Monday, November 21, 2011

Faith: A Loss or a Gain?

As I sat through the Primary program yesterday, I realized that I really don't belong in Primary. The ways that these children are taught to believe in eternal families, in the power of the scriptures, listening to the prophet, are not so simple for me. I believe in celestial marriage, in the power of listening to scripture. But it's not a fairy tale with a happily ever after.

We teach that families can be together forever but not how personal agency can affect that family. We teach reading scriptures by excising scripture bites that highlight what we want to say, but we don't teach our children how to delve into the scriptures, how to rely on scripture for answers they need. We teach following the prophet, but we forget to teach spiritual discernment of the prophet's words for personal application.

I don't feel like I am qualified to teach the kinds of lessons that are in Primary. I feel like I am lying by teaching such a fluffy, empty version of my testimony. And yet, it is those very things such as the temple, scripture study, and listening to the prophet which have been my lifeline.

One of the first paragraphs of "Lectures on Faith" asks the class to reflect on their lives, and ask themselves the question, "Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Surviving Domestic Violence

I have had much opportunity over the past six months to face again various emotional wounds that I sustained in my marriage. It seems that every facet of my life is offering the chance to test the limits of my healing. I have been disappointed with my inability to easily shake off the frustration and the fear that these challenges bring. I'm perfectly fine 99% of the time, but then something comes up that triggers all the old muck, and I feel like I've made no progress at all.

But as I have prayed about this and discussed it with two friends patient enough to listen to me, the Lord has shown me that I AM over it. I AM healed. I'm just going through the physical therapy part of my recovery. When something happens to stir up the muck at the bottom of my clear and placid pool, I realize that the muck is less and less each time. It settles more quickly. The twinges of pain from my healing emotional bones are becoming less, and they fade much more swiftly.

That is something to celebrate!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Daughters in my Kingdom III, the War Chapters

When I began to write about this book, it was with the hope and expectation that my predictions about it would be wrong, that my perspective would change from it. I have found it surprisingly difficult to read and to write, and the chapters about the war have been the hardest so far.

About the time I began to read about war in Daughters in my Kingdom, I began a book called Behind the Iron Curtain: Recollections of Latter-Day Saints in East Germany. This is a subject near to my heart because, no matter that I was born in America, and grew up in America, my soul lives in Germany. I don't tell people this when they ask me where I am from, because it requires too much explanation, but Germany is where I consider myself home.

The German people are stoic, with dry senses of humor. They are friendly, but private, only letting select people into their lives. More than anything, they have an inner strength mixed with a willingness to sacrifice that is unparalleled. They are rooted deeply in reality, and have learned to find beauty and humor in the harshness that life can bring. Their stories of the war can't help but betray this tender-hearted, unflinching nature.

It is this same spirit which permeates the accounts of women during the World Wars.

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