Saturday, November 7, 2015

Some Life Lessons

I want to share some of my journey today. I was born into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, baptized at 8, and as far as anyone knew, lived with a righteous family. I was given the basic tools at church to find my own way and rise above the dysfunction and abuse no one knew about, but I hadn’t really learned how to use those tools and usually felt what I heard each Sunday was useless the moment I left church. We didn’t live the gospel at home other than prayers at meal times. I had started to learn more when I attended Rick’s College (now BYU-I) for a semester, but I got caught up in the fun of having freedom from my dysfunctional family, getting engaged/married and I wasn’t really paying attention to what I was being given/taught. I did the minimum of what was asked of me and no more.

For years I have been sitting on the fence between right and wrong, God & Satan. I have been watching both sides of choice and been too scared to choose one way over the other. I was in a state of confusion and extreme anxiety and depression that was keeping me on that fence, hovering in the grey areas of life, unable to commit. My heart wanted to be closer to God, but my mind was in control and listening to so many differing thoughts and ideas. As a matter of survival, I shut down, became numb to life.

I didn’t use to be stuck in doubt, depression and anxiety though it was a part of my daily life. I went to church every week, attended all my meetings and considered myself active in my faith. I loved the Lord and prayed often, keeping a prayer in my heart all the time. I knew that with hope and the Lord I could get through anything. We prayed as a family, made family dinner time a priority, attended church, fulfilled our callings and other good things, but we weren’t working on progressing on our path and building our gospel foundations through regular scripture study or Family Home Evening.
Nephi explains it well in 2 Nephi 28:21, And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

Without an ever-growing foundation of gospel principles in my life, I was easily led away, little by little without even realizing it. After some traumatic events, my anxiety and depression just continued worsen, even with medication on my side, and I didn’t feel I had any right to ask God for anything. In 2 Nephi 32:8 it says, “…for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray.” Satan knew how to get to me. I battled to live any kind of life, day to day, hour to hour. I was missing out on my life and my family’s lives. I was truly absent even though I was always around. Checking out of life was the only way I could handle being alive and thoughts of suicide were never far from my mind.

Over the past two years I have been slowly working on coming back to living, but my biggest change was earlier this year when I decided to start the BYU-I Pathway program and once again take charge of all areas of my life. I knew I would have a religion class each semester but I never thought it would start to change me so much, in so little time.

I have been learning how to truly study the scriptures each day and through that daily practice, my soul has been touched by God. My eyes are opening to what I needed to always be doing. Nephi speaks very plainly to us about the ways of God and Satan. I am learning how I was led away and how I can get back where I need to be. Now, I am excited each day to see what He has to share with me through the scriptures. I don’t want to be part of those that Nephi describes in 2 Nephi 31:14, But, behold, my beloved brethren, thus came the voice of the Son unto me, saying: After ye have repented of your sins, and witnessed unto the Father that ye are willing to keep my commandments, by the baptism of water, and have received the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost, and can speak with a new tongue, yea, even with the tongue of angels, and after this should deny me, it would have been better for you that ye had not known me. We will be judged at the last day according to what we have been given in this life (3 Nephi 33:15) and I want to do my Father in Heaven proud.

Two of my new favorite scriptures follow.

2 Nephi 28:32, “Wo be unto the Gentiles, saith the Lord God of Hosts! For notwithstanding I shall lengthen out mine arm unto them from day to day, they will deny me; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto them, saith the Lord God, if they will repent and come unto me; for mine arm is lengthened out all the day long, saith the Lord God of Hosts.

2 Nephi 31:20, “Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

These scriptures bring me hope that I can start now, be forgiven, and move forward. My journey today is wading through the grey areas, leaving doubt behind one choice at a time. I have a long journey ahead, but I know that if I persist and shake off Satan’s influences, I can have eternal life. I am praying again, and I pray I can influence my family to join me on this journey. Some of my children are lost in the grey areas of life. I’m sure they were just following me because they didn’t want to be far from me, but it is my prayer I can help them find their way back with me.

If you have read this far, I hope something I have said inspires you to look at your life and see where you might need to work a little harder to keep from being led away from God little by little. Life is hard work, but I have no doubt that with Heavenly guidance, we can enjoy eternal life with those we love.

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