Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Holy Ghost and Serenity

So this post is mostly because I have a lot on my mind and can't sleep, sorry for anyone reading this if it isn't my best work! 
I want to talk about the Holy Ghost, God's will, Serenity, and gray areas. 
Our loving Heavenly Father has given us commandments to follow, some are so black and white, you truly don't need to decipher if it is wrong. Things that are so blatantly obvious such as; drink alcohol or not, look at porn or not, steal or not, lie or not. Living in God's will is pretty dang obvious in those cases, something I actually held very dear in the beginning of recovery because all I really knew about His will for me was not to use drugs. Choosing to live in His will bring the gift of the spirit of the Holy Ghost into your life and the light of Christ to guide and direct you. I don't want this post to be about the obvious choices like the ones listed and many more. I want to write about the harder choices, the ones where God trusts you enough to discern on your own what choice would be better  and what choice will allow the spirit to continue to be with you and be stronger in your life. 
Which leads me to what I am going to refer to as gray areas. These "areas" are things like; should I call and confront a friend who has wronged me, should I get up and go see my neighbor I have been thinking of, should I talk to my spouse about something that is bugging me about them, should I tell my best friend the truth when she asks for my opinion, should I really be friendly to everyone around me. So everyone's gray areas are different but that doesn't make them any easier or harder to distinguish what the right decision should be. God's will is complicated yet so very simple, kind of what you make of it. Early recovery God's will was difficult for me till just recently I had an amazing experience where as I was meditating on scripture it hit me that God's will is as simple as changing our attitude. Sometimes things change, sometimes we can't change anything, and sometimes things just plain suck and you don't feel up to making a change. Well folks I am here to tell you that all you have to do is change your attitude. Yes, that simple. SAY WHAT? This can be very difficult at times.
That leads me into Serenity. The very common Serenity Prayer repeated at both AA and NA to close meetings, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." So the tricky part for me was "the wisdom to know the difference", however with this new found knowledge and enlightenment of realizing nothing outside of me has to change to bring serenity. Once faced with a problem, decision, conversation, feeling, etc take a second and "to thine own self be true" decide whether you truly can change anything, once you have come to your truth then make a change even if it is hard. (easier said than done, but serenity is truly worth everything and anything to me so in reality I would do just about anything to get it) Now, on the other hand if you cannot change anything, I feel as though this is where the two last parts blur, you realize you cannot change anything through wisdom, but with wisdom you can still change you. Do you see what I did there? No matter what situation you are in or faced with you can ALWAYS decide to change you. 
Here's a couple quotes to put into words what I may not be wording correctly, and definitely not as poetically.  Viktor E. Frankl was a holocaust survivor, I love to read his words in his book Man's Search for Meaning, but two quotes from him are: "“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” and "“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 
I just recently had an experience with a family member who tried to slander my name and say some hurtful things about me. These words were all supposed to be anonymous so they were pretty raw. In a very brief synopsis they made a phone call telling others that if I ever was around pills I would steal them, I shouldn't be allowed in a facility where a loved one was living for the safety of my family member, and one more sweet cherry on top was I have been giving this loved one pills to make her crazy. Other things were said but you get the jist of it. Obviously by the last one you would think I could totally disregard this anonymous phone call from every happening, but I couldn't shake it thinking someone out there would truly be that hurtful to say that about me (I am not naive trust me I get that people are Jack A's but maybe it was because I never thought someone would purposely go out of there way after a couple years into recovery and use my past against me in such a hurtful middle school way). I later found out that the phone call was from someone in my family whom I haven't spoken with in person for quite sometime and have a pretty fair weathered relationship with, meaning I rarely see them and conversation happens infrequently, but I love them, it would have been easier with someone I didn't really care about. 
So this is the coming together of this post, I had to make a decision. I had to look at what had happened and see all the pieces fall together and find my truth. My truth is that this person hurt me, they said things that a couple years ago would have been more than valid, however they said things that never in all the eternity's would ever happen (never say never except when for real and legitimately would never happen, I'm an addict if I was in active addiction I'm not going to drug someone else I'm keeping that for myself, but I would also never drug a loved one to make them crazy, that is crazy :] ). So I am left with, I am hurt by what was true a couple years ago, but I've changed, but this family member doesn't even live in the state so how would they know. Do you see how stepping back is very important, initial gut reaction is call them and say every swear word you can think of and finish it off by see you next Tuesday. But with an eternal perspective and trying my best to live in God's will the gray doesn't seem so gray anymore there definitely was something that needed to happen that was in my power to change outside of me. I confronted them, I cleaned up my side of the street. Sorry this is anticlimactic because it was radio silence on their end.
The truth is God knows what He is doing, when we are tested, tempted, confused, doubtful, fearful, etc God knows he allowed that to happen. Gray areas come to test our serenity it is our choice to use the Holy Ghost to guide us through the murky water. When you get to a tunnel while driving do you pull over because you cannot see anymore? No you keep driving using you lights to guide you out and then you can look back at the tunnel at what it protected you from or what you went through. Just like this time in my life you may never get a response, never know why you chose to tell the harder truth, or why you had to smile at random strangers in Costco, but God does know why and to keep my life serene it is much easier to change what is inside me and chose to look at things from an eternal perspective and make choices based on my truth which now aligns with God's will.
In fewer words- to live in God's will during gray areas when there isn't an easy choice, use the Holy Ghost to guide you, there you will find your serenity.  
One more quote from Frankl, “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.” 
Bless this earthly life where we get to chose our own meaning, goodnight. 
   

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Overcoming Adversity

In 1989 Carlos H. Amado spoke in general conference about overcoming adversity and spoke these words: "Basically, we limit our vision to the events that happen in this life with the greatest emphasis placed on the present. Only when we fix our gaze on the heavenly things do we begin to understand the eternities. Only with the help of Christ can we fully overcome tragedy. It is necessary to develop our faith in Him as the Redeemer of the world. He taught us: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33.) It is my prayer that when we have afflictions we will follow the pattern that He taught during His bitter experience in Gethsemane. He said: “If thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42.)"  
Who could have guessed almost 30 years ago words were spoken that would bring an unspeakable peace to my soul? Being in recovery has brought so much happiness and peace to my life. Selfishly I would have hoped that the peace and happiness would continue without further trial. God's will doesn't fall into that plan and submitting to Him and following my Savior's example is what I have covenanted. 
In just a few short months I have had several hardships fall into my world, my angel mother was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her lung and liver, and I have had back to back miscarriages a single and twin pregnancy. I feel as though I have "dealt" well with these huge misfortunes. Last night life caught up and I vented my soul to Brian. I woke up this morning with a huge weight of exhaustion, I had a single prayer this last week after miscarrying and having a D&C procedure for my twin pregnancy that I would just understand why.
After everything I have learned over the last few years, why I would fall back into old ways of stomping my foot like a toddler demanding my will to be fulfilled reminds me of how easy it is to forget the lessons I've learned and hold on to only looking at the now.
This morning I woke up and changed my prayer to a fervent plea for peace. The answer I received was overwhelming. I am enough, I am blessed beyond measure, I am a daughter of God who has divine potential for good. I am here to serve others and bless others, and going through these trials makes that potential for good even greater. The single most important thing to remember when going through a hardship or trial is that it is only pushing us closer to our Savior and Heavenly Father. The scripture above stating "I have overcome the world" stuck out to me like running into a brick wall. Why would I try to fight the world and try and understand why, when I don't have to? He has already done that for me, all I have to do is bask in His spirit to find comfort knowing He already fought the fight. 
I have a go to statement "I am fine", but when it comes to our Heavenly Father, even when I am fine, the ache is real and He knows and when we open up to Him, He reaches into our soul and turns our weak hearts whole. This morning I felt that wholeness in my heart and I don't know why I try to hold on to present realities when the eternal perspective is so much brighter, and with one simple prayer and study for uplifting words His hands of mercy gave me a whole new light. 
Through it all, His grace remains and is sufficient, that is the most comforting knowledge. "I will not I cannot I'll never forsake our foundation" those words from How Firm a Foundation are the basis of what I was ignoring and the greatest blessing of this earthly experience is how quickly we get to return to our Savior's example and remember the eternal perspective which is so much more beautiful and peaceful. So for now I get to feel the breeze of the storm and enjoy the silver lining. "I know He understands and He loves me as I am even through the storms and trials He is there watching over me in my heart I believe and lifts to bring me home and that's all I need to know." Patch Crowe.

Friday, December 30, 2016

New Years.... resolutions?

I feel like this time of year is all about a revamping - new diet, new routine, hoping to be more fitness oriented, family relationships become priority, etc. I honestly don't want a revamping rather a refocus,  not on what is lost but what has been found. I honestly can say I lost myself and found myself all very quickly, there are parts I wish I could go back and change and aspects that are still all too cringeworthy but I can't say I would change it or take it back. Like I said I found myself, through all the pain, tears and almost unbearable heartbreak I found out how strong I am, and I found out Who gives me the strength.
With this refocus I want to just continue on my path in this mortality to become closer to God and my Savior. All the goals I listed above are great but also shallow, the depth of all those goals and the power to achieve them is from our Heavenly Father and by His Grace and His will we will achieve all.
 I have only one resolution that can consume all others- intention. I plan to set my intention each day, each week, each month, with Brian, with family, with friends, etc. with every new day and every conversation I want my intention to shine through. As long as my intention is in God's will and allows me to grow, is set with passion and will result in abundance I feel as though my minutes, days, and whole year will be blessed and filled with happiness.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Staying grounded

I have come across myself thinking sometimes, ok now I don't need meetings anymore, or do I really need to stay in contact with people in recovery? These questions get answered very quickly and I am humbled by the way they come because usually it's in the form of the disease of addiction taking someone back down to rock bottom.
Once this question was answered by my counselor when someone had said they were losing touch with recovery, hadn't been to a meeting a few weeks, they didn't have a sponsor, hadn't touched their step work in at least a month. He replied back to them, when are you going to relapse? I was taken back, those statements of their current position with recovery didn't mean they had relapsed but just not doing what I would considering maintaining, right? Well if we aren't progressing we are regressing as that saying goes, and low and behold the same person comes back two weeks later relapsed and completely lost and hopeless. What a shocker to me, but really should it come as a shock that if we aren't being spiritually fed we will lose that divine assistance from our God that keeps us serene and sober?
The newcomer they say is the most important person in the room, self importance may tell me differently sometimes ;) just kidding. But for me I now see why the new comer benefits me. They are the ones who fill the seat I used to. They are so yearning for a new life and a softer way. They are so sick of being sick and look for true joy. If only I could for a second beam to their soul what I feel today. Just to hang on and hope and love and peace all come. Sometimes slow but when it comes it hits hard and they will feel so much better. Life will have meaning and happiness will come without any worldly assistance. Deep down we learn who we really are and that person is amazing and worth living addiction free for. I am so grateful for this freedom and for what God does for me everyday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Normal life.

Bri and I were discussing some issues we were having separately that were very worldly and superficial, yet simple and easy. They are hardships of normal people, problems that have simple solutions and almost zero depth. I was especially distraught about what I thought was a "problem", and Bri gave me a hug and he asked, "isn't it great though that that is your biggest problem right now?" It made me think of how different my life is now, free from addictive chains and the chaos it creates.  Normal life is all I ever would have wished for in active addiction. I tried to will away so many ups and downs that caused my soul pain and anguish yet I was entrapped and literally felt like the world was collapsing around me.
Normal life wasn't achieved overnight and I still feel like my life and experiences are so different having gone through such a hardship, I look at the world differently and I see people in a whole new light. Some may call such a vision change "rose colored glasses". I call it recovery! I see the hand of my God working in my life showing me the world in a much brighter, better, and beautiful place in which all of us as His sons and daughters get the experience to dwell and find joy.
I definitely believe everything happens for a reason and we all get dealt a different hand in order to learn and grow to become our best version and a vessel to help others along the way become their best version. For today I am grateful for normal problems and normal life, a chance to focus on building spiritual depth and "recovery  insurance" as my counselor would say, because as we all know life will eventually happen; my perception and outlook is key to continually have joy regardless of my circumstances.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Maintaining

I attended a very inspirational fireside meeting last night which focused on Our Savior Jesus Christ. The thought kept crossing my mind as several women were speaking about focusing their lives for the last several months they have had a mighty change in their lives, in which they are now striving daily to follow the Savior's great example, but the thought was how will they maintain this. One lady spoke about how at first she was so engrossed in Christ's gospel that several hours were dedicated to this study, and now she has found a routine in which it's not as long now but definitely just as meanilingful.  I think that the key to preserving such "a mighty change" in which we all embark on when we first enter recovery or first gain such divine knowledge of our Creator's love for us is to have sincere and significant study or devotion to that incredible feeling or touch from the spirit. I think that for everyone this is achieved differently and very personally but it has to be found and acted upon. This will inturn allow us to MAINTAIN or better yet gain!
For me I have found that routine is key, everyday I try to do the same thing every morning and every night. Before I hit my feet in the morning I say a prayer that is full of gratitude, giving me several very tangible reasons to get up and be positive. I then read something uplifting, depending on the day and if my baby wakes up before me this is either 30 minutes or 2 minutes. Either way I gain some sort of inspiration to be better, think better, and focus on what is important in the big scheme of things. Especially in using days but even before I would find every excuse to stay in bed or to get 10 extra minutes of sleep, I have learned through habit and practice getting up when I wake up and filling myself with the Spirit and light of Christ is exponentially more important and allows me to find utter joy regardless of what my day transpires. At night the process is very similar involving getting into bed and reading my scriptures, not just to hurry and finish a chapter but to truly gain the knowledge and meaning it has for me in my life at this time. Following with a prayer with Brian and my own personal prayer which I set this prayer aside for communication with my Father in heaven which I just allow myself to talk to Him as if he were sitting right by me and telling Him of my fears, strengths I would like to find ways to use and also asking for genuine help for things I find myself needing divine assistance with. I personally am an insomniac so not only does this routine train my brain to slow down and sleep but that once again spiritual connection is reastablished and I feel His all loving, never changing love in my soul.
There are days harder than others and it was said in a meeting once that the more recovery and spiritual based reading that is dedicated the better those days go. Therefore on harder days I refocus and dedicate more time to such reading, reaching out and personal prayer.
I am so grateful that I have such an amazing testimony of my Savior's love for me and that I know His atonement and gospel are available to me to continually become a better person, friend, wife, mother, and member of society. With a Christ centered life there are no dark abysses that are to dismal, no faint heart that is too feable,  and no sin that is too unforgivable for His MATCHLESS love.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Service- step 12

Service is the single most effective way to cure any emotion that is bringing our spiritual self down. Step 12 is the last and single most important step in my opinion. I recently read a book about a lady who had a near death experience, while on the other side she encountered all the times she was able and willing to help those around her including her family, friends, and most importantly the least amoung her. When we are in service of our fellows we are in the service of our God. Her main point of the book was when she awoke in the hospital she came to the realization that we are placed on this earth to help others in turn blessing our lives. She made it very clear that doing the next right thing to those in society not just those we love is true discipleship to our Savior and Heavenly Father.
 I have loved the awakening I have had to the true meaning of service because before I always pictured it as going out to rake others leaves, donate to the food bank, or waiting till Christmas to donate presents. While those are indeed service I have found that it is and can be so much more. It is how the 12th step phrases it "practice these principles in all your affairs." ALL of my affairs, this includes word, deed, and thought. I can serve others simply in my heart and thoughts, how amazing is that? I can pray for others and catch myself when I am slipping into a place where I feel I am judging or ridiculing others in my thoughts. Service is having charity, loving others just as they are, being positive and uplifting regardless of how they feel about me. Service and truly practicing the 12 step principles is all around just being a better person, placing myself in a position spiritually to not only be better for me but allow others to be themselves and uplift them.
I am grateful everyday that I don't have to be the judge, that I get to strive to instead follow the single greatest commandment, to love others (everyone) as my Savior and Heavenly Father love me.