So much is going on around me as I sit here writing this. But I don't want another day to go by without me getting my thoughts and feelings on paper. Lucky for you, you don't hear the music of 'Rio' blaring from the T.V, or Anabel walking her miniature barking panting plastic toy dog along the hard tiles from one end of the house to the other. "ruff! *pant* ruff! roo-roo! *pant*".. ugh..
But I digress. What I really want to talk about is how my life has changed. For the better. And this goes so much deeper than the fact that Bel is sleeping through the night. (well, was... see the next post for depressing details...)
I am better, stronger; and I want to tell you why. Now, for those of you reading this who do not belong to our Church, this may sound a little... preachy. But it's my life and my reality, which is what you've come here to read, so I hope you'll hear me out and understand that I'm not forcing my beliefs on to you, but rather that I really want to get this out to the world and have this as a written record for my children to refer to when I'm not there to sit with them and tell them. In a way I feel like shouting it from the rooftops (!!) but I guess the World Wide Web will just have to do ;-) .
For months I had been struggling in every possible way; Mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I felt as though I was standing on a log in the middle of a lake, and instead of sitting comfortable and still, the log was wobbling to and fro, shaking from side to side. My life being the log, felt out of control; out of focus. I wasn't depressed or helpless; rather, I was confused and afraid. I didn't know what I believed anymore. I was waiting for something, someone, to say something that would make it all better, to make everything return back to normal. But no one did. Juan was so supportive and understanding, he always made me feel better, but I knew it was up to me to make the difference within my-self.
So I started serving others more. This helped. I asked myself self-evaluating questions and I looked for answers. This helped too. I continued praying daily and I continued going to church every week. This really helped in the moment, but I found in the times I wasn't participating in 'spiritual' things, after a short time I once again felt lost and confused about it all.
That's when I decided to start reading. I didn't read a self-help book or a 'happy thoughts for a happy day' book. I just decided to read the same book I had read so many times before. I read The Book of Mormon - Another Testiment of Jesus Christ. Just 10-20 minutes a day. Sometimes only 2-5 minutes. For years througout my life I had read it along with The Bible many times. I had even served an 18 month voluntary mission for my church where I shared my beliefs and shared this book with countless people every day. It was a great experience and I stood and declared of many things about our Christian faith. I spoke of my love and belief in Jesus Christ, and I taught people about ancient prophets and apostles from the scriptures, as well as the Prophet and Apostles living today.
And even though I meant every single word and every day I spoke of the importance of The Book of Mormon and how it can bless us and help us in our life, I never really felt of its absolute power and promise until these past couple of months. I have been told in talks and by teachers in lessons countless times of the changes that can come to people's lives through reading The Book of Mormon. I believed them and I had also felt the spiritual upliftment and confirmation for myself that it spoke truth and that it was written by ancient Prophets of God, just like the Bible was. I knew it could heal people and change hearts. But until it was my heart that needed healing, I didn't fully understand.
But now I do. I began reading it every day, like I had many times in the past. But it had been a while since I had really dedicated myself to deliberately making time in my day to read it. At first nothing much happened; just a little more calm; a comfortable feeling that made me feel less anxious and confused. Then over time I noticed I was looking forward to reading it. I was really getting a lot out of it. I was understanding it better than I ever had before, and things were jumping out that I had not noticed. I felt like I was reading it with new eyes; eyes that were desperate to learn and to be taught. I was reading it because I needed it. And that was when I noticed the changes.
I began to feel differently as a mother and home-maker. I wasn't raising my voice as much, and things I once found irritating didn't seem so annoying. I found myself being less judgemental towards others. I felt more empathy and I was able to sympathise and appreciate others' feelings and thoughts. I felt myself growing stronger spiritually. I felt I knew myself better and understood more fully what I really did believe. I felt power within myself and I felt strong enough to stand more firm for who I am and who I want to be. My thoughts became more focused. I wasn't confused anymore. And if doubts entered my mind I finally felt the energy to answer them with resounding confidence that the doubts were wrong and I knew I was right.
It wasn't an overnight process. It wasn't even a weeks-long process. This has been going on for months. I have had so many ups and downs during this process of self-discovery and renewal, I'm almost dizzy from it. :) But this I know. I was confused and afraid. I was doubting everything I believed. I wondered whether I should walk away from everything I had been taught, for fear that it was wrong; that what I had thought I knew, and what I had professed to be the only truth was actually not.... I was terrified. The log I was wobbling on was spinning out of control, and I had fallen off. And so I was forced to discover myself again. From the bare roots of who I am and what I actually believe.
Now, I'm no longer sitting on a log in the middle of a lake. I'm now standing on a firm, solid ground. The foundation beneath me is no longer shaking, and I no longer feel fear. My faith in God, my faith in Jesus Christ, my faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and my faith in myself has been restored. I know exactly who I am and why I am here on this earth. I no longer feel vulnerable or weak. I no longer wonder if I'm wrong or right. I know I am right. I know it with every piece of my being. I feel my old and broken heart has been replaced by a new, fuller one. And I want everyone to know that it is because of The Book of Mormon.
Despite serving a mission and literally standing on sidewalks and preaching about Christianity, I never imagined I would ever be sitting here writing these words for all to read. But I want to shout it out there. I want my kids to know where they can look to for strength and truth. I want them to stand firm as Christians by not allowing the world and others' opinions to influence their own truth and what they stand for as members of Jesus Christ's church. I want them to listen to the living modern-day Prophet when he tells them to read The Book of Mormon every day as a source of strength and peace. I want them to know that I know without any doubt that it was this book that literally saved me. It helps me be a better mother and it reminds me who I am and why I am on this earth.
Obviously I could go on and on, but I've said what I wanted to say. I've had kids running up to me and I've made lunches, wiped tears, put down for naps, refilled bottles, changed DVDs, and listened to endless whinging and wigning during the process of writing this post, but I'm glad I did it.
And on that note, I'm going to step down from my soapbox and go continue being a mum now. ;-)