Hello Friends! I missed you!! As you may know my computer hard drive literally crashed (off my couch and onto the floor) and so I was forced into taking a blogging break for a few days.
It was such a huge blessing. It is so easy for me to get wrapped up in the things happening online that sometimes I forget to live my real life. The events this week in CT reminded me just how important real life stuff is.
It has been a year since my last Real Life Story update (can you even believe that!?!) I am grateful that I am in a spiritual and reflective state of mind today and I want to share with you what recovery has looked like over the last year.
If I has to sum this year up in one word it would be Miracles.
My testimony of my Savior has grown so much. It is hard to put into words the happiness and peace that I feel…but you know I am going to try!!
In January Court and I were called to be church service Missionaries in the Addiction Recovery Program. This basically means that we have 1-2 meetings a week that we are in charge of. We also go around on 5th Sundays and speak in wards about the ARP (if you are in St. George and want more info on that you can email me!) I am so grateful for this calling, it has changed my life.
The amazing thing about the Atonement is that is has the power to take away all of our pain. Not just the pain of sin but the pain of other’s sins, the pain of things that are out of our control. I cant remember all of those awful things that I felt for so many years. I can remember a few details of the events but most are hazy and there is no pain attached to them. When I look at Court the things that I used to see when I looked at him are completely gone. That is such a miracle in and of itself. Being at our meetings and seeing people come in and go out I am reminded of how it felt to be where they are.
“This is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.
“And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is
my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard
my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me” (Alma 29:9–10).
2 years ago when we found ourselves in an LDS 12 step meeting the most important thing that we felt was love. The love of the missionaries and the love of our Savior. Its amazing being on the missionary side of the love. It is a miracle that we have been blessed with. I see those that come in with my physical eyes, they are broken and lost and hopeless, just as we were. But then I feel this overwhelming love for them and I just want to hug them and tell them that THEY CAN CHANGE.
And change they do. If you have ever wondered if people REALLY change like REEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLYYY change? I testify to you that they do. I have seen it in my husband, I have seen it in myself, and I have seen it in countless others. The secret is that we dont experience a change of heart once, it is a daily choice to choose Him.
It is so easy to think that we/or someone we love are beyond gone. But you are not. They are not. I love this quote by Elder Holland:
“I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.”
My testimony today is one of miracles. Life is hard. Addiction is an all consuming darkness that changes people. But the good news is that Christ is an all consuming light that changes them MORE.
There is so much darkness in this world. There is tragedy after tragedy worldwide, nationwide and in our own homes. I find peace knowing the reason that this life is hard. In The Book of Ether the story of Jared and his family is shared. For those unfamiliar with this story I will give you the readers digest version. Jared and his family lived at the time of Babel, when the languages were confounded by God. Because of the faith of the brother of Jared they and their families were spared. They were told that they were to be taken to a promised land and were instructed by God on how to build a barge. This was more like a modern day submarine than a boat but there was no way to steer it. They travelled in these ships 100% dependant on the Lord to take them to their final destination.
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
When we are in the midst of the furious winds it can be terrifying and frustrating, but where would we be if we gently bobbed along? No where near our destination or our true potential. The Lord knows that without the winds we cannot become who we are supposed to be. So he lets the winds blow BUT just like in verse 8 says, If we have faith enough to get in the boat, the winds will never cease to blow us to the promised land.
if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. (D&C 122:7)
Court’s addiction is one of the biggest blessing of my life. I am grateful every single day that I hung in there because people can change, the key is they have to want to. With that ok from them, the Savior will step in and make impossible things possible. He will change our very nature.
Christ says “Give me All. I don’t want so much of your time and so much of your money and so much of your work: I want You. I have not come to torment your natural self, but to kill it. No half-measures are any good. I don’t want to cut off a branch here and a branch there, I want to have the whole tree down. Hand over the whole natural self, all the desires which you think innocent as well as the ones you think wicked—the whole outfit. I will give you a new self instead. In fact, I will give you Myself: my own will shall become yours.” –C.S. Lewis
For those who are unable to attend a LDS 12 Step meeting (or you are curious what happens there) you can find some incredible podcasts here.
If you are interested in learning more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints you can find tons of information on mormon.org and I would be SO happy to send you a Book of Mormon!
Love Your Guts, Mandi