Tuesday, July 17

Because of Him

In every way our family is in a better place than we were in moving to Utah. I feel badly that the people who surrounded us in Utah got the tail end of our crumbling...
Now God is able to restore and rebuild us into a more stable, capable unit. 
He gave us strength to endure, and hope where it seemed lost.
Where there was serious imbalance, now there is balance.
I give glory to God in all things, without whom, my journey of faith could have ended many times throughout my married life (it has been THAT difficult for me). And it has not been anyone’s fault.
Be warned that if you pray for mighty faith, you will get what you need in order to become (this is not recommended for the faint of heart).
I have only learned that once you step onto the path of real faith, there is no turning back without dire consequences.
I have been tested greatly. I have withstood temptation. I have honored my Heavenly Parents, and stayed true. 
All this, because of our Savior’s love, and through the power of the Priesthood.
He lives! I am here, becoming the best version of me because of Him alone. And there is ALWAYS hope, and we ALWAYS have a choice to either trust God, or trust ourselves.


.

Monday, July 16

I Can Breath Again

You know, it is fascinating how I can be put in certain areas and circumstances, and struggle like there is no tomorrow. And then be put in a different environment, and look back, being acutely aware of my new capacity to breath and be thankful for life.  This life is humbling—and we are ever changing...sometimes for the better, and sometimes not.

My experiences from the past year in particular have been mind blowing. Much of what I have heard, seen, felt, and had to withstand, I cannot share.
The Priesthood power and authority is real. The veil ore the earth is truly bursting!
Pray to have eyes to see.
Pray over everything and everyone.
Be aware of what is happening spiritually before trying in vain to judge others.
It is bewildering to get a glimpse.

This much is sure.
Our Lord will come in all His Majesty and Glory.
 Soon. And he that is found spotless will inherit the earth and all that which our Father has.

Let us all prepare quickly lest we are caught unaware...unprepared.


Saturday, January 27

Stellaluna and Cardboard Butterflies

Josh Weed, a famous LDS Blogger, has announced the end of his marriage in this post.

Here is my response to Josh Weed:

1.There is nothing wrong about the Plan of Salvation as taught by our Church.  Everyone does not say or understand things the way they could be best said or understood. 
  But there is so much that none of us truly understand, and that we might not ever in this life.  We all "see through a glass darkly".
Through personal revelation and through staying close to the Lord we can get a better understanding than we currently have, and we can learn and relearn things.  But it is so important for us, as members of the Church, to be very careful in what voices we choose to listen to.  Because of specific covenants we have made, we are held to a  high standard.

2. There are a whole lot of cardboard butterflies out there (counterfeits to reality that sometimes look bigger, brighter and more appealing than the real deal` when in the end, there is no promise of anything real or lasting).  I think this idea of "romantic connection" as portrayed in movies, is one of them.  Romantic connection comes and goes in any marriage, and sometimes isn't there at all for one or both partners for MANY years at a time.  In arranged marriage, in abusive marriages, in marriages where one spouse is severely disabled or severely depressed, there is often no such thing.  Can we learn to work with it regardless, and to feel the deepest sort of joy in such a marriage?  YES. I believe that those that stick it out gain so much by way of personal development and refining.  Some of the greatest women I know stuck with the most harrowing circumstances.  They are spiritual giants in every way, powerful in presence, meek and brilliant; all the sort of traits that a real
woman should have.

3. Core, eternal truths about the fact that everything temporal will eventually disappear and die, leaves little room for ending a marriage in pursuit of a romantic connection.  What you had and still have is the real deal...as real as it gets.
  Example:
I love and am in love with my husband, we show each other we care in many ways.  I love and want him in my life.  We have fun together. We are very affectionate.
I did not fall "in love" with him until seven years into our marriage...and it took longer than that to begin really enjoying our sex life. I do not know if I have ever felt a "romantic connection" to him...it seems like such a small and silly thing compared to what I do feel toward him which is pure, unfiltered LOVE.  I would die for him.  I would do anything to ensure his well-being.  I respect him.  I love to serve him.  I LOVE HIM like you love Lolly.

 THIS WORLD WILL END>while our love (which is greater than a physical love)
will only become more rich, and eventually, perfect.  All that is lost will be found...and we will be whole.  I hope for all things, just as the thirteenth article of faith states. And I know in whom I trust.

4. I HATE how the Devil has emphasizes sexuality as a way to define ourselves, as an all consuming thing, and one of the most important things in life. IT IS NOT.  It is a really small part of being a human being, and certainly not in the way pornography or movies depicts (look!  another cardboard butterfly!)
I AM NOT a sexual orientation.
I AM NOT depression.
I AM NOT my weaknesses.
I AM NOT dumb or ugly.

I AM ME.
I am a unique individual.
I am a daughter of a loving God.
I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints who has made specific covenants.
I AM a Mother and Wife.
I AM an artist and crochet fanatic.
I AM a lifelong student in pursuit of unfiltered truth.
I AM a great friend, sister, daughter.
I AM what I choose to be, and I do not choose to be someone who places a whole lot of emphasis on what turns me on.
Why?
Because it is stupid. And because of this scripture.

I live by this.  I'm not perfect at it.  But I try hard, and I do my part so that the Lord has room to work in me for my own salvation.
I know that all of who I am can also help those around me grow to be who they are meant to be.  I trust God as the master conductor.  He is orchestrating every part of my life for mine and my family's benefit.

EVERY difficult thing I have experienced has made me a far better individual through applying this and other eternal truths.

Your wife mentions the story of Stellaluna, a bat who lands in a bird's nest and has to do everything as a bird does because her adopted bird mama says so.  She mentions to her daughter how her Daddy is like Stellaluna (?) This made no sense to me.
You are not a different species...you are the same species who would like trying out a romantic relationship with the same gender of the same species to see if that will complete that missing piece, or to have that option open as a way to keep hope alive.
The truth is, we all yearn for connection on every level. 
When we cannot feel that with someone, what we are taught in our church is to turn back to our Savior and Father in Heaven, and they will fill that void.  THAT IS WHY WE ARE GIVEN WEAKNESSES and CHALLENGES.  There are plenty of people who will NEVER in this life experience a romantic connection.  And that is okay.
There are plenty of people in the world who will never know a love as you've known with your wife. We all have a path or a few to choose from. 

 President Russell M. Nelson states that: "His joy is constant, assuring us that our “afflictions shall be but a small moment”13 and be consecrated to our gain.14" That lack of romantic connection is NOTHING compared to what the Lord has in store for you if you are willing to walk through it with your focus corrected.

5. From what I can tell, your life has been pretty wonderful in every way.  There's just that one thing.  I'm afraid that those things that would draw you closer to Christ are not where you are looking.  We all have that one, two or three things that are simply difficult to deal with as individuals and within marriage.  For many, it is most things in daily life that are a huge challenge.  They still try hard to live what life they can, and most cannot just drop those things...or walk away from them.  Did you really ASK if this was God's will?  There is a counterfeit to the feelings the spirit brings too.  If, when you think of divorcing your wife, do you have a desire to attend the temple more, be closer to Jesus in every way? If your decision draws you to Christ, then you know where it is coming from.

I have struggled, been broken time after time in my married life.  The world told me I had every reason to leave my marriage because of the circumstance and because of the way I was FEELING.

I have felt a great desire to end my life many times as a result of self-hate, combined with circumstance.  I even felt what felt like physical hands on me at one point, trying to force me to just get it over with to end my suffering.  The adversary knew I had an important mission.  He was determined to stop me from getting this and other important messages out.  But I had to go through it all in order to understand these eternal principles as deeply as I do, in order to come to KNOW that Jesus is the Christ, that His promises are REAL.

My wonderful Father in Heaven and His angels looked out for me each time, and my Dad's wise words entered my mind during crucial moments of being powerfully tempted "Rach, no matter how hard things get, you always have a choice".  

I tried walking away from my marriage, hoping to find the life of happiness I yearned for.
When I asked permission from God, whom I still trust more than anyone else, my answer was not one of peace.  And I had to fight the hardest battle up to that point in my life of either choosing my own will or His.

I had to choose to have faith that no matter how much I felt broken, HE COULD HEAL ME.

After fifteen years of working hard to improve myself and change my mindset (through many counselors, temple attendance, loved ones' prayers, energy work, depression/anxiety medication and re-writing set neuropathways) and behaviors, I now have the marriage and life I've always desired. 

I have EVERYTHING I've ever wanted. I can finally die happy. And yet, I've JUST STARTED LIVING.

TOO MANY PEOPLE think that if they can just change their circumstance and surroundings, THEN things will be better, when really, the answers are always remembered through connection to our Maker~
  We have to be willing to listen and do what is asked of us in order to become connected to our true potential as children of God.
My life is full of the deepest kind of joy and gratitude each day that I get to live now with my husband and children.  And I do not regret sticking it out.  I do not regret the fact that my children had to go through it with me.  They get to watch me put my faith in action as I continue to face what few demons I have left.  They know that my faith in Jesus Christ has allowed me to overcome.  They know that the most impossible becomes possible with faith and the right focus.  Through my example, they will understand how to perceive their most difficult challenges that life WILL inevitably hand to them.  They have witnessed my transformation, my miracle.

These things are given to us (weaknesses, temptation, etc.) to help us come to know Jesus Christ, so that we can learn to apply His Atonement and in essence overcome them, so they don't become a huge deal.  The reason that my self-hate became a huge deal is because I gave it WAY too much attention.  We have to learn to work with the pain, discomfort, heartache, illness, or whatever it is that is in direct opposition to our spiritual survival.  We have to learn to live with some darkness.
essentially, our FOCUS becomes the most powerful force in our lives.
There are voices that say to drop the cross we carry.  There are voices that say we should trust ourselves the most, in essence, setting ourselves up as THE god in our lives.

I really do not think the grass is gonna be greener.

  The moment you begin indulging in certain thoughts that are not wholly true about yourself (I AM my sexual orientation, etc.), the more chance you have of going down a path that will ultimately lead to more misery, more emptiness than you can imagine. 
My life was nothing less than a living hell for too many years because of the voices I chose to listen to (prompted by junior high boys saying dumb things), and give power to, that were lying.  Every area of my marriage could not grow because I was holding on fiercely to LIES.  My way of processing my relationship with my husband was so screwed up that I created a living hell for myself.  

6.

Lolly mentions weight gain as a result of her not feeling sexy or beautiful in her husband's eyes.  That is an issue within herself that she can change.  I have had the opposite problem. My husband told me I was beautiful every day for years. I did not have the capacity to believe him and only felt loathing and sadness when he would say it. Until I rooted out those things that were at the time a strong part of my identity,
nothing could have changed my mind.

My children have seen me at my worst, and my husband at his worst as we were forced to face the issues we had avoided individually and as a couple.  We both had to get help.  We both had to completely change our perceptions in order to survive.  We had to hand over what we thought we understood about each other and knew for something greater, even the pure love of Christ.

That is what it comes down to...we always have a choice, and we can choose to focus on real LOVE. What you and your wife have is REAL LOVE.  A romantic connection, no matter how you play it, is not going to measure up in the least.  
Cardboard butterflies will wear out quickly, and promise nothing in the long run, while God's plan for His children promises everything, if we are willing to  "believe all things, hope all things...endure all things."
What you are doing is not noble.
It is not courageous.
It is selfish.

We can overcome all things through Christ.  And sometimes overcoming is simply learning to live with ` while focusing on joy because MEN ARE THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE JOY, not romance, not to be comfortable, not to inflate our ego or "self-esteem" by doing what makes us "happy".
Focus on joy and your joy will grow.
Focus on the world's voices, and they will gain more power in your life, until you have forgotten who you truly are.
You are more than your sexual orientation, or your lack of romantic connection...so SO much more.  
You are a SON of GOD FIRST.  You are a husband and father, a therapist, a writer, a leader who is respected by masses.
What are you going to choose as your focus?  Can you see the consequences of your choices five or ten years from now?  On your daughters especially?
HE CAN.


https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2016/10/joy-and-spiritual-survival?lang=eng

Monday, January 22

My Son


Peter Lawrence, lucky number seven.
You wanted to come to our family.
I did not think my marriage could handle another pregnancy, and dreaded the sleep depravation and expected post-partum depression along with the strain pregnancy puts on an entire family.
What I did not know is that you would usher in such specific, desired blessings.
With your arrival came a renewed sense of love and life that I had not experienced for much too long.
You smile easily, laugh and try so hard to communicate with everyone around you.  You have a way about you that brings joy and healing to each member of your family.

It seems that your Dad and I have been healed in more way than one through you...and our marriage  has been rejuvenated.  It is as if we are experiencing parenthood for the first time together.

I don't know how or why you would want me to be your Mother, but I count it a privilege, knowing that you are now my son for this life and eternity.

Thank you, precious Peter, for coming when you did.
We'd all be lost without you now that we have seen and felt of your special spirit.

Saturday, January 20

NEW START


This year marks a new life for my husband and I.
Last year, and the year before, our entire world came crumbling down for good reason.
With the birth of our seventh child, came a new hope for a better life.

Tonight, my husband and I attended the Temple for the second time together since moving to Utah.  I had been asking and begging for way too long to have him come with.  We finally did it, and are determined to get back as often as possible.  No more excuses.  We need as much help as we can get in raising our children together.  We must do our part in order to claim such blessings.

Peter Lawrence was born at the end of last October.  He is pure joy to every person in our family.  We now have NINE people in our home.  And my little ones are quickly turning into grown young men and women.

I have been off depression medication through the end of my last pregnancy, up until now and still wonder how such a miracle is happening!  I am happy.  I enjoy life again, similar to how I was as a little girl!  I can't believe how blessed our family has been in every way so far this year.

All of a sudden, everything is happening way too fast.  Our days our numbered till our oldest son is off on his own.  I feel like I just woke up, that my oldest children finally get me, the real and best me...that my husband and I are starting to get to really know each other for the first time since we were married.  It was all survival until now.

He is actively being a husband and father!  He is a wonderful one at that, and we are learning how to do it together for the first time.  What a miracle it has been to watch everything I every dreamed of unfolding before my eyes.  I am so thankful to my Father in Heaven for answering my years of tearful pleas out of sheer frustration and exhaustion...wanting so desperately to feel that my companion was by my side, was on my team.  Through a series of events, and many prayers from loved ones, it is finally happening.  I can hardly believe it.

Yay for new beginnings.

Monday, April 3

Life is Busy

My days are filled with taking care of children, trying to get enough rest, keeping up on my homework and trying to motivate myself to get things done around the house and yard.

It seems boring.  And it can be.
It can also be extremely overwhelming.
But I am blessed with my life.

I think I need to be able to get out and socialize sometimes.  I have not been able to get much of any since moving to Utah unless I travel an hour to see family or friends. But I'm tired of traveling.  I look forward to moving to our settling place so that I can start early and try to make some good friend connections...I won't have to leave within a couple years, my kids will be able to be pretty open knowing that it will be the only school(s) they will have to attend.
My husband will be able to chose a job he likes and has knowledge in instead of having to be retrained multiple times, and just getting a handle on it before we are transferred to another assignment.  Maybe he will have energy to give to our family life.

Sometimes I wonder what my purpose is...other times, I know what I am doing is of utmost importance.  I guess I just don't feel the support I desperately need in fulfilling my roles.  And I feel alone.
I know everyone feels this way sometimes.
It's nothing new.
I crave connection...to be seen and appreciated/loved for who I am and what I offer and sacrifice.

From day to day, we are just getting by much of the time.

I suppose the song from Beauty and the Beast relates my feelings..."I want adventure in the great wide somewhere...I want it more than I can tell; and for once it might be grand, to have someone understand...I want so much more than they've got planned."

I have a husband who is a recluse.  He has no social life, and little involvement in our family life or church life.  If we want to interact with him, we have to go in where he's hooked to electronics, on our bed.  He contributes what little he can in the raising of our children.  He sits and experiences life through shows and articles most of the time he's home.
And I must teach them, train them, actively love them, discipline them, to guide and raise them.
On my own. 
It is lonely.
If I have the energy, I take them to the park or library, the dollar store or dollar theater.
It's a simple life.
I know what's going on in their lives; I can hear their struggles and desires,
and do my best to support them when they are struggling.
I allow myself to rest when needed, and take the opportunity to hold, cuddle and
teach them new things that they are interested in.

Sometimes I get worn out in motherhood.
I wish I had more energy and motivation to keep up with my house.
But I simply can't do more than I am doing without it having detrimental
effects on our family.  
My husband takes care of the finances, and they are learning how to manage
their own.  He has them pay tithing on their small allowances each month...they are learning their relationship with money, how they view it, and whether or not they are naturally good at saving.
My husband is a recluse socially and emotionally; but he is extremely good at managing our homes and finances.  He is extremely intelligent and strong-headed in the way he sees things.  These are all things I admire and appreciate in him.  We all have different pros and cons to the way our lives turned out.  Sometimes, I want to express..things I've always wished for though...simple things.

I wish we could go camping together as a family; or really anywhere as a family.
I wish he would join us for dinner and take the initiative to lead our family in FHE or family prayer.
I wish my husband was aware of how desperately our son needs someone to model how a man acts. My son is turning into him, living all of his life at home through electronics (and of course I get him to join the family as often as I can...I have much more say with my son than I do with my husband)...I can only do so much, and I hope it is enough.

My husband cares through words.
He asks how I'm doing; he does his best to listen and reassure me.  He is loyal, and has always stood by me.  He buys me little treats when he goes grocery shopping for himself (everything is seperate from the family because that is his only way to ensure that he has what he needs to make his meals which are the same each day).  His lifeline to be able to accomplish his responsibilities is sticking to a routine perfectly the same every day during the week.  He controls his things, I am in charge of everything else...and we are doing the best we can.  He is not capable of being flexible or going with the flow; and so having multiple children is difficult on him.  That is why it is better this way.

I am thankful that he loves and cherishes me through words, and through small gestures.
He often shares how his day went...something he almost never did before our ten year wedding anniversary (a very private person).  He tells me he appreciates and loves me-and rubs my back and feet when I ask him to; and I do feel loved by him.  Emotionally and spiritually, he is crippled; and just as a wife who is married to a paraplegic, I get burnt out sometimes, and discouraged at my life's circumstance.  Just the same, I am greatly limited in my capacity to take care of things, and in managing my own money.  There is always give and take in marriage. It is difficult to learn lessons in learning to let go control in areas we are really good at so our companions can grow.
  He is a dear.  Wonderful, beautiful mind. I have learned a huge amount through living with and listening to him.  I am a more strong, resilient, loving, intelligent person because of him.
I celebrate and accept him for who he is wholeheartedly.  I have never loved anyone as fully or deeply.  But I am coming to the realization that we are both extremely good at what we are good at; and that sometimes makes both of our loads feel really heavy because we are pretty seperate in accomplishing our responsibilities.  He covers finances and provides for our family.  I make all the meals, do all the grocery shopping for the family, all the laundry and housework (with kids' help) raise our children in every way, providing for all their spiritual, physical, emotional and social needs.

My life is not easy.
But it is mine.
I will take it one day at a time.
And hope that God makes up for all that I lack in carrying this load.  I know I can do it, because I am doing exactly what God placed me on the earth to do.
There is a season for everything.  I believe I will have the opportunity to go on many adventures on my own in the future, and I will have many years of a spotless, sanitary house...and will miss these days of clutter and constant chaos, tantrums, hugs and smiles.
I need to take it one day at a time, and enjoy the journey as much as possible.
My husband won't be around forever with his silly nature, and loving ways.  He won't always be there to hold our girls when they are needing to feel safe, or to listen to my sadness or triumphs.  He is present when it really matters, and has saved my life at times because he is there to catch me when I fall; he has taught me of my worth and beauty through the way he treats me.
So much of life consists of perspective.
We are a team whether I feel that way or not at times.
He is always there to love our children and me and to lend a listening ear and money to supply our want and need.

I love my Savior; and am thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow, to really be experiencing and enjoying life, ups downs, twists, turns, the boring and chaotic times.  I am at a place of thankful peace, and wisdom to know that this season is for me to find joy in.  That is the purpose of life.




Thursday, March 30

Marriage, not for the faint of heart
In time, you will see
That it is a commitment of the soul
meant to last eternity...
At times it may seem that all the love in the world
Could not make up for the difficulty at hand..
But through the change of life one learns
There are several footprints in the sand
Even through the worst of it,
If you quiet your mind, you'll find
That wisdom comes and sight, restored
In the areas you had once been blind
So stick it out, throw out your doubt
Think on the love you still share, and you will grow ever aware...

When all's said and done, from heaven, we will know that earth's experience was skewed.


Because of Him

In every way our family is in a better place than we were in moving to Utah. I feel badly that the people who surrounded us in Utah got the...