For the last few months, my friends and I have been getting together once a week to study God’s word together. We have had the best discussions and I have felt such wonderful connection with these ladies and an increase in my spiritual capacity.
As we wrapped up today, I thought about what I have learned over the last six months. And what my most important takeaway would be. It is this…
I know that the restoration is continual. I know the restoration is personal. I am a working progress. Sometimes restoration is messy as God strips off layers of the world and my natural man tendencies. But as I allow Him to do this, what is revealed is my hidden characteristics that need enlargement in order for me to become more like my Heavenly Parents and realize my true potential.
The word I chose to focus on this year was balance. I know I struggle balancing my work, family needs and relaxation time. I wanted some awareness and some answers in this area, because I tend to be an all or none girl. I have realized over the last 6 months that balance doesn’t always look balanced. Rather it is paying attention to what my spirit needs and what God would have me do. Sometimes it is going all in and sometimes it is stepping way back. The key is to consecrate all that I do to the father. That consecration makes Him my partner. It also changes the very nature and my attitude about the thing I am doing, even cleaning my house. It can take mundane things and make them holy.
I am grateful for the restoration process taking place in me. I am thankful God is willing to take the time to uncover the pure spirit and glory underneath the layers of life, busyness and distraction I have accumulated. I am humbled by the knowledge that as we partner together, this consecrated and continuous process can help me become my highest and best self, that queen that He has seen in me all along!
I walked around the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple in Brigham City, Utah seven times today. . Throughout the week I had an incredible desire to spend some time on the temple grounds. I yearned for the peace, the enlightenment and the lifting of my burdens I have always felt there. I thought today would be the perfect day to go. I actually didn’t consider that the grounds would be locked. I should have, but I didn’t. . So, I walked 4 times around the city block and 3 times outside the fence inside the parking lot. . As I walked my outer path, I noticed beauty of the temple walls mingled with the noise of the traffic on the streets. As I walked my inner route I observed the beauty of the paths, fountains and flowers surrounding the temple. As I pondered I remembered so clearly a time when I could not hold a recommend but spent hours inside the temple in the waiting room studying, praying, feeling the potency of the Spirit and receiving profound answers to my most weighing questions. Finally, I was drawn through my memory up the stairs to the celestial room where I have spent time filled with light, joy, and so much peace. . As my mind wound around these memories a certain story of Jesus settled powerfully on my mind. You know the one. In great frustration He braided a rope and drove the moneychangers from the temple. This story gets a lot of attention and the focus seems to be about His emotions rather than His motives. I remember the time I learned the different parts of the temple in Jerusalem and how it helped me better understand this story. . The Herodian Temple had segregated courts for specific people. There was the court of the priests, the court of the Israelites, the court of the women, and the court of the gentiles. This last court is where Christ accused the people of defiling the temple. This court was one where everyone was welcome regardless of status, gender or religion. . This understanding made this story one of my favorites. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, cared so much about every single child of God (regardless of their personal restrictions) that the ability for this court to remain a sacred space for communion with God mattered to Him. He wanted ALL to have the right to worship in peace. . It is hard not to have the availability of the temple in a way that I definitely took for granted. But today, I am going home having felt peace, enlightenment and a lifting of my burdens with a wonderful reminder that every bit of the grounds are sacred and the promises made to us about the temple are still available for receiving even if all we can do right now is spend time in the beautiful “court of the gentiles.”
What a crazy world we are living in right now! I have been an emotional wreck this week and it took me a bit to figure out just why. This back to school thing is so daunting and I don’t even have any littles. My youngest graduated high school last year and I’m so grateful this is a hurdle I don’t need to cross. Yet, I have friends who are teachers and teacher’s aides. And I have many friends, including all three of my sisters, who are mid-stride with deciding what to do this year with their school aged children. As I have had a myriad of conversations with each of these friends, I have felt their uneasiness. Every conversation has ended with, “I guess we’ll see what happens.” Every. Single. One. All of us are living in a space that lacks comfort and lacks confidence. And my heart is right there along with you. It’s not fair. . . But then, as my mother always said, life is not fair. There is a story in the Bible about a woman who had an issue of blood. Perhaps you remember this story. This woman had been struggling with this issue for twelve whole years. She had seen so many doctors that she had no more money to spend seeking a cure and none of them had been able to help. She was at the end of her rope. She also was feeling that lacking of comfort and lacking of confidence. And then… Jesus. . . I love this woman. She had so much faith that this stranger would be able to do what all the money and all the doctors could not, and she was willing to put herself out there, to offer up her heart. She fought her fears and she fought the crowds to get to a place where she could reach out and touch the hem of His robe. She offered up her broken and wounded heart and He healed it. Her issue that no one else could heal, her faith and His power healed, as the scriptures say, IMMEDIATELY. . . I love this story! It reminds me that even when I can’t see how anything will ever be normal again. When I wonder how my heart will be made whole and my fears set at rest, there is an answer, and His name is Jesus. But I must be willing to take my weaknesses, my fear, my insecurities and then seek Him out. . . I can’t even tell you how many times I have approached Christ with my wounded and weary heart throughout my life. It seems like each time I have, I have wondered how He could possibly give me the peace that I need, so quickly forgetting my previous experiences with Him. And still, this does not stop Him. He may not choose to calm the storms in my life, but He is always capable of calming me. . . Danielle Orner once said, “Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.”
Whatever fears or self-doubts you are feeling at this time, I encourage you to take them to the Lord. Live in that space between effort and surrender. Allow Him to comfort and heal your heart and give you the strength and confidence to face this uncertain time. And through this action your children will also feel the calming influence that can only come from the Prince of Peace. . . Get Hope. Get Christ. Get Anchored.
I’m going to be a little bit vulnerable with you today. I feel broken. I have been in denial because it isn’t logical, but I am admitting to myself, to you, and to my Savior today that it is nonetheless real and it hurts.
There are times in your life that it is logical to admit that you feel broken. Times when big changes come and it is obvious to everyone that you feel broken and that it makes sense that you would be… after you lose a loved one or family member, times when you’ve lost a job, gotten a divorce, maybe even changing jobs or moving to a new home. Then there are times in your life when the changes are not so obvious and no one sees the fracture lines in the glass walls of your life and even you have a hard time accepting they are there, because they are not so explainable or admittable.
That is the world I am living in right now. And maybe, there are a lot more souls out there that feel the same way. One of those fracture lines that I think is very common right now is that our world was turned upside down by a virus and choices outside our control, made for us, on how to deal with that virus. I have a very real need for social interaction and my ability to meet that need was stripped from me. I’m not addressing my feelings about whether I believe this was or not necessary, only that the glass wall of my life was effected by it. All of us need people, yet some of us are more shaken emotionally when we do not have this social interaction, the face to face, eye to eye, heart to heart regular healing that comes with these interactions. I am one of those. The isolation imposed on me by this time in our world, it hurts.
The next fracture line that developed is that my baby has graduated from high school. He said from day one of this school year that he did not want to walk for graduation. He gave me his arguments in defense of his feelings and I agreed to allow him this stance. So, even though graduation would not have been normal this year, it would have resulted in the same lack of ceremony and closure for me. I just don’t think I realized how much the absence of those things would effect me. I am proud of my son. He has worked hard and done well academically and in life. He was even awarded a scholarship that will help substantially with his pursuits in the field of engineering. I just don’t think we, as a society, talk very much about the stress that comes with the transition from parent of a child to parent of an adult. Yet, those changes are real and they are hard! Going from a home filled with beautiful chaos to the quiet of one’s own thoughts can be a silent strain, an eerie heartache. I have till the fall until my son’s plans change my life even more. But the ticking of that clock hurts, breaks me more than I ever considered.
I am married to a police officer. I love to say that. And I hate to say that. My husband is a good man with the best of intentions. He has a wonderful heart with pure motives to help, serve and protect. There is a stress that comes with that job that no one else except other officers and families of officers can even remotely understand or empathize with. The last month has been especially difficult as we have watched the media and social media vilify and slander the good intents of his heart and the good hearts of his brothers and sisters in blue. And we do it silently from the other side of our monitor because speaking out in defense in the midst of this climate would really help nothing and probably just cause more division. I know that what we hear is the loud minority and that there are many in the silent majority who do appreciate law enforcement and what they stand for, but the silence is deafening when your heart is hurting. It further fractures the glass walls of my heart.
In the midst of this chaos involving his profession, we have made some decisions as a family as to which department my husband will work for. There are pros and cons in every job. There are pros and cons in every department. For reasons not necessary to discuss, we have decided in the best interest of our family, some changes were needed. Changing any job is hard, but changing in law enforcement is more stressful than any job I know of. Not only are there personal interviews and evaluations, but there are background investigations, polygraphs, and psych evaluations. These are necessary because this line of work does require more accountability and does need a higher bar set for those who will fill each position. Sure, there are a few with questionable motives and character that slip through this process, but the good majority are tried, tested and found worthy. But it is a very stressful process for those who have to go through it. And the fact that this process began just before an officer was shot and killed in Ogden, made it heavier than ever for our family. I am proud of my husband. I am proud of the man he is. I am proud of him for being one of those few special souls who are willing to run into a dangerous situation to protect the life of a stranger when everyone else, including me, would be running out and away to protect their own lives. Sometimes these feelings of pride I carry, though worthy, come at a cost, they fracture me.
I have reduced my time on social media significantly, for the reasons above, as well as the fact that my heart is breaking over the obvious division in our country, community, and even amongst my friends. I was raised with a special awareness and an appreciation for differences. We are all aware of differences, so when I say a special awareness, what I mean is that my sisters and I were taught to look for those who were feeling left out and lonely. We were taught to have the courage to include them and love them in spite of our differences, and maybe even because of them, to recognize that those differences are beautiful. A quilt made from all the same fabric is not nearly as beautiful as one pieced together with a variety of colors and patterns. My heart aches that instead of celebrating our differences we seem to be in this twilight zone where we are using labels and boxes to set ourselves separate from or above one another. These labels and differences are easy to identify with outside appearances, but there are far more that we use for division… religion, politics, classes, status, culture, etc. Our inability to accept and love others regardless of differences is painful. It hurts them and it hurts us! But I don’t believe that the solution comes with embracing causes or platforms with their own agendas. I believe it comes with a lot of personal introspection and self-evaluation. It requires each person to stand in front of the mirror and ask, “What am I doing personally to make my own life better? What am I doing to make the world better? What can I do in my own sphere of influence to spread love and light?” I believe if we were each asking ourselves these questions regularly, our world would have a lot less finger pointing and a lot more love and healing. The division because of our differences is fracturing a lot more than my little heart!
As I finish typing the current causes of my brokenness, they feel a little more logical and explainable than I first thought. It has become clear for me to see why my heart has been utterly shattered. Maybe some of these things are causing pain and brokenness in your hearts too. I know that I am broken. I can see clearly what is causing those feelings of aching helplessness. I also know that I am incapable of healing myself. But I do know where healing comes from.
A… Healing comes first from Admitting that we are broken, from Accepting that we are in a space ready to seek healing. It comes from recognizing the source of that healing is our Savior, Jesus Christ. It comes from Asking for His help.
B… It comes from Believing that with help, things can get better. Not even back to the normal we once knew, but actually Better. For me, I know that this help comes from my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that when I go to Him with my aching, my broken pieces, He can help put me Back together again. He can teach me where those pieces go and help me replace some of the no longer useful pieces with better ones. He can help me recognize the next right step to Becoming whole again and even stronger than I was before.
C… It comes from Connecting with others. It comes as we are vulnerable enough to reach out and search for Common ground. As we Communicate our own needs, we find that there are so many others that are hurting too and have needs we can help fill. Together we can process those feelings and help each other heal. We can support each other, Comfort each other, and help lift each other up.
I am at this point. I accept that I am broken and I admit that I need help to heal. I believe that our lives and our world can be better, more beautiful than it has been in the past. I am craving the connection and comfort of common ground. I want to lift others and feel lifted as we work together to heal. I know that as we partner with our Redeemer Jesus Christ, we can find this healing, for ourselves and for the world we live in. Our brokenness can become beautiful through this process of help and healing.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself around some for all, to be testified in due time.
Mediator literally means the one who stands in the middle.
Christ does not belong to one side or the other, but to both. He stands between us and God intervening to restore harmony between us, to repair the breech that separates us caused by human sin.
Though tempted, Christ never sinned, and so qualifies as the perfect sacrifice that was necessary to meet the demands of justice. His atoning blood allows us to be redeemed and return to a God who’s perfect nature demands us be perfectly clean.
God be thanked for the perfect mediator serviced by Him to complete the plan of redemption.
John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
Ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden and the presence of God, there is a hole in the human soul. It is a hole that so many of us try to fill with a myriad of worldly things… Money, toys, status, power… Things we think will make us feel whole and complete. Things that will not and cannot fill what is missing.
It is the lucky ones who recognize that what is missing is a relationship with Jesus. As we spend time with Him, get to know Him, begin to trust Him, we find that hole filled, find what makes us feel complete.
Christ is the bread of life, the one who gives us what no worldly thing can give. He helps us find God’s life, a security and serenity that only He can give.
I love that Christ is the strong, dependable shelter I can always run to when I need refuge. . . I also love that He helps me build my own solid foundation as I carve out regular time to spend with Him. . . And when I get cracks in my foundation because I have not been diligent enough, He is there one who can help me make repairs to make my foundation strong again.
This year I am focusing on the Titles of Christ and the roles they play in our life. I am posting videos once a week with scriptures and my thoughts after studying. I’d love for you to join me in this journey!
He is our prophet because He spoke for God as He taught the truths of eternity. . . Our Priest because He was willing to sprinkle His own blood on the mercy seat through the Atonement. . . Our King because He is our leader and protector.
How do you see these rules fulfilled in your life?