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 us 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?”
“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
that 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.
The 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.
The 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.
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?”
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.
In 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
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.
Most 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.
The 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.
I 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.
He 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.
It 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 person 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 has. 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 Vilest) Then 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.
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
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.
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 BridgerShawna 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
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
The 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. 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.
Why 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 understood 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.
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?
I 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.
I 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 down 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. He 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.’
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.
Through 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.
There was a know-it-all Hen, who thought it was my way or no way. No one gave her any gruff when her feathers would puff. She was always the douse clucking orders in the hen-house. “Eat your beets… no more treats. Plants and bugs that’s all you eat. Take no pills it’s a not part of our meals.”
“But, she’s sick,” The mother-hen scratched at the water pick. Fear stuck in her crop for the flop in her chick. “She drinks and she drinks I fear if I blink she’ll fall in a wink and sink deep to sleep. The farmer he claims, ‘ It’s type 2 diabetes, we must be speedy the meds should be our aim.
Hen fluffed her feathers, puffed out her chin, as she huffed. “Doctors, what do they know? Chicken’s don’t need meds.”
She marched up to the old rooster who needed a boost in his roost. His sadness would not leave no reprieve could he see. He’d lost his mate, such a fate with great weight. No smile could lift his trial. It’d been quite some while, since dark bile filled his heart leaving his life in a pile. With head bowed, he vowed the dreaded cloud would soon fall for he no longer had strength to be unbowed. Except when he slept his dreams would intercept so an isolated corner is where he was kept……
While reading this, there is probably not one of us that would argue that a type 2 diabetics most certainly does need his/her insulin (meds). But too many times have I heard people ignore the severity of clinical depression. I absolutely believe in positive affirmations. I know without a doubt we have the power within us to change our lives. However, using the power of reason within you is also essential. Some people just need a little bit more help and it is ok to recognize that it is part of the healing process. There are times and for some it has been since birth that their brains do not produce the right amount of chemicals for them to have a normal functioning life… The Lord has blessed us with medication and doctors that can help with these debilitating diseases. As well as he has blessed those whom have diabetes because their bodies do not produce the right amount of insulin. They can eat a healthy diet, exercise…. And all those things will certainly help their disease. As well as those with mental illness, Positive affirmations, exercise and choosing to get up and press forward will without a doubt help. But, in no way should you believe that if you are doing all of these things and the dark clouds never seem to lift that you are failing. Go further and get the help that our Father in Heaven has blessed us with. And finish your story…..
….. The mama bird clucked loudly for the help of Mrs Pluck, the farmers favorite pet, who was also a vet. Surely, I bet she was as smart as a vet. For she did not fret, or let ignorance threat. Quickly she sket the hen, getting her wet, from her bad bet. Help was indeed needed to get health in great wealth. Harmony sang in soft peeping bangs, after the flock taught the cock and a creed went through the block. Help would come now around the clock to all of the flock.
The question asked this week: How can I be happier? Here is an experience that helped me.
The smell of spring was floating in the air, my emotions were in harmony with the sweet chirping songs the robins brought to the campus grounds. My heart was full of thanks, that the days of frozen nose hairs and numb toes were thawing away with the frost. The dimpled smile of an approaching classmate instantly informed me that the magic of spring sang in her heart as well.
I purposefully made eye contact with this happy girl and mustered up all the courage I had to frown back at her instead of returning the smile. The strangest thing happened to me as I watched the sparkle in her eyes dull, her dimples flatten, and her smile turned upside down. My heart dropped with the realization that my teacher had been right. I stopped dead in my tracks, as this newly revealed truth quickly prompted me to pull out my notebook and pen. I could hardly believe how one tiny act could have such a powerful effect on another…. Not just her but on me as well. I no longer heard the music of birds, my heart felt empty, and as I turned my head I noticed for the first time the dark clouds that threatened to cover the shining sun.
I documented my findings and carried on with the experimental assignment given by my professor to our psychology 101 class. I found another student with his shoulders slouching, feet dragging, and the weight of his world pulling his mouth down in a hopeless frown. I gave him an encouraging smile. It felt like two cords where attached to each corner of my own mouth directly connected to my heart. When I forced the cords upward into a smile, they pulled my heart strings up with it. I found a direct correlation between my own actions and how I felt inside. When his eyes made contact with mine, I saw a small twinkle of hope flicker in them as he returned my smile. It was as if the birds and everything all around me sensed the change. I could hear the birds chirp, felt the warm sun, and a refreshing cool breeze on my face. What I realized that day was; the birds, the sun, the breeze… none of those environmental things knew what my mood was. The difference was in me. And the way I felt inside was exactly how I viewed the world around me. I had the power to change the way I felt. I even had the ability to make others feel a little bit better around me.
Our professor wanted to prove to us that we had the ability within ourselves to create our own dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. (These are the chemicals that are physically produced in your brain that make us feel happy.) He gave us this assignment to walk around campus and smile at someone who had a frown on their face and frown at someone who had a smile on their face. We were to document what happened, how they responded to us, and how we felt afterward. This was a great way for me to learn. As someone who learns by doing I have never forgotten this wonderful truth.
I understand now why the Lord asks us to open our prayers with a thankful heart. Not to satisfy his ego but to help us view the world with happy eyes, to help us feel happiness. May you all see the world the way he intended and help others to see it as well. Smile, be grateful, and you will begin to feel it.
All things are possible when you have the knowledge of who you are.
The question this week I was asked to answer is…. how did I end up in such a good marriage?
Facing your own personal demons is an absolute must in order to fulfill the dreams you dream for yourself. My dream was to have a happy, peaceful home, where children were loved, and maybe a dog in the backyard. I didn’t believe this was possible. But, others had it. So what was stopping me? I had to tell myself this and I ask that you tell yourself the same.
When you find yourself in a cycle of self-destruction, you start off with the best of intentions setting goals and seeing them so close that you can almost taste the victory in them. “Life is going to be different for you this time.” We have all told ourselves this. But, do you end up making the same mistakes over and over again? If you do, it is essential to ask yourself, “What demons (fears, weaknesses…) are within me that cause me to make such destructive choices in my life? What is it that haunts me that is keeping me from the reality I know could be mine?”
Relationships are great examples of destructive cycles. It is so easy to look at the other person you are in the relationship with (friends, spouse, family….) and say, “It is their fault, they hurt me.” One thing we must remember in achieving our life goals is, we cannot change the choices or actions of others. We can only change our own. Do you find that your relationships with others is constantly contentious? Are you the one that consistently has a partner that cheats on you? Are you addicted to worldly substances? If so, ask yourself, “Why? Why am I making these choices?”
It is essential to look in the mirror. The reflection looking back at you is the only one who has the answers for you. Ask yourself, “Am I starting the contention? Perhaps you are not the one starting it but, if you choose to stay within it’s deceptive grasps you are a part of it. You are the only one with the power to step out of it. If you are the cause. Take a step back, do some self-evaluating, and find out why something made you mad. And fix that trigger within you that ignites the flame of anger.
Are you the person that finds yourself in abusive or cheating relationships? (which by the way are one and the same?) I think we all go through a faze of liking the bad boy/or mean girl. But, some of us learn and move on. If you are the one that doesn’t seem to learn and just stays or leaves only to find yourself in a relationship that ends exactly the same, ask yourself why. I can tell you all things in life have a law of attraction. You attract exactly what you think you are worth. For me I had to pinpoint my own personal demons. I was hurt by those I loved most at the most tender time in my life. I truly believed I was not lovable. I believed what I was taught by my caregivers. When I took the time to stop looking outward for a solution and took a good long glance inward I found the problem. ME. I believed the lies.
However, my guardians didn’t love anyone. It wasn’t just me. It was them, their choices and nothing I did or said could change the choices they chose to make. When I discovered that truth, I went through a deep depression, it was difficult because I desperately wanted the love they did not offer. It was difficult to reshape old habits and retrain the way I thought about myself and the world around me. But, once I realized one thing. I AM A DAUGHTER OF GOD. I am a princess of the most high king. I am worth the love I have to give. When I stopped trying to change others and just worked on ME. I began to attract others that believed the same way. Not only that, but I began to be attracted to those who freely offered love.
I tell you with all the love of my heart. As a son or daughter of GOD. Which you are. YOU have the ability to attract exactly what you dream of. Rather it be freedom from addiction, freedom from contention, or just to be loved. You may have to fix some things within your own heart and ask yourself some deep depressing questions but, once they are answered you will find the strength to travel the road that leads to your happily ever after.
All things are possible when you have the knowledge of who you are.
Because it’s a start of a new year I wanted to share with you how I overrode bad memories. Or re-booted my thought process. I’ll start with the first thing I re-wrote. Because, it effected my ability to sleep and then my capability to function during the day. I chose this one first. I always knew I was afraid of the dark. Why? Logically, I could not think of a single reason I should be afraid. “There was nothing to be afraid of.” Non-the-less, my heart would race, red alert instinct would kick in, and I could literally feel the blood pumping in my veins almost draining all rational behavior as the sun would set in the horizon. Why? I asked myself that same question about my own irrational response to the dark. It made me angry because something else beyond my control was manipulating my behavior. But I wanted control back! I just needed to discover how to take it back.
So I did the one thing I absolutely did not want to do. I sat in the dark until I figured it out. I started with small sessions. And it did not happen overnight so don’t get discouraged and quite if it doesn’t happen quickly for you. It will happen. I made sure I was in a safe place, with my husband close by, and the ability to turn on the lights if the darkness became too much for me to bear. But, I sat, curled in a little ball, comforting myself by rocking, visualizing our Saviors arms wrapped around me, and begging our Father in Heaven (It’s important for you to know there is a higher being, someone bigger than you and the adversity you are overcoming, helping you through this.) To help me understand this reaction I was having to the dark. When my heart started thumping, blood racing in fear, and the get up and run, flight or fight response came to me for no apparent reason… I sat, forced myself to sit a little longer. I sat and asked myself and our Father in heaven Why was I feeling that way. Slowly, the most terrifying memories would come out of the recesses of my mind and remind me all the reasons I was afraid of the dark.
Turned out there was a little girl inside of the adult me, that was terrified when the sun went down. When the sun started to set, she had to go to bed, bad people came out of the shadows, and did bad things. Those were very real, terrifying memories. But, once they came out and I looked straight at them,
(visualizing my saviors arms wrapped around me and my Father in Heaven watching over me, this gives you a knowledge of protection.) I could tell myself they were over. I needed to tell me, the little girl inside of me, that had never dealt with her fear that I was safe now. Re-train my mind into knowing that it was not the dark that hurt me it was the people I was forced to be around. Now I was grown, now I could promise that little girl that she would not be hurt by those bad people because I had surrounded her with good people. I actually said these words to myself, “That was then, this now. You are ok and I will be ok.” I would sit in the dark letting the memories come and then replacing them with happy memories I have had in the dark.
Some examples of my happy memories are playing night games with my kids, their giggles replaced sad cries. Bumping into unknown objects became an obstacle that enhanced our other senses like smell, touch, and hearing. We were amazed at what we could figure out in the dark.
What I discovered about the dark is… mentally we are only in the dark if we allow it. It takes training, but we have the ability to lighten our own minds. We have the ability to take back the control others and other’s choices have or had over us.