Thursday, November 19, 2015

Daily Scriptures Giving Me Daily Lessons

Obviously I didn't post a whole lot about it, but I have been doing better with my daily spiritual check-ins. I decided in the rush of my world right now, checking in with my Lord is the best way for me to fit that spirituality into my every day. So whenever I think of it and make the time (usually sometime in the morning after my older kids are at school) I read the Book of Mormon and continue my study. Once a week I've started into the "ponderize" challenge and hang a new scripture on the wall, which is selected at random, actually. I turn to a random page in my triple combination and read the page and choose a scripture. If I happen to randomly turn to the Topical Guide or some kind of reference page, I randomly place a finger somewhere and look up that reference. Doing this, I have been surprised at how much I see God's hand in the selections. I have been guided to the same page more than once and realized that another scripture on that page was what I should have selected in the first place. And I have been guided to a scripture along the same lessons of what I had been gaining from my scripture study. I love how God's hand is in everything when I'm trying my best to follow Him.

I've been gaining more self-acceptance lately through different things I have been doing. I'm dressing better, feeling better, and it's awesome. I'm embracing my strengths and letting myself feel what I feel and that's awesome too. But I've been struggling especially with media addiction lately. I cannot stay off Facebook and it's really started to bug me. I challenge myself to stay away and still have found myself there again. I haven't had the app on my phone forever, but I still go the long route to look it up on my internet app. It's better than what it could be, but I know I am not being present for my kids. But over the last couple weeks, in which I have been getting my ponderize scriptures about not laboring for things without worth and avoiding idleness, I've gotten more busy and that's helped me.

In 2 Nephi it describes the Nephites as being taught to work with their hands and value the joys of hard work and productivity. It contrasts with describing the Lamanites and an idle and lazy people. Then it says that the Nephites lived after the manner of happiness. It struck me that the manner of happiness in life is finding joy in hard work. I felt like the message was for me and that I need to really get off my duff in serving my family and doing things for my husband and stuff and then I will find the most happiness and joy. It's true to my nature to find joy in being busy with good things. I get depressed with I'm stuck in the rut of laziness.

Scripture study seriously helps me and I feel a big difference when I'm working to include that in my daily routine. But sometimes I miss out on that. But I don't get down about it. I'm getting it in more often than not and that's a good thing. I'll just keep trying my best to do what I can.

The other thing I'm doing to avoid idleness is going back to school in January. PHEW! Big step, but I feel right about seeking those last few steps to my degree and see where life takes me after that. Talk about getting more productive! Should be interesting but I'm determined.

On another note, my husband had been doing well but lost his recovery journal and then when I went out of town he had the biggest slip in a long time. I feel nothing but love and sorrow for him now and I'm so glad I can separate my happiness from his challenges. I truly know he can pull up from this one because I know he can.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Breaking Summer Break


This may be an odd time for new beginnings, but summer ending is a new beginning for me.

I think I took summer break literally. My last post was in April! Well, it's been busy. Lots of summer trips and family reunions, but I decided I better post something today and try to get back into a better habit of thinking of the Lord more.

After having a baby, and as I am nursing, I have fallen off the wagon with my media addiction. Facebook has seemed to take over a lot of my time lately because when I sit down to nurse it's idle time that has become filled with waste. Well, now at the end of the summer with school starting it's time to break my summer break habits and renew my goals.

For a while I did well reading scriptures during my idle time. If you can believe it, I managed to read the Book of Mormon in the time it was translated, responding to this challenge I saw around General Conference in April. It was a different experience to just read it straight through without stopping. It felt like reading a story and I followed the characters and happenings a lot better than I ever have before. It was easier to pick up on the history of the book and identify the places where Mormon cuts in to paraphrase or make a statement before going on. In my mind's eye I was able to watch events as he described them, and then visualize him writing at the places where he broke in. It was a different way of viewing the book than I ever have.

But I haven't been reading much since I finished in June. I need to come up with another studying technique to get me involved in the book again in another new way.

Over the month of July, I was too incredibly busy either traveling or getting ready to travel or recovering from traveling. It was a busy month! But I am happy to report my progress in my own self gratification addiction is going well and I haven't slipped since my last report on slipping. Which means it's been almost another year. Yes, shy a month or so. But it's been about two years since I began my recovery for that addiction in particular and I'm doing so much better! I feel freed from it, which is a beautiful thing. My husband has been having many slips lately, though, and we haven't been able to figure it out. What's strange for him is that it always seems to just catch him off guard. He's removed features on his phone again to safeguard things. I'm just hoping he can get on top of things again.

My media addiction has evolved from something where I was completely absorbed, into simply a waste of time and a laziness trap. So I am not sure if it's the same kind of addiction as before. I'm not completely losing myself in movies or fantasies as I did before, getting a high as I've called it. To me, it was a high because I would have crashes after coming out of my fantasies and I would want to re-enter another fantasy as a way to escape life. That was very unhealthy and I'm glad I have come out of that. I've missed it a little, however. Movies don't hold me in the way they used to. I have to remind myself that this is a good thing.

Now I think it's more a case of laziness and waste of time. I remember hearing Elder Scott say something about that in one of his conference talks because it struck me so much hearing him say those words. His voice echoes in my mind about a waste of time.

Here's to new beginnings at the end of the summer!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Days After a Slip

You know the scene: My husband was moody and I was wondered what was wrong.  It was a slip. I'm in a good place of honesty with my husband. I know not everyone has that, but I also know with recovery efforts on both sides it can happen.

The familiar scene with dishonesty is pain and hurt because of secrecy. Arfter discovery it's more pain and hurt because of the lack of trust and the objectification felt when a spouse takes the addicted's behavior personally (which is understandable! But not helpful.). When honesty is present, that familiar scene before recovery is often tearful, still filled with pain because of helplessness and mistrust. It drives a wedge between the spouses felt by both sides.

Recovery has been a growth process for us but I feel a big difference in the scenario.

This time when he told me he slipped I felt no personal pain. Instead I felt compassion for him because I knew he was feeling guilty and dirty and experiencing backlash and after pains, being haunted by fresh memories and fighting the craving to refresh those memories. I felt pain FOR him.

I was also a bit angry at Satan using the internet once again as his tool of destruction. My anger was aimed at the correct place. Instead of at my husband, a good man struggling, I was maddened by the source of all pain and sin, the devil and His temptations.

I held my husband a while, telling him I was sorry for what he was going through. Then I felt the Lord guide me with His love to use the right words.

I reminded him not to give up. He'd already fallen two days in a row before telling me, and that told me he was losing faith. I reminded him that he is better than that, and not to give up. I also reminded him that the next couple days would be harder, maybe even the next couple weeks. Temptations are worse when the memories are fresh. The brain goes through stronger withdrawals as the images in the memory begin to fade. When images are fresh, the brain begins to hunger for more but the longer you abstain, the weaker the cravings and the stronger your spiritual strength.

Then you watch out for triggers. He had slipped because of a trigger. I hope he can turn to me when he is triggered so I can be more helpful.

It felt so good to have a moment of complete and loving support for each other without the pain. This is being brought together instead of torn apart! Satan will not succeed in tearing us apart through his evil ways. I'm remaining by the side of this good man and we will make it together.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jesus Knows

Sorry about the break. I was out of commission a while with a new baby.

Having a new baby made me realize how much hormones play into our lives as women and this effects recovery.  It also doesn't help that so much of the day is taken by sitting there doing nothing while the baby is eating. So I found myself turning to media a lot more and got caught up again in my media addiction, be it movies or Facebook.  I got really down and lazy. I don't how much of that was from my media addiction and how much was just from sleep deprivation or post-partum depression, though. Because all of those are factors right now.

I've had days when I feel like crying all day for no reason.
I've had days when I've escaped into the oblivion of other worlds through a tv screen (or my kindle).
I've had days when I feel productive because I get some laundry done, but then left the kitchen a mess.
I've made dinner one day (which is saying a lot because my husband is the usual cook).

But the thing that I've learned is that I'm not alone, and that I am cared about, and that the Lord knows.

One particular day I was feeling worse then usual. I went to the park with my neighbor and we had a good conversation about testimonies and how there are things we may not ever understand but that is ok.  Then after she left, I had a call from another friend in my ward randomly offering to bring me dinner. Then a phone call from the Relief Society presidency asking if they could come visit me in a couple days.

And that visit in a couple days came on another day when I was more tearful then usual.

But something one of them said resonated with me.  We were talking about how I feel so emotional all the time and how I've had some scary moments because of it. I'm just not myself.

One of them then told me that although she didn't know exactly how I felt she knew that Jesus did.

I knew Jesus suffered all the pains of the world, and suffered for my sins as well as all my heart-aches. But somehow it has always escaped me that Jesus also completely and perfectly understands the pains of being female and going through things like childbirth, miscarriage, and post-partum. He knows how I feel when my hormones are crazy and I'm frazzled. He knows how I feel when I'm up at 2 am with my eyes crossing involuntarily as I feed my baby.

Jesus knows.

That was huge for me. I've been feeling so alone. But I think many of the ladies in my neighborhood feel the same way. In almost every home on my street and the street next to it, there is a woman with small children trying her best to keep things going and feeling so alone.

In my house right at this moment as I am typing at my computer desk, a binkie and a stack of books are next to my keyboard, a large pile of unfolded clean children's clothing on the couch next to me (at least it's clean), scattered burp rags, children's books, and little-boy shoes on the floor, a swaddled baby in a swinging infant seat, and two little boys shouting "no" to each other....and Jesus knows what this is like.
And I imagine many other women in the same or similar position, He knows about them too. He doesn't just know about them, though. He knows how it is to be them.  He knows what it feels like to be where I am right now.

And I imagine He'd be telling me it's ok.

It's ok for me to cry for no reason right now. My body is tired. It's ok to leave the laundry for an extra hour so I can write on my blog. It's ok.  But the best thing for me to do, the thing that will help me most to feel better, is not another episode of Downton Abbey or American Idol or the Bachelor, or a random movie that looks good on Amazon Prime. It's Him.

All I need to do is take a time-out for Him in my day and I will have the extra push I need to get through the day and maybe not feel like crying so much.

Because unlike Lady Mary or Chris the Farmer, He knows. And He can take it away.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Step 4 Truth

I did it. I worked step 4! I know it took me long enough. This time I just wrote in my journal about what I learned from mistakes made more recently because I already worked step 4 for things further back. However acknowledging it also made me realize I haven't escaped some of the character weaknesses associated with my past yet. Maybe I never will but understanding the truth is that first step.

The reason I chose the quote above for this post is because I have noticed something about myself after really working step 4 and 5 in the past. Once the truth is acknowledged and denial is crushed, we are able to break free from the bondage of the lies. I used to live in the past because it haunted me. I'd be awake at night going over events over and over in my mind trying to figure out what I should have, could have, or would have done differently. I knew it was pointless but my mind wouldn't rest on these subjects and people. Until I wrote an inventory and did what I could to see my own weaknesses and faults, and apologize for these events. I finally let the past go, and you know what happened? I sleep better, no longer haunted by the "should haves" because they no longer weigh on me. I've let them go.

Working step 4 has given me the ability to move forward in my life and focus on now and a brighter future instead of constantly living in the that page.

Step 4 might seem hard when you are coming upon it, but it's because the truth is hard. The truth hurts. Lies are easy because they cover up the pain like a bandaid. But the lies also enslave you and bind you down.

The savior said in Luke 12:51 that people assume He came to the world to speak peace and comfort to everyone. But then he says Nay! He brings division. It's because he speaks true doctrine, and the truth can be hard. But it's the only way to escape the enslavement of the lies we tell ourselves.

The truth sets me free. The Lord shows us the truth about ourselves so we can be humbled, and then made stronger through Him. What's rather ironic is that the lies which weaken us also make us full of pride in our weakness. Letting go of that pride may be painful, but when we face the truth and humble ourselves, it allows us to become better, improve ourselves, and grow closer to the Lord.

At a recent stake relief society conference, I was told that judgement day is not going to be a measurement balancing all our good deeds against all the bad deeds in our lives. Instead, it will be the measurement of our character THAT DAY. Whatever we did in the past during our lives impacted the person we became at that moment. We well be judged by the person we became through the experiences we had, whether bad or good. So what is important is not dwelling on our deeds, but improving our character every day and making progress every day.

D&C 123:17 "Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed."