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The Gift of God
By angelmom
4/30/2014 2:26:24 AM
I have not been here for a very long time and have missed reading and writing on this blog. My life has taken a different turn and I’ve kept very busy. But I have wanted to share my journey with you in hopes that you will accept it as my journey with no expectations that yours needs to be mine.

Over the past 4 years my life has taken me and my family on a most excellent adventure. It was that very adventure which has lead me back home again. For those on this blog who knew me from way back when, you might remember my husband’s Alma or Paul experience that started me on a path I never could have imagined. At the time I also had a child who was just beginning to play with drugs (which over time took us to a whole new level), and another who struggled with sex/ porn/ mast addictions. My other kids have their struggles, but somehow have managed to escape addiction (that I know of at this point?). Hubby and I faced some ridicule over his experience with many people having doubts or saying that his change would not last, but after 23 years of marriage, I knew something was different. He went to an intensive weekend therapy with Dr. Weiss. Dr. Weiss is not LDS, but he is a Christian minister (not sure which denomination) a therapist, and himself a recovering sex addict. In all the years of seeing therapists there was never a time when one of them opened the scriptures or spoke of the healing power of Jesus Christ. Dr. Weiss did a lot of that as well as other methods that opened my hubby’s eyes to the pain his actions had caused me. I can’t say this happens with every addicted person who seeks the good Dr’s counsel, but my hubby was humble and ready. I always thought that Dr. Weiss was the reason for my husband’s transformation, but although very good at what he does, it was his perspective to Jesus Christ that made all of the difference. All his life he was taught that the Savior will pick up the slack after my husband did everything in his power to change. The problem is that he had always done everything in his power and it still somehow was not enough. He still lived with tormenting guilt and shame. That is when he learned for himself that it was all in and through his Savior that forgiveness is always available, guilt and shame are washed away, and that healing can begin.

As amazing as hubby’s change was, so amazing that for the past few years it has been noticeable to just about everyone in his life. Okay, so as to not get all self-focused or anything, but the most important change of all is the unexpected one Jesus made in me. The funny thing is that at the beginning of all of this, I really did not see that I needed that change. I just thought that all the pain that was happening, was happening because my husband did not honor his priesthood and brought evil into our family. I have since come to personally understand that none of that was true. I gave the devil way too much attention, power and wayyyy too much credit for all that was happening in our lives. For our whole married life we were always striving for perfection, but perfection turned out to be our problem. If we were even to get close to perfection, we would never need Jesus in our lives. We prayed and used His name, but really we kept trying to change ourselves from the outside in. We were unintentionally rejecting the Gift He openly was giving us. In fact it was that striving for change that made everything worse. The striving kept me and my husband very self-focused. Little did I know that God was doing something else with me, my husband, our marriage, and our family that had nothing to do with becoming better people. As it turned out, that was not at all what was happening. All along what He wanted from us was to love Him and take Him individually into our hearts. Looking back it was like He was saying to me, “stop expecting all of this change, stop trying to be better, stop expecting…. Just stop!!!”… “Take rest, be still, and know that I am God” … “Trust in me, and me alone, and I will do for you what you could never do for yourself”.

I prayed, I cried to Him, I prayed some more. Then I did something I had never done before and that was, I opened the Bible and began to read , starting with the Gospel of St. John. I read as if I was a child. I had read in the New Testament before, but it was the kind of reading you do when you study. This was a reading of the heart to seek Him, to know Him, to really hear Him. I kept reading about grace. It was a word that appeared everywhere. I started to understand grace while working my recovery steps, but this grace I was reading of was a worshipful and unearned grace. It was not just an acceptance that I had a Savior, it was like falling in love with this one of a kind amazing God! It was during that time that I got on my knees and told the Lord that I was so sorry for the way that I treated my family. I told Him everything that I know he already knew. I asked Him to change my heart because I never wanted to hurt my family with my controlling ways again. I told Him that I have done everything to the best of my abilities, that I lived all of the laws with my whole heart, repenting along the way when I was wrong. Gradually I began to understand that it was not about what I was doing or not doing. I could never do enough to earn His unending love. I asked him to come into my broken and unkind heart and help me. Something happened on that quiet tear filled night that had never happened before. It was as if he gave me a new heart. I really thought I knew Him because I prayed always, read the Book of Mormon, and served with my whole heart. I felt good when I did those things, but this was not about feeling this was about something else that I still struggle to properly express outwardly.

That new heart did not really make me more perfect or even more righteous; it was a heart that stopped judging my family. It is hard to explain exactly how that happened, it just did and to this day the relationships in my family have changed in ways I could have never known. My husband would struggle; slip, or fall, and he would wait for me to be hurt. I even tried to be hurt. It was something I was very good at. What was happening was that I was hurt, not for me, but for him and all he has suffered for all these years. How I knew that he did not want this addiction. The same thing was happening with my broken children. They were amazed, I am still amazed. None of this is something I can take any credit for. Each day I live and wherever I go, I think of my Savior. He is never very far from my thoughts.

So far, perfection not happened and maybe it never will. My kids still struggle. Hubby still slips (although less and less these days). But he sticks with his recovery efforts and so do I. The judgment and expectations are gone. I sometimes will tell one of my sons that I wish he would not party so much. But he says that he never lies to me anymore. He even calls me in his deepest struggles to share. This son who once hated me, now tells me that he loves me more than any other human being on the planet. He tells me how he knows I love him unconditionally. The inner struggle in me to try hard not to judge my family is gone. Will it always be that way? I have no idea, but I know what happened to me is called grace, real grace and although I am sure it happens differently for everyone, it is available to every human being. It was as if I had never read the following scripture before…Ephesians 2: 8-9 for it is by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: It took on new meaning once I experienced it.


too long, continued in comments, sorry :)

Comments:

The Gift of God Pt 2    
"My health has struggled through all of this and some weird health related things which we are still exploring answers to, but through all the pain (oh, did I mention that I am a wimp) I keep thanking Him for it all. Do I love this pain? Oh no I don’t I get very tired, but I trust Him in this and all challenges. Jesus Christ is everything, and all I look to for my salvation . To some it sounds to simple, but He is the one who saved my soul on the cross at Calvary all those years ago. However, it was only last fall that I discovered His gift, the greatest gift of all, and I will never be the same again.

I leave you today with my loving prayers of gratitude. I am wishing you well. I am wishing you love, and I am especially wishing you HIs amazing grace.

Love,
Angel"
posted at 02:51:47 on April 30, 2014 by angelmom
Awesome    
"This was awesome to read. Thank you so much for sharing."
posted at 10:26:29 on April 30, 2014 by Anonymous
Thank you    
"For this. It helped me realize what I need to do to let God into my life. :)"
posted at 12:16:19 on May 5, 2014 by Anonymous
Grace!    
"Even Christ himself received this gift from the Father. Yes it is a gift! Thank you for sharing Angel. Love you girl!
Hero or beyourownhero...."
posted at 02:10:38 on May 23, 2014 by Anonymous
Bump    
"Just bringing some of my favorites up for a good re-read"
posted at 18:39:25 on August 31, 2014 by maddy
Bam!    
"What you received is so much better than perfection! The Spirit of your gift is palpable. Undeniable. And as much as I still crave crave crave perfection I can't help but believe this (everything you just described) is SO much better. His yoke appears here so light in contrast to the heavy tedium of that would be self aggrandizing mormon perfection. Give up and give glory! I love the idea/feeling of being saved by grace. Not just any grace but the deeply personal grace of Jesus Christ! The Messiah! Wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God!.. My friend. With me to the end. Wish I always felt to sing the song of redeeming joy. But whatev it's nice to even get a taste once in awhile. Thanks Angel."
posted at 22:47:40 on September 5, 2014 by they_speak


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"I have come to know that thoughts, like water, will stay on course if we make a place for them to go. Otherwise, our thoughts follow the course of least resistance, always seeking the lower levels. Probably the greatest challenge and the most difficult thing you will face in mortal life is to learn to control your thoughts. In the Bible it says, as a man ‘thinketh in his heart, so is he’ (Prov. 23:7). One who can control his thoughts has conquered himself. As you learn to control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. You can gain courage, conquer fear, and have a happy life. "

— Boyd K. Packer

BYU, Speeches of the Year, 26 Sept. 1967