When you don't believe in God anymore, nothing else matters. The flowers don't smell sweet, the sun doesn't shine as brightly, and everything around you is gray. Dead. Everything has thorns and thistles and beauty is lost. And you try so hard to be independent and you tell yourself that you're fine on your own, without contact with the Supernal Being that has given you purpose and direction your whole life. And you try to fill that gaping void with something else, some other passion, but the more you try to fill it, the bigger the void becomes.
And you stop praying. And you tell yourself that you're strong enough on your own. But you're not, because a part of you is missing that is vital to your very existence.
At least that's how it's been for me the last year. I've tried and tried to feel something, anything. And I continued to go through the motions for the sake of my marriage and family, but it all seemed so phony and confusing. Talk about being conflicted.
And then when I had finally made the heart wrenching decision to be done, to take my name off the records of the church, to officially denounce my love of God, He finally heard me. Or maybe it's that he's heard me all along during these last two decades that I have silently struggled to know that He was REALLY there and REALLY loved and knew me. For whatever reason that I don't understand, He was waiting for just the right time to answer and fill me with the knowledge that I had been desperately searching for. I know that none of this makes sense because I am jumping from point C in the story to point W. But change finally took place two months ago and it's been so dramatic that it's been surreal. And far, far too sacred and personal to talk about here.
I absolutely don't have all the answers, but I have ONE answer and that's enough for now. I have a Heavenly Father who knows and loves me. Of all the bajillion quadrillion spirits that have ever lived and who will yet live, He knows ME. He knows that I am sitting at this laptop right now spilling my guts and crying and smiling at the same time as I recall all that my heart has been through. And I think that He's smiling because we can finally have the kind of relationship that we've both wanted all this time.
And that brings me to this weekend. For the last two General Conferences, my heart has been injured and I haven't been receptive to the messages that have been spoken. But I've actually been looking forward to this weekend because I felt like my heart was ready to listen, for the first time in a long time. I've been praying that the spirit would talk to my heart and testify of truths that I've been struggling with. Did I receive all of my answers? No way.
But when Elder Jeffrey Holland gave his beautiful talk today, the tears flowed freely from my eyes as the spirit whispered to me "You're doing okay. You know enough. You know that you have both Heavenly and Earthly Parents who are cheering you on and love you more than you'll ever know. You haven't given up, so keeping pushing. Keep trying. Hang on to that thread that's been tethering you to God this whole time."
This weekend filled me with so much love and hope and my tank feels full. I don't know that I have ever walked away from Conference Weekend feeling this excited about my mission in life- to be a mother and wife and devoted servant to those around me. I think of all the 7 billion people on this planet, and I can't express my love for them in words. They, all of them, are my brothers and sisters.
Because I feel a like new person, I made a huge effort to make Conference significant for our family. I tried to do things that would engaged the kids and hold their interest, including making a huge Conference Center board and personalized Conference packets for each of the kids. I also stocked up on treats and made a huge breakfast on Sunday morning. All together, it was a pretty good viewing with the kids. Cody and the kids were gone for the Saturday morning session (swimming and other errands) but I was able to listen to most of it on the radio as I did housework. Then they came home and after lunch we all gathered in the family room to watch the next session. That evening Cody took Ethan with him to the Priesthood session, and they grabbed burgers and ice cream afterward.
It's been a good two days.
|Devin was by far the biggest distraction. He kept running out of the room, stripping down, then running in and saying "I'm a nekid clown!!" And shake his booty around.|
|My handsome men on their way to Priesthood.|
|Oh so cozy on the couch as we watch.|