Come to Him

As I was reading  through General Conference talks yesterday evening, I found a talk that speaks to me and the many trails in my life that I tend to face feeling both isolated and alone.

Ten years ago was a time when life was rock bottom for me. I was a single working mother of two rambunctious little boys. My ex was calling and harassing me from the county detention center almost daily. I couldn’t seem to get things in order and struggled each night watching the clock just waiting until it was time for bed so I could go back to sleeping my life away. It seemed to me the easiest way to shut out my problems. The morning would come too soon and a new day of the same struggles would unfold.

At the time, I was meeting with the missionaries (for the 4th time in 2 years) and working toward baptism. I began praying and reading my scriptures often and within weeks, I found the strength to ignore the phone. That strength lead to a phone call to my provider to block all calls from the detention center. For the moment, he was out of our life and healing could continue.

My evenings soon changed from watching the clock in complete isolation and loneliness to reading my scriptures with no sense of the hour. Prayer was my constant companion. My Heavenly Father was the only person I could turn to in those quiet evenings and although the conversation seemed one-sided, I was content that He was enough. My life seemed to settle into peace while chaos still nipped at the light that now filled my home. I realized all this time I was never alone. I just needed to reach out to Him. To follow Him. He knows me and knows what’s best for me and He will not lead me astray.

Here I sit 10 years later struggling with severe depression, a strong sense of isolation and sadness, and I often wonder what happened to that happy, peaceful person I was. The truth is I still am that person. I’ve just let go of the things I used to rely on to get me through each day. I let go of Him. I don’t think to pray, rarely read scriptures and my church attendance is sporadic. Life was never meant to be easy, but I do have faith and knowledge that it’s easiest when following the footsteps of the Savior.

In the recent sessions of General Conference, Elder Eduardo Gavarret addresses this very subject during his talk “Yes, Lord, I will Follow Thee.” Elder Gavarret reminds us the Lord said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28 He goes on to share the many open invitations Christ offered us to come, follow him and shares that we can do so by:

  1. Feeding our desire to be a better follower of Christ.
  2. Praying for the desire that your faith in Him to grow.
  3. Obtaining knowledge from the scriptures to light the way and strengthen your desire to change.
  4. Make the decision to act today and say, “Yes, Lord, I will follow Thee!”
  5. Persevere by by exercising these principles daily.

Knowing the truth will not provide needed change unless that knowledge is turned into actions. It seems I’ve forgotten that without resting upon my Savior, I will find no peace or strength in my trials. I’m not alone. I was never alone. Nor do I want to continue being alone. I have every bit of faith in Him that as I come to know Him once again, I will find my positive change–my peace and happiness in this madhouse life of mine.

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Just Your Average Visiting Teaching Failure

Formal visiting teaching is still fairly new to me. Back in my rural Montana ward, we were so far from the church it was easiest done by checking in on people as we went about our daily routines. We were assigned to visit teach each other…I’d visit my sister-in-law and she would visit me. Occasionally we’d have dinner at another sister’s home and all take part in discussing the lesson. There was no point in going out of our way to teach the same lesson to each other by her coming to my house and I to hers so we’d just see each other at the post office or the general store and discuss what’s going on in our lives and make sure every family’s needs were met.

Needless to say the laid back teaching paired with my introvertive tendency made visit teaching to Utah County standards was quite difficult for me. In the three years I’ve lived here, I’ve gone to visit sisters half a dozen times. It was most often due to a scheduling conflict where I could only be gone from home during the day and my companion during the evening. One of my companions whose schedule was opposite of mine, text me late on a Saturday evening and suggested we go early in the morning before church on Sunday. I’m embarrassed to say I let her have it. Honestly though, who in their right mind asks a mother of five to go visiting sisters before 10 am services on a Sunday morning in the middle of winter? Someone without children that’s who! Bless her heart…and her family with multiple children so that one day she may be asked the same absurd question by another clueless sister.

Ward boundaries were recently changed and new assignments handed out and I’m blessed to be paired with one of my besties who is as introvertive as I am. She has a strong testimony in many things and is an outstanding teacher. I feel very luck and at ease to have her as my teaching companion. I figured it to be easy as I’ll just follow her lead, but of course there’s yet another reason we are such great friends–her lack of visiting teaching is similar to mine.

Last month, sharing the  October Message was a success for us. We made pumpkin bread, printed calling cards on magnetic sheets and went out to meet our assigned sisters. It worked so well we decided that she’d work on the lesson and I’d work on the crafty to go with it. So the new month is here and no cutesy crafty ideas are to be found online. It’s that time of year when we reflect on all of the conference talks and choose a message that best suits our sisters and their family.

Oh, man! I didn’t listen to most of conference. I forgot to renew my Ensign subscription over the summer while I was busy dealing with medical issues. It’s a wonderful thing to live just a few miles away from the nearest distribution center so I can pick up my conference edition and mark the highlights. In the meantime, I’m listening to the playback and grateful that all talks are available online.