Forgiveness & Healing

This past week our family experienced a devastating blow, feeling betrayed and misunderstood by someone who should have been a trusted friend. I don’t know if it was viciousness or ignorance on their part, but they will never know the damage they have caused. I’d like to think what they did was out of love but it only feels hurtful. I have lost trust in just about everybody and feel a need to rebuild all relationships. I’ve been challenged on something that I hold most dear. Like something that stabbed me to the very core of my purpose.

What I’ve learned: Be careful what you say and who you trust, and believe me, I thought I was already a cautious person with whom I trusted my heart and my family’s challenges.

What I haven’t learned yet: how to forgive and move on. This burden feels heavy. I am trying to replace this suffocating fear with faith and trust in a loving God who will watch over us, and replace all pain with exquisite joy someday.

My faith tells me that even when I feel abandoned by mortal friends, my Savior and Redeemer stands by me. I feel deeply that God is aware of me and my family, our desires, our efforts and all is acceptable to Him. He knows my struggles, my weaknesses, my heartache, and He offers me strength and comfort.

Sunday was a painful day. It was so hard to go to church especially when Jimmy had to leave my side to go to Elders Quorum, but because I know my issues are not with God, I knew I needed to humble myself and attend so that I could participate in a sacred sacrament ordinance and feel of the Holy Spirit. I wish I could say my heart was where it should have been, but it was still hurting and doubting others motives.

But attending Seminary Graduation Sunday evening was a healing balm. Hannah played the piano and the closing hymn, As we Search the Holy Scriptures, resounded with my soul. One way to allow God to heal our souls is to partake of His Holy Word. A study of the scriptures allows us see miracles and blessings that came to those who remained faithful. As for unseen wounds that need healing… I know we all have hurts that need God’s mending power.

When I have challenges that I cannot share with others, the burden seems heavier. I am used to calling husband, mother, father, sisters, friends to receive advice and comfort. And although God has sent these angels to help us along the way, there comes a time when there is nobody to rely on for strength but our Heavenly Father. I know the greatest healing and comfort comes in humble prayer to a loving Father. But do I feel connected to Him?

I do not want bitterness to eat away at my soul. I visualize the canker and ugliness that bitterness creates inside of me. And then I try to visualize a pure love cleansing my heart to occupy that space. I find this might take time but I have a “desire to believe” in this “change of heart”.

This week I’ve listened to several talks on the power of forgiving others. My favorite was by Dieter F. Uchtdorf from 2012 called The merciful obtain Mercy.

The following quote emphasizes to me that the Love of God is what dispels fear and anger and hurt. When we are filled with God’s love, we see others and ourselves as He sees us. His emphasis on changing our thoughts and attitude remind me that I must keep my thoughts emotionally healthy. Blaming someone or acting the victim WILL NOT BRING PEACE OR HEALING! But healing will come as I continue in God’s Love and allowing thoughts of TRUTH and PURITY to fill my mind and heart. Believing in my AMAZING DIVINE NATURE and WORTH will help me fight feelings of discouragement and failure as a mother. Show the naysayers that I am Strong in Christ. That my foundation is firm. And I will persist in acting on all the good I am capable of instead of hiding under a rock (which is what I feel like doing most of the time in public. Much anxiety about my mothering and my children’s behavior? ummm, yes).

For several years, I’ve slowly connected HEARTS in nature as a reminder of God’s Love. It’s so cheesy; hearts are totally cheesy, right?!. But as we hiked in Utah and came across heart rocks, I wanted to teach my kids of the importance of seeing God’s hand every day, so I started pointing out hearts I saw.  (Now my kids all point out the HEARTS to me!)

The thought occurred to me last night, what if God was preparing my heart for all these years FOR THIS MOMENT? FOR THIS CHALLENGE? He knew it would come. He knew what heartache I would suffer. He knew I would need a RESERVOIR OF MERCIES to call upon. So that even though I didn’t want to look for His goodness, I would be so used to doing it, that I would continue even in heartache, even when it was extra hard (Remember when I always taught my kids, “We can do Hard Things!” Oh boy howdy. Here it is!)

Sometimes I don’t know what to do with these heavy burdens. My friend Julie has helped me visualize it like this. Take all your worries, your schedule, your action items, your responsibilities and lay them all down on an altar. My prayer would be something like this, “Loving Heavenly Father, I cannot carry all of this right now. Please take all of it and make something better than I can out of it all. Help me know which items I should pick back up to move onward with together with Thee. What can I do without so as to simplify my life? What burdens can I hand to you and to a perfect Savior who has saved us not only from an eternal death, but has also carried our burdens so that we don’t have to? Please take away the pain and replace it with LOVE and peace.” Something like that. That visualization helps me see this principle of handing burdens over to God more clearly. Next, this next quote is also a reminder that because of God’s mercy towards us, we will be like Him as we offer forgiveness and love to those who offend us and because of God’s truth in that principle, healing occurs.

I’m writing this entry in bursts as that is the only way I can function with 6 kiddos and a mom brain. Everything is probably a bit disconnected. Welcome to Heather’s Brain!

So after writing much of what’s above, I listened to a great talk: Encircled in the arms of His love – Neal A. Maxwell. Well, since it’s Elder Maxwell, really I read it first, then listened to it, and then read it again to catch the parts my HEART needed in this healing time.

First we must believe before we will ever understand… Believing that God loves us and will allow challenges stemming from other’s using their agency poorly, needs to come before the light of understanding. We may not understand or see the strengthening that is occurring or how this experience is preparing us to serve and love someone else. Perhaps we may eventually understand and see the lessons we needed to learn.

And even if that ‘Understanding’ only comes after this mortality, we can always know and maintain a knowledge of God’s love for us! This following quote reminds me that truth always receives “2 or 3 witnesses”. As mentioned in the hymn earlier, the scriptures teach us of God’s LOVE for his people. And that we can feel of God’s love by choosing to see the blessings and mercies he has shared with (HEART ROCKS!!!). And lastly that we feel of God’s love through the Holy Spirit. A reminder of how important it is to have this beautiful feeling in our hearts and home and family.

This following quote connected with me in regards to the anxiety I feel about many things with my mothering and this world we fight against daily. Even when things are in commotion around us, we can be still. We can be solidly settled in Holy Places so that we are not “moved”. Even when harm comes to us or our loved ones, we can move forward with Strength from a God who LOVES. God sustains those who keep His commandments! Oh, how I try. One of my favorite lines from the hymn, God, our Father, Hear us Pray is, “Bless my efforts day by day.”

Final thought by Elder Maxwell. I think of Stephanie and our “Tie on your bonnet Sister for WE WILL MAKE IT TO ZION!” message I’ve loved for all these years. Changing our hearts and desires and feelings might be mighty hard work. But those who came before showed the endurance and faith that I need now in my challenging situation.
Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
‘Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we’ll have this tale to tell–
All is well! All is well!

And now I’ve come to the end of my thoughts for a period. The past few weeks I’ve gone between anger and sorrow and judgment and pain with bits of healing in between. Gathering and writing down these thoughts has helped me heal immensely. God’s loving word through prophets and his Holy Word in scripture brings much peace. And even though I needed to be vague about details in regards to this specific situation, I feel that these principles are understood by many in various challenges. I wanted to note them to bring remembrance to my future self or family. Plus, healing and joy come to me when I am creative… hence all my cutesy-poo quotes I always do as a visual learner!

“This soup is a Gift from God”

So … long time no blogging.
But… we’re back!

Quick important story.

We were healthy for so long.
and then it ended.
it ended the week jimmy had a week long meeting in oklahoma.
we had the 3 littlest with rsv & strep.
And I felt completely strengthened by earthly and spirit angels.
Amy Binns brought us treats or food almost every day and had us for tacos the night i took scotty to the e.r.
sister jorif helped so much with transportation and being a friend.
I knew that other angels were watching over us.
i felt their patience and strength.

fast forward to this week.
i’ve had the worst flu in my life.
i don’t even think i’m exaggerating.
my fever raged from extreme chills to profuse sweating
and i had to take advil and tylenol every 3 hours.
if i waited 4, it was so intense.
those laser shooting pains in your muscles. ouch.
anyhoo… fever for 4 1/2 days.

and then hallelujah… the fever broke sunday night.
but then my cough changed from a dry cough…
to a deeper more productive cough with mucous.
it hurts. boo.

so now I am just trying to rest and be watchful that i don’t get pneumonia or something.

shelly reeves in our ward texted and said she was bringing dinner.
and i thanked her and told her we were on the mend.
after all we hardly know her and I felt bad for her to spend time on us.
she said, “i guess nobody told you that I don’t take no for an answer. i’m bringing you dinner.”
alrighty then. I’ll gratefully accept.
and today, i was so grateful.
jimmy came home early yesterday but today he had a later meeting.
i didn’t get down for a rest until almost 3.
amy binns picked up the boys from school and took liza and max so i could rest.
bless her.
and shelly brought soup and biscuits at 5ish.

she told me that she had a dream about my mom a few days ago which was weird because she didn’t know my mom.
i told her I’m certain that it was because my mom prays so much for us to be watched over.
i know that her inspiration to bring us dinner and share that love came from my mother’s prayers.
my mom has the sweetest desires to be able to be with us and help us all which isn’t always feasible when we move so far away.
all sorts of tears going on when i was telling shelly this.

so we sat down to dinner and of course most of the kids didn’t like the idea of soup (really kids, do ya like anything?)
I told them that this soup was a gift from God and shared the story about the dream and my mom’s prayers and shelly following the Holy Ghost.
It’s really hard to talk when you’re crying and you can’t breathe because you already have some major coughing and tight airways going on.
so my voice was quiet. but the kids listened.

it isn’t always about the soup.
this was a great lesson for me about the power of prayer.
the importance of listening to and acting on promptings from the Holy Ghost.
And the ability a small act of kindness has to share God’s love with us.

p.s. the other kindness today was michele grow, my first counselor in primary, offered to pick up some natural immune boosters for me at the store. i knew it wasn’t exactly on her way, but i was so grateful. she brought cranberry and elderberry syrup and lobelia herb for coughs. plus, i had joked with her earlier that you couldn’t go to the vitamin shoppe without sneaking by Nothing bundt cakes since they were nearby. She brought a delicious raspberry white chocolate cake. So kind. There are good people in the world and I hope to be better by sharing God’s love with others through service.

A Grieving Heart

16 by 20 cockatoo chevron
Our hearts are full of sorrow at the peaceful passing of our infant niece Patricia who napped and never woke. Our prayers are that angels will be strengthening their family during this tender time. #hugthoseyoulove #lifeisprecious #eternalfamilies #templelight #sealedtogetherforever

Peter & Jennie’s baby, Patricia Joy Smith, age 3 months, passed away on October 29, 2015.
My mother heart has ached for Jennie’s broken mother heart.
I have not experienced this same pain, but as a mother,
I can imagine the hurt of losing a child you love and cherish beyond measure.

The miracle for Peter and Jennie was not to have Patricia stay on earth in this lifetime for very long … but I know that God has other miracles in store for Patricia and their family. The miracle of the Resurrection … of eternal families … of healing and comfort that comes from our Savior’s Atonement.

A blessing in my life related to this circumstance happened this week that I wanted to note. A gal in my new ward, Leah Fish, commented last Sunday about her son’s death. I asked her about it after and she told me of the circumstance. My heart had been thoughtful of her pain and growth from losing a child.

Then Patricia died and we were all in shock at the sad death of such a perfect, sweet little one. I found Leah’s blog… and was glad to find some helpful information on helping others in their grief. This is not something I feel comfortable in, but as the Relief Society President, had to listen to the Spirit to know what to say in these hard situations. (One moment that comes to mind is when I visited dear Patricia Rex a few days before she passed away from Cancer. What does one say in these times? … …)

Today, with fussy babes in arms, Leah chatted with me in the hall at church about everything. It was so helpful to hear her advice.
1… that everyone deals with grief differently, even husband and wife … and she recommended a book Tear Soup that makes an appropriate gift for one who is grieving.

2… I realized that so much growth and change comes from these heart-wrenching life experiences. Perhaps some of the miracles… long-term… are the growth that brings us closer to understanding Jesus Christ and his Atonement.

Anyhoo, I was grateful to meet Leah and hear of her testimony and faith regarding losing and grieving a child. It seemed providential for all these events to occur during the same week.

Perhaps this was something I needed to learn in my life. I don’t know that I’ll be able to help anyone deal with their grief any better, but I would hope that I would be closer to the Holy Ghost to know what appropriate love can be shown.

On Tuesday we are taking a day trip as a family to Houston to attend the funeral for little Patricia Joy. My prayers are with Peter and Jennie and Dallin. Loves to family!

Dew Drops

Tonight Truman and I read a book about clouds and thunderstorms. We learned about dew. Truman remembered this picture that I took after the rain on Halloween. The entire water cycle really is interesting. We have no new water on earth… it’s all recycled since the beginning of time. Interesting fact. Anyhoo… Here’s the picture I took when trick-or-treating.

And a spiritual message to accompany it for this Sabbath evening.

“Most frequently, revelation comes in small increments over time and is granted according to our desire, worthiness, and preparation. Such communications from Heavenly Father gradually and gently ‘distil upon [our souls] as the dews from heaven’ (D&C 121:45).” Elder David A. Bednar, “The Spirit of Revelation,” Ensign, May 2011, 88.

I will show unto you a God of miracles

3x4 miracle defined
This week we’ve experienced first-hand the miracles that God performs for our family.
I know there are many mighty miracles that occur daily in our life,
but we don’t always even realize when they are happening.
God is a God of Miracles!

3x4 god of miracles

This week Jimmy, Scotty, and I flew to Dallas for a home-finding trip.
There was one house that both Jimmy and I agreed on, and the rest were so-so agreeable to both of us.
We looked at 14 homes in 2 days.
We came up with a #1 and #2 choice and relooked at those the last day.
Mostly I was amazed that my favorite house was still available.
Homes go quickly in Dallas area. And this one seemed like a gem of a find.
In a great school district. Great community. Swimming pool. Fantastic landscaping by a wooded area.

We made an offer on #1 and they countered. Back and forth. Contract signed.
Now – to sell our current home.
We needed a contract on this house within 21 days… so we could get the financing for the next home.
(because they wouldn’t accept a contract contingent on the sale of our Utah home)
So, yes, we needed a miracle.
We arrived home on Thursday night.
Friday morning I woke up with aches and sickness.
Tried to get things tidied for the upcoming open house but finally had to rest.
Jimmy worked hard all day with kids and home.
This morning. Finally went to urgent care to find out I had a mega UTI. I knew from how it felt that it was headed for my right kidney (yes, this has happened before). I needed to avoid the e.r. and kidney scans, and kidney infection. Spent a few hours doing doctor and prescription.
Went straight to the neighbors to rest while Jimmy and Wendi Condie finished tidying for the open house.
Napped during open house and hoped it would be a success even though I couldn’t put any finishing touches on the house. sigh…

This afternoon after the open house, we received an offer for full-asking price and all they wanted was the washer-dryer and fridge. Okay. November 10 is the close date. And thus the financing and close date for the Texas home will happen November 30 as planned. See what I mean about miracles! Who sells their home after 5 days being listed and 1 open house with no other viewings? Miracle.
Digital Camera

Like bawl your eyes out in disbelief miracle.
Yes, we had prayed so fervently for God to send a family here who needed our home.
We had faith. But it seemed so unbelievable to have really happened.
I know that sometimes, even with our faith and prayers, that the miracle God has in store for us is different than our idea of a miracle. (Like me wanting to be immediately healed from my infection… it will take the miracle of antibiotics to help that along).
In one way or another, we are blessed by miracles and mercies from a loving Heavenly Father who watches over all.
Sometimes the miracle is that we endured our trial/illness. Sometimes the miracle is to be healed. Sometimes the miracle is to be comforted even though things take longer than we anticipate. I’m so grateful that God is a God of miracles!
3x4 miracles

Hold on Thy Way … pt 2

My wee little brain is full of thoughts and thus can’t sleep even at 5 a.m. (and believe me… I am normally NOT an early riser). Jimmy went to play basketball (yes, he’s an early riser!). So, we’ll clear some thoughts about the upcoming week. We are going to try and get our house listed FOR SALE this week. Which means today will be spent shoving everything into the garage so we can semi-stage our home. And then Tuesday and Wednesday will be painting. Some gals in the ward offered to help paint. What dear friends they are!

The theme for the week: Hold on Thy Way
3x4 holdy on thy way tree frog
I’m definitely going to need strength beyond my own to stay patient and kind and full of energy.

Happy Monday!

Doctrine of Marriage

Today was my last lesson teaching in Relief Society in my ward. Even though I sometimes think I bore the sisters and they might be tired of my handout… I just love that calling! Once a month… inspiring message to study… sharing testimony. It’s just great!

I was concerned about the controversy out there surrounding the topic of marriage, but Elder Christofferson’s message was so full of doctrine and truth, there wasn’t anywhere for the lesson to go off on zany tangents. It was some rock-solid doctrine that helped me identify some ways to communicate about my belief about marriage being of God… and not just about love.

This was my favorite quote from the message, “Why marriage, why family?” by Elder Christofferson:
marriage love from god

God has a plan for each of us.
He strengthens us as we strive to keep his commandments.
I love doctrine described simply for my wee tired brain.

Sorta hard to bear testimony and say bon-voyage to my ward sisters. I was so brave all week, but my tears did sneak out during those last two minutes. So many good people who have uplifted my family during our nearly 8 years of living here.

Creative Spirit

creativity elder scott
Elder Richard G. Scott passed away this week. What a great soul he is.
I love how much he adored his wife.
I appreciate meeting him at our Stake Conference in Idaho.
I value his wisdom and sincerity.
He seemed to be one who endured to the end.

Three Apostles have died since the last general conference. Big changes in church leadership
We will miss those who have passed on, but I hope that our family will remember these men and their testimonies.

p.s. this quote shared by Elder Scott reflects my feelings on creativity… a huge part of my life. It does bring a zest and enthusiasm for the things I am grateful for in my life.

Always Look for the Blessings

always look for the blessingsLast night I was emailing my mother about our emotional Thursday. It wasn’t tragic. Just dealing with well dr. visits… and a sick visit for Tru (strep!). Emotional meetings at school with teachers regarding bullying. Hard conversations with our 11-year-old son. Worrying about upcoming life changes. Concerns about how those changes affect each member of my family. Realization that dealing with ‘hard’ brings out different conversations, strengths, and weaknesses. There are so many gospel principles to teach that lift us up! They strengthen us in ways that the world never could.

Throughout the email I mentioned the challenges, but every time the realization of blessings came into my mind …
-a nurse who squeezed in the sick visit so we didn’t have to come back later.
-antibiotics obtained so wellness can happen
-some extra patience given to me, as a mother, to deal with 3 littles on those errands
-a friend who brought popsicles for truman
-hannah who watched others kids… went to piano… and then watched our littles so Jimmy and I could go on a sudden dinner-date/important conversation time.
-the littles were fantastic for hannah and she even got them in bed… seriously, a major feat around here. she rocks!
-great teachers who love our children
-good bonding as husband/wife through meaningful conversations

God watches over us. He blesses us in so many ways… especially through the “hard.”

Hold On Thy Way

DownloadsAbstract random thoughts that don’t quite know where to land… like these paintings…

Lately I don’t know how to feel about anything. Sometimes I think I should just numb myself to the hard in life and plow through. But that doesn’t seem very joyful. There are so many decisions to be made and all the options spin around in my brain. I know that though this may be life as it is in mortality, I feel God’s way is more secure.

My friend Julie reminded me recently that to “HOLD ON THY WAY” is better than just ‘hanging in there’. Sounds more solid than my abstract thinking.
3x4 hold on thy way

…This is only half a post… but I wanted to share to remind myself and my family in our family record about these hard decisions made and the perspective that a secure relationship with God provides the foundation we need to ‘hold on our way’.