Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I was diagnosed with PTSD a few years ago - a result of several forms of abuse I endured as a child. The largest effect it has had on me is my need to control situations around me. Not necessarily in the "you will do what I say, how I say and when I say" scary way. More in the "I have planned this out in my mind and know exactly how things should go and when they don't I freak" OCD type of way. If you've ever worked with me on a large project, event or anything of the sort, you probably already knew this about me though. ;)

One thing I've really wanted to "fix" about myself is my ability to react calmly/rationally when things don't go quite as planned. After all, when do things EVER go as planned? Well Heavenly Father recently blessed me beyond my capacity in this area and I am so grateful.

(A quick side-note as all readers are not LDS and I don't want to leave anyone in the dark. If you are unsure what an LDS Temple is or it's purpose, check out this great video....or even if you know, check it out anyhow - it's fantastic!)

Now, don't you feel all warm and fuzzy inside after watching that? I know I do, every single time. It's only a portion of the "warm and fuzzy" I feel when I attend the temple. Matt & I were blessed to be called as Temple workers our very first time to the temple. It was scary to me at first, but has since blessed my life in ways unimaginable. This past Saturday's shift was no exception.

Due to some health & other problems, it had been about four months since I was last able to work at the temple. I had missed it sooo much, but was feeling a lot of anxiety about it as well. The adversary knew this and tried everything in his power to keep me from going. The night before my neighbors kept me up ALL night, and we had to wake up at 3:30 to be able to leave and get there by 7:30. When I woke up I was making sure I had all of the necessary things in my temple bag, and realized my recommend was MIA. There are only two places I have EVER put it and it made 100% no sense why it wasn't in one of those two places, but it wasn't, nor was it anywhere else to be found. It was only 4am so there was no way I wanted to call someone so part of me decided I wasn't meant to go to the temple that day and I let Matt know he'd be making the trip by himself. He said he would respect whatever my decision was, but he didn't agree I shouldn't be there and gently pushed me to make the right decision. (side note: I'm very grateful for a righteous husband who takes his Priesthood responsibility to be the Spiritual leader in our home very seriously).

We started the trip to Columbus and things went as normal. I texted the Bishop to have him call me as soon as he woke up - but hadn't heard from him by the time we arrived at 7:30. I called and Natalie answered (she's 7) and I knew leaving a message with her probably wasn't going to produce any desired result, but I did it anyhow. After talking to the front desk (someone that was new to our shift since my last time there so he didn't even know if he should trust I was a worker) I learned the procedure changed and was more strict than in the past. So now I had to wait until the Temple Presidency could call a member of the Bishopric, and they could only use the numbers on file. Knowing the number for my Bishop was probably incorrect, and that one counselor was in Oklahoma, and the other was at work...let's just say, I wasn't hopeful. One thing I failed to remember was the Stake Presidency could vouch for me as well - and I was more than pleased when President Brandt came out and said they were able to get a hold of President Snyder from the stake.

So....keeping in mind my previous mentioned anxiety issue....

My shift was anything but normal, and I was given the opportunity to deal with 3 situations unique to me (1 unique to most of the workers). One of them involved assisting my trainer with preparing a large group of sister missionaries who were extremely unprepared to be there. To put it plainly, my trainer freaked. She is a brand new trainer and that was already causing her a lot of stress....so when this situation came up she just didn't have it in her. I did the best I could to assist, but at the time felt I may have been causing more of a struggle because of my limited knowledge on where some things were kept in the cupboards. A while after the chaos had passed, she pulled me aside and thanked me for my calm reaction to the situation and told me it was the only reason she didn't completely lose her head. She thanked ME! The person who completely FREAKS when the tiniest thing is out of order or not according to plan.

After my shift was over I had a lot of time to reflect on the day. I realized that I had some major 'triggers' that day that in any other situation would have caused me to have at least one panic attack and be down for the count. I also realized that during those events, I felt more peaceful than I had in a long time. The more I reflect on the day the more grateful I become for Heavenly Father's gift of those trials while at the temple. We truly do grow the most through our trials. I am so thankful for the opportunity to learn that I really can do this.

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Lord in the Temple as I know I couldn't have learned that lesson among the chaos of the outside world. It was there where I was finally able to depart from the temporal world, and realize the potential Heavenly Father has given me to overcome my weaknesses. It was there, through serving Him, that I was able to find hope. Hope that one day, I might be normal ;).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I've been trying to decide if I am supposed to just lay it all out right away - and then break down the things I've learned from the experiences I've been blessed with....or really what I am supposed to do. After a week of a lot of prayer and a lot of listening (a skill I'm trying hard to work on, but failing miserably!) I've decided that could potentially cause more damage than good. Aside from that, I don't want this blog to focus on the trials/experiences, I want it to focus on the things of the Spirit. The things I've learned, or am learning from each experience. As a warning though, I am not very organized when I write, so I will do my best to stay as coherent and on task as possible.

I should start with making it known I was adopted when I was 3 years old. While I had been with a foster family for almost 2 years, and they had every intention of adopting me, I was adopted by my paternal aunt and her husband because that was the only way my biological father wouldn't fight the courts. With it being a family adoption, one would think that I would have a better opportunity to know my biological family history. Who my parents were (yes were, they are now both deceased), medical history, and just basic things like that. Unfortunately that's far from the truth. I learned growing up my biological father was my adopted mother's brother by blood, but that's about as far as the relationship extended. It wasn't that anything happened where they severed the relationship, they just simply didn't have one. In fact, by the time I was born he didn't really have a relationship with any of his 14 siblings (well, 13, one died years earlier). About the only information I have about my mother is that she was just nuts. Literally, in every sense of the word, nuts. She was a schizophrenic. On top of that she had a severe drug addiction. The poor woman was very ill and eventually took her own life. I found all of this out when I was about 10 or 11 I think. I never really had any feelings about this when I was young. If anything, I was just sad for her. It wasn't until years later when I realized what the diseases she had were, and how they could potentially effect me.

The knowledge that I had a chance of getting this disease was disabling to me for quite a while. Especially after I learned the chance was increased because I was a 'crack baby'. I questioned everything I thought and I lived in a constant fear. The fear made me push people away - far away. I was afraid if I let anyone get close they would notice I wasn't "right" and then my fears would become reality. At the time I was the chorister in Sacrament meeting. The prayerful time I spent choosing the music each month are some of the times I felt the Spirit the strongest in my life. There was a night I was preparing music for the next month and I came across Hymn #14, Sweet is the Peace the Gospel Brings. At that time I was really struggling and my entire body was overcome with the Spirit as I read verse 2:

It's laws and precepts are divine and show a Father's care.
Transcendent love and mercy shine in each injunction there.

At that moment I knew that our Father in Heaven does not want us to fear. At that moment I decided I wasn't going to let the fear of just the possibility that I may one day have a disease that I can't control disable me anymore. For the most part, it worked, I did have moments of weakness, as we all do...but quickly my days became brighter and I felt like the Savior's arms were wrapped around me.

Our ward has a Book of Mormon study group weekly. Last week the discussion came up about feelings of fear and anger. As the discussion progressed there were those who shared their beliefs that at times feelings of fear and anger are OK. At that time I was able to share my testimony and felt it grow. Feelings of fear and anger never, absolutely never, come from our Father in Heaven. I know that without a doubt those feelings are the adversary's tool to keep us from feeling the Spirit. Our Heavenly Father does not want us to feel fear or anger. The more we allow these feelings in, the harder it will be for the Spirit to overcome that fear.

We had Stake Conference this weekend and during the adult session last night our stake president shared an analogy that I really appreciated. We are all familiar with the analogy of light and darkness when we talk about the Light of Christ. During the meeting President Titera had all of the lights in the room turned off - so it was almost completely dark - and then had them turned back on. As quick as the switch could be flipped to turn the lights on, the darkness went away. But if there is a power failure, or if something happens to weaken the power source, the lights can't come on and the darkness stays. If we relate that to the Light of Christ, if we let anything, such as [[FEAR]] weaken our power source, we may deprive ourselves of the Light that we all desire.

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ IS peace and as we do the things that strengthen our power source the light will dispel the darkness that comes from fear and contention.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

With Real Intent

We are promised if we pray, with real intent, we will receive an answer. I can testify this is true...just don't always expect the answer you want to hear ;).

I was commanded recently in a Priesthood blessing to start this blog. Well, not exactly, but after further prayer and inspiration, this is what I know I am supposed to do. I'm not sure why I am supposed to do it though, and quite honestly, I'm not even sure I want to.

To give you an idea of what this blog is, it's a summary of my experiences, and what I've learned from them, what I can gain from them, and most importantly how they have helped me become closer to the Savior, my Savior. Don't worry, I will try my best not to bore you with my day-to-day stuff, because it really is quite boring. It will be more of my life experiences, the big ones. As a warning, there are some not-so-pleasant ones, ones that until this blog, I don't think I've ever verbalized to anyone except my husband. I'm still not sure what I will share or when I will share - but I do know why I will share....because I'm prompted to.

I sincerely pray that this blog can help me overcome some of my fears, insecurities, and short-comings that have derived from these experiences. I also pray that I am not the only person to learn, and benefit, from these experiences. That those who read this blog will strengthen their testimony as I do.

In any case, please feel free to comment and share your own experiences as you feel prompted so we can all grow together.