Archive | learning RSS feed for this section

I am.

2 Jun

Image

For those of you who don’t know, I’d like to officially proclaim that I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  In other words, I am a Mormon.

I converted in late 2009, but had two periods of inactivity during my first separation and then divorce.  In fact, I’m pretty sure if you added up all the months since I was baptized, I’ve been inactive longer than I’ve been active.

About a year ago, I guess my files were finally transferred and I met some sisters who came to visit me and then my VT companion.  Over time, their kindness and concern softened my heart.  The desire to live the gospel stirred in me once more.

I knew I still believed the church was true.  I could still feel the truth of everything I’d learned in my heart.  I knew I had a Heavenly Father and that Jesus gave his life for me.  I just felt that in my hurt and confusion, I had strayed too far from the path.  I had behaved like a child, self-centered and emotionally immature.  How could I ever overcome the damage I, myself had inflicted upon my life?

I had a desire to return to church, but I was afraid.  What would people think of my divorce? What if no one liked me?  Would it feel the same as I did in my old Ward?  I realize now that these were silly worries, but at the time it was just enough to keep me from making that step.  I finally got the courage to ask for help.  I told the sisters that I really wanted to go to church, but that I knew I’d never go alone.  That was in January, and I guess the rest is history!

I met with the Bishop not long after General Conference to discuss repentance.  Best decision I’ve ever made.  That process has changed my life in a way that I didn’t even imagine possible.  I know now that I’ve been forgiven of my sins, that my Heavenly Father loves me, and it’s given me greater hope than I’ve ever known.

I was called about a month ago as Ward Missionary.  I love it.  The happiness I feel when I get to talk about the Gospel is overwhelming.  I feel useful.  It forces me to focus on others and I don’t have time to be lonely or wish for things I don’t have.  I pray that I will be able to help others like the sisters helped me.

I love my Ward family.  Everyone I’ve met has been so kind and welcoming to me.  I don’t know why I was ever worried about it.  I’m so grateful for the divinely inspired organization of the church.  I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to partake of the sacrament every week to renew my covenants.

Mostly I’m grateful for my trials.  I know they are teaching me everything that I need to know.  They are making me stronger and wiser.  I pray that I will keep that in mind when hardship comes back around.  I’m not promised a perfect life, I will be tried, but with faith I will make it though the storm.

Darkness Within

25 Apr

Image

I was first diagnosed with depression and prescribed anti-depressants toward the end of my Sophomore year of college.

I had gone to the Doctor complaining of always being tired and after some questioning, he decided I was depressed.  I didn’t take it very seriously.  I took the medication for about a month and when I didn’t feel any different, stopped taking them.

Less than a year later, I had to withdraw from school and move to Corpus Christi because I was suicidal.

I spent the next year in therapy.  I worked hard to get to a good place without the use of anti-depressants.  I really thought there was no way I’d ever find myself in such a state again.  While I’ve never found myself in that kind of suicidal state again, I’ve struggled off and on with a deep depression and the struggle of what is the root cause of these issues.

For me, depression really isn’t about sadness.  I would describe it as a numbness.  Over the years, I’ve found that a period of depression usually comes when I’ve experienced a very stressful situation or prolonged periods of anxiety.  It’s more like being completely overwhelmed and my emotions shutting down.  I withdraw from interactions with family and friends.  I become unproductive because I have no drive or energy.  All the while, I’m aware that this is happening, want it to change, and feel like a bit of a prisoner within myself.

It takes time and effort to overcome those periods of depression.  I’ve tried numerous anti-depressants over the years and I’ve yet to find one I like.  What I’ve found that helps more than anything revolves around my spirituality.  Being involved in my church and everything that entails brings the swiftest relief I’ve found, but it still takes time and effort.

I’ve been struggling lately.  The past few weeks were the worst of it, but thankfully I seem to be crawling out of my dark place.  I don’t understand exactly what the root cause is, but I’m grateful I know how to combat it.

Single

17 Apr
Image Source: someecards.com

Image Source: someecards.com

A little over a month ago, I posted about my plan to stay single for a while. After a few less than stellar dating experiences since my divorce, I feel like it’s probably a good idea to just focus on myself for some time.

The first week or so was pretty amazing. I felt really peaceful and hopeful.

Then all of the guys started coming out of the woodwork. I mean, it is actually comical. I make the decision to stop dating and all of a sudden I’ve got 3 men after me… I’m sure it’s not a coincidence.

Two of these guys I previously dated, another is an old friend. I’ve been turning them down, but it seems like they just aren’t getting the picture.

I know I’m being tested. None of these are viable options for me and I know that, but it’s still a temptation. I’d rather not be alone, but I know it’s what I need.

I’m gonna stick it out.

Everybody needs a little forgiveness

7 Apr
906121_10151321753080684_490002035_o

My beautiful mother, sisters, and I

This time last week, I was in Corpus Christi visiting two of my sisters and our mother.  She drove down from Charlotte and we all had a wonderful Easter together.  It was the first time in years that we weren’t brought together by tragedy.  I am so incredibly grateful that we have all made it through the wilderness of those dark times and seem to all be doing well for once!  It was probably the happiest time we’ve all had together.

I was pretty nervous before my trip.  The few times I’ve been back to Corpus Christi since my separation were short trips when my aunt was put into hospice and then for her memorial.  The last time I went, this past September, was another short trip to move my sister and cousin back.  That’s when my ex-husband decided to show up and turn my life upside down again.

This was my first real trip back since my divorce.  I wondered how I was going to feel spending an extended amount of time in the place that didn’t feel like home until he came along.  I worried I might run into him or his family.  I thought I might find myself looking for him everywhere we went.  But that didn’t happen.

On my last day there, we were running around doing some shopping.  I was zoned out as we drove down a busy street.  I snapped out of it and realized I was starting at a blue truck.  Then I thought, that kinda looks like his truck.  It wasn’t his, but I realized that I hadn’t been looking for him at all.

Another night, after family pictures, my step-dad wanted to take us all to dinner.  The restaurant he chose was the location of my first date with him.  I mentioned it at dinner and I could tell my family was concerned that I was upset, but I was surprised to realize that it wasn’t upsetting at all.

I’m so glad that I’m finally getting to this point.  I’m letting go.  I”m moving on.

You know what I think it is?  I’m finally forgiving myself.  I forgave him long ago, but I have felt so much anger toward myself.  Especially for letting him back in this last time.  I’ve been working on repentance through my church and I can feel my heart getting lighter and lighter.  It’s amazing what a little forgiveness can do.

 

Escape Artist

8 Mar
Escape Artist

Photo credit: Street Inc.

 

I’ve had an idea forming in my mind for some time now.  A sense that this next stage is my life is about me being alone.  I’ve fought the idea tooth and nail because, quite frankly, I don’t like it.

In fact, I pretty much hate it.

I want a family more than anything.  I’m 32 and feel like time is running out.  I just went through a divorce and spent the last part of it very lonely, why would I want more of that?  I don’t want to rush into anything, but I feel like I have to get out there and try to find someone before it’s too late.  I don’t want to end up alone.

Those are the subconscious thoughts running through my head all the time…  Yikes.

That kind of mentality is not going to find me something healthy and stable and ultimately what I really want!  I need to be okay inside of me if I’m going to find a relationship that will be fulfilling.  I want to be worthy of a great partner, be able to recognize someone as such, and be in the right place to provide them with a great partner/relationship in return!

Which is the real reason I need to be alone right now.

When I love people, I put their needs before my own.  It’s just my nature.  I think in many ways, I do it on purpose.  I do it to avoid myself and my issues.  I don’t just do it with my significant other.  I’ve been known to do it with my siblings, family and sometimes friends.  I can’t do that right now.

This season is about me.  And that makes me feel uneasy.  I’m purposely putting myself in a position where I have no escape.  I’m forcing myself to deal with myself.  Gosh, that sounds really crazy to me…  But it really, actually, totally makes sense.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s ever felt this way!

The Right of Way

16 Jun

I had a little epiphany the other day driving to work.  I find myself to be a yielding kind of person- aware of my surroundings, considerate of those around me, but mostly cautious.  Not everyone is like this.  Some people refuse to yield to anyone except maybe in imminent danger.  This is a fascinating concept to me.  I don’t necessarily want to be that type of person, but maybe there is some kind of balance to strike?

Some recent events in my life have left me feeling totally powerless- at the mercy of those in my life.  Why do I let that happen?  I’m sad to have to admit that it’s mostly fear.  And honestly, that makes me kind of angry with myself.  Why am I giving away all of the control?  Why am I not making my dreams come true?  Why am I compromising EVERYTHING.

It has to stop.  I can’t do this anymore.  I’m going to try something new and maybe I will finally see the change that I’ve wanted for so long.  I’ll fake it til I make it.

Perfection

13 May

A few days ago, I allowed myself to pose a question on Facebook that had been bothering me for days:

“Does it make me a bad person that I’m wary of anyone who claims to have a perfect life? Maybe I’ve just seen too much to believe that’s even possible. I don’t allow myself to believe that anything will ever be “perfect” but life can still be good… and it is!”

It was out of the norm for me to post something like that, and I wasn’t expecting so many people to respond to it.  What started out pretty much a “brain dump” for me actually ended up causing me to ponder and evaluate the whole idea of perfection.

And here’s what I’ve decided:

  • First and foremost, I don’t need to be worried about whether or not someone thinks their life is perfect.  It doesn’t matter!  If I am worried about it, that means I’m being judgmental.  And I don’t want to be judgmental.
  • My propensity to cringe when I hear someone call their life “perfect” actually has nothing to do with them (whether or not I think their life is perfect) and more to do with me and my perfection issues.  I spent most of my life trying to be perfect to please other people.  It’s taken therapy, the Gospel, and good old effort on my part to stop focusing on the need to be perfect.  It is still a struggle daily to fight that urge.  But it’s getting easier.
  • I’m not perfect, but in the same way- I am perfect.  It’s all in the way you look at it.  After reading some scriptures and consulting talks on the LDS website, I think it all boils down to this:  Humans are NOT perfect and we won’t achieve perfection in this life.  However, we should continually strive to be Christ-like (perfect) eventhough we know we will never fully achieve this while we’re alive.  At the same time, we are God’s children and we are perfectly designed.  Whatever we are and whatever we do is a part of the plan for us and thus it is perfect.  Does that make sense?

So, I guess it all boils down to this:  I am grateful for what I am and what I have in my life at this time.  I am grateful for even the few bumps that I experience (eventhough they are few and far between these days) because they have a purpose.  I can look in the mirror and say:  You are beautiful.  You are a child of God.  You are exactly as you should be today.  And eventhough those voices want to chime in and say, “But what about…” I’m finding it easier and easier to quiet them.

This is how I know that I’m ready.  Because it’s not about looking in the mirror and crying anymore.  It’s not about trying to fit in some mold of what I should look like.  It’s about being a temple.  It’s about my Heavenly Father and my family.

The process won’t be perfect.  I know that and I haven’t even started yet.  I don’t have any unrealistic expectations.  But I’m not going to give up.  I will do what it takes!