Monday, July 21, 2014

God Loves Me: Lessons from a 4 year old

 I find it appropriate that this post came to mind on a night where I am snuggling up next to my favorite little boy while his sister spends the night at her grandparents.
Spidey and I have always had a special connection. From the time he was a baby, I would wear him around the house in the sling or moby wrap and he would stare at me with his perfect hazel eyes. I always had this strong feeling that he was going to help me in some significant way, I just didn't think it would start at such a young age.
 My eating disorder started to take over when the divorce became reality. I was done. I couldn't handle life. I couldn't handle the fact that I was overweight and worthless and that he probably left me because I was no longer good enough for him.

I was trying to hold on and fight for my children. I had been doing well for eight whole years and I was scared that I was breaking. How could this be happening? How selfish am I that I couldn't fight hard enough for my kids?
I blamed myself and shamed myself every day. I believed I was stupid for not taking care of myself when I should've had my focus on the aching hearts of my children. Why was I so selfish?!

I was struggling in school and struggling with friendships. I needed help but I was pushing people away because I no longer felt worthy of the friends who had been there from day one. Honestly I felt worthy of no one.

Once I found out about the pornography addiction, I broke. I couldn't hold on any longer. I was done. My counselor had seen that things were getting worse and we had talked about how I might need an eating disorder therapist but I hate change and I had learned to trust her. I didn't want to leave. Cancelling my final session with her was an extremely hard thing for me to do. I sent that text as quick as I could before I could back out of it.

And when I say I broke, I'm telling you, I completely broke. My final breaking point will be left detail-less on this blog because it is too hard for me to re-live but I knew I needed to heal.

The night of my eating-disorder-hell-wake-up-call, I was texting a friend and I was struggling to believe God loved me or that anyone loved me. I was trying to put groceries away and right then and there, I fell to the floor and started sobbing uncontrollably. I felt so alone and broken and scared.

I was laying on my cold tile floor when I saw a little red headed boy peek his head around the corner. It was late so I was surprised to see him there. And as soon as I noticed, he was gone. I figured he had gone back to bed and I was in no condition to pick myself up yet so I layed there and continued to cry.

But without another second to think, that little red head came back around the corner, this time with two pillows and a blanket. He lifted my head up and placed a pillow underneath and then he layed down beside me and pulled the blanket over both of us. And he said to me, "Mom, I'm just going to lay here with you until you feel better." and we layed there and I cried and he wrapped his arm around my neck.
A four year old boy was prompted to do what God knew I needed that night. A tiny four year old boy.
 I felt God's love that night. I felt His presence and I trusted that He would be able to help me overcome this trial in my life.
I can do this with Him. I can do it with the people He has placed in my life to give me strength.

It was the most beautiful ending to one of the worst days I have ever experienced.

I think back on that experience and I am in awe of all the things my son has taught me in his four and a half years on earth. He taught me an extremely important lesson that night, a lesson that has helped me continue to fight and recover and beat the crap out of the nasty lies in my head that tell me I'm not good enough.

I have learned that I will always have an eating disorder. But I am a fighter and I am strong enough to challenge the lies in my head and recognize them as lies.

I am so thankful that I can look back on some of my darkest days and compare them to where I am now and realize I have done this. I have fought to get here and be this new person and have the courage to continue on with my life and make it a beautiful life.
Spidey will always be my baby boy. Always. And I will never forget the time he reminded me just how much God loves me.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

One Truth, A Thousand Lies

I am a chain breaker. A lot of hard things have happened in my life and I want to be the one to fight them, to challenge them until the chains are broken.

Addiction is full of chains. Addiction is full of heartache and lies and secrecy.

I am the addict and the person affected by addiction. I have had to re-learn how to live life since April because in some really dark moments, my world was shattered and everything I had trusted as truth had turned to lies.

It only took one truth to learn about so many lies.

I don't know if I've ever felt lower than I did in April. Maybe as a teenager I got close, maybe a little bit when I was first diagnosed with infertility, but never quite as brutal as April.

Journal entry from February 2014: The thing is, if I would've been a different person, maybe none of this would've happened. If I would've been more patient or less controlling with him, maybe he would've loved me more. And if I would've taken better care of myself and stayed skinny, he wouldn't have left.
Now that he's gone, I don't want this to happen again. I want to be a different person so I don't drive anyone else away. I want to change some of the main things I used to like about myself because it's more important that other people like me."

When I wrote those words, I never intended to share them with anyone besides my counselor. They were raw surfaced emotions I was feeling about the things happening in my life. And unfortunately, they happened to be feelings I had and wrote about before April, when I found the missing puzzle piece to my broken marriage.

So you can imagine how much worse I felt after finding out I had been second (or third or fourth or fifth) to the devil's internet for years. You can imagine how discarded and empty and worthless I felt when I realized I was broken in a thousand places.

But God knew I wouldn't be able to handle it on my own. He had already set up the support and love I would need during this extremely confusing and dark time.
Some family members thought I already knew about the addiction because I attended The Togetherness Project and in the main description, it states: Join with other courageous women who are gathering together in a spirit of sisterhood to help overcome the betrayal of trust and emotional pain associated with a loved one's pornography addiction and/or infidelity.
Yeah, surprising, isn't it? I honestly didn't know.
I was attending the project because a friend had invited me. I was going through a divorce, life felt super messy, and I welcomed any and all support in the form of a sisterhood.
And support me, they did.

I've learned a lot about pornography addiction in the last three months than ever before in my life. I've written an essay for school on the subject, I've discussed among friends, and I've read a ton of statistics.

I've become a fighter because I feel like it is a part of me. I feel like I can make a difference just by bringing awareness to the *fact* that pornography kills love.

Artificial love is not the same thing as real love.

Satan is trying and he is succeeding. Men and women are getting lost in the internet world of pornography and most of them are feeling an incredible amount of shame and worthlessness because they can't just kick their habit.

Within my church, we often shy away from talking about the nitty gritty of pornography addiction because it is uncomfortable. I've heard people preach that "good men/women don't look at pornography" and it makes me want to throw up because guess what? THEY DO!

Good men and women are trapped in this world full of lies and heartache, not only for themselves but for their spouses or future relationships. These aren't disgusting people, they are our family and friends, our very own loved ones! They are struggling in secrecy because if they came out and talked about their addiction, they would risk judgment and people looking at them in a whole different light.

But what makes them different? Nothing, really.

Because it can happen to anyone. It isn't just an addiction for boys or girls or teenagers or adults or poor people or rich people; pornography takes anyone and everyone it can. That's the way Satan set this up.

Did you know that pornography literally changes chemicals in the brain? "On the surface, cocaine and porn don’t seem to have a lot in common but studies are showing that viewing pornography tricks your brain into releasing the same pleasure chemicals that drugs do. What’s more is your brain actually begins to rewire itself because of this artificial stimulation." source

Covenant Eyes states that 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls have been introduced to pornography before they are 18 years old and the average age of exposure is now 7. SEVEN!

The statistics are scary. You can go to either of the websites I linked and you will find more.
I have joined this fight in the way that I can, by bringing awareness and also by opening the discussion about judgment and what our purpose here is; because I highly doubt God would put us on this earth to judge and ridicule each other.

But along with my fight to bring more awareness, I am still a woman affected by pornography addiction. I have still felt a lot of loss and pain and confusion these past few months, mourning a huge part of my life that now seems too painful to remember.

Divorce life brought a lot of heartache into my life. Learning about the pornography brought a heartache I didn't know could even exist.

My eating disorder is one of the main demons I refer to when I talk about my brokeness after our separation. And I've viewed my eating disorder the same as some people might view their pornography addiction or some other type of addiction; it is shameful.

But it is common and I am choosing to open up to you because you may be struggling too. You might be feeling broken and bruised in an otherwise safe-looking world. Because eating disorders tell us we aren't good enough and that controlling our eating or exercising will bring us the happiness we are searching for.

My eating disorder tells me I wasn't as skinny or beautiful as the women in the internet. My eating disorder tells me that he left because of my physical appearance. My eating disorder tells me I'll be happier when I weigh a certain amount or control the hell out of my eating.

Because control is a huge part of this. When my life was pulled out from under me, I felt unstable, out of control, and absolutely defeated.

And if you're wondering the most important lesson I've learned from fighting my eating disorder and fighting the lies it tells me about myself, it is that I am not happier when I'm listening to my eating disorder. I am not happier when I am starving myself or purging to avoid weight gain. I am not happier when I hyper-focus on my flaws and decide I have to do whatever it takes to get rid of them.

I'm not.
Because this girl
And this girl
And this girl
And this girl are ALL the same person and not one of them is better or more worthy than the other.

They are all me. I am every single one of those pictures.

My eating disorder tells me a lot of lies and it is often hard to distinguish between the truths and the false information inside of my brain. I am on a journey to healing myself, learning more about my disorder, and challenging the lies inside of my head.

I've learned that a spouse's pornography addiction can directly coincide with a person developing an eating disorder. Although that wasn't the case for me, pornography addiction seemed to validate everything I had been fighting not to believe about myself for years. It brought a lot of insecurities I already had and magnified them by three thousand.

But I guess I'm here to tell you that it is a fight worth fighting. The life I live, although messy, is beautiful beyond anything I could've comprehended. I fight for my children. I fight for you.

And I'm learning that I am worth my fight too. I am worth more than any amount of money or weight or artificial love. I am worth fighting for. 
We are all worth fighting for.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Utah Trip 2014

 So we did it. We took a trip to Utah last week and it was marvelous--and as you're reading this, I hope you read that as mahhhhh-velous.

The roadtrip on the way there was full of breathtaking sights, a book on tape called Wild, Wise, and Witty Woman, and a slew of new songs to listen to. Other highlights of the roadtrip included RAIN (which is so fun since I'm from Arizona and suck at driving in the rain at high speeds), never stopping to eat, and a fatal car accident that put traffic at a standstill for 45 minutes.

It was an adventure.

I arrived in South Jordan to pick up my kids around 7pm and we were in Layton to see our friends by 8.
My kids weren't too excited...oh wait, YES THEY WERE! The Hislops moved back in March and we have missed having them as neighbors ever since. When my ex-husband moved to Utah and had talked about the kids coming up for the 4th of July, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to keep my promise to my friend and come see her!
Cassie, my friend/the mom/Mrs. Hislop, is the daughter of a really cool guy who is over the parks & rec and they were having fun events that week. First up? Movie in the park, complete with bull rides. I was so proud of the kids for giving it a try. Petey was pretty scared but she did it anyway!
 
On Tuesday night, we had some evening plans and my hair was a mess. The pink hadn't fully taken and it looked like rasberry/orange sherbet. Also, the ends were horribly fried. Well, LUCKY ME, Cassie has a hairstylist for a sister and she fixed my hair on Monday and I love it!
Ombre red. It is awesome. Seriously awesome.


We spent Tuesday afternoon doing one of our favorite things to do together---Bachelorette, anyone? Cassie and I used to get together every Monday night with another friend of ours and we were so sad when she moved back to Utah. I still get sad every Monday night...
 
 
Tuesday morning (yes, that Bachelorette picture was taken after...I'm a little jumbled here), we headed to a trampoline park. As you can see above, my monkey climbed up those ropes all by herself. She was actually pretty intimidated and I told her she would earn a quarter if she would just try---and look at that! She succeeded!
 Miss J was so awesome and brave and kept practicing the tight rope. I wish I had a picture but she actually made it more than halfway across!
Mr. T is one of the cutest babies in the world. I was the very first person privileged enough to babysit him when he was a few weeks old and I used to cuddle him almost every week in church. I have missed him since they moved and he grew up so much!!!

Thursday we went to the pool and had a great time together! My boy, my awesome brave litle toaster was told he would get a quarter for going off the high dive (Can you tell I like to motivate my children to try hard things?).
 
Although he didn't do it, HE TRIED! He climbed up that ladder and stood up to the edge and then decided he'd rather come back down. I was a proud momma.
 
Sadly, that was going to be the last adventure we would have with the Hislops. We were headed out after swimming to go visit my fake Aunt and Uncle in Lehi.
But the kids had one last thing up their sleeve...
They put on a goodbye show for us in the backyard. We loved it!

After our goodbyes and trying to get the dvds to play on my Kindle (which never ended up working...darn.), we headed on our hour drive to my fake Aunt's house (She is my mom's best friend.).


The weather was perfect. Perfect! The kids played out in the dirt for over an hour and came inside full of smiles and dirt in their ears. What a night.
Absolutely perfect for our very last night in Utah.

Our drive started out early---5:30am AZ time. The kids were tired and a bit grumpy and ten hours of driving was shaping up to be FANTASTICALLY psychotic...and it was.
Spidey took a nap for a while which was great except Petey was bored and whining at me. But she's adorable and I love her.
Luckily, I had packed some coloring and art supplies. My kids eat that stuff up! So glad I grabbed these things the night before we left.
By the time we got to Flagstaff, Petey was done. Look at that face. She was a serious little bugger and was finding any and all reasons to cry or complain about something.

But again, I love her. She's my kid. She's my gal and I wouldn't trade her for all the money in the world!

It was a fabulous trip. I miss my friends already. I hate that we can't live near each other but I love that I was able to see her and let our kids see each other.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Nastiest of Nasty

Divorce can bring out the nastiest of nasty in people. I've seen it happen many times. Not only are there two people trying to navigate through this scary hell, families are forced to figure out their role in the divorce and often times, ugly things are said about people who used to love each other.

This isn't me just talking about my divorce in particular. It's everywhere. It happens often. You can be the loveliest person, inside and out, and you still find things said about you because you have been involved in a divorce. 

Often times, when I write about divorce or the things caused by our divorce, you'll see this after my post on Facebook or Twitter: #divorcesucks. And that hashtag is truer than true. Navigating through this new life while trying to figure out my role as an ex-wife seriously sucks a lot of the time. Missing out on time with my kids seriously sucks. Having the kids by myself without a spouse helping me along the way seriously sucks. Arguing with my ex-husband because we aren't understanding each other seriously sucks. Need I go on?

It isn't that marriage was better because most of the time, it wasn't. The sucky part is that marriage could've been better than divorce. It was possible. It wasn't this unreachable thing because "we weren't meant to be together". I don't really believe in that phrase. Two people can make a marriage work if they are both willing. The trick is that they both have to be willing. 

Navigating single life just seems like a mess most of the time because I've got all of this baggage that constantly parades through my mind and I don't know where to put it. Do I talk about it? Get over it? Pretend it never existed? The thing is, the answer is different for everyone. My stage of divorce grief is different than yours. It never looks exactly the same.

A lot of relief came after the initial shock of divorce. Months into it, I felt free and my home felt peaceful again. The kids and I were closer and life felt better. But demons were present in my fragile mind and those moments where I believed I was my strongest ended up being some of my weakest moments to date. I thought peace meant control but peace is about giving that control to God and trusting Him. The road I travelled down after separation/divorce was full of messes but I lived through it all and I learned from it all. It wasn't about being strong...it was about learning that it's ok to be weak. I've always had a hard time showing weakness, true weakness, because I felt like if people knew my weaknesses, they would see me as a failure. But I am not a failure. I may fail sometimes but I am not a failure.

This week I did something new and if you know me, you know that isn't always easy. I'm the girl who orders the same thing at a particular restaurant because I do what I know. Trying new things isn't my forte. But I took a twelve hour road trip by myself in the car. By myself. Not even with children.
For me, this was one of those "I can do hard things" moments because everyone was worried about me but I believed in myself. I knew my wings were ready for a new flight, an adventure I had only tried as a married woman with my husband in the drivers seat. I curved through hills, navigated my own directions, went through books on tape and new cd's, never stopped to eat, and made it to South Weber, UT with a smile on my face because I had conquered something I was afraid to do on my own.

Because although I act tough and strong and awesome most of the time, I'm usually afraid and feeling weak and stupid on the inside. My internal dialogue is full of "I can't's" and I have to shut them up with a few strong "I can do this's". I've always been ok to be the passenger wife because I felt like my husband could take care if everything. He could fix the sink, keep the fruit trees alive, and gosh darn it, he could take us safely on road trips. But I've learned in the past ten months that I am capable of doing everything he has done for our family. I am strong enough to be on my own. 
{And when I'm not strong enough, I call my dad.}
I'm now the girl who made it past Lake Powell and all the way to Utah. I am the girl who took apart the sink disposal because it was clogged and put it all back together effectively. I am the girl who remembers to water the fruit trees and mow the backyard. 

The fighting isn't going to end tomorrow. Our families are going to side with us, as they should, and once in a while, rude comments will slip out because of their protective nature over each of us. We are divorced. We are just kids ourselves. We are navigating horribly and wonderfully, depending on the day. We aren't perfect and often times, we will drive each other frickin nuts. 

But hopefully we continue to remember the importance of an "I'm sorry" and a humble heart because I believe that is what gets us through the nastiest of the nasty.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Real Writing

I want to be real. I want to sit here and profess all of my feelings and concerns and thoughts into this blog to help you and to help me.

My mother is a writer; an extremely talented write. She has written each of her grandchildren their own personal childrens book, she has written other childrens books, and she is currently writing her first biography. I feel like writing is in my blood. I've kept journals since I was a little girl. I've always gotten excited when assigned an essay in my English classes.

And now I blog. And on top of that, I still write in my journal and I still write essays for school.

The day after d-day (the day he moved out), I sat on my bed sobbing and ferociously scribbling words into my journal. My journal became my safe place. It contains so many of my emotions from the past ten months and I'll cherish that forever because in a few years, I doubt I'll remember all of these feelings. I'm pretty good at forgetting really painful things and I hope that my journal will be a reminder of how strong and brave I can be in the midst of some pretty painful trials.

Divorce has been pretty hard lately. It has been one hard lesson after another after another. I feel like I'm often being taught these new principles, some of which I doubt I'll ever fully grasp.

How do you just get used to the knowledge that people you loved so dearly now view you as crazy or manipulative? How do you get through the day without shouting the real reasons for divorce at everyone who has ever doubted your decisions?

Months ago, a friend had approached me and asked me about my divorce. We were talking and she said, "So did you just leave him because he stopped going to church and it got too hard?"
I was kind of shocked.
She only knew the story from my blog.
Did I make it sound like I left him?
Because the thing is, I didn't leave him. And oh my heck, I wish the only thing I was dealing with was an ex-husband who didn't go to church. Can we go back to the time where that was my biggest struggle? Because as hard as it was, it wasn't as hard as the divorce.

The thing is, I'm a good person. I'm finding my confidence---the confidence that left the day he did. I'm getting to a point where I can say with a certainty that I am worth something to my God and to other people on this earth. I know my intentions are good. I know my heart tries to love everyone.

I don't have hate for the man I am now divorced from. I don't have hate for his family or the friends he associates with. I don't carry hate around with me when I go about my daily routine.

I'm not as crazy or emotional as people think. I might be crazy at times and I am not denying my emotional capabilities but they aren't abnormal or psychotic.

I don't know if I'll ever get used to the fact that people believe really horrible lies about me. I know it's something I can't change but that doesn't make it any less painful. I promise I'm trying to act like a daughter of God. I promise I'm trying to serve and smile and love others.

I'm not perfect but I'm trying and I hope that the people I continue to trust believe in me also.

Because trust surely has been a hard thing to re-learn and re-gain. That was one of my flaws before divorce. I don't trust very easily. I often would make assumptions about my marriage and would act crazy because I truly felt crazy. And the worst part is, almost every thing I doubted in my marriage turned out to be full of lies---and the crazy feelings I felt have answers.

And this isn't me saying, "Neener, neener, I was right!". I didn't want to be right this time. I just hope you'll understand why I don't trust and why I'm afraid of the future a lot of the time.

A year ago, I was only a month away from one of the biggest changes and heartbreaks I've ever experienced...
...it's not that I want to warn the girl in this picture from July 4th, 2013 but I sure do ache for what lies ahead for her.

Because it isn't always pretty. It isn't full of sarcasm and laughing and smiles like I wish it was.

But through it all, she will learn. She will learn how to trust herself when she feels she can't trust anyone else. She will learn that God is aware of everything. She will learn that motherhood and sisterhood and just being a human being isn't perfection and it gets messy sometimes.

She will learn a lot of good things that will someday overpower the bad.

And with that knowledge, she will teach and serve and love the people around her so much better than before.

And that will make this all worth it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We Are All Equal

I am a sensitive person. I always have been. But among the many subjects I am sensitive to, there are a few that bring out my hyper-sensitivity. One of those things is my religion.

When I hear negative comments about my religion, I shake. My heart beats faster. My palms get sweaty. It's a physical reaction because I am passionate about who I am and a huge part of that is that I am a Mormon.

I am a Mormon. I am a Christian. I know that Jesus Christ died for me. I believe in living prophets today. I believe that Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and restored our church on this earth. I cannot deny my beliefs. They are mine and I hold them near to my heart.

If you are a Mormon {or heck, if you have a Facebook account}, you might be familiar with Ordain Women, a movement started by a feminist group that are petitioning to hold the Priesthood. I don't want to focus on the details of Ordain Women but I do have a strong desire to share with you how I feel and where I stand in all of this. I also have a desire for you to proceed through this post with love in your heart. You don't need to agree with me to be kind to me.

I grew up being taught that I am a queen, a daughter of royal birth. I believe this wholeheartedly. I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father. He loves me. Throughout my life so far, I have attended church reguarly. Even in high school when I didn't want to, I did it anyway. And when I moved out for 6 weeks in high school to a friend's house, I missed church. As much as I didn't want to admit it at the time, that was a huge awakening for me. My church was a great source of light in my often dark life.

To explain some of the darkness in my life at the time, I was teased a lot as a child. My non-church friends made fun of the fact that I was still "forced" to attend church every week. Some of the youth in my church group had a bet going about whether I would end up pregnant in high school. I felt like I wasn't fully accepted anywhere. Everywhere I turned, someone was against me. I didn't know where I belonged. Everyone was judging me for choices I was making. Everywhere I turned, someone seemed to be disapproving of my lifestyle. I hated it. I really, truly hated it.

Because of my issues with some kids at church, my parents were aching for me. They didn't know what to do. The truth of the church didn't change just because someone was mean to me. But I resented individuals for judging me so harshly. Now that I am a mother, I can't even imagine the confusion and heartache this would cause me as the parent of the child.

Although you might wonder how the church could be a light during this time for me, you would have to understand my own Spiritual perception during this time. I prayed daily. Even when making some really stupid teenage decisions, I was still praying regularly. I could've yelled til I was blue in the face that I didn't believe in God but He was my constant companion when I felt like nobody else understood me. Going to church was still a light in my life because I craved the lessons my leaders would teach. I knew the gospel was true. I felt it. I had a few friends who were genuine to me all of the time and that made church easier but even without those friends, I was feeling peace at church because of the things I was being taught, not because of the friends I did or did not make.

I have always felt a sense of peace when it comes to my role as a woman in the church. Motherhood is my greatest calling but aside from that, I feel like being a woman is my greatest calling. If ever there was a time where I didn't feel equal to men, it was because I felt I was treated as more important. My role is divine. Holding the priesthood would change nothing in the way that I view my divine nature. I don't compare motherhood to the priesthood because that doesn't make sense. I compare womanhood to the priesthood. I believe I am capable of healing others because I have a good heart and my prayers are heard.

The priesthood wouldn't change my role.

If tomorrow, the prophet said that God wanted women to receive the Priesthood, I wouldn't question it. It may happen in my lifetime. But because President Monson has not told us we should have the Priesthood, I believe that now isn't the time---and the time may be never.

I know many women who are distraught over the excommunication of Kate Kelly, the leader of Ordain Women. I respect their feelings. I don't want to negate their feelings just because I am explaining where I stand in all of this. What they feel is real and valid---I just wish everyone could feel how important I feel as a woman in the church. But they don't and that is sad.

I've thought about what I could do for these aching women and my only conclusion is to pray that their hearts will heal. I want them to feel welcome. I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel equal. I pray that they can have experiences that help them feel this way.

I don't agree with the way this movement was handled by Kate Kelly and John Dehlin and the other leaders. It makes me sad that something so sacred would become a widespread movement that seems to be petitioning for the prophet to make a decision. Without discounting the personal revelation these people have received, I can also understand the decisions made by the church. But that is one woman's opinion. I may be right and I may be wrong but my feelings are genuine and are not based on hatred but based on love for the religion that I believe so strongly in.

These past few days have been hard due to the many contentious discussions on Facebook that I have witnessed. Some are passive aggressive and others just downright hateful but all have left me questioning what the real purpose of Christianity is.

Just bear with me as I play the "what if" game for a second. What if Christ had a Facebook? I highly doubt He would be posting things about Mormons being a cult, Ordain Women coming straight from Satan, or how idiotic either side of the argument is. I'd even feel confident to say that He most assuredly would NOT say these things. So why do we, as Christians, feel the need to bash one another for our own personal beliefs?

Christianity isn't about knowing you are right and someone else is wrong. Christianity is about loving others and doing whatever possible to lift them up and help them feel like they are children of God. Because they are. You are. I am.

You don't have to agree with someone to be kind to them.

So if you find yourself in a discussion about Ordain Women or any other discussion in the world, remember what is most important.

Love.

Because we are all equal and we are all children of God.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Everybody is a Somebody

Everybody is a somebody. Everybody.

I've been lucky enough in my life to be taught these truths through some really hard trials.

I've learned these truths through my marriage to a man with an addiction. I've learned these truths through my own eating disorder addiction. I've learned these truths from some pretty bad decisions I've made and some pretty bad decisions others have made that have affected my life.

And here I am, a genuinely good person; an imperfect, often obnoxious person who struggles with her own addictions and although I could sit here and feel sorry for myself that life is hard and lonely and scary sometimes, that just seems like a waste of what I'm going through.

Either way, I'm going to go through this crap. I don't have a choice in that matter. People have made decisions, promises have been broken, lives have been altered---and all I have left is my choice of how to deal with this.

So I'm choosing to learn.

I'm choosing to learn that addictions don't make you a bad person. I've known some pretty wonderful people do some pretty horrible things. They aren't bad people. They made bad choices. Addiction is a subject that has taught me empathy and patience---well, mostly empathy. I have learned that it is possible to look past someone's actions and try and see their heart. I absolutely, positively hate addiction---but I don't hate the addict. Huge difference, friends.

I'm choosing to learn that I can truly open my heart to love everyone around me. I don't need to agree with them. Our world is full of so much controversy. We see things on the news or in articles about the choices people are making and we have the choice to judge them or love them. But everybody is a somebody and they deserve the opportunity to voice what their heart feels.
I've been having a hard time seeing all of this Ordain Women stuff in the media because the arguments on both sides have gotten pretty tense. I see people bashing characters of people they have never met. I see horrible words being thrown out into the internet world to describe people who have never seen each other face to face. It was really getting me down that people would feel the need to talk so horribly about each other like that and so I posted this on Facebook:

You guys, we NEED each other. We need to have kindness and positive influences around us. We need to feel love and give love. We need to support and be supported.
So if we spend our time tearing people down, we have wasted time we could use lifting someone up.
#loveoverpowers #weareallequal #everyonedeserveslove #randomthoughtsonasunday


I believe every word I said on that Facebook post. We really do need more love and less negativity. We need to give people the benefit of the doubt before jumping to the worst conclusions.

I no longer believe there are bad people---only people that make bad choices. We all have good within us. And most of the people we are bashing are making decisions they believe to be the best decisions possible for themselves.

Addiction has taught me to look beyond a person's actions and try and see them as children of God because that is truly who they are. Although addiction has caused some of the most painful trials I have ever experienced in my life, I am the Suzanne that I am because of the experiences that I've had and today, I wouldn't change that. {But don't ask me on a low day. On a low day, I tell addiction to go to hell and I wish none of this had ever happened...}

I am nowhere near perfect and I'm not over here claiming to be. I just know how much happier I feel when I'm trying my damndest to love the people around me---and even the people thousands of miles away from me.

This world needs more love.