12 steps, and soon became a volunteer facilitator for the ARP program.  Through all of this, I learned the true meaning of the atonement and how I would use it in my life. Now, I am happily married, with a beautiful daughter, and as you can see, very pregnant with our second child.
From phase one, I learned that to love an addict is to run out of years. That even when you are doing good and praying, you will face struggles. From phase two, I learned that the media will 100% lie to you about substance abuse. You will destroy your body for a peace of mind you will never find. And your road to sobriety will be long and difficult, hurting many of those around you. From phase three, I am learning about my most divine calling. Motherhood. I've learned that the atonement isn't just about being forgiven from our sins, it is also about having our burdens made light. There is a specific journey ahead of all of us but I testify that God is aware of it. He knows us and He has made a way for us to make it Through, if only we rely on him.
It is a constant effort for me to put my spirituality on the top of my priority list. I know my temptations and pains will come back the instant I lose the spirit in my life. I know that if we put half as much effort into our spiritual success as our mortal success and all things that should come second to our eternal progression, we would be much more virtuous human beings.
I know the ARP program works. I know God loves us and He will deliver us, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

How I Met God

First of all, I just finished journaling this story and it was about eight pages long. I am going to write a condensed version for my blog, but I wish all of you could read every detail in hopes of better understanding just how amazing this event was for me. Either way, you are going to find out how I came to know God better, instead of just believing in him.

It happened on Monday, November 16th, 2015.

It was one of the worst days of my life.

My husband, Glen, left for his week long work trip on Sunday, leaving me with our two little kids. Travin is 7 weeks old. Atley is 19 months. I'd injured my back during labor with my son, herniating discs in my C spine, which has made life with a newborn and toddler unimaginably difficult. Very painful, motor deficit, inability to hold my own children with my right arm, etc, no sleep, etc. (i chose not to do aggressive steroid treatment so that I could breast feed but that's a whole other story!) Sienna, my dog for the last seven years or so, has been staying at my sister's house for a couple months because the dog had been mean to my daughter, and with my new baby I did not have the time or energy to properly care for her. However, Saturday night, my sister called to tell me Sienna had started puking up blood. I told her to monitor the dog and then on Sunday, her and her husband came over to my house for dinner. They brought Sienna, who was still ill. She had lost weight and her mouth was covered in sores. I knew she had lupus, but was now concerned she had cancer. That night was chaotic, to say the least. My 7 week old baby had a bug and was extra needy. So, on top of him waking up frequently, I was dealing with my dying dog. I tried to let the dog sleep in my bed to calm her, as that is how we used to sleep, but she had diarrhea and quickly soiled my bedding. I tried locking the dog in the bathroom, but she wouldn't stop scratching the door, waking up my 19 month old daughter. The bathroom was covered in poop. I took the dog outside 4 times that night, and ended up locking her in the basement bathroom so that my babies could find some rest! I, unfortunately, did not.

By 7:00am Monday, it was clear I had to put the dog down. I cried and cried, despite the dog having been a bit of a nuisance towards the end of her life. Dogs really do become part of the family ! Sienna, who I rescued during one of my greatest life hardships, ended up rescuing me. In the end, I was broken hearted that she was gone, even though she was in a better place.

The rest of the day, I could not stop bursting into tears. I tried to conceal them, and kept busy with the kids, baking and watching movies, but I felt completely distraught. It was a lot to take after an already tough two months. On top of this, Glen and I had faced a conflict two weeks prior that had not been resolved. It was causing me great stress.

The time came for Atley and I to get into our nightly bath/shower for one on one girl time. I set Travin in his bouncy chair outside the clear curtain. As the water ran over me, my daughter played innocently with her toys, and I sobbed a prayer.

I want to note that, while my whole life I have been very spiritual and religious, I have not been blessed with the power of prayer. In fact, I can name on one hand the number of times I noticed a prayer of mine being answered.  With it being so few, I would wonder if they weren't just my own ideas instead of God's. Of course, I've read all the scriptures that speak about the Lord answering prayers in His own time, in His own way, but it is immensely frustrating to feel as if you NEVER see an answer, even if it's the one you don't want. So, although I'd lived in faith and kept praying, I was praying with the faith the size of a mustard seed. I was constantly filled with doubt, confusion, and even abandonment from a father in heaven who, supposedly, would comfort anyone who asked for it. "Knock and ye shall receive". Well, I had not been receiving the comfort I so desired during my darkest hours. Needless to say, I still say prayers every day, for my family and kids. And I need them to know this now:

Something happened to me in the shower. Something that has never happened to me before. Something that helped me understand many of the puzzle pieces of my life, the atonement of Jesus Christ, and about humility.

Within several minutes of my heartbroken prayer to simply feel comfort, I felt a huge sensation of relief. None of my problems were fixed, and yet, I felt such a peace with them. There was no warm, tingly, feeling in my chest. I did not feel arms around me. But the solace I felt, after so long feeling as if my heart was only partially beating, and that my father in heaven had forgotten me, and that I was completely alone in the world, was remarkable. I was lighter. My tears subsided. The promise in the scriptures, that the Lord will make our burdens light, was fulfilled.

On top of this, an even greater miracle occurred. A part of my heart that had been dead for years began to beat again. You may have read posts about my divorce and the trauma it caused. I had gangrene of the heart and I would not have survived if I had not cut it out, but Monday night in the shower I was made whole. I was filled with a capacity to love anew. The conflicts with my husband no longer pained me. I knew they would be resolved, and I would be able to handle them as they came. I felt such a great deep love for my children that, for the rest of the week, I burst into tears just looking at them. That, particularly, helped me comprehend how my Father in Heaven must feel about me. It made me desire a relationship with Him and my brother, Jesus Christ. And the whole experience humbled me in a way that never could have happened had I not experienced the exact, unique set of events in my life that lead me to that moment. While I'd viewed them as huge physical and emotional trials, they pointed me straight towards the moment when I would finally feel the peace and comfort of God I had looooooong been craving. A second major point, is that for the past year, I have been praying to have a softer heart. Literally, a year. I have a tendency to be cynical and bitter, but I was sick of feeling that way. I want so badly to be a good mom and a good example, and to shine with love instead of animosity. So, I've been praying for it. Well, the Lord's time was definitely not my time, but He knew my moment was coming. That moment on Monday my heart was changed in an instant. The promise in the scriptures that the Lord can remove your stony heart has also been fulfilled. I feel softer and more compassionate, I feel a deeper love for my husband, and a love for those strangers around me.

Obviously, nobody wants to be humbled that way. We all think we will escape mortal pains and heartache, but the truth is, that is EXACTLY how we are supposed to grow and learn, I know it now without a doubt.  I know that a told in the scriptures, Christ suffered all manner of afflictions during his atonement that He may know how to succor his people. He knew me. And my past. My pains, my struggles, my current situation. And even though it was not my first desperate, tear filled plea, It was the right time for me. 

I never want to forget that moment. Or this feeling. I want my kids to read this story and feel eased if they ever experience the years of waiting that I did.  I know I'll still have weaknesses, or I might slip into the old habits of cynicism, but I will always remember how light and comforted I felt, after having been grieved for years. God works in mysterious ways. And that night, I met Him.