Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Perspective Each Day Keeps the Darkness Away


There is a part of me that is wild. It wants to lash out at all meanness and fight with fury all injustices. This part of me is a flame that consumes, and when I fuel it, it burns me more than anyone else.

This was made clear to me several years ago when I was praying earnestly, sobbing on my knees because I'd seen the light in my children's eyes, that sparkle they were born with, go out. It broke my heart. What was worse, my own sparkle seemed to be gone. I had no joy left in my life, and the joy in my children that I knew I should be experiencing, was completely out of my reach.

I prayed: "I have seen other women who have children who are happy, confident, and their children are well cared for; they have clean homes, and they may not be perfect, but they have a light in their eyes and a cheerfulness that I don't have. Why not me?? Why can't I have that too?? Why not my children? Why can't they be like other children who laugh and are happy? Why are my children pale and sickly looking, timid and sad? Please.." I pleaded and begged, "I will make any change, I will do anything, I will leave my husband if that's what it takes. I will give my children up for adoption if that's what it takes. I will do whatever you tell me to do to be happy and to secure the happiness of my children. What should I do???" I opened my heart completely to feel the answer. Slowly, and softly, a warm wash of love came rushing over me, starting with the top of my head and running down, like a glass of warm water that penetrated deep into my soul and body. This was not the first time I had felt God's love, but each time it is magnificent.

I fell into a sort of trance, half asleep, half awake, and in my mind, I saw myself and my interactions with my children and Kevin. I saw all of the hurt I'd caused them, and felt the exact pain they felt each time I lost my temper, spoke sharply, criticized without love, or pulled away emotionally from them. I realized how immature I'd been, and how I, not my husband, had caused the light in their eyes to go out, and I, and no one else, was responsible for my own loss of happiness. I was flooded with guilt and self loathing. I thought my heart would come flying out of my face, I cried so hard. As I begged for forgiveness and asked for help to be a better person, all the pain and guilt was replaced, in one full-bodied spiritual hug, with overwhelming love and resolve. My tears changed instantly from pain to joy. Only the keenest, most infinite anguish can result in true, life-altering change. This is what I experienced, and it was magnificent.

I spent the next few years undergoing gradual change, and finally, as a massive surge toward the direction I was seeking to go, I found Celebrate Calm, which has given me extra guidence, more resolve, and opened my eyes even more to truth that was right in front of me the entire time! My own religion was teaching me all along what I should do, but I wasn't listening! I wasn't turning my thoughts inward and applying what I heard to my own actions in the home. I had to learn to trust God enough to do what he said, ALWAYS.

Once I began to do it, the peace in my heart became palpable. With Christ's help I finally found the way to change the nature of the flame that was consuming me, and turn it into a beam of light-of hope and love.

How does a person change? I begged forgiveness, asked for help, was accountable to my family for my actions. Believing that Christ is real, and that HE has the power to change my heart and make even me, a sinner and a destroyer of the spark of hope and joy, a better person, I strive toward strength, maturity, humility, and calm. Basically, I am now ready to grow up!

As C.S. Lewis once said, "Of all the miracles Christ performed...and still performs today, none has been so miraculous to me as the one he performed in my own heart."

"Some people mistakenly think that responses such as silence, meekness, forgiveness, and bearing humble testimony are passive or weak. But to "love [our] enemies, bless them that curse [us], do good to them that hate [us], and pray for them which despitefully use [us], and persecute [us]" (Matthew 5:44) takes faith, strength, and, most of all,...courage."

"When we do not retaliate-when we turn the other cheek and resist feelings of anger-we too stand with the Savior. We show forth His love, which is the only power that can subdue the adversary and answer our accusers without accusing them in return. That is not weakness. That is...courage."

"To be meek, as defined in the Webster's dictionary is "manifesting patience and longsuffering: enduring injury without resentment." Meekness is not weakness. It is a badge of...courage."

"This is not to suggest that we compromise our principles or dilute our beliefs...We should never confuse boldness with Satan's counterfeit: overbearance...As true disciples, our primary concern must be others' welfare, not personal vindication."

To be truly happy, we must be without guile. "To be guileless is to have a childlike innocence, to be slow to take offense and quick to forgive. These qualities are first learned in the home and family and can be practiced in all our relationships. To be guileless is to look for our own fault first. When accused, we should ask as the Savior's Apostles did, "Lord, is it I?" (Matthew 26:22)

"To help [those who hurt or challenge us,] to be an example for them, is not for the weak. It is for the strong. It is for you and me."

-Robert D. Hales