What I Believe: I Can Do Hard Things....Including Forgive-Part 3

I can't tell you how many sleepless nights have been spent before the Lord over the past 2 years....let alone the past 2 weeks.

I understand better now what it means to wrestle with God.

Was I better at the end of week one in this focus than at the beginning?
Yes.  Thank you for your remarkable comments, experiences, suggestions, common feelings & friendships.

Am I better at the end of week two in this focus than at the end of week one?
Yes.  My greatest thanks be our Heavenly Father.  And then, of course, again to you all for your examples & strengths.

I'm still reading through The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell.  Have continued to re-read, study out, & pray over President Monson's talk School Thy Feelings, Oh My Brother.  (Thanks again, Kim!  Gems...both her & her suggestions.)

In regards to President Monson's talk, I even took it to church to re-read during the quiet of Sacrament one Sunday.  What was awesome was the fact it was our High Council Sunday, and we had two phenomenal speakers.  Their topic assignment from the Stake President?  ANGER.  Many times it can be heard "today's talks were given specifically for me."  And you'll hear it again right here & right now.  They, word for word, were meant for my ears & my brain.  

One of the talks used President Monson's talk I had a copy of in my hands!  Seriously, not only does the Master Physician answer prayers, but He doesn't do it in a vague, generic fashion.  He knows us so well, that he can give us the exact prescription we need.  And not the RX to treat our symptoms, but to fully heal us if we follow His recommendations to the letter.

What was also great about that Sunday, is that I felt I needed to speak to my bishop about what I've been trying to sort out.  With all that's poured down out of Heaven lately to assist me in stepping forward in extending forgiveness, I would be ungrateful and all that's been given would've been in vain if I didn't talk with him.  

So, that afternoon he & I talked about what's been in my heart & mind.  We discussed the talk & the book Kim suggested.  He highly approved of both them & my decision to work through them & apply them in my life.  He also shared some fabulous advice, an old saying "Bitterness is the poison we drink in the attempt to hurt others."  He reminded me that when we fail to forgive we ultimately harm ourselves, and the person we're angry at is unaffected.  True wisdom.  I've seen it.  I've lived it for the past 2+ years. 

He shared another of his favorite sayings, "The church is a hospital for sinners, not a sanctuary for saints."  I know, Wow, right?!   

He shared with me, Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my gracehumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I'll admit, since following the promptings of the Spirit the past few weeks & turning my weakness over to the Lord, I AM feeling stronger.  Is it possible to feel a humble strength begin to grow?  Does it make it no longer humble if I mention it?  I don't know how else to describe it.  It's definitely not me.  It is all Him doing this...it's Him causing my change of heart.

And it truly is a change of heart.

Late the other night, while driving home from Grand Coulee Dam, I had another epiphany.  This family member, because of choices made, has lost half their friends over it all.  The remaining half aren't great influences/examples.  I bet this person is feeling SO LONELY!  I know how lonely feels.  In my heart I heard, "Be their friend."  This felt right, but alarmed me at the same time.

I discussed this impression with Mr LKP, and he shrugged & said he figured that was right.  I'm sure the part that was alarmed was the tiny slice of me still clutching to a grudge.  So when I met with my bishop & told him also about the impression, I felt more at ease.  My question was that if I were to be this person's friend did that mean I was condoning their poor decisions?  He confirmed what I'd been suspecting with a confident 'no.'  A friend is exactly what this person needs.

Epiphany received loud & clear!

He also reminded me that I was the least of this other person's worries whether I forgave them or not.  I wasn't even probably on their radar.  But, being their friend would make a huge difference.  And not that they'd care if I'd been angry or not, but that I, by example, could make a difference in future choices perhaps.

In addition to the awesome epiphany, Sacrament talks & the visit with my bishop, you must know that the cherry on top of this for me is the Visiting Teaching program.  Especially my new Visiting Teacher!  

Haven't had one in well over at least 6-8 months until now!

Growing up, her kids & her niece were some of my favorite friends.  I always adored her & her family.  She is the kind of mom I wanted to become when I grew up.  As an adult I've also looked to her example of magnifying her callings, even as a wife.  I'm sure you all have a woman like that in your life somewhere.  Well, my Visiting Teacher is the one for me.  

Anyhow, while she & I sat here (poor her in my cluttered and still not 100% unpacked house), we were discussing some things regarding my family.  I did not go into all the details of what's been troubling me.  Matter of fact, we were discussing some totally different aspects of my family.  However what she shared regarding forgiveness struck me.  Tender remarks.  I'll always cherish them...not sure I'm ready to share them here.  (Please understand.)

To punctuate her thoughts on forgiveness, she directed me to listen to a certain conversation on the Mormon Channel at lds.org, as well as a particular Mormon Message (which can also be found on the Mormon Message Channel on youtube.)  

So here you go, based on a wise recommendation by one of the most inspired women in my life.  (Grab a tissue-or twelve-and your journal...you'll want to record your thoughts afterward, I promise!)

If these men can rise from such tragedies with forgiveness, love & acceptance in their hearts...then I know I can get there as well.  Our circumstances may not be as drastic as the losses faced by these gentlemen...but the love of Christ & the transcendent power of the Atonement is the same.  I must be as Brother Williams and be that vessel.  I must be that satellite, through which the Savior's love, power, & light is broadcast to others.

Through Christ I can do hard things...even forgive.

(Both Images by Greg Olsen)


Kim said...

Oh my dear friend.

Forgivness is such an amazing feeling. Still to this day, I find that some days are much easier than others. The triggers will come that can send you spiraling downward quicker than you can even catch yourself. But then the sweet rewards of the atonement can lift you higher and make you feel lighter than you can ever imagine.

The comment I left last week has been my epiphany that I have needed. As much as I have been able to assist you in your process of forgiveness, you have been able to be the one that has helped me! I am so grateful to you, for your beautifully written words that have aided me in something I have never thought of before. My epiphany is: I love my dad. He has hurt me emotionally and I have been angry! This anger is a way that I could still have my dad as a part of life even when he doesn't want to be. I have also seen how the anger, mistrust, and feelings have effected every one of my relationships. Sad to say, but all the envy, jealousy, hurt has somehow taken over in almost all the aspects of my life. I need to forgive. And if I let go of this anger then I let go of my dad. Weird I know! I am also letting go of his faults, weaknesses, the way he shows love, and if I do that and forgive him then I feel I am giving up.

BOY WAS I WRONG!! As I forgive, it frees up all the contention, hurt, anger and maybe we can both start healing. I don't know if it makes any sense to you, but for me this is my answer and it has been through you that I have been taught.

Thank you for sharing a part of you, with me and the rest of the blogging world. It is wonderful how others are able to connect and find the answers they need from strangers who become friends.

annie valentine said...

Girl, I have so been there and will continue to be there during this entire episode we call life. I've been made aware lately of the fact that forgiveness is a really long, sticky process, and that doesn't make me a bad person. It comes in waves and trickles, and I've been known to back peddle my forgiveness more than once, but boy, it sure brings peace when I can just give it to Jesus.

Spread Your Love For the Gusty Ridge Ranch


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