Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Measure of Grace

This is a very personal post, and because of that, it's kind of hard to write. The reason I'm sharing it is for two reasons: I think my experience can help others realize the awesome power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to heal all wounds; and I don't want to forget what happened to me.

As preface to my story, let me say that I have been thinking a great deal lately about my testimony of Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. When the LDS church began acknowledging historical documents that may cause some people to question their faith in specific people, events, or doctrines of the early restored Church, I started contemplating what, exactly, makes up my testimony. My conclusion is that my testimony and my faith are centered in Jesus Christ, and everything else is merely an adjunct to that testimony. I know He lives--not because I've seen Him with my own eyes but because I have felt the Spirit too many times as it testifies to His divinity. I've felt the power in my heart. It is a power that does not and cannot deceive.

Anyway, this was going through my head even as I once again fell into a mind trap and began feeling very depressed and self-loathing. Old habits die hard, I guess. For several days, I couldn't look in the mirror without turning away in disgust not just at my physical appearance but at the remarkable feat of my having survived 42 years on this earth without managing to accomplish one good thing or develop one good talent. It's ridiculous that I could think that way, of course, but I couldn't "logic" myself out of this thought pattern. The dark cloud of pain kept growing and growing, the pain getting more and more intense.

Finally, on a recent Friday morning, I awoke in the wee hours with this heartache piercing me to the core. Husband was peacefully asleep, so I slid out of bed to keep from waking him with my restlessness and tears. Kneeling on the floor, I began pouring my heart out in prayer, desperate for the pain to stop. For 45 minutes, I knelt, begging for healing. I listed all my fears and doubts as they tore through me. It felt like I was ripping apart.

Finally, exhausted, I slid back into bed. That's when the miracle happened. My body relaxed immediately, and my storm of emotions calmed. As if someone was reading them off of a list, all the fears I had been fighting against suddenly began running through my mind, perfectly articulated. But instead of the dread and pain I had felt before, the Spirit infused me completely, and I was at peace. Every time I questioned the peaceful feeling, the words "Be still!" echoed in my mind and I relaxed again.

I don't know how to describe what happened except that it was like having poison sucked out of me. That's how it felt. Once the well-articulated list of my doubts and fears was completed, the fear left. It just disappeared out of my mind. I felt nothing but love and peace and a sense that I was surrounded by beings of light who loved me. I was so relaxed and warm that I fell asleep and did not wake up until the alarm went off.

To this day, there is a sort of buzzing feeling where those fears once were. I can't remember them. I can't remember what, exactly, they were. I suppose that if I really wanted to, I could dig deep and pull them all back up, but I have no desire to do that. I had spiritual surgery, and I'm healed. I know I can return to old thought patterns and habits and have the same issues again, but I don't want to.

The power of Christ's Atonement was not only that He paid for the sins we all commit, but that He also dove deep below all the pain and anguish any one of us would ever feel. The Atonement literally heals, as is evidenced by my experience. I am still in awe that I would receive such a powerful answer to my prayers, and I am eternally grateful for the new insights I now have. Grace will save us if we allow it to. There is no person on the planet for whom Christ's Atonement is not in effect, for whom it cannot provide healing. No one is too bad or wrong or broken to be the exception; all are welcomed. Every single person is loved beyond his or her capacity to understand.

I'll need the Atonement's power in my life again and again, and I know it will always be there when I reach for Christ's healing love.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Playlist Report

So what can I tell you? I haven't been inspired to write anything in particular lately, and I'm not sure I have anything interesting to say now.

I'm writing a book. For the moment, I'm just vomiting words to see what happens.

I finally burned a mixed CD again. I've been slowly collecting songs I want, and I finally had enough for a shorter CD. Rather than continue to collect more songs, however, I got impatient. I know CDs are so 1990s and first decade 2000s, but I don't have a smart phone that holds music, so listening to my faves in the van is only possible with a CD.

Wanna know what I collected? Of course you do!

  1. Black & Gold by Sam Sparro 
  2. Good Intent by Kimbra (This song is about a man being tempted to stray during his marriage, but it's so cleverly done.)
  3. Gal Mithi Mithi by Amit Trivedi & Tochi Raina (So, so danceable! And so, so Indian!)
  4. Don't Stop the Music by Jamie Cullum (this is a cover of Rihanna's club dance song, but while I don't much care for Rihanna's version, this one has such incredible jazz piano chords and is so sultry that I can't stop listening to it.)
  5. The Blower's Daughter by Damien Rice (If there's an overarching story behind this song, I don't know it. I just like its poignancy.)
  6. Eyes by Kaskade (featuring Mindy Gledhill) (I love Mindy Gledhill's voice. This is good dance music when you're putting on your makeup in the morning, although I encourage you to be careful while dancing and applying eyeliner. That's from personal experience.)
  7. One by The Bee Gees (I loved this one in the early 90s. It has good memories associated with it.)
  8. Happy by Pharrell Williams (This will be one of those horribly overplayed songs very quickly, but it really is a happy song. I don't clap along because I keep my hands at 10 and 2, but I'm happy like a room without a roof!)
  9. Hunting High & Low by A-Ha (Total throwback. There's nothing wrong with a shot of A-Ha.)
  10. Won't Stop by One Republic
  11. You Win Again by The Bee Gees (see my comments for One)
  12. Say Something by A Great Big World (This is not the single featuring Christina Aguilera because that version just doesn't make sense to me. I can see one person singing these lyrics, but two? That smacks of frustrating miscommunication in this particular song, and that makes me upset. So I prefer this version. The throbbing heartbeat of the piano, the driving insistence of the cello and strings, and the sad lyrics just get me every time.)
So now you know what I'm annoying the kids with while we drive.