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!

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