Monday, November 23, 2015

3 Ways I Found Greater Peace and Joy Through Simplification

As a mom and wife, I am constantly bombarded with reminders of my inability to keep a perfect home, feed my family perfectly healthy meals, and stay current on all of the latest fashion trends, all while maintaining perfect patience with my kids. A few years ago, I was flooded with feelings of inadequacy, stress, frustration, and more importantly, I was devoid of peace and joy.  It took a long time to realize that the source of many of those feelings was the idea that in order to live a fulfilling life, my life needed to look perfect too. I’ve now learned that maintaining a picture perfect life is anything but simple, and simplicity is what I really craved and needed during that particularly stressful time in my life. It didn’t happen overnight, and there were several “Aha” moments along the way, but I am now at a point where I can share 3 ways in which I have found greater peace and joy in my life through the process of simplification.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Child's Prayer: The Day President Monson Was Led to a Dying Girl's Bedside

Ministering to the one has been a hallmark of President Thomas S. Monson's lifetime of service in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On countless occasions across the world, President Monson has felt the Spirit's gentle prompting to stop whatever else he was doing and lovingly go to the aid of someone in need. In sharing a remarkable experience that demonstrates his sensitivity to the Spirit and his love for children, President Monson recounted the time he was led to the bedside of a dying girl in answer to her sincere prayer.

Christal was a 10-year-old girl who had been diagnosed with cancer. She lived about 80 miles from Shreveport, Louisiana, and when her prognosis became terminal, her family made plans to visit Salt Lake City in hopes that Christal might receive a blessing from a General Authority. The family did not know any of the Brethren personally, so when they showed Christal a picture of all the General Authorities, she pointed to President Monson and told her family he was the person from whom she wanted to receive a blessing.

Here is the rest of the story as told in October 1975 General Conference, in President Monson's own words:

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

5 Truths Therapy Has Taught Me about the Atonement

About a year ago I found myself at the bottom of a figurative pit. Life had been throwing me significant trials one after another, never allowing me enough time to recover. That, coupled with the buried hurt of my abusive childhood, was now crashing down and leaving me in this dark place with seemingly no way out. I tried to deny it. I tried to fight it. But the reality was that I had depression.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. But I was also desperate for relief from these destructive thoughts and feelings. I turned to the scriptures, conference talks, and prayer hoping for direction. I soon found my answer from Elder Richard G. Scott: “Healing may begin with a thoughtful bishop or stake president or a wise professional counselor. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t decide to fix it yourself. Serious abuse can also benefit from professional help. There are many ways to begin healing, but remember that a full cure comes through the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Master and Redeemer. Have faith that with effort His perfect, eternal, infinite Atonement can heal your suffering from the consequences of abuse.”

I knew I needed to seek professional help as my first step. I timidly approached my husband with my thoughts and feelings and he supported me in this decision. I then met with my bishop who was able to connect me with an appropriate therapist. After the initial visit with my psychologist, I felt hope for the first time in a long time. It has been a long hard road, but as I reflect upon this last year I have recognized five truths that therapy has taught me about the Atonement.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What Happened When I Quit Home Teaching

Many years ago, I quit home teaching. I had my reasons, and I thought they were pretty valid. No matter what the elders quorum president or the bishop said, I simply refused to do home teaching. One evening I got a phone call from a member of the stake high council. He asked to meet with me at the church and I agreed to meet him. I met with this brother, and after an opening prayer, he asked me to home teach. I told him “no.” I then told him that my going into other members’ homes was a waste of my time and theirs, and that it wouldn’t make one bit of difference in anyone’s salvation if I did it or not. I left the office, got in my car, and headed home, feeling quite pleased with myself.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

In the Very Moment: The Harrowing Night Elder Oaks Was Held at Gunpoint

When General Authorities in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speak to church members around the world, they often share personal stories or experiences to illustrate a gospel principle or reinforce a specific truth. President Thomas S. Monson is universally loved for the many wonderful stories he frequently shares.

One of my favorite stories told by a General Authority is a personal experience Elder Dallin H. Oaks shared in General Conference 23 years ago when I was a sophomore in high school. At the time, Elder Oaks looked back more than 20 years to the harrowing experience he and his wife faced late one night when they were confronted by a would-be robber at gunpoint on the streets of Chicago. The story is gripping because it must have been so terrifying. I also love that it illustrates the way the Lord protects His servants and the way revelation can guide us through difficult, even life-threatening situations. As the Lord promised, "It shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment what ye shall say" (Doctrine & Covenants 100:6). Here is the experience, in Elder Oaks’ own words:

During my life I have had many experiences of being guided in what I should do and in being protected from injury and also from evil. The Lord’s protecting care has shielded me from the evil acts of others and has also protected me from surrendering to my own worst impulses. I enjoyed that protection one warm summer night on the streets of Chicago. I have never shared this experience in public. I do so now because it is a persuasive illustration of my subject.