Monday, July 14, 2008

Have you recieved his image in your countenance?

I am sorry that I haven't written in so long. I could say that it was because I have been so busy, which I have, but that is not the real reason. The truth is that I have had a couple of hard months, not really because anthing terrible happened. I have just felt disconnected from my spirituality. If that makes any sense. I think I had reached a certain point and was having a hard time reaching the next level. This probly sounds confusing to everyone, but it makes sense to me. Anyway, I have been really studying, pondering, and praying lately and I feel so much better. I think our relationship with the Lord takes work, sometimes I have to work harder than others, but I should always be working at it. Anyway, I was thinking and meditating this morning and I had a scripture come to my mind.

Alma 5:14 "And now behold, I ask of you, my brethren of the church (he is talking to us, members of his church), have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?"

I could not get this scripture out of my head. I've been thinking about it all day. So here are my thoughts and my questions. How does recieving Christ's image in our countenances relate to our self image? Are they interconnecte? If we truly have Christ's image in our countenance how would we feel about ourselves? What would our self perceptions and self worth be? How would this change our hearts? Would it change our desires, and what we view as important? How does all of this tie in with being spiritually born of God?
I have been thinking about this all day. I would love to get all of your (all five of my readers=) inputs on this. How do you think this scripture is relevent to our self worth and our self perception? What touches you about this scrpipture. I would really love it if you would all respond! I am going to keep thinking and praying about it and write my response in the next couple of days. One thing I have learned is that their is a wealth of knowledge in the scriptures. One sentance can give us so much understanding. I think that we need to not only read over the scriptures, but delve into them. Really study them, and ask how we can apply them in our lives. I know that the spirit whispered this scripture to me for a reason, and I know that there is deeper meaning and understanding that can come from asking ourselves questions like these. I look forward to reading everyone's response.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Light in the Darkness

So like I said, 3 1/2 years ago I was diagnosed with PCOS. PCOS is a horrible disease. It causes hair growth in embaressing places, increase weight gain (especially in your tummy), inciline resistance (which just makes it harder to loose weight), abnormal periods, cysts on your ovaries, and perhaps the worst side effect infertility. I have a sister in law who has PCOS so I already knew alot about it. This was a huge blessing to me, to have someone to talk to, who understood what I was going through. It was also hard because I knew that Amy had struggled to have kids for almost 10 years, and I wondered if it would be that hard for me. I felt a newfound compassion for Amy and what she had been through. I also realized that I had been critical of people who were overweight, I felt a new empathy for the pain and sorrow this causes. I realized that it wasn't always because someone was "lazy." Which is what I used to think. There are hormonal, genetic, and medical issues that a lot of women have and they are just doing the best they can. PCOS is horrible because it feels like it strips you of your womanhood. You don't feel beautiful. You have extra testosterone in your body, which is what causes the moodiness and the hair growth, and you can't have kids. I felt like I had nothing to offer. I felt so ugly and fat and like there was nothing I could do about it. I read a study that said 75% of women with PCOS struggle with depression because it's effects make you feel so bad about yourself. I bet that is true for a lot of women who struggle with their weight, not only those who have PCOS. I think this was one of the worst times of my life. I got angry with my husband because I was sure he didn't find me beautiful anymore. I didn't want to be intimate or even loving because I felt like he would be disgusted by me. (I just have to say really quickly that Chuck has been wonderful. He has never once said an unkind or critical thing to me about this. Not once. He has always told me that he thinks I am beautiful and that I will always be beautiful to him. My feelings of inadequecy were inside of me, not from anything he ever said or did. I am so grateful for him and his support. I know I could not have come as far as I have without him and his unconditional love.) I hated seeing my friends from high school and college. I was sure they were judging me. I felt like my family was judging me, especially my mom, who I felt had always put pressure on me to be thin. I just felt depressed and horrible. Initially I put all my energy into trying to loose weight. I excercized, I dieted, I did everything I knew how to do and the weight wouldn't come off, which only made me feel worse. We also had been trying to get pregnant again without any results, and I felt hopeless, alone and depressed. Eventually I gave up and I think this is when I hit my low. Basically I just resigned myself to the fact that I would hate myself forever and it would never get better. One night I was crying and having a really hard time, Chuck asked if I wanted a blessing. I wont share the sacred details of this blessing but I will share a couple of things that the Lord taught me. I learned that this trial and these health problems were not something I aquired by chance. They were not a punishment either. They were a gift from my Heavenly Father. A gift that would help me become more like him. I learned that there were things I needed to learn about the nature of God that I could not have learned any other way. He gave me this trial because he loves me and he wants me to be like him someday, so that I can return to live with him. I felt so much peace, and love from my Father. I knew that this was true. I felt a light had opened up in this dark room that I was wandering through. I felt hope and I didn't feel alone anymore. This was a huge turning point for me. This is when I started to turn my life over to the Lord, and started my long journey of sanctification. My perspective totally changed, I wasn't being punished, the Lord hadn't forgoten me. He loved me and was mindful of me, he had wept for my pain and was offering me a better way. So this is my message today. Heavenly Father loves you, he loves us all. Not all of us struggle with our health, but we all have trials. These trials are not a punishment, and most of the time they are not here by chance. They are a gift, from a Heavenly Father who loves you. More than anything, he wants us to return to him. He wants us to become like him. I wish we could be refined without them, but most of us can't. It takes the refiners fire to humble us enough that we will allow him to shape and mold us into what he wants us to become. We all learn in church that our trials are a blessing, and that we should be thankful for them, which is true. But hearing it in those words that night somehow personalized it for me. This was a gift I was being given. We have all been given similar gifts. Maybe not similar in our experiances, but similar in the opportunity that it provides for us. You see, I have learned, it is more important to me that I become like my father than it is to be skinny, or beautiful, or pain free. It is more important to me that my Father in Heaven is proud of me, than it is that my friends, or family, or the world think I am beautiful. I couldn't always say this. It has been a long, hard road to get to where I am today, and I still struggle sometimes. Anyway, as soon as I started to look at my experiance as a learning opportunity, it all changed for me. I realized that there was something that I needed to learn. I also had faith that once I learned it I would be healed. Maybe not in the way I wanted, but in the Lords time and in the Lords way I would be healed. So now I just needed to figure out what I needed to learn so that I could learn it. I didn't realize that sometimes it's not that easy. If only I had known what a "wonderful" process this would be...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Journey!

4 years ago I gave birth to my first child. Cayden was such a blessing in my life, but I gained about 50 pounds in my pregnancy due to toxemia and no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't take the weight off. I started having other health problems as well so I went to see a docter and after many blood tests and ultrasounds I was diagnosed with PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome) and Insulin Resistance (the precurser to type 2 diabetes.) This disease not only makes it almost imposible to loose weight but will also cause unwanted hair growth, mood swings, and infertility among other things. Before my pregnancy I never felt very confident with my self. I was only a size 6, but all my friends in high school and college had been a size 2. When you have to wear a short little cheer skirt next to these perfect girls you don't feel like you look very good. Looking back now I realize how silly I was. I was healthy, fit, and in good shape and I should have felt good about myself, I wish I had. I guess it wouldn't have mattered if I was a size 2 as well, I still would have found something I didn't like about myself. I guess what I am saying is it doesn't matter how closely you reach the worlds perception of perfection. You will never be happy, if you do not truly discover for yourself the true beauty within. I could have never found this within myself if I hadn't been through the past 3 years. If I hadn't have come to the point where I felt horrible about myself, I never would have begun this journey. I never would have felt the healing and enabeling power of the atonement, and Gods love for me as I have now. I am working everyday so that someday I can truly say that I no longer care what the world thinks of me. I do not want to allow society or others to effect the way I feel about myself. It is a contant battle. I have to remember that what matters now is how my Father in Heaven feels about me. Our true beauty as women is that we are daughters of God, he loves us, I know he does. We are never more beautiful than when we are reflecting his love. I know we have all heard this or something like it a thousand times, so why don't we believe it? I mean really believe. If we believed this it wouldn't matter what size we were or what others thought of our body. We would want to be healthy and strong but only for the reason of taking care of this body that God has given us. Not so we can fit into a certain size, or look as good as our neighbors/sisters/ or friends. If we truly believed this we wouldn't have to have designer clothes and expensive jewelry. Our focus would no longer be on ourselves but on others. I didn't get it. I thought I did, but I didn't truly get it until I earnestly pleaded and sought for help from my Heavenly Father, and even now I struggle with it at times. I would like to share my journey with you. I am hoping that by sharing my experiances I will be able to help even just one person. Maybe it will be my daughter or my niece someday who reads this. I know this for sure. It is not just fat women who feel bad about themselves. Skinny, Rich, Overweight, Beautiful and Plain, we all feel the pressure to be beautiful and thin. We all struggle with our self worth. I want women to know they are not alone. I want women to truly see the beauty within themselves. I want my daughter to grow up not caring what the World thinks of her but what Her Father in Heaven thinks of her. I would love if women would comment and let me know how they feel about this subject. Hopefully we can all feel a litte bit less lonely, knowing others have the same struggles that we do, and hopefully we can all be inspired to realize our true power, potential, and beauty as daughters of God.