Category Archives: Overcome

Begin Again

Again, the spirit has called and called me here to write and to share. Again and again I allowed myself to get caught up in things that distracted me. Now, here I am with a six-month-old baby wishing I had been recording my spiritual insights and experiences here all along and kicking myself for not doing this day after day.

Today I begin again. Because the day I walked into Niki Mantyla’s class nearly three years ago and the day she announced that our final for the class would be a blog discussing something that changed our lives (the very blog you are reading) I knew this was the message Heavenly Father wanted me to share. The joy I had in my heart would grow and grow each time I did.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments. I will do all I can to give my readers something useful, something good, something beneficial to think on and learn from.

I promise not to be like Chemish and Amaron. I will not blow my chance to bless a life and say nothing of value or be arrogant in my comments.

Today I want to begin by sharing the thought I had while listening to Mormon Channel Talk Radio. Yes, this is a thing I do several days a week if I ever know I am going to be home for a while and have no place to go or nothing pressing that day. I listen when I need a little spiritual upliftment. I listen when my scripture study was cut short by things like feeding the baby or changing the baby or playing with the baby. You catch my drift. At any rate, I highly recommend that anyone try listening. Each day is filled with conference talks, Mormon Messages, programs produced by the church and the Mormon Channel. The content is fabulous and trust me you will thank yourself for listening.

I love how the spirit can make any talk, any scripture, any discussion relevant and so very personal to each of us if we are seeking to receive it. Today I had the restoration on my mind since this is the theme for April in Young Women’s. I received several thoughts and direction due to segments today. I was excited and grateful to look further into the promptings I received. Then later as I was putting the baby to sleep, I overheard a piece of a BYU speech from Elder Holland that gave me much to reflect on. The quote, “When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.” 

This quote was especially powerful today because I have a dearly loved sister who is going through an excruciating experience and I have had a hard time finding the words to express comfort to her. Last night, I found myself on the phone with her explaining how I will sometimes look for others are in much worse situations than I am to help me find the good in difficult times. When I was going through my divorce, I would read holocaust novels. When we spent ten days with Chloe in the NICU I would think of parents who were not able to hold or take their babies home from the hospital. Last night it was a tale of a friend who endured something similar but without the support and companionship of a loving husband.

“When suffering, we may in fact be nearer to God than we’ve ever been in our entire lives. That knowledge can turn every such situation into a would-be temple.”

As I was listening to Elder Holland’s speech today, it hit me that maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ, who suffered more than any other human ever has or ever will. He suffered so that we would not have to, and when we give our pain, disappointment, discouragement, suffering and doubts over to him, we will learn as Elder Holland says, “every experience can become a redemptive experience if we remain bonded to our Father in Heaven through it.

. . . maybe the reason we do this is that as we look for examples of suffering greater than ours, we will ultimately be lead to the perfect example who is Jesus Christ . . .

These difficult lessons teach us that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity, and if we will be humble and faithful, if we will be believing and not curse God for our problems, He can turn the unfair and inhumane and debilitating prisons of our lives into temples—or at least into a circumstance that can bring comfort and revelation, divine companionship and peace.”

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith even said that perhaps such sufferings have to happen—not only can they happen, perhaps they have to. Regarding the events that took place at Liberty Jail, he said:

“As I have read the history of those days, the days that went before and days that came after, I have reached the conclusion that the hardships, the persecution, the almost universal opposition [toward the Church at that time] were necessary. At any rate they became school teachers to our people. They helped to make [them] strong.

I testify that this is true. I know that the challenging times we have in this life are all there to give us experience. Everything that we survive becomes our teacher, helping us to help others, to have empathy and compassion and a deeper understanding. It is my prayer that I will be able share this hopeful message with any of you who may be suffering. I urge you to listen to the words of Elder Holland, yes all 45 minutes of it, and I promise you will be uplifted and edified. Christ will carry you through your most difficult times if you reach up, he will take your hand. I know this to be true and I leave this testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Image result for reach up christ

Hell Hath No Fury

People are always telling me, “I can’t imagine you being angry.” That is unless they are the few who have had the rare and unfortunate opportunity to be on the receiving end. Then they might say, “Don’t make her angry!”  You know the saying, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?” Well it applies to this woman too.

When I get angry—I mean truly angry—a side of me comes out that doesn’t feel like me.I begin to shake uncontrollably, which frankly really frightens me. I start to think, “I’m shaking! What is going on?!” Once fear is brought into the equation, my rational brain completely de-rails and I begin to fight for control of myself and the situation. My voice gets louder and louder, and at times I even have the impulse to place physical harm on someone. Again, this scares me. Before I know it, hurtful words are tossed like daggers at the person on the receiving end. In the end, my heart just aches.  It’s as if I have given the adversary unhindered reign of my body, mind and spirit.

In Third Nephi we read, “He that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil” (3 Ne. 11:29). Thus, giving in to contention and  anger is actually yielding to Satan’s influence by surrendering our self-control. It’s no wonder that Jesus taught us to “love one another” for many, many reasons, not the least of which is that it prevents Satan’s influence from sneaking in and taking control.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/6ca/73633468/files/2014/12/img_9937.jpgI recently had a confrontation with someone I love dearly. This unfortunate person on the receiving-end of my anger said to me, “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person, your behavior does.” This hit hard because I knew I had failed at something I truly hope to overcome. My heart was broken. I wept because of how disappointed I was with myself and my behavior.

BYU Magazine wrote a great article titled “Subduing the Spirit of Contention” which discusses ways to deal with anger. The article talks about the fact that Heavenly Father “has a body, parts, and passions and [he] has learned to govern them perfectly.” I love the fact that we are here on this earth to try and do precisely that, and that none of us are perfect, but we can continually work on ourselves and rely on the Lord for help.

After the latest large bout I had with my anger, I pleaded with my Heavenly Father to help me to control it next time those same buttons are pushed.  I know that He has helped me with so many other short-comings, and I know that He will help me with this one. I testify that if you go to the Lord with a sincere heart and real intent, he will help you with whatever it is that you are struggling with, whether it be an addiction, a bad habit, a big decision in your life, or a tendency to go haywire when your buttons are pushed. I will leave this quote from the BYU Magazine article summing up the power that we all have access to, “By feasting upon the Lord’s word, earnestly praying, and doing our all to control our emotions, we can surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ instead of giving in to our anger impulses.”

I do not think that my beliefs make me a better person, but I do believe we all can become better people through the true desires of our hearts, and with faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I pray that we may all work to overcome the spirit of contention in our hearts, in our minds and in our homes.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.


Sources:

Duncan, Steven F. “Subduing the Spirit of Contention.” BYU Magazine 1 Jan. 1985. Print.

Progress is Made!

Nine days ago I was having such intense coffee withdrawals I decided to get on this blog to write all about it. At the time I was obsessing, whining, yearning for a cup which I have decided is completely off limits; I was about to chew my hand off wishing I could have a cup. After I wrote that post, I made up my mind that I was going to stop even drinking the substitutions because they were only making me crave what I didn’t have.

But something has changed. I’m not even sure when or how, I just know that I don’t crave coffee anymore. It’s like it vanished “poof!” into thin air. I was reading over what I wrote just over a week ago and not even recollecting my first cup of coffee made me want any. In fact, I kind of thought what I was saying was silly. Wow. The Lord truly does bless us and work for us in the most amazing ways.

Saying “Goodbye” to an Old Friend

Can I vent for a minute?

Part of this transition which has been the most challenging so far has been giving up coffee. To illustrate how difficult it has been, I would like to compare it to quitting smoking. Honestly quitting cigarettes was so much easier! Maybe it was all the unappealing repercussions that came with smoking (this list could go on for days). When I was smoking my chest would hurt, I got a surging sting through my left breast which the doctors never could figure out, there was the nasty smell, the bad breath, having to stand out in the cold to “enjoy” my vice (I HATE being cold!), wheezing, coughing, and other unpleasantness. Take with that the risk of heart disease, cancer, and did I mention the stroke I had back in ’08? All of these things make cigarettes an easy friend to say “good riddance” to.

Without fail it was always the first two weeks that were the most challenging; once I was over that initial hump it was much easier to go without a cigarette from there. I still crave cigarettes from time to time, but it’s a small, fleeting thought that goes in and out of my brain like a breeze; a breeze which I have come to accept will always come and go.

Coffee however, is a whole ‘nother story.

Coffee is warm, comforting, and delicious. Coffee is a ritual. Coffee is a culture in and of itself. Coffee has been a staple in my life since I was a teenager. I will never forget watching Katie (my highschool boyfriend’s mother) as she prepared her morning brew. She kept her package of Major Dickason’s blend in the freezer (she had it shipped specially from California each month). I was fascinated by the her process of measuring, grinding, boiling and slowly brewing the morning beverage through her Mellita on the stove. And the sheer strength of Katie’s coffee. Whew! It would strip the paint off of a fender. Even now I sometimes wish I could go back and just taste it again for the first time.

Aaah coffee. How I love just the smell. From that faint whiff that draws me down the aisle in the grocery store, to the pungent smell from a single pound of Fresh Moab Coffee that would envelop my car for the entire drive from Moab, to even that weird burnt toast smell that is emitted from the Millcreek and Salt Lake Coffee Roasting Companies, I love every smell associated with coffee.

And the colors! The dark, cola-esque, blackish browns seen through a clear plastic cup filled with ice; the white heavy cream splash into the cup like a cloud burst, mixing and contorting until resting at a perfectly rich, creamy tan.

Coffee-Cream

Finally the thing I miss most of all: the taste. Oh to have the bitterness of a black cup pass my lips again! To taste a cool iced americano with cream and just a hint of coconut. To sip on a cup of FMC with thick, delicious, full-fat whipping cream. Aaaah… Those moments were what a cup of coffee was all about.

However… once the coffee left my lips and started making its way to my belly was always where the appeal would end. I do not like what effects it had on my body: dehydration, jitters that made it impossible for me to focus on anything until they subsided, the feeling that my stomach was eating itself, loose bowels (tmi?) insomnia, and ultimately the CRASH. Those are the things I don’t miss, and those are the things I have to remember that I don’t want or need in my life.

“On the down side are coffee’s well-documented side effects: anxiety, insomnia, tremor and irregular heartbeat. It can also irritate the digestive system, bladder and prostate.” -Dr. Weil

All very good reasons to switch to hot water and lemon. In fact, the internet is full of information about the harmful effects of coffee. I know for me the first thing quitting brought me was reduced stress levels. I also noticed that when I would practice Bikram (which I also teach) I don’t need as much water. I was always guilty of chugging 40 oz. while I was in class, now I can get away with 15-20. I also sleep much better. I also don’t have to worry about that rogue cup that would once in a while really throw me for a jittery loop where I would have to slow down and just focus on my breath until it subsided.

overdose

I truly never have gone very long without a cup of coffee—maybe a few days. Coming up next week it will be two months since my last cup. I remember how I felt immediately after drinking my last cup of coffee. It had been about a week, so I was already re-sensitized to the effects, and I got so shaky I felt like I was vibrating. I had to chug water and do nothing until it went away. As a reward for myself, I got a teeth whitening kit from the dentist that I have been using, and I can see the stains on my teeth each day. These memories are what give me the knowledge and the faith that it is best for me to give it up. I know it is totally worth it. I just miss it a little.