Friday, October 4, 2013

The Thick and the Thin

It's difficult for me to express what is jumping inside me. My love for life has grown exponentially over the past several months. The confusion, depression, worry and fear that often hold me down has gradually been lifted. A combination of deepening faith and strengthened relationships has scooped me up and pushed me forward. As a family we continually struggle financially. Cassidy is in the last semester of school. He is finishing an Associates degree in communications while working part time in an energy analyses company. I work overnight shifts four times a week as a nursing assistant in senior care. In addition to church callings, children, housework, exercise and recovery, we are a busy family. Like most families we are just trying to make it through the day. Stress can easily become so overwhelming that I just want is to (and sometimes do) curl up into a little ball and cry. However, I am extremely blessed to have to the knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father. 
"I know my Father lives and loves me to. The spirit whispers this to me and tells me it is true." 

I am continually humbled by the simple expressions of God's love in my daily life. Recently Sylvia was crying in the middle of the night. I couldn't soothe her. I held her on the couch, exhausted. I knew Saylor was awake too. I worried that she would start crying as well. Instead, I heard her delicate whisper as she prayed. She prayed for our family. She prayed for her baby sister. In her simple language she poured out her heart to her Heavenly Father to bless us. It was a tender moment that I will never forget. When I think my hard work may be in vain, something extraordinary happens.

I was touched by Cassidy's courage this week as he was away on a business trip. By nature my husband is very reserved. He is has a difficult time expressing personal elements of his life. Somehow, the topic of religion arose during the trip. Uncharacteristically, Cassidy shared why the gospel was important to him. He told his boss why he loved the church and why he wants to raise his family by its teachings. The following day, his boss approached him and commended him for his hard-work. He asked if he could really commit to being apart of the business. When Cassidy assured him that he intended on giving it his all he was offered a raise.

I know that the motivation and excitement that fuel me are not my doing. They can't be. When I get really honest with myself I find what needs to be cleared away. I see what isn't making me happy. I find that loving myself is crucial to my happiness and my ability to serve others. I want so badly to be loved and appreciated yet I'm unwilling to offer the same to anyone, including myself. Loving and praising my family, my co-workers, my neighbors, my ward and strangers lights me up. It dusts away my resentments, unrighteous judgments and insecurities. Simply put, "I'm trying to be like Jesus." Everything I need to know I can learn from him. Love, tolerance and forgiveness is everything.

In one of my dark times I opened up to Cassidy. I sobbed at the end of the bed and told him I didn't know if I loved him. I didn't know what love meant. I was afraid that I didn't understand what marriage is. He wisely replied, "who does?" He honestly expressed that he didn't know any of those things either. Since then my heart has been more open then ever before. Cass and I have walked some rough roads in our short marriage, but our life is now sweeter than it ever has been. We don't walk blindly, but rather with the faith that a marriage based on gospel principles and centered on Christ can overcome great challenges.

I'm learning to love myself on a daily basis. By doing this I'm ready to be loved and appreciate the way my husband expresses his feelings. I see more of my husband's successes and fewer of his faults. I'm amazed at his growth and see him as an equal. I admire him for his unique personality. I can forgive more easily. I can communicate more openly. I can be a better wife.

My testimony is growing. I know that Christ's church has been restored. I have no doubt in my mind. The semi-annual General Conference is taking place this weekend and can be found here.
At this meeting the prophet Thomas S. Monson and other leaders of the church will address the world. This is a special opportunity for anyone to learn more about the teachings of our Savior and to be uplifted and inspired. It is something I truly look forward too. I strongly encourage those who want to learn more about the Mormon church to watch.

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