What Fighting The Darkness Within Has Taught Me

Life is to be learned from constantly. There is a constant battle we wage daily against the darkness that surrounds us and lives within us. Sometimes we are witnesses to battles fought by others. More often, we are the ones fighting.

Here is where I hope my words can capture what my heart has seen.

I have learned that in order to fully heal, the wound needs to be exposed out loud. It is frightening to share things that have hurt us or the choices we have made, but it is necessary. There is a powerful catharsis that takes place when we verbalize what is in our hearts.

We CANNOT go through life alone. God places people in our lives that help us. It is their gifts and abilities that He has given them that allow them to help us…if we let them. We are all those people and have the ability to bless the lives of all around us.

As much as we pile strength and positive thoughts on top of an underlying lie we haven’t exposed, it always manifests itself one way or another. These lies limit us, holding us back from those things that we want. They need to be exposed and our hearts need to be healed.

Fear is the ultimate destructor of our ability to heal. When we are afraid of what others will think of us or we are scared of the reprocussions, we do not do what it takes to heal. FAITH is the ONLY way to heal. Faith gives us courage to open up and know that in spite of everything, we are going to be much better off on the other side.

Looking back will never allow you to move forward. In fact, it is a lot like Lot’s wife. Every time we look back and give emotion to the past, part of our hearts turn to salt. It is essential to learn from history, ours especially. It is even more vital that we take what we learn and MOVE FORWARD. Dwelling on past mistakes gives the darkness power.

Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are constantly fighting for us. They give us the strength to face the darkness, expose its lies, and move forward. Only they can heal us completely. And they are always ready when we reach out to them. They give us the weapons we need. They bind up our wounds and heal us. To Them WE ARE EVERYTHING.

I am grateful to learn. I am grateful for every experience in my life that has taught me these valuable lessons. I am grateful to KNOW whose I am. I am grateful to know that I can change and become.

Running Too Fast

Life is seriously a process of progression and learning. It is a beautiful kaliedoscope of change. And the amazing thing is that it is specifically tailored to each person.

Sometimes I wonder if I am a little slow to learn the lessons life is trying to teach me through change and challenge. It seems like I go through different challenges and reactions over and over before I am open enough to receive direction or understanding. Yet, the older I get, the more I realize that some lessons take a lot of time and layers to learn.

For a long time I have had a tightening in my chest, making it difficult to breathe. I knew deep down that it wasn’t anything physically serious. I knew it had to do with my emotions and perceptions of life at the time. Yet, I couldnt truly nail it down to a source to gain the control I needed. These tightenings always correlate with high stress moments in my life (not a surprise there). Even knowing this….I still could not figure out the roots.

This week life presented a nice basket of stress-inducing challenges. The basket contained every element of struggle that I have been working on overcoming, with a little bit more tossed in for ‘fun’. Low and behold, I couldn’t breathe. I found that I was struggling with finding enough time to do everything I wanted to do, answer all of the questions that were looming and meet the needs of my family. I truly felt overwhelmed and less than.

Once I recognized this little oppression filled bundle and identified it for what it was, I prayed to understand.

We are taught in quiet moments.

I was in short supply of them as my mind was racing.

Yet, it was as if the answer was waiting for that brief moment when my mind and heart settled. Waiting for that little break to enter and show me what I was looking for.

When that moment came, the answer started off like this:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that man should run faster than he has strength.   ~Mosiah 4:27

I have spent the past years trying to run faster than what my body, soul, mind and heart could handle. I was trying to receive answers to questions that I was not ready for. I was trying to fix everything that seemed broken, but really wasn’t. I was trying to bend life to my mold and not allow myself to be molded and shaped by the lessons life was teaching me.

I truly was running faster than what life was ready to teach me.

In that moment I began to breathe. I began to see how life truly molds us, how our paths are designed to grant us strength, knowledge and compassion. I began to understand that my path is mine. I began to slow down a little.

I have found that  it is easier for my heart to let go of the binding rules that have held it tight for so long. Slowing down has allowed me to become more by letting go.

Uncomfortable

I have begun to notice a pattern in my life and the life of my family. I am sure I should have articulated this sooner, however sometimes it takes some repeating to help feelings and thoughts come together coherently.

UncomfortableA few months prior to our most recent move, I began to be uncomfortable where I was. I certainly could not understand why I would feel the way I did, because I loved our home, the location and many other aspects of where we were. Yet, in the midst of all of that, my heart would not settle.

Then began the little things that nudged my heart to a place of restlessness. Looking back, I can see how Heavenly Father moved me. First He took my heart far away…to Texas. We felt like we were supposed to uproot our family and move away from Utah. Truly there seemed to be many attractive things waiting for us there.

However, the longer we looked at it, the more we felt like it wasn’t right. What we thought was there, was not. For a brief moment I was upset at Heavenly Father for taking my mind there, then I began to see what He was truly doing. Next, we fell in love with a place north of us. It is a place of beauty, nestled just beyond the mountains with incredible vistas and a safe place to raise our family. Again, I began to move there.

With a little bit of time, those familiar feelings of ‘not right’ seeped into my heart. I remember gathering the courage to leave it in His hands and asking if we were not supposed to go. Again, it wasn’t the right place for us.

Finally, after much prayer and searching, we found a wonderful place 15 minutes from where we lived. A completely different environment, just as beautiful and right.

My point is, what led up to this move was a deep feeling of being uncomfortable where we were. It was not a place that we would have become who Heavenly Father needs us to be. He knew He had to make it uncomfortable for us  so that we would embrace change.

Looking back and seeing the present, I see many times He has done this in our lives. Each time we have moved our little family, we have had this experience. Each time a change was needed, we become uncomfortable. When we are supposed to move on from an experience or person, it is just that…uncomfortable.

I have begun to look at this…uncomfortableness…as a great blessing in our lives. These are the moments we have been blessed to make the greatest, most significant changes, bringing us into alignment with His will for us. He knows that we are rarely willing to leave this little box we call comfortable, leaving us stagnant in our growth.

In His kindness He rips us out of these places. In His love He thrusts us into new opportunities. In His love He shows us we are so much more than we see in ourselves. In His love He gives us more than we ever could imagine.

I am truly grateful for this principle He continues to teach my heart. Understanding it is because of His great love allows me to see things as they truly are.

The Blessing of Change

I have found there is nothing more constant in life than change. It is the essence of life that brings with it growth, sometimes pain, and most often renewal. I find that when I fear change, I push against the very power that would create within me who I am meant to be.

This week has brought a fair amount of change, and therefore growth. The Blessing of Change

I am in the final terms of my Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Wellness. It has been a very fulfilling journey for me. My schedule for my last terms has required me to take an extra class, bringing with it a little bit extra work. I have been so blessed with a very supportive family, who gives me the time I need to accomplish all that I need to get done. Starting a new term with more to do has brought a little bit more of a load.

A few weeks ago I felt that Heavenly Father needed more from me and I questioned what would He have me do? The answer came in a random conversation with my husband about creating a website to challenge him in developing his own website (he likes competition, because it pushes him). He jumped on the idea that this is something I should do, not for the competition, but for me. His encouragement gave me the push I needed and, so this part of my life is beginning. I am excited and very overwhelmed by this, even with the extra load it has brought.

–Sidenote–the sunset here is gorgeous tonight! I love the pictures Heavenly Father paints for us!

This week also has been filled with many faith based decisions. Daily, we have been required to do things that require hope for things to come, because immediate needs seemed to be unresolved. The weight was heavy, however nothing that was too burdensome. I truly felt help surrounding me, even though I could not see it. Each day prayers were offered, hope kindled and we moved forward as best as we could.

Then yesterday came….

All week the doubts and fears had been circling my heart and in my mind, however I was able to keep them at bay. Living purposefully allowed me to have the strength to keep them from overtaking me. And then I did something unintentionally that hurt someone I truly love and the beautiful armor I had been wearing began to fail. It was as though a dam had sprung a leak, which quickly turned into a raging flood. Those doubts and fears took notice of this chink in my armor and moved in for the kill.

I gave in.

I allowed them to tell me lies and take hold of my heart, overwhelming my spirit with their darkness. It was my choice and my choice alone. I am not proud of this choice by any means.

After spending some time in isolation, sitting in the darkness that had overtaken me, praying for help, I was found by my loving family. They reached down into my heart and pulled me from this desolate place. They are truly a gift from God to me.

This morning I made a choice.

I chose to move forward again. I chose to call upon the Atonement of my Savior to change my heart through forgiveness and the enabling power only it can bring. I chose to smile and remember that I am bigger than any problem or challenge I am faced with. I chose to embrace the day and everything it held for me.

The beauty of the Atonement is change. I learned this again today.

Because He came, I can change. Because He came I can repent and forgive myself. Because He came I can smile. Because He came I can live with my blessed family forever. Because He came I am renewed. Because He came I can have a deep relationship with my Heavenly Father and call upon Him when I fall. Because He came I don’t have to live in darkness (even when in weak moments I choose it). Because He came I know love.

That is the blessing of change I came to know.

Winds of Change

fall-leavesToday I sat on a bar stool in my kitchen, looking out of the window at the beautiful mountains just east of our home. They are on fire with the beautiful colors of fall. I took a few moments to simply clear my mind of everything that has been crowding it lately and I quietly sat.

As if by a magic that only nature possesses, a gentle breeze came through the yard. As it made its way through, it picked up some of the leaves on the trees and set them free. The effect was beautiful. As the leaves swirled around, my heart-felt a deep peace that it hasn’t felt in months. It was a moment I captured there, because a camera would never do it justice.

I am not really sure how it happens, but the winds of change blow in our lives too. Sometimes they are the strength of a hurricane leaving a path of change and abrupt growth. Other times they are as gentle as this breeze bringing hope and life. I have experienced both and would not change what either brings.

The beauty of hurricane winds in our lives is that we are changed into new creatures. The sheer force and constant beatings strip away that which we do not need. This process of aggressive erosion is painful to a spirit and mind that wants to keep these aspects of who we are. I know I have a Heavenly Father who loves me beyond comprehension. I know He knows who I am meant to be and so He sends these winds to create the growth I need to become. I also know He knows I am strong enough to come through this storm, even when I can’t see this strength in myself.

As the hurricane passes, we come across these beautiful, quiet breezes. They are a gift. The only way we truly appreciate their gentleness is surviving the storm that has shaped us. The peace and hope they bring penetrate our souls and allow us to heal from the inside. The only way we get to experience these moments is when we are quiet in our hearts and minds. It is then that the power of the breeze is manifested.

I see His hand through all of this. I see how He has shaped my heart into new and beautiful forms. I see how my Savior has held my hand and carried me when I couldn’t stand against the winds that were pulling me down. I see how the Rock I have stood on gave me the strength to stand. I see Their love.

Change is inevitable….it is wonderful.