Thursday, April 17, 2014


For me, the Church's campaign Because of Him immediately evoked Kelly Clarkson's song "Because of You" which perfectly captures every ounce of my fear that my choices will affect how my children see themselves. I'm busy. I don't always give them the time I wish I could when so often I'm struggling just to keep a livably clean house and cry only when they can't hear me.

"Because Of You"

I will not make the same mistakes that you did.
I will not let myself
cause my heart so much misery.
I will not break the way you did.
You fell so hard.
I've learned the hard way
to never let it get that far.

One of the main reasons I decided to divorce was for them, because I saw that I could never be a good mother while I was scrambling to figure out how to be an acceptable wife. I saw that I couldn't serve two masters: my God and my husband. Not when one was trying his hardest to keep me from becoming anything but what he wanted me to be for himself. Trying to climb out of the emotional hole I found myself in has been hard. I have a hard time wanting to let myself love again because it makes me and my children vulnerable.

I lose my way
And it's not too long before you point it out.
I cannot cry
because I know that's weakness in your eyes.
I'm forced to fake
a smile, a laugh everyday of my life.
My heart can't possibly break
when it wasn't even whole to start with.

It doesn't help that my priesthood leadership is determined to assume I want to attack my husband. "It takes two to tango" is the unspoken assumption that hangs in the air every time I try to get help. Guess what? It might take two to tango, but it only takes one to shoot someone in the head. Abuse is not a dance. It is an assault. Very few people will help you defend yourself for long. Regardless of what help you get, the assault is frequent and fierce. You only have two choices: to keep smiling and stand strong or to let it win.

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk.
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt.
Because of you
I find it hard to trust not only me, but everyone around me.
Because of you
I am afraid.

I watched you die.
I heard you cry every night in your sleep.
I was so young,
you should have known better than to lean on me.
You never thought of anyone else.
You just saw your pain.
And now I cry in the middle of the night
for the same damn thing

And when these things come up, I get angry. Angry because I feel helpless. I want to teach my children to be strong, but how when I don't feel strong myself? Angry because I don't know if I'd believe me if I hadn't lived it. Angry because I had to work so hard at believing myself enough to do something about the nightmare I was living only to be treated like I am an attacker. Angry because I still carry the scars while the one who inflicted them does everything necessary to look like he has healed. Angry because staying strong in the onslaught of a narcissist is a losing battle...

Because of you
I never stray too far from the sidewalk.
Because of you
I learned to play on the safe side so I don't get hurt.
Because of you
I try my hardest just to forget everything.
Because of you
I don't know how to let anyone else in.
Because of you
I'm ashamed of my life because it's empty.
Because of you
I am afraid.

...except for one thing.

Kelly Clarkson's song isn't as unrelated to the #BecauseofHim as you might think. Her parents' relationship led her to be damaged, to be unable to make healthy relationships of her own. Her fear as a child is unshakeable as an adult. The choices of others have irrevocably affected her. Her life is a broken egg, as hopeless to put back together as Humpty Dumpty.

But "Because of You" does not have to be an ending. Whether the destruction of your life was, like me, at the hands of an abuser or narcissist, or maybe it was more personal like a loss of faith, a physical or mental illness, or anything which has left you broken and alone, there is more to the story. Loss is not an end, it is a beginning. Because of them, because of it, you are afraid, ashamed and alone. But because of Him, you don't have to stay that way.

If you are hurting right now for whatever reason, to whatever degree, I want to invite you to hear what I say and believe me, even if you can't believe yourself. There is One who deliberately allowed His life to be shattered so He would have the capacity to work a miracle in yours: a total reconstruction. A rebirth. A new you. That egg can be put back together. Death itself is utterly vanquished. All scars can be healed.

Because of Him, I can trust that I will understand things I don't understand right now.
Because of Him, I know I am valued, and eventually I will learn to feel it.
Because of Him, I can let go of what other people owe me.
Because of Him, I can replace anger with forgiveness.
Because of Him, I know my suffering will be turned for good.
Because of Him, I become strong enough to cast aside my doubts in myself.
Because of my Savior, the smallest blessings overshadow my greatest disappointments.
Because of my Lord and God, I don't have to obsess about my failures. I can let Him worry about who and what I'm becoming.
Because of Jesus Christ, all endings are beginnings.

It sometimes seems so impossible that some day, all will make sense. That some day, I will be healed. But it will. I will be able to cast off the shackles of my own weakness and allow Him to make them strengths. The scars will be gone. All that is just and merciful will happen.

Because of Him, even though I don't have time to be the mom I want to be, it will be okay. It will all be fine. Because of Him, the things that are done to me don't have to define who I am. Because of Him, I don't have to accept how my priesthood leadership see me, nor how I sometimes see myself.

Because of Him, I am not afraid.

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