Twelve Steps

The question I am answering is from a young girl struggling with drug addiction.

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I had a couple of people help me answer this.  But I would like to share a personal experience from my own life.

A long time ago… yet stored within her adult mind as if it were just yesterday, a confused, filthy, tired, drug-addicted 7-year-old stood before her teacher.  Not just a teacher but, a hero, a small prized verbal fighter, and a friend.  The first adult friend she had ever had.  The first person to stand up to her biological mothers’ outrageous excuses.  The first person to hold her face gently in her cupped hands and rationalize with her.  The first person that said things that aligned perfectly with the way her own conscious had been trying to dictate.  “Stop taking these pills.  They will destroy you, Shawna.”  Her brown eyes plead firmly with the ragged little blonde-haired girl before her who, without words, was asking for her noon pill.

This entire time the little girl was told that she needed those pills, because of her nightmares.  There was a small part of her that actually liked those pills.  They helped her go to sleep.  She knew with them she would sleep through all the times that the monsters in her nightmares, the ugly dark ones that hurt little kids and came out at night.  It didn’t matter that in the morning the pain was there testifying of what the monsters had done and they were in fact real. Her biological mother denied it.  And simply gave her small daughter her morning pill with that and her noon pill they would make the abused girl wake up.  And her mouthy daughter wouldn’t care about the pain.  She’d stop telling her teachers about the monsters in her home.

The little girl listened to her wise teacher.  And never willing took another pill.  Though they were prevalent in her home and a quick fix was readily available to her.   She refused to let them create a monster of her like they had made of her mother.  With the help of positive non-drug addict friends, she used 12 steps to keep her away from any desire to have a quick fix.

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A good friend of mine who asked to remain nameless said to me about her addiction and where is started. “Shawna, I have always been depressed.  It seemed nothing I did stopped it.  I discovered when I took pain pills when I wasn’t in pain, they made me happy.”  She went on to tell me that she was taking up to 15 pills a day when she finally realized she needed help.  The only way she was able to conquer her addiction was receiving the medical attention she should have gotten years earlier.  It was through a lot of counseling and medical help, with her depression, that she finally found the strength to win.

shelbie (2)Another friend of mine, (This is her) who happens to be my daughters’ best friend since 3rd grade, sent me the quote and picture below,  I loved it and thought it could help with those of you struggling with any kind of addiction.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what she sent me.  After her and her companion had been hiking this enormous staircase.  That consisted of 2,744 steps.

2,744 steps closer to heaven. 

steps mission shelbie

2 Corinthians 4:18: while we look not at the things which are seen but at the things which are not seen for the things which are seen are temporal and the things which are not seen are eternal. 

 

Just like how faith are things which are hoped for and not seen don’t become discouraged by the things we cannot see. For the things that we can see are the things of this earth. But we are looking for the things not of this earth and even though we cannot see them, doesn’t mean they are not there! Heaven is for real. Keep striving and keep pushing on! This is a lot of what I experienced today doing the incline. We couldn’t see the top but we knew it was there. so we just had to keep going no matter how many times I wanted to stop. no matter how many times we want to stop we have to keep going because the view is amazing (:  

I loved what she said!  This is so true with all the steps forward we take.  We can’t always see the end result but when we reach our goals the view is always beautiful.

This is a great video.

12 steps to change video

Two-Thousand Six Hundred and Eight

The question we are answering this week came from a young man who is very much an analytical thinker. He is a very bright kid who excels in scholastics. He asked, “How can I get more out of the scriptures? It seems to me that they repeat themselves over and over on the same subjects. Why is that?”

I asked my daughter’s favorite mission companion to answer this because she has a great answer for it.  She has some great insights on the subject. 

Two-Thousand Six Hundred and Eight

Adversity is a vital part of our existence here on earth.  It presents resistance, and resistance can be turned into a strength.  Without it, we are stagnant.  It would be like trying to build muscle without using weights or resistance.  Although it would be pretty entertaining to watch, without resistance, we will not get stronger.  It’s the same way with adversity…trials, struggles, challenges, growth in life.  It can build strength.

I know.  You’re thinking Jade, the gym is one thing, but my life is another.  You’re right.  truck 2Because in the gym, I have control of how much weight I put on that bar or what level of resistance I dial my cardio machines to.  I control the resistance.  That can be a good thing, but it has also caused me some unnecessary pain.  Like there was that time that I went for a PR on the bench and thought I didn’t need a spotter.  “I got this.”  Ha!  Famous last words before humbling experience.  Long story short, I had to set the weight on my ribs and roll it all the way down to where I could sit up.  Thankfully, I am terrible at bench, so it wasn’t enough weight to squash me.  I had a lot of thoughts as I rolled the bar with the weights down my torso.  “This was a good idea” was not one of them.  I controlled that weight.  And I pushed farther than I could go without help.  And it hurt.

Most of the adversity or the resistance in my life, I don’t control…and I am so thankful that I don’t.  Someone who knows exactly how much weight my spirit and my mind and my emotions…even my body can take is the One in control.  Mormon 5:23 is the reference on the bracelet I almost never take off: “Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God…?”  One of my favorite motivational videos to listen to while I try to forget the fact that my heart is beating out of my chest while I do cardio is Unbroken.  Listen to this: “Anybody can feel good when they have their health, no bills to pay, they have happy relationships; anybody can be positive then.  Anybody can have a larger vision then.  Anybody can have faith under those kinds of circumstances.”  They’re not wrong.  So, I ask myself…what about when it’s not like that?  Things are real.  Things are hard.  There’s not always a quick-fix or an easy route through it.  I’ve been praying and thinking about how we get through it…here’s three of my thoughts.  Bear with me while I expound.

1 Sunday it came to passOne: When something is repeated over and over again in scripture, it’s not because God forgot what He said.  It’s because He wants us to always remember those words.  Sometimes it’s a warning.  Sometimes it’s direction.  Other times it’s reassurance.  Always, it’s driven by love.  Selfless love.  The kind of love we cannot even fathom.  The love that means we are literally never alone.  I’m 24.  I grew up with wonderful, very religious parents.  I have spent a lot of time reading scripture.  There’s a phrase that happens a lot throughout the Bible and the Book of Mormon.  So many times, it seems absolutely unnecessary.  “And it came to pass.”  For me, it’s always been a phrase that I’m like, come on, let’s just get to the story.  However, that phrase has become a powerful one for me over the past few years.  It changed when someone said to me “The scriptures always say it came to pass; they never say it came to stay.”  I’ve thought about it a lot.  Christ gave His life so that every mortal struggle, heartbreak, illness, challenge…came to pass.  That principle is so important to me.  If you need assurance, 2,608 times.  That’s how many times the Hebrew translation of the Bible + the Book of Mormon say, “it came to pass.”  It must be important.  Without Jesus, there would be a lot of “it came to stays”.  With Him, ‘it came to pass.’

4a wednessday When darkness surrounds youTwo:  God intends to work miracles in your life.  He always has.  That can be hard to see sometimes when adversity clouds our eyes.  For one man in the New Testament, that clouding of the eyes was literal.  He was blind.  He was born that way.  And the people believed that somehow this man’s blindness was someone’s fault.  The disciples asked Jesus, “who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Here’s the response:  “Neither hath this man sinned nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  But that the works of God should be made manifest in him.  Here’s the thing.  When this man was born blind, God fully intended for this day to come.  He fully intended to work a miracle in this man’s life, a miracle that would bring so much joy and happiness to this man and his family that I’m sure the years of trial must have been worth it to him in that very instant that Jesus healed Him.  In His healing, God showed forth His power and love.  When you are troubled and wonder why trials happen or why you feel so weak, please, remember that God knows your struggle and has every intention of working miracles in your life.

Are Trials Equal?

Are trials equal?

 

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Hi everyone, I’ve missed you. I have a lot of questions to answer.  Some can be answered in the same post.  So, the one I am answering today will also answer those of you, who have been asking how my surgery went, how I am doing (info about surgery is at the end of the article). Here’s the question of the week.

“Are trials equal? Why do some people seem to have so many more trials than others?   It seems my mom has more than most.”  This question was asked by a young girl whose mother seems to never have any relief from her health problems.  She said, “My mother is always depressed, sleeping…,” and through this child’s perspective her mother doesn’t seem to have any hope or happiness within her.

She asked me this about 4 months ago as I was lying in bed and could not get out because I was so sick.  At that point, I had stopped writing because the pain was too bad for me to even think or look at the computer screen.

I felt like I could relate to this mother to some degree.  I have been sick for quite some time.  And yes, through it I have had brief moments of; depression, anxiety, hopelessness…, all those feelings we ALL feel at the times in our lives when our burdens seem heavier than we have the strength to carry.  (If you learn to use adversity right, it can take you to a place you could never have gone before) author unknown.

This young girl went on to ask me, “You are sick, you have been for a long time.  Yet, you are still happy and nice. How can I help my mom be happy?”  That made me feel good because it was hard to be pleasant when I was sick.  Especially when it seemed answers were coming at a snail’s pace.

without hardships, we would not have valued easeI am not superhuman.  And I do have to fight not to let those negative feelings overcome me.  However, I have found that with practice I can be positive and happy even in pain.  I can see all the lessons to be learned through the journey of my life a lot clearer when my eyes are not blinded from negative thoughts.

To answer are all trials equal?  They may not be equal at the same moment.  But I truly believe that if we looked deeply into the entire course of anyone’s life.  We would find that each of us have trials that make us feel as this young girls’ mother feels.  I believe our trials can be turned into the moments in our lives where we grow the most from.  And become the heavenly daughter/son that we started out this journey to become.

I told her there were 5 major things that help me hold onto hope and happiness.

 

  1. Remember where it is your strength comes from.The power of prayer. With it, we are never ever alone.  It is my greatest desire to point people’s eyes toward heaven.  Help them remember who they are and what we are here for. 

 

 

 

 

  1. book of Mormon My scriptures. They are a constant reminder that there is something all around us so much bigger than us and our problems.   There are so many that have lived before us that experienced the same kinds of trials and came out triumphantly in the end.  They share it with us through the scriptures.  The scriptures are basically the personal journals of righteous people who have come before us.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. get up and move (2)I must get up and move.  No matter how painful it is.  At times I have used a cane, a wheelchair or someone else’s arm but moving is vital to our overall mental and physical health. This also applies to getting up and finding the help we need from friends, family, and professionals.  Only you have the power to ask and accept the help that is out there for us.

 

 

 

 

  1. Put positive things in and you'll get positive resuNutrition. For me this is vital.  I have a lot of allergies.  If I want energy and health, I must put positive things in my body to get a positive reaction from my body.  I try to stay away from Genetically modified food, soy, and gluten.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. perspectivePositive thoughts. I know that I have the power within my own mind to view the world around me in a positive or negative way. I find that life no matter what I am going through is a better journey when I am happy.  I can be happy when I choose to see the good things that surround me.

 

 

 

I believe our trials all equal out in the end. We have all experienced pain, sorrow, depression, anxiety from our hardships.  Our adversities may be different, but they still feel the same.  We are all learning, experiencing, overcoming, and becoming stronger.  I cannot think of one thing that I have gone through and overcame that I have not become stronger, more compassionate with a better view of the world around me.this makes this even better (2)

Here is a great video on adversity and why we experience it.

https://youtu.be/NecWhJCJuQo

 

 

My Surgery

When I first met with the neurosurgeon my body was doing this…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LFvA8_pDw0&feature=youtu.be

This was an allergic reaction to gabapentin a medication they were giving me for pain.

He said, “I can’t help you.  The Chiari Malformation (This is what I was diagnosed with.) is not causing your body to do this.   Compassionately he looked at me laying on his exam table he asked, “Shawna what do you think?  This is a very painful surgery.”

7 Saturday 7-6I was weak, at my breaking point, all my defenses down, and not caring if the other people in the room where religious people or not, I answered between sobs.  “I have prayed and fasted about this so many times.  I feel like I have finally been led to you and that you are the one that will be able to help me.” After 4 years of not knowing if my legs were going to work or not, headaches, and constant pain. I finally felt like I had the answer I was searching for.

After I had seen a lot of other doctors to verify that there were no other things going on that could have been causing my symptoms, (besides the gabapentin.) he agreed to perform the surgery.  Explaining to me that my legs may not work properly for quite some time after the surgery.  He also addressed the fact that he did not know how my body would respond to the medications because of my sensitivity in the past to meds.  “This could take you a long time to recover Shawna.  I just want you to know up front what you are facing, and it may not help.”  He factually stated.

“I’ll be running a year from the date of the surgery,”  I stated knowing in my heart that this was true.

“I hope so.”  Is all he could say.

Six weeks after the surgery, my last Post Op appointment.

“What’s your pain level?” His quite soft-spoken technician asked as she was documenting my progress.

“Zero” I hadn’t said that word in four years.

2 Monday trials (1) July 1Both doctors came in and looked at me with a dumbfounded look on their face as I had explained to them how my recovery was going.  I had been hiking (Well… walking on dirt trails with slight inclines 😊) for a few weeks now.  “My head feels so light.  Before it felt like a 50lb bowling ball sitting on my shoulders. I can watch tv without my sunglasses on, my ears are no longer ringing, and best of all there is absolutely no pain in my legs!”  I was just so happy.  I’m still recovering but, I am still very happy with the outcome.  I love you all very much!  Thanks for all your prayers and support!!

If you any questions you can instant message me.  If I can’t answer or help you I have a team of people that we can ask and get you headed in the right direction.  Love strength-n-adversity.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where have you been?

Where have you been?

Even though my situation is a little more serious than this video.  I love to laugh.  And making this video made me laugh.  Hope it does the same for you!

In honor of March Madness, and you know me… I describe everything I experience through a story.  So, imagine with me for a moment.  You are playing basketball.   You are not a starter in the game.  Nor are you a polished knowledgeable player.  Yet, you are good enough to make the team. The score at the moment in the game is 1,143,000,000 to six.” The odds are heavily stacked against your team.  But your coach stands up, yells over the crowd toward the end of the bench, his index finger pointing at you, and you jump to hear your coaches’ instructions.  He proceeds to tell you, that you are going to get in that game,  “Not only are you going to play, but you are going to win it.”

With anxiety in your heart, you join in the game.  The first few buckets you make builds your confidence, your shoulders straighten, the three-point line seems only a foot away the shots are just gliding in.  The opposing team’s coach sees this threat.  Double team, triple team, foul that player whatever it takes, just stop him/her from succeeding.

A foul is called against the opposing team, but the damage is done.  Your ankle has twisted you heard the dreaded pop.  You look to your coach assuming your job has been done.  But he smiles encouragingly whispers, “We still need you in the game.  Limp along, do what you can, my coaching will help make up the rest.”  With nothing to go on but faith, you get up start limping along.  Amazingly, though slower paced, you still manage to make more buckets.  A flagrant foul is called on the opposing team as your head hits the floor.   Dizzy, confused, ears ringing, you pick up what feels like a 50-pound bowling ball that they tell you is your head to carry,  still limping you can also hear your coach ­­­­tell you,  “I still need you on the court……”

Since I was a little girl, about 8, my biggest hero (though 11 years past before I knew what church he belonged to) was Joseph Smith.   This is next week’s story That large number I stated above 1,143,000,000  was the approximate population of the earth in the year 1830 when the restored Church of Jesus Christ was officially organized with six members.  The other number I mentioned. Was the number of leaders that organized the church.  Joseph an unlearned, unpolished man and the other five who organized the church where ordinary people, their small following were humble seekers of Christ. People that despite the odds against them, they accomplished extraordinary things.   Joseph was in a prison cell where the opposing team put him.  When the Lord declared to him, “The ends of the earth shall know thy name.”   I cannot even imagine how unlikely that could have seemed to him at that moment.

I am no Joseph Smith, nor am I a basketball player.  But I am a child of God, who loves all his children equally.  And he will help me accomplish the portion of his plan that he has entrusted to me.  Though For the past 3 months I have hardly, and at times not been able to walk at all.  It also feels like I am carrying around a 50 lb weight on my shoulders. The Doctors have discovered a malformation in my head called Chiari Malformation, that seems to be causing the medical problems I am having.  However, the fix to that problem is brain surgery.  In an effort to avoid that we, a team of doctor’s and my family, have tried other ways to control the symptoms though we have learned a lot in our efforts It looks like surgery will be the best option.

The last couple of weeks have been extremely hard to try and think through the pain or look at a lite up computer screen.  But I cannot express how blessed I feel that I have this blog and people who read it.  When I feel like I have touched even one life through my experiences it gives meaning and purpose in my own life.  As the above video states…. Odds are often stacked against us and we want to get back in bed!  But, I feel lucky to have you and I truly feel after this my health will be better than it has been in almost 20 years!!!

 

Another thought I’d like to share one that has inspired me over the last few months!

 

I have a very close friend who has traveled a very bumpy road.  The hardest bump she blog kendalhit was when she was on her LDS mission.  These are her words to me today on how dire the situation was for her. “A handful of missionaries (she was on a mission in Australia and was hit by a car) showed up at the hospital and the paramedics told them, “We’re sorry for your loss.  Expecting that I wouldn’t pull through, because my brain had been so damaged.  When they transferred me to Hawaii the neurologist immediately told my parents that I would never recover.  I would be the girl in a bed for life and to just put me in a care facility.  They never dreamed she could walk again.  Through the last three months, she has been a guiding light to me.  Here’s part of her story.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86z7H06Q2F0&feature=share You can also follow her Facebook page if you want to be inspired more by her.   I love you all and thank you for your support and the confidence you have in me when you ask me your questions.  Please don’t stop asking.  Just know it could be a while to recovery for me. But I will answer I promise! Love Always strength-n-adversity. Shawna

quote goliathI want to leave you with this thought by president Nelson,  “You who may be momentarily disheartened, remember, life is not meant to be easy. Trials must be borne, and grief endured along the way. As you remember that “with God, nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37), know that He is your Father. You are a son or daughter created in His image, entitled through your worthiness to receive revelation to help with your righteous endeavors. You may take upon you the holy name of the Lord. You can qualify to speak in the sacred name of God (see D&C 1:20). It matters not that giants of tribulation torment you. Your prayerful access to help is just as real as when David battled his Goliath (see 1 Sam. 17).

 

The thought I hope to leave you with is:  Things in our lives that seem the hardest may very well be the things we personally need to become whom we are truly capable of being.  I know the Lord does not delight in our suffering!  But he delights in us and our growth.  With him we can beat the odds stacked against us, face our Goliath’s and become children of our royal birthright!

 

How do I move forward? It’s been years and I feel stuck in the past.

One step…, one door…, one opportunity at a time.

don't hide behind your doors of opprotunity step through them

The Question I had this week:  How do I move forward? It’s been years and I feel stuck in the past.  On behalf of the person asking this question I will affirm that It is hard not to get mentally trapped behind that dark doors of your past regardless of how old you get, there could even be times when you feel like. ‘I have moved way past it.’ And suddenly the haunting memories can come creeping back into your life…. The important part here is to not get discouraged.  If you can slip back into the shadows, you can most certainly progress again into the light. *Remember* you’ve done it before.

In answer to the above question, I would like to share one of my favorite stories. It’s about one of the first abused little girls whom I was blessed to work with.  Today 20 years later, she is a successful, kind, loving mother with a wonderful husband, and one of my dearest friends.  But her life started out as dark as the inside of the door above.

These are her words.  “I was born into an abusive laboratory that produced methamphetamine.  Nurturing and children really had no place in my parent’s sad life.  I took care of my siblings behind locked closed doors, the best I could. I was alone and afraid, but miracles did happen,

and angels do come.  Mine was in the form of a police officer, who busted down our locked front door.  Taking me and my siblings, with only towels wrapped around us. (Our clothes were kept and put into evidence).  With only each other, the kind officer guided open door bright wordsus through a very different door. A few smiling inviting faces waited just on the other side. It was bright, and it was strange in a good sort of way. A couple days later a kind lady came walking through that same door, many wonderful people walked through that door.  This lady sat on the floor beside me, looking kindly in my eyes.  She explained to me all about the life that she too was forced to live.  Explaining that she understood how dark and ugly life behind locked doors could be.  The best part about this lady’s visit is the message she brought.  She explained how she broke free and how I could too.  That I could create my own doors to escape through if I was boxed into one, that I didn’t like.  And she was there to show me how I could do just that.”

“Do you want to learn?” She asked.

Of course, I said “yes,”  then she asked with a kind smile on her face.  For me to tell her all the things I would like to learn to do. Not knowing what this had to do with doors I listed some things.  The piano was the first.  I would love to play soccer and tennis would be cool…. anything I wanted to learn she kept encouraging me to list.  Then asked if I could choose one to start with, what would it be?  I chose piano.

“Ok, you can start on Monday.  We have a lady right around the corner who will be your teacher.  And all that it will cost you is some hard work and lots of practice.  Do you have that to give?”

goals better

“She didn’t actually hand me a key She explained it as something I would hold in my heart.  So, when I feel like I wanted to give up, and you surely will want to, we all do at times. But you’ll have your keys of success that your hard work has earned.  Keys of the skills you have acquired during your lessons.  The key of Knowledge

doors of opprotunitythat experience has given you.  You are never alone, this key will be constantly around you, angels will be your constant companions.  Prayers can be heard in front and behind doors, that is a universal key that unlocks every door. The keys of self-respect, no one can take that from you.  Each key that you earn will help you unlock the doors to your future that you aspired to. You’ll possess what you need to unlock all the many doors of opportunity that setting and achieving goals will put before you.” This kind lady shared truth’s she had learned.

I did not grow up to be a grand piano player.  But it was a start of learning the power of setting goals and achieving them.  The power that you can give to yourself.

acheive angels you are never aloneThe kind lady said, “If you can accomplish one thing that seems almost too big, then you’ve learned the impossible is possible.  Keep a prayer in your heart, angels will abide.  They will send you the help that you need.  The doors of your future can be bright and successful. My dear little friend.

 

And only you will be able to unlock the doors of opportunity in front of you with the keys to success we will teach you and you will learn.

jesus-at-the-door-39617-galleryThe most important concept I would like to share with you today is there will be many doors put before you.  But you must have the courage to open them.  Even Our Savior cannot force his way in.  He stands at the door and knocks.  He longs to help you.  Open the doors to the paths you long to be on.

Behold I stand at the door and knock

keys to success

Do I honor a mother who abuses?

 

What should I do?  She is my mother I want to honor her, but the abuse doesn’t stop?

 

A young girl came to one of my classes and asked me this after. “What should I do? She is my mother I want to honor her, but the abuse doesn’t stop?”

genetics don't always make a woman into a mother or a man into a father.I too had a hard time with this.  I got so hung up on the __12th commandment . (Honor thy mother and father.)   And not understanding it’s complete meaning I kept putting myself in a situation where my mother could still mentally abuse me.  (I was older so she could no longer physically abuse me.)  Thinking that was part of following that commandment, I had to be around her. I was also putting my children in harm’s way.  But everything seemed to contradict my feelings of just walking away and keeping that one commandment. How could I honor someone who doesn’t honor God? After much prayer and study, I found this scripture that helped me immensely.

group prayer 2 or 3 gatheredIn 2Nephi 5:1(Read this to yourself and put your name in where the Lord is talking to Nephi.)  It says in the scriptures Liken the scriptures unto yourself   Behold, I Nephi (I Shawna) did cry much unto the Lord my God, because of the anger of my brethren (this could relate to anyone that is abusive, hateful, or causing harm to you.) And it came to pass that the Lord did warn me (Shawna) that I Nephi (Shawna) should depart from them and flee…. These passages and many many years of praying gave me the comfort that I needed to walk away from those who were abusive in my life.  Or those that were toxic and lied to protect those who committed murder (even if it was fear that made them do this.) I had to surround myself with people who believed in me, loved me, and wanted to protect me.  I surrounded myself with people that honored the Lord.                                                   https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/18.20?lang=eng

Linda Conway (1)In 2Nephi 5, Nephi is commanded to walk away from his brothers.  They are abusive and have even threatened his life.  When someone is abusing you, regardless of the type of abuse.  If they are threatening your ability to have peace, good health, and freedom.  Freedom to act, freedom to live, and freedom to see yourself as your father in heaven see’s you, walk away.  Find a safe place.  I spent the first 30 years of my life praying that I could have a mother that would love me.  (you never get too old to want that) But, the entire time I was praying he had answered my prayer.  My high school boyfriends mother, Doreen Outzen, loved me I knew that, and I loved her too.  She helped me more than she will ever know.  My best friend’s mother, Linda Conway, was always there for me.  There were times I would be in pain laying on my friends’ bed and crying she would bring me a hot pad, drinks, and anything I needed. Especially Love and kindness.

the sweet woman who decided to be my mommyMost importantly I had a mother at home when I was fifteen.  It was my father’s wife.  I was so angry and frustrated by the time I moved in with my father that I did not open my heart to loving her.  But no matter what I did or how badly I acted out with her she always stayed.  She always made sure I had the necessities of life and so much more.  I did have a mother, actually, I had many mothers.  It just took me until I was 30 to realize that just because my prayers were not answered in the way that I imagined, they were answered on a far bigger scale, more beautifully than I could have possibly imagined.  Our father in Heaven cannot make someone love you.  But he will send you people that will love you.  And he will protect you from those who abuse their free agency and cause harm to those that they are around.  We just need to open our eyes and hearts to see the blessings he is trying to give us in the most unexpected of places.  And honor those that honor God.

 

 

 

 

Can Even I, a once child abuser, Be Forgiven?

Can Even I, a once child abuser,  be Forgive?

 

The lord is mercifulThe question this week Is, “Shawna I beat my children, my mom beat me, and my children beat my grandchildren.  I am going to stop the abuse now! But, can I be forgiven?  I have hurt so many!”

I’m going to answer this with a story and at the end of the blog, I had a lot of friends give their advice as well.

 

 

frosted windowI tugged at the frosted window latch.  The freezing weather sealed the condensation making opening the window quite a feat.  I climbed up a footstool and leveraged my body weight and forced the window open.  A gust of icy wind stung my face instantly freezing my wet eyelashes.  Through the open window, my drugged-up friend stood with just a thin jacket to protect him from the below freezing weather.  I cried many a tear for him.  And tonight, they just seemed to flow, now frozen streaks stained my face as he begged me to let him in and sleep on my floor.  Of course, I did.  I snuck him in and made him a bed on the floor. 

snowing shelterHe had been living up the canyon in a makeshift shelter choosing that lifestyle rather than follow his parents’ house rules:  Go to school, no drugs and alcohol, come home by curfew these rules he refused to follow.  Doing all that they could to help their son onto a better path.  His choices were toxic to the entire family.  To protect the rest of the family, and until he accepted the help, they had offered him, he could no longer live under their roof.

He stumbled through the window landing on the blanket I had just laid out. I watched his dark empty eye slowly close as he slurred words of thank you and passed out for the night.  Everyone said he was destined to follow this path.  He had lived with his druggie birth mother for far too long. Before his biological father had finally gotten custody.  I’d known him my entire life.  I loved him and to me, as I watched him snoring on the floor, I only saw a little boy who got lost in the dark.  It was a world he was born into.  Your next hit was your driving force.  With no job I knew he did whatever he needed, terrible things, to get the poison his body craved.  I cried myself to sleep hoping I didn’t get caught with him lying on my floor.

An entire year went by before I saw him again.  After that night I heard he’d gone to live with an Uncle far from where I lived.

But, this is the amazing part that I wanted to tell you.  My friend came back.

 

look to the lightIt was a warm spring day excitement was in the air.  We were planning graduation parties and dreaming of what our lives could become.  I quickly got out of my car as I screeched to a holt in our driveway. In a hurry to grab the stuff I had left at home and get on with our planning.  Looking down at all the things I was juggling in my arms, I ran up the steps as I had a hundred time.  Reaching up for the door handle I screamed in shock.  There was a guy sitting on my front porch.  He was handsome, blue eyes sparkled, his hair cut short and combed neatly.  I hardly recognized him.  It was my friend.  I stood and stared for a moment not saying a word.  There was something different about him that I tried hard to understand.  His shoulders where square, his eyes met mine in confidence that shone all around him he seemed…. Like a shiny new him.

My first words where “What happened to you?” He smiled because he knew my confusion and the complete change he had made.

“What happened to me is…” His smile got wider, and I swear even his teeth seemed whiter. “What happened to me is I found the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”  I looked at him confused not knowing what the heck the Gospel of Jesus Christ was.  He recognized my confusion.  “You know the nickname The Mormons? You have heard of the Book of Mormon.”  Once I started reading it, I realized I was not alone.  That though getting clean would be hard I was not doing it alone. I’ve been through a lot and brought myself up from the darkest lowest time in my life.  It was a hard journey but now I feel free and in control of my life.”

He had come to invite me to his Mission Farewell.  (A mission farewell is when the personbook of mormon going on a mission give a talk, say goodbye to his friends and family, and leaves for 2 years to spread the joy and happiness of the gospel of Jesus Christ… and all that they have learned.  They are commonly known as the Missionaries.)  I could not believe the difference in my friend.  He had gone from someone literally swimming in darkness.  To someone Literally radiating light.  He explained to me all about the atonement and how Jesus Christ died for us.  All that we do wrong can be forgiven.  My friend did have to fix the wrongs that he made, asked others for forgiveness, and most of all he was still working on forgiving himself.  But it was the atonement that had set him free.  And it can set you free as well.  The road may become slippery, and you may stumble, but through the atonement, you have help to get back up and stay in the light.

He also taught me about the Book of Mormon.  It is additional scriptures the Church the past is behind you (2)_editedhas. He said The Book of Mormon was like the bible. But this book tells of prophets teaching on this continent, same as the bible tells of Prophets from a different content.  My personal favorite story in the Book of Mormon (because I too have made bad choices maybe not those exact ones but ones of my own.)

My favorite story in the Book of Mormon is about a young man called Alma the younger.  It says that he was the  Most vilest…”   Of sinners. ( Definition of VilestThen he has a remarkable experience and decides to repent. Though it wasn’t easy, “and they did   suffer much anguish of soul because of their iniquities.”  He did repent and became a great man.   Who experienced much joy and spread the message of repentance.  We can read that just twenty years later Alma 48:18  Alma is compared and became equal to one of the greatest prophets to walk the earth Moroni.  I quote from Alma 48:17  “ …If all men had been, and were, and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of hell would have been shaken forever.  It’s wonderful to know that regardless of your sins you can still work toward goodness.

 Great video on forgiveness

Here is some advice from my friends.

Lee Leslie   This wonderful man was my coach in high school.  He changed my life by believing in me.

Adversity is an important tool in learning right from wrong. Doing hard things is an important practice that prepares us for adverse situations. If it was easy, this life would be meaningless, and our time here would be pointless. Wisdom is learned through adversity and shared with others…..especially our children and grandchildren. As we get older, some of our adverse conditions endured in our younger years seem much less painful and much more appreciated for lessons learned. Bottom line! Our most important blessings in this life are our families. Your friend needs to spend her valuable time loving and nurturing her grandchildren while she can and be willing to change. Heavenly Father expects us to be willing to change for the good. You are an amazing person Shawna and I am so proud of you!

Natalie Higgins Lytle Oh yikes. That is a hard one to answer. I think they need more than advice. Maybe family counseling

Jill Miller-Cantrell It’s hard to say without knowing more about the situation and there isn’t obviously a quick fix. I feel for her 💔 and the entire family. Maybe she can make her kids think about the parent they needed her to be when they were little and try to model that for their kids. She can help them learn from her regrets so they won’t have them. I commend her for her honesty and reaching out for help. God will forgive her if she seeks it and I hope she’s able to forgive herself. It’s so difficult to break a cycle like that 💔😢, but someone HAS TO. I hope she’s the one. ❤️ “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Tami Searle This one is really tough. It makes me sad for each one of them. I think breaking cycles is one of the hardest things to do. I do know that change happens little by little. One day at a time. Sometimes only one minute at a time. It takes courage to tell someone something like this. I think she has the courage it will take to make the changes she needs to. It will be a long journey but it will be so worth it. I do believe it is possible for her to receive the forgiveness she desires. I pray that she will have the strength to change her life and the lives of those that she loves ❤️

Jacqueline D Jackson At least she recognizes the problem and wants cycle to stop. I wish I had better advice other than they all need better coping skills.

 

Anne E Lund Because she recognizes the cycle, she can indeed stop it, and she can heal herself, and help her kids and grandkids heal. Yes she can be forgiven. I agree with the others, forgiving yourself is hard! Through the grace of Jesus Christ all of this can be forgiven. You need to see the “dirt” before you can clean the house. She could start by honoring the fact that it happened, feel remorse, confess to those she’s hurt and to God. Try to repair the damage, and never do it again.
I recommend www.thetappingsolution.com to make the process shorter and more effective in the long run. They are getting ready for their free 10 day long Tapping World Summit at the end of February. It’s online with two sessions a day of instruction and tapping to clear negativity in life. I listen every year. It has helped me so much.

Cathy Dobrusky I think a counselor would be extremely helpful in this cyclical situation. I highly recommend Jonathan Decker your family therapist

 

Jeremy Johnson

My two cents I guess

Forgiveness is of course given freely by God. He paid that price already.. Harder when it’s by others. An apology and admission of guilt to those you hurt I think is a great first step to start the process. I don’t think their forgiveness is necessary for your own healing, doing your part to right your wrong is however (in my opinion). Hardest of all for some of us is forgiving ourselves for things we have done. Some have made the choice to take the life of others, that pain runs deep and is hard to ever let go. When you truly see the pain you’ve caused others…. it’s literally crippling at times… i still have days where I literally can’t function. I’ve been suicidal over my violent past. I used to hurt myself and others just because I need the inside pain to quiet down, even just for a minute… Forgiving yourself is the killer 🤕

This is something I do not talk about, but to help someone else I guess I’ll take a little embarrassment

Vanessa Parker SWEETHEART, I AGREE WITH MR JOHNSON, THE CHILDREN WILL FORGIVE, IT’S DEALING WITH YOURSELF THAT GOING TO NEED THE HEALING, I CAN IDENTIFY WITH JEREMY JOHNSON 😐

 

 

Dianne Sabido No I don’t mind that it is posted, when I speak with young mothers who have no support and how frustrated they get, Like AA, I call it EMC, Emergency Mothers Communication, I tell them they are not alone, to call someone, and since a lot of young women are not LDS they can call me, and I will listen,and try to calm them down.

Tulsi Esplin I wasn’t raised in the church, but I understood why life was tough. But as I chose my spouce, in the church, and made decisions, my thoughts were if it would have made ME feel better, release tension, it wasn’t right to involve my kids. To quickily stop an action, it may have been ok. It was a broken cycle. I understood their frustration, but I knew it wasn’t the right thing. My kids have loving teachings and sit and talk more. They have chisen loving careers, as well.

Cora Hall Yes, forgiveness is available. Making amends is the first step. And that starts with a thorough personal inventory so she is able to start with a discussion with her children by: accepting responsibility for her actions, letting them know she knows she was wrong, that abuse is NEVER discipline, and that the cycle ends now with them all learning a better way.
If she heads into this in any other way, she will seem hypocritical and condescending. And it still may not go well.
She also needs to discuss the abuse with her bishop

Debrah Roundy YES! Someone has to stop the cycle and it might as well be her. Once she stops that cycle the energy in the family will begin to shift. If she can forgive back several generations of people, I hardly beleive her mother was the first, her grandmother and on back. Men who have treated their women as chattel may need to be addressed in the forgiveness process. It will help her address the past as she begins to understand that she is not standing alone, that countless women likely stand behind her in her ancestry, abused and acting out what they did not know how to control. As she begins to feel the shift it will give her courage and strength to carry forward. As she obtains that blessed forgiveness, she will unconsciously act in new ways and that will affect the entire family constellation. It may not have a big affect on the generation now, depending on the age, but it will carry through to the future. Best of luck.

Dianne Sabido Yes they can, I too with the aide of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, suffered from Post P. Blues and had a baby that continually cried, and I lost it. I had no help with my baby, I had only Criticism, I had tried counseling, but my husband at the time said the Counselor needed to tell me it was all my fault that the baby cried constantly. She would not, so I was not allowed to go back. So i started spanking her, and all of the regrets were collected with heartache. My daughter now is almost 50, she has three beautiful triplets and has refused to speak to me for nearly 14 years, I wrote her a letter of apology, and explained what I did was wrong no matter what, and asked that she call me, and just vent, I would listen with no excuses. She has refused. So I prayed again and the Holy Spirit led me to what the Saviour said that if we sought to ask for forgiveness and it was not done, then the Saviour will make that judgement and that I had been forgiven, because I recognized what I had done was wrong. I feel confident and have not had that prison of guilt anymore because I know that our Heavenly Father forgave me because of my Broken and Contrite Spirit. The fact is that is why He came to this earth to pay that price for us.😔

Debrah Roundy Thank you for your courage to admit and change. GO forth with faith that Jesus loves you and when you take his gift of repentance he who has felt the ultimate pain can also feel the ultimate joy

Martina Sanche Palitayan How sad that demons of beating was never left there family.they are being manipulated through generations.only accepting Christ in there lives can release them from that demons n filled there hearts again love ,peace n joy..read about jesus healed those people possess by demonic entity..the demons can have legal grounds to manipulate u.as long u dont have the holy spirit inside u..its christian protection from the force of darkness.hatered n grudge is being planted in there hearts so thats why its easy for demons to manipulate them.so sad.

Martina Sanche Palitayan Shawna Smart ok.but advice them to accept the words of God.so they got freedom from that demons.

Daniel K. C. Johnson Forgiveness comes to the repentant and talking about the problem among the family without any judgement should help.

Elsie Borreros A forgiving SPIRIT feels US free from GUILT AND We can move-ON with LIFE carrying those burdens lightly and strongly.

Char Schreffler God can help us all with any problem. Go talk to the Bishop. and pray with the church leaders. It says in the Bible and book of Mormon to trust in the Lord. The Bible says. Jesus says to forgive one another and He will forgive us of our sins. People have to have love in their hearts and in their homes. Read Proverbs, by King Solomon. Then Psalms by King David. King David. is King Solomon’s father. And Mathew in the New Testament tells us how we all should live

Adrian Lindsey Forgiveness is for all and we teach our family by example just like Christ taught us . He lived his teachings in his every second of earthy life and shared his life with others so they could learn by his example not just words. She can be a living example of repentance and change then she could embrace the broken family sharing her new ways of life .

Carol Blankenship Bridger Shawna Smart All of life’s questions can be answered in the scriptures. Seek. Use the references in the Topical Guide and many wonderful videos and talks from the Church Leaders. These words and power to heal comes as we Seek to Come Unto Christ.

Farley Helen Anderson Tell her children she is sorry and made some bad mistakes and set some bad examples. Then suggest they be the hero that breaks the cycle. Then help them do


Joseph R. Bothwell
 As far as I’m concerned, the secret of the whole thing of abuse, addiction, whatever it may be, is to ask Christ to come into your life and take these things away from me. He has with me on several different occasions, and to make you clean, then keep the commandment of God the best you can and do a lot of geneolgy,….D&C 128:15-16. Were only perfected as we help other to become that way. Missionary work for the living is just as good, but doing FamilySearch names is non-threatening.

Daryl Yeager The d& c. Says. Reprove betimes with sharpness. When moved upon
By the spirit of the Holy Ghost. And
Then thereafter. Show an increase of
Love. Lest he deem thee as thy enemy

I think if one reads this slowly and
Contemplate on the keys words
One can ready see that to correct your
Children. Is a parents. Responsibility
And by doing so. Shows that child
You love. Them. However. It certainly
Does not say to beat or abuse them

Jeanine and I raised 5 children. With
This principle in mind. And is now still
Fully evident in the third generation

Rho Jean There is only one sin that can no be forgiven…blaspheme against the Holy Ghost. By example we teach, she taught the wrong way the first time, and now its time to be a good example. If they are in the church, tell her to have a visit with her bishop. He can direct her in the way she needs to be. If her kids arent, still go to the bishop, he can tell her how to fix it. Pray pray pray tell her. It truly does work!

Toni Imms This lady needs specific trauma counseling, the two types I’ve found are EMDR and Somatic Therapy. General type counseling like CBT can’t get to the heart of the problem. If this lady gets help for her own past trauma maybe her daughter will be encouraged to seek help herself.
The other crucial thing to do is stay close to Heavenly Father, pray and read the scriptures everyday to allow Heavenly Father into her life so he can direct her to the right help for her and her daughter.
I speak from lots of experience

Richard Marsing . you can tell them to read the family proclamation to the world….. We Warn the individuals who violate covenants of Chastity who Abuse Spouse or Offsprings or Fail to Fulfill Family Responsibilities. Will One Day Stand Accountable Before God further we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon Individuals Communities and Nations the Calamities Foretold by Ancient and Modern Prophets we call upon responsible citizens and options of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to Maintain and Strengthen the Family as a Fundamental Unit of Society

Richard Marsing we will answer to the Lord for our own transgressions the best advice is repent of your sins change your ways and turn to the Lord with a full heart

Linda Acosta Alcantara Yea, it”s true. Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by CHANGE.

Joseph R. Bothwell As far as I’m concerned, the secret of the whole thing of abuse, addiction, whatever it may be, is to ask Christ to come into your life and take these things away from me. He has with me on several different occasions, and to make you clean, then keep the commandment of God the best you can and do a lot of geneolgy,….D&C 128:15-16. Were only perfected as we help other to become that way. Missionary work for the living is just as good, but doing FamilySearch names is non-threatening


Patricia Ledbetter
 She has to break the cycle. There ate all kinds of Mental health care, Abused Women and Children help, True enough go to the Bishop. Get out of that house and change the lifestyle… No one can stop it, but her. She has to have a plan… Save money, pack clothes, and get out!!! This will have an effect on those kids for a lifetime and the cycle goes on … There are so many resources that she can use and Don’t give up and stay close to the Lord….Don’t stop going to church!!! I know first hand about Abuse!!

MaryAnn Smith She can stop it now by being an example to her family. Prayers 🙏 works wonders

Damba Immy Fasting and praying about it including forgeting abt the abuse is the best medicine thanks smart Shw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happiness and Mourning through the loss of a Loved one

girl in graveyard free on wikipediaThe hardest question that I have been asked so far is, “Shawna how can I be happy when my mom died, my dad died and then my brother died.  How can I be happy when I feel so alone?”

This has been a hard one for me to answer.  I have seen some of the most horrific things!  Forced to watch while life was being drained from kids that I had grown to love. read more  And crazy as this sounds when my black lab was killed. I mourned for years. She was the one thing in this world that took care of me as a child.  So yes, it’s hard probably one of the hardest things I have dealt with.  Not because I didn’t know for a surety of where these kids went.  I knew without a doubt that there was a heaven. christ and me I lived in Hell and our Father in Heaven testified to me on numerous accounts that he was there, and the pain and suffering was very temporary. That’s the key word temporary… it’s ok and expected that we will go through a mourning process and no one should feel bad about that.

What was hard, was being here on earth.  Wanting to go where they were, in Heaven.  Not understanding why, I had to stay here and not just go back home where rest, peace, happiness, and love had encircled me during my hardest trials.  I longed to be there.

But here is what helped me.  I have found that questions are best answered by asking more questions and seeking the truth out.

2-11 facebook some one is depending on youWhy was I still here?  Why are you still here?  There are some of us who seem to magically live through life-threatening circumstances.  And others who are taken from us in some freak accident.  When I stopped to think, ponder, and pray for the answer to, “Why am I still here?”  I found the answer.  I am still needed here.  You are still needed here.

Next thing to do is find out what you are needed for.  Most assuredly you will find rather than what but, who is it that still needs you here?  When you find your answers glistening off the tears in a needy neighbors’ eyes, or echoing in the sound of a child’s laughter, or my personal favorite…. When you see, hear, and feel hope radiating from someone that desperately needs to be understoodme emma and Krissy and you are the one blessed enough to be there for them…. You are the one that understands their need because you yourself have felt it. At those moments when your question is answered.  “Why am I still here?”   At that time you know without a doubt why you are still here.  When you feel the consuming warmth that floods over you at the truth only Heaven can provide.  You will know without a doubt why you are still here.  You will find happiness.  When your soul is connected to the path Heaven has mapped out for you.  When you understand your purpose I promise happiness comes.

To answer the question, “How can I be happy when I have lost my loved ones…” Find out the reason you are still here.  I can most assuredly tell you, your answer lies within the need of someone else.    As you go about your work you will feel it within your heart, the love and encouragement from your loved ones who are just beyond the veil.  They are still all around you!  They still love you!  They still need you to do things they can no longer do.  And you need them to do things you cannot do yet.  We are in this together.  Life does not end.  great video on angels Mercy River Five-Minute Fireside on Angels

It’s a series of steps in the path of progression.  For our own personal progression, it is essential that we step forward, find those that need us, get lost in service, and you will feel the pain and sorrow being replaced by peace and joy.   This is not something you can do once and be fixed.  It is an answer that can be implemented throughout your entire journey in this life.  I still have ups and downs as you will too.  But the downs go away, and the ups are more frequent.  I promise as you lose yourself in the service of others, you will find your purpose, hope and happiness will replace your feelings of despair.

A friend of mine, Mat posted this on his blog last week.  It’s so great and has answers to this question in it.  If you get a minute to read it, you’ll love it.

https://praythrice.blogspot.com/2019/02/serve-others.html  Another great article to read on this same subject.

 

 

 

 

Why would he let this happen to me?

Why would he let this happen to me?  This was the question of the week.

The question so often asked by victims is, “Why, if there is a kind loving God, why did he let that happen to me?  That’s a great question.  One I have even asked myself on occasion.  Not because I didn’t believe he was there for me or that he didn’t care.  But I knew he had the power to stop bad people, so why didn’t he?

deaf and blindI think the answer to that question must first start with a few questions.  Who are those people that you admire most?  Why?  What about them do you admire?  I’ll tell you the top 3 that come to my mind: Helen Keller, President Lincoln, and Joseph Smith.  I could go on with a list of people that I admire and look up to including my family and friends.  But, for the sake of a shorter answer, I won’t.

12 rainbows after the stormI hope you took a moment to think about your personal heroes.  Now tell me, did they have a carefree, not one trial or tribulation happened in their lives?  Was it nothing but rainbows and sunshine that smiled joseph in liberty jaildown upon their lives.

All of the greatest heroes in history had tribulation.  The ones that really stand out on the google search bar overcame enormous adversity. The hero that I reflect on often is Joseph Smith.  Why him?  Because he was the first person that I had ever heard say that he received an answer to his prayer.  That God was real.  I knew God was real he had answered my prayers, but my stepfamily refused to believe me.  The fact that Joseph knew and had experienced persecution from it too, made him instantly my friend.  change the way we view the worldHe understood me.  And I understood him.

Joseph was locked in a dungeon (Liberty Jail) and cried to the Father. I was locked in John’s dungeon, I also cried to the Father.  Why do you have your heroes?  Did you decide who your hero was from your experiences?  From your own personal dungeons?

Jeffery R Holland said and I quote because it is so very profound and can’t be reworded.  “You can have sacred, revelatory, profoundly instructive experience with the Lord in the most miserable experiences of your life – in the worst settings, while enduring the most painful injustices, when facing the most insurmountable odds and opposition you have ever faced. read more

And I am here as living proof to testify that this is true!   No one would ever choose to relive their trials.  However, everyone should be able to look back and say what have I learned.  How can I become a better person despite it or even because of it?

Spencer W. Kimbal words echo in my head often. “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted.  It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude, and humility.  All that we suffer and all that we endure especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God.” Faith Proceeds the Miracle

In no way do I believe our Father in Heaven wants us to be abused by others. But,  he did know that some of his children would make bad choices, hurting others in the process.  In answer to that question: Why did he allow this to happen to me?  I must first ask one more question, “What are we doing here on this earth?”  Once we realize we are here to obtain a body and choose to become like our Father in Heaven or choose not to.  The answer always leads back to one word. Agency, something of which was one of the most prized possessions our Father in Heaven gave to each of his children.  Something of which he will never take away.  However, if we find ourself innocently in the path of someone else’s bad choices and we become victims it is not from a lack of love from our Heavenly Father.  He will make up for their abuse.  He can’t take away their right to act.  But he can and will compensate for it if we allow him too.  I can tell you with every fiber of my being that it was in the darkest, ugliest, horrific times in my life where the veil between Heaven and Earth became very thin for me.  I know because of those times, without a doubt, that there is a Heaven, the separation we experience from life and death is but a small moment.  That there is a God.  And he does hear our prayers.  Have faith in his timing.  And allow yourself to learn from ‘what was’ and transform it into a beautiful ‘is now.’

Change the course of your storms

week 20 blizzard part of blog

A neighbor woman, who’s daughter was also our friend, was watching us trudging along with no boots and light jackets.  She offered a ride knowing our mother was passed out from her late party the night before. We gladly accepted hearing her whisper with concern, “Those poor girls, don’t have a chance in this life.”

Fortunately for us we did not believe that.  Yes, our mother was like the wild trees misleadingly growing outside of the grove, howling like an angry wind and beating her own ground.  But, there were plenty of people all around us who stood tall through the storms.   Guiding and leading us, many without even knowing they were.  Their examples lead us to easier paths.  We watched them and learned  taking faithful steps, planting our feet in the same ground a place where plenty of nutrients were found.

don't let your future define youThrough them I discovered the scriptures. The New Testament, the Old Testament, The Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants.  Within their pages Prophets tell of success stories and how they came through their storms (trials).  Giving us all the promises if we follow their words, we too can stand strong, being a part of the grove, not effected at all by the wild trees we were born to.  We have the power to prune our own trees, plant seeds in fertile soil, and be a part of an eternal grove. Know the blizzards will still bite.  But, link yourself tight to the words of the prophets and you’ll end up alright.

One of my favorite scriptures is the tree of life Where Alma, a Book of Mormon prophet, compares a seed unto the word of God.  your can find it on this link.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/32?lang=eng