Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Picking Up the Pieces of a Dream



I don't usually fill my blog with that much fluff.  So, when you see that I am blogging about the Post Office's best kept secrets, you've got to know that I'm avoiding writing about the real topic that is occupying my heart.


Sunday was extremely emotional for me.  I was really close to the spirit, and I learned a lot, yet every truth that was spoken made me ache just a little bit too. 


You see, I was grieving for my dear friend--a beautiful, amazing girl--who had reached out to me the night before to let me know that she was going through a trial that was--through no fault of her own--going to result in the ending of her temple marriage.


Oh, how I love this friend of mine.  She is intelligent and creative, as fashionable as she is compassionate.  She is witty, quick with a laugh, and so much fun to spend time with.  She is strong, like a woman should be.  She is confident.  She is faithful.  She is kind.  She's got that thing, you know, that women have--a vibrancy--and you can just tell by the way that she carries herself that she believes in her abilities and that she is happy on the inside.  It's a happiness that can't be tampered with or shouldn't be anyway.  She's also got youth on her side.


This should give you just a touch more insight into the kind of person she is:  in her professional career she has had a hand in the interior design for the newly-built temples!   She's a really good girl, and brilliant in so many ways.  I could go on and on.


So, you can see why it is just tearing me up inside to think that anyone could ever do wrong to this wonderful person.  That anyone would ever try to crush her spirit by exercising unrighteous dominion, by being unfaithful to their marital vows, by making light of her efforts to forgive and save the relationship, and by making a mockery of sacred things.


The whole thing makes me teeter between anger/disbelief and deep, deep woe.  You see, this is the second such story I've witnessed happening to a good friend of mine in the past year.  (And surely there are a million more just like it.)


My other sweet friend is just as spectacular as the first friend I have just described, only in addition to being a good, kind, and faithful wife, she is also an excellent mother.  She's not Mormon, but she cares just as deeply about the marriage covenant as we do, and has proven this by spending a good year and a half (at least) bending over backward to mend the wreckage that was again brought about by the unfaithful acts of her spouse.  (Incidentally, neither one of these women have ever said a derogatory word about their spouses in my presence, but, instead, they have expressed such charity toward their weaker half.)  


So back to my emotional teetering.  I am angry and disgusted, but I'm not quite sure who to be angry with.  The husbands (in this case) for making such hideously selfish choices and being lead completely astray?  Or Satan for waging such a merciless war on ALL FAMILIES of the world today.  If you know me well at all, you probably already know the answer to that question.


Last year, someone called my love of The Family Proclamation my little "gospel hobby".  And in the context of our conversation, her comment was definitely not meant to be a compliment.  My knee-jerk reaction at the time was to refute her criticism of me that seemed deeply hurtful, but which I can now see really came out of her misunderstanding my words and coloring them with biases of her own...which, admittedly, we all have.


But as time has passed, I have come to actually own that "hobby" description.  If someone were to run that line past me today, I'd gladly say, "Dang straight, my friend!"  However, it would be much more accurate to say that I have not one but two gospel hobbies:  The study and application of the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ AND the principles found in The Family:  A Proclamation to the World.  


When understood and applied correctly, these two things--which are found in their fullness only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--can act as a both a sword of truth in one hand and a shield of protection to us and our families in the other.  To any woman (or man) reading this, I say, these are two important weapons that you never want to set down, not for a moment.


I think what was really getting to me on Sunday was the stark realization that this spiritual armor--these beautiful truths--can only be of use to us when we study, understand, believe, and apply them faithfully throughout our lives.  If we dismiss the truths found in the full doctrine of Jesus Christ--which we know includes the Family Proclamation--then we are only robbing ourselves of the peace and happiness and power that comes from living the word of God, words that come to us from both ancient scripture and from living prophets.  Words that apply with great wisdom to EVERY situation and every trial that we will face in our day.


Both of these women, these dear, dear friends of mine, are complete class acts.  I have total confidence in their ability to pick up the pieces of this shattered dream, and with the comfort and strength of the Lord, Jesus Christ, move forward, grow upward, rediscover that girl they knew themselves to be before heartbreak, and be lead to brighter days, and the fulfillment of even happier dreams. 


They will embrace the gospel, because, through it all they never let go of their faith.  They will hold on to The One who has NEVER LET THEM DOWN and who never will let them down.  They will find healing in His touch and shelter under His watchful eye.  They will walk the way that I described once again, with their heads held high...leading the way for their children to follow, because that is what women like them are here on earth to do, walk tall regardless of the choices of others.


This post contains a lot of personal emotions and experiences.  I hope that it does not offend anyone reading it.  Instead, I hope that someone reading this hears and understands the spirit of my words and the truth of them too.  But most importantly, I hope that my friends read this, because I want them to know that I know that they have what it takes, and that the "future is as bright as [their] faith."  


If you are suffering under this or any other kind of disappointment in life...I want YOU to know this as well.  If you have the gospel of Jesus Christ, then you HAVE what it takes.  


(*For the record, my intent is not to knock anyone down, but to build others up...and I sincerely hope those misguided men someday figure out how to "have what it takes" too!)

29 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post! Life is hard sometimes and we need to stay strong, Satan is ready to destroy our families but we need to be stronger than him in our faith.

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  2. Amen. I say that meaning I 100% agree with the testimony you just bore. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this reminder of what really is important. My heart goes out to your friends...It is an uphill battle that they are facing but they absolutely have the Lord on their side. Let them know that they will be in the prayers of women, mothers, and sisters that may not know them but love them just the same. Heavenly Father only gives us trials he knows we can bare-even if in the moment it seems like we can't. I have no doubt that your friends are amazing women that will use these trials to become even better women. Let them know I love them and am praying for them and their families...

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  3. Unfortunately, I have also had many friends go through this in the past few years as well. Although it was not only the men that were unfaithful.
    And I am really enjoying your "hobby!"

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  4. Thanks for the post! Just what I needed this morning. Have a wonderful day!

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  5. well being one of those women who went through this experience you are describing 35 years ago, I can testify to the growth that comes from moving on with your life, holding tight to the iron rod of the gospel, forgiving the offender and making a new dream. This life is full of opposition in all things that's unfortunately how we grow and progress. Since we all our free agency it's not possible to always fix a broken marriage unless both partners work at it. Prayers and faith will get you through to new opportunities. One day it will all be a memory and the growth will be visible that came. Writing and journaling help a lot to express deep feelings and work through the griefing process...

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  6. I completely understand your feelings about this. I've also been a witness to suffering in many dear friend's lives that come from someone's selfish disregard for covenants or simple right choices. If you ever want a partner in your I-HATE-SATAN club, count me in. :)

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  7. Isn't it amazing when the spirit is so strong in our lives?

    On Sunday a woman that works with my boys in primary stood and bore her testimony. She had mentioned that in primary she cries alot and the kids all probably think she is nuts. My dear son turned and looked at me and said, "No, we had YOU in primary first to prepare us for that!"

    I admit that I cry often. I just say I am "watering my testimony". It is an amazing thing to have little "hobbies" and learn and grow from them. NO ONE can take that away from you.

    Your friends will be alright. The Lord DOES look after his own.

    Until then, it is amazing that they have a friend like you in their corner. "to morn with those that morn, and comfort those in need of comfort..."

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  8. Amazing post. I am witnessing first hand seeing someone I love very much go through the exact same thing as your friend. Because of his stupid choices and selfishness they are getting a divorce. They have 3 kids and I am so angry and sad. I'm so glad that I have a strong testimony. It keeps me strong. Love you!

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  9. Thank you for sharing this amazing post. I was just talking with my kids this morning about how Satan is trying his hardest to make us as miserable as him. But we must hold tight to the iron rod and not follow him. Not even a little bit. We talked about how one seemingly small choice (such as gossiping, bullying, swearing) can be the starting point of losing the spirit and being more succeptible to Satan's influence. Sometimes adults need this reminder more than children!

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  10. I'll join the Hate-Satan club. I've been thinking about it a great deal the last couple of days as I've been reading about the Book of Mormon Musical from the South Park Creators. He is attacking from every front. Beautiful and heart wrenching post, unfortunately something that has effected everyone.

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  11. The battle is real. It is soooo real. And it isn't a battle of blood and guts in a physical sense. It is a spiritual battle of blood (the Atonement) and guts (our agency) to see how we will stand strong against the forces of evil. We see many who are wounded and are suffering. Hopefully there will be many who will in their moments of a spiritual death reach for the best medic around and apply the medicine in doses.

    We each need a hobby. Who knows maybe your hobby will be the balm of Gilead that someone is seeking?

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  12. Amen!! I love your blog. I love how it is centered on Christ and that it is so uplifting. The gospel of Jesus christ is obviously who you are and it is who I am as well...thank you for your voice!

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  13. I'm grateful these two women are in your life....what a testimony builder they have been to you and your quest for all to "Come unto Christ". Thanks for reminding me to be constantly on guard against Satan. I relish in the fact that no matter how much damage he tries to do, he knows as we do, that in the end, The winning team will be captained by the Savior. We just have to make sure we do all that we can to be on that winning team.

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  14. This is such an insightful and thought-provoking post, Jocelyn. And so well-written.

    On every level, a powerful piece.

    =)

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  15. Thank you for this... and as I said in the other blog, you're someone to have in one's corner! Thank you for your support to your dear friends. It serves as a beautiful example of Christ-like love. Also, having gone through that myself, and still somewhat going through it, I'm appreciative of the friends (and certain family members) who have demonstrated the "hate the sin, love the sinner" bit. Not easy but it helped and continues to help me in my healing.

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  16. That is heartbreaking! I know I wouldn't be able to be nearly as charitable, those women must be absolute saints. And I wish I knew them.

    I need more inspiring people in my life.

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  17. Thanks for sharing your testimony of Jesus Christ and of the importance of the family. We must stand strong and support the family because it is being attacked as you and so many others have shared.

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  18. I have become a blog stalker these days, not making the time to comment! First, I love your insights. I look forward to seeing what's stirring in that creative mind of yours! Second, I just kept thinking, while reading this that it is my job to stay close the Lord. For my own benefit, for that of my family, but also in times when friends will call on me. (as they have called on you!) If I am close to the Lord I will provide a great tool for Him. Third, I love that you have chosen to pick apart the Proclaimation. Especially to tackle it to teach young children. The world they will grow up in will be one of floundering and fulfilling selfish desires. What a great blessing it will be to teach our children a "standard of truth" for their own generation. There shouldn't be any question in their minds as to what we believe about where families come from, why we have them and where we can go together.

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  19. Very powerful and truthful words Jocelyen. It's friends like you who help us keep going, help us hold our shields and swords higher, even when our arms temporarily tire. Thank You May God bless your friends, and all of us, with faith and streangth.

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  20. I just wanted you to know that I really appreciate your blog. I have been reading it for a couple of months now and I have never come across something so uplifting. I have been struggling to decide how to raise my children and your ideas make it seem possible to raise them in a happy, loving, confident way. Thank you for being a good example of a Christlike woman and for being courageous enough to share your thoughts and opinions.

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  21. These last days are such a battle! I also have family members going through the same things. I appreciate your beautiful words of comfort and love here. Thank you! :-)

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  22. This was so well written and so full of truth and insight. I know I didn't get a chance to get to know you really well while in Langley, but gosh, I think we would have had some great conversations back then! I just can't express how grateful I am for your blog and what you are doing. I am right with you on celebrating, defending, and living the Proclamation on the Family. It is just too critical of an issue to pass by with merely a fleeting thought every now and then.

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  23. Where would any of us be if we didn't have the gospel to help us through life's inevitable challenges? There is so much of sorrow and disappointment and suffering. But there is also life and hope and love because of the atonement of Jesus Christ!

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  24. I too, don't know what I would do if I didn't have the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are so many pressures and evil surrounding our families. We are the victim of that also; but I do know Heavenly Father Loves us and prayers will be answered and we always have the Savior walking beside us. Thanks for this beautiful post it
    warmed my soul today. Blessings to you! LeAnn

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  25. What a wonderful post! Unfortunately I can relate to this post first-hand as my parents went through this same thing this past year...

    We must all realize that Satan is REAL and knows us and our weaknesses. We must protect ourselves and our families! Someone called me "churchy" this past year and at first it made me upset... but I decided I am PROUD to be "churchy"... if it protects my family and brings my family & myself the happiness, then "churchy" is my middle name!

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  26. Beautifully done:) I see a couple comments on how they don't know how others get through the rough times without the gospel. I think that's one of the beautiful things about Jesus- He helps everyone whether they know or acknowledge it. I think it certainly makes it easier that I have knowledge and a testimony to get me through things. But what helps the most is Him, and He helps everyone.
    Not very well stated, but I hope you get the point despite my lack of brain power today:)

    I have a really hard time with the subject of divorce, especially the break up of temple sealings; even more so when children are involved. I have a hard time managing my anger about it. I was recently wondering if Satan was switching gears and focusing on the wives to break up more marriages and families. For the last five-ish years all I have witnessed is wives hurting their husbands when I had grown up seeing only husbands leaving their wives. Now I see that he hasn't given up bringing down the men either, he just seems to be more successful with both sexes now:/

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  27. Divorce is always heartbreaking. My good friend and her husband recently divorced because of his emotional and even physical abuse. He accused her of cheating on him when asked why they were divorcing by the family (he's my husband's cousin) completely destroying her good name with most of the family.

    Unfortunately she's not holding to the rod-I worry about her, and pray for her. In the middle of all this she got a great job and moved 5 hours away so I haven't seen her in awhile.

    Thank you for sharing. I love the proclamation on the family and the gospel. The more we study them as a couple the stronger our marriage grows.

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  28. That is truly sad...things will come to pass....and i am really grateful that the restored gospel will help them move on for the better...we can always pray for them and i know Godwill always make them feel theyare loved no matter what.

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  29. Great post, Jocelyn! Those women definitely need to know that there are plenty of people in their corner and that "this too shall pass." My best wishes for them. Prayer is the best way to keep your relationship with Christ personal and stay in tune with the Spirit, to bring you comfort and confidence.

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