Tuesday, February 25, 2014

One More Day

Recently, Haydee, reminded me that we are coming close to the one year anniversary of my confession to her. She asked me if I wanted to do anything special to celebrate the progress and healing that have been found in the past year. My response to her was "No, I don't want to do anything special to celebrate that day." I wanted to take some time to explain some of my reasons for not wanting to celebrate.

First, confessing to my wife and then to our bishop was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I had to bring myself to total humility in order to make a full confession of all I had done and the damage I had caused. This was the day I finally turned to the Lord and said, "I don't want to fight this alone any more. I am too weak to do this on my own. I will do whatever you ask of me, but please help me." The love and strength I received from the Lord that day, and that continue today, are more than I could have ever hoped for. The experience is much too sacred to me to celebrate in any ordinary manner.

Second, I have come to more fully appreciate the power of today. I have come to understand that I can easily fall back into the trap of pornography by dwelling on my past mistakes. At the same time, dwelling on past successes can lull me into a false sense of security. The only way for me to stay in a state of recovery is to focus completely on today. I can look back to remember the darkness and remind myself why I don't want to go back there. I can also look forward with a hope in the future, but my focus and energies must be on today and the things I need to do right now.

Finally, the only way I have been able to make it to the point I am at now, is through the power of the Atonement of Christ. The only thing for me to celebrate is the glory of my Lord and Savior. I have done nothing to merit any honor. I will celebrate the mercy of my Lord for pulling me out of the abyss into which I had cast myself, but I can claim no privilege in the rescue.

So, with that, here's to one more day in the Lord. May it be a day that finds all of us engaged with the Lord in the work of salvation for ourselves and those around us.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Relying on the Lord's Love

I happen to be a terrific, fantastic and wonderful person-- or at least I remind myself that I am-- and that is the image I try to present to the world-- an amazingly accomplished woman.  But really on the inside I feel afraid of others' judgments, afraid of being insignificant, afraid of being wrong and doing wrong, afraid of disappointing others.  Afraid.  I reaffirm to myself that I am "good enough, smart enough, and gosh dang it, people like me!"  But offered criticism, advice or even an opposing opinion, my natural reaction is to do a complete internal self-evaluation and to second guess my judgment or actions.

Through Edmond's addiction recovery, I felt profoundly God's love for him.  I know that God loves Edmond, a wonderful man who has sinned, so why do I doubt His love for me and believe the put-downs I tell myself.  In my meditations I state, "I am a powerful witness of God's intense and enduring love."  Do I remember that His love is for me as well?

Reflecting on this pattern,  I remind myself I am relying on the arm of flesh and not on my Redeemer!  (Even that feels like a slap in the face... Man I have got to be better, do better...)

I have been thinking a lot about what it really means to rely on the Lord.  What does healthy reliance look like; how does one act if one is relying on the Lord.  I loved the suggestions of Edwin Crozier in his sermon 5 Ways to Rely on God's Strength to Beat your Giants.  The idea that resonated with me was to walk in God's presence, by inviting the Lord to walk beside you each day.  Talking to the Lord about all that you are doing and how you feel about it.  The constant prayer in your heart to keep His presence in your memory.  He says,

Talk with Him while you go through your day. Share what you are about to do. Ask Him to help with the decisions you are about to make. Follow-up with thanks for blessings that occur. If you fall, talk to Him about why it happened. This helps because it’s hard to gossip about your co-worker if you begin by asking God if He thinks it’s okay. It’s hard to look down a woman’s flapping shirt if you first run it by God to see what He thinks about it.

I would add as a reminder to myself, talk to Him about why He loves you.  Talk to him about why you feel down about yourself.  Talk to him about your plans, your diet, your choices, your failures (cooking and otherwise) and ask him to reassure you of his love.  God's love, charity, never faileth.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Trust in the Lord

One thing I struggle with is allowing others to help me. I am naturally a person who likes to do things myself. This trait was reinforced as I was growing up because I never really had anyone I could turn to for help when I needed it. My family was constantly moving. We were never in one place long enough to develop any kind of relationship with teachers or church leaders. I never even felt like I could go to my parents for help.

One of the tragic consequences of this mindset is that I also never learned to turn to the Lord for help when I needed it. I always felt like I had to do everything on my own.

As part of my recovery, I am trying to learn how to rely more on the Lord (I say trying because I'm not sure it's fully sinking in yet). I have had this on my mind over the past few days. As I have been thinking about it, a couple of scriptures have come to mind.

The first is the response of the people of King Benjamin to his teachings:
And they all cried with one voice, saying: Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually. (Mosiah 5:2)
 The people of King Benjamin did not change their hearts. It was the Spirit of the Lord which did the changing. The people had to allow the Holy Ghost to work in their hearts for this change to take place. They could not do it for themselves.

The second scripture that has come to mind is the account of Christ in Gethsemane as recorded by Luke:
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
 42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
 43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:41-43)
Even Christ needed a little extra strength and encouragement. If He could not do it completely on His own, what makes me think that I can do anything on my own.

The reality is that I can't do it on my own. I need the strength of my Lord and Savior. He is the one I must put my trust in. I cannot trust in myself.