Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Covenants in Action

Sometime last week, my sweet sister in law and I were walking into Joann's Fabrics to look for Christmas fabric for stockings. We literally stepped through the door, less than 60 seconds in, and a sweet older woman stops her to talk to her adorable 4 month old. Does the normal baby talk and asks a few questions about him. When she asked his name and my sister in law said Chuck, she was taken aback and said oh like Charles? And she said yes, and then the woman proceeded to tell us about her husband, Charles, who died of cancer 4 years previous, and the 18 months to live they were given turned into 3 weeks, and holidays are very rough and she still has a hard time understanding why her sweet husband was taken when all these horrible people walk the earth. Man, talk about a heavy passerby conversation. BUT, my incredible sister in law, Madison, asked this woman, Bonnie, if she was religious. I cringed, way to be forward. //I have also never served a mission and never had to be forward, Madison has, and she rocks it// Bonnie says yes, she believes in God, etc. And Madison says ok good. And then bears her testimony and belief that there was work for this woman's husband in the next life, and that is why God took him from here and left her. And Bonnie still has work to do here and thats why she's still around. But, Madison said, I KNOW you will see your husband again someday and you will work with him side by side in the next life. I was choked up then, and again now typing this. This woman was crying and said do you really believe that? Madison proceeded to invite her to Thanksgiving dinner since Bonnie was alone, who insisted she couldn't possibly intrude, but she told me she was so touched by our kindness, and invitation and she would be able to get through.

Sorry for the detail. I hadn't planned on typing all that. Jump to this past Sunday.

I'm laying around since church doesn't start until noon and my father in law is getting breakfast ready and gets a call. One of the sweetest old men in our Ward [congregation] was found dead that morning and his wife found him, and an ambulance was on the way, and FYI, etc etc. And I watched him jump in to Bishop mode //He recently got called as the Bishop of the Ward here; think like a pastor over a congregation// He started making calls to find someone to go over to the house to sit with this poor widow and help her with whatever she needs. Then he has a meeting prior to church so he's got to get someone to jump in on that so he can also run over to the house and check on things. And between calls, he stops for a second over his breakfast and his eyes well up with tears. He took a deep breath and dials the next number and goes back into work mode. As the news spread, it was amazing to hear in the prayers, pretty much every prayer, asking for blessings and love and comfort for this family.

These two things happened within days of each other and it got me thinking of a scripture in the Book of Mormon. This will also take a little set up. If you've gotten this far, you can do it. I promise I have a point.

In the Book of Mormon there is a prophet preaching to an evil king and his wicked priests. But one of the priests [Alma] isn't so wicked and believes the prophet. He professes this and the other guys try to kill him so he runs off and takes a lot of people from the "kingdom" that also believe to a safe place in the wilderness. So they're hiding out in the wilderness and he's teaching them the words of this [amazing] prophet, Abinidi. And he starts talking about being baptized, and what being baptized means. More than a one time thing, professing Christ is your Savior, and you're saved, but the things you're agreeing to do and be when you are baptized. And that's what I'm getting to. Here are the words.

Mosiah 18:8-10

8. And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for this were they called) and now, as ye are desirers to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light;
9. Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God [...]
10. Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

Lots of words. But some super awesome good ones full of goodness. Gosh, I love the Book of Mormon. Anyways, the part that jumped into my mind as I sat through church on Sunday and all these things were on my mind, was the bear one another's burdens, willing to mourn with those who mourn, comfort those in need of comfort, and stand as a witness at all times and in all things, even in the aisle of Joann's.

I LOVED seeing these incredible examples in my life this week, of the baptismal covenants in action. Sometimes we forget what we have promised when we were baptized. But this was a lovely reminder to me, that we need to reach out to those around us, whether complete strangers who are having a hard time, you *never* know. I will never forget sweet Bonnie Cobb of Barboursville, WV and her story we were a part of for a few minutes. And I will never forget the look on my father in law's face as he felt and mourned with this new widow and called on many others to go and comfort, and bear burdens and mourn. It was absolutely beautiful and it makes me so proud to call myself a Mormon and a part of this amazing community of Saints in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

#LightTheWorld #ShareGoodness #ImAMormon

Friday, September 8, 2017

If at first you don't succeed...

Every year, one Sunday is kind of "taken over" by the sweet primary aged kids in our congregations. [Usually ages 3-12] It's a chance for them to give the "sermon" and share their testimonies, their experiences and beliefs. They sing songs in between the little talks [or speeches] they give which sweetly and simply share their testimony and beliefs even further.

This is the first year I'm in charge of this 40 minute program, of 25 kids, as part of my calling as the Primary President. [[AH!]] Last year I was the lowly pianist for this program. Oh, that was the dream, kids! Don't mind me while I sob quietly in the corner reminiscing that beautiful moment.

OK! So, every year the lessons for these kids the leaders teach change. We focus on a different theme, have different subtopics we focus on, etc. So every year its different, based on what we've covered this year.

I remember the beautiful spring day when I thought so anti-procastinatingly that I'd start writing the program. [Mind you, the program is usually in the fall, so go me, productive president you.] HA. Let's take bets on how many of you actually thought I'd sat down waaaay back in the spring and wrote this program. It crept closer, it was always kind of looming in the back of my mind, and I'd always look at the calendar and think, "Psh, I've got time." We even scheduled the date with our congregation leadership before I'd written the program. This seems a little backwards.

Fast foward to a few weeks ago. I felt pretty good writing it in August. We had a bunch of kids move in over the summer, so I'm glad I waited to include them and not have to write in a bunch of new parts. We weren't going to practice until the end of Sept/beginning of October, so I had time before the looming "performance" date of Oct 22.

I sat down during one nap time, and busted that sucker out. I felt so good. I had all the speaking parts and talked grouped nicely in little themed bunches, followed by wonderful songs that summarized that section and packaged it all up nicely. HA. Who needs to start in the Spring when I clearly was able to do it in a few hours one day.

I think Satan may have heard that last part.

Cause BOOM. I went to save it. My mac has seen better days so it takes a good 5 mins for it to even register I'm trying to save something. As that little cursor is a-spinnin'... the seconds keep on a-tickin'. Five minutes goes by, [no sweat], 10 minutes goes by [ok, maybe a little sweat], 15... Uh oh. My computer is frozen. I can't click anything, with that danged spinning cursor. I can't switch to any other windows, restart Word... OH.NO. whatamigoingtodo!?

//restart computer//PRAY Word recovered the unsaved file [coolest feature ever, where was that in college, and why didn't I learn in college to SAVE AS YOU GO.]

Open word. Nothing. And "recovered" files weren't this lovely program I'd just written. Went into the brains of my computer to see if there was a trace of a recovered file, temporary file, any file.. nope. Nada. ::deeeeeep breathes, Haley::

I closed my computer, walked away, before I killed it and cried on my kitchen floor.

I told my fellow Primary leader, I guess something I'd written wasn't supposed to be spoken, or I'd left something out, or the program wasn't quite what the Lord wanted. Right? I was going to divine intervention instead of undivine mayhem. I'm convinced Satan controls electronics and thats why they reap so much destruction or always go wrong when you need them to, or that perfect video that's worked every time, stops working the second you need it for you Sunday School lesson. I know you know what I'm talking about. So I decided to err on the side of light, and I'd come back to it once my heart rate slowed down.

Uh... that was almost 3 weeks ago. Procrastinate much? I won't deny I wasn't a little bitter that'd I'd already sat down for hours, mapped it out, consulted the months and weeks of themes, the lists of kids on the rosters, who would be suited to read what parts, etc. I already did the work. So WHY was I being made to do it ALL over again??

Well as the days have crept through September, closing in on our first practice date, before which I need to hand out parts for kids to prepare and practice, a Bishop that needs to approve the program.. I finally sat down on this very late Thursday night to work on it.

Hopped up on far too much Pepsi, some beautiful simple church music playing, I started on that blank Word window. Now I'm not done. I have a few things to tweek. Some areas that need a little something. But I have it. 3 pages of glorious-ness [does that sound too prideful.. sorry!]

And as I scrolled over it, making notes on what to work on tomorrow, I felt in my heart, "This is what I wanted you to come up with."

So many times in our lives we are doing the Lord's work, whether in church areas, or in our own personal lives. We're working towards Him. And we have the plan, we have the idea of how its going to turn out, how its going to end up and be perfectly wrapped up in the end. And that final vision gets deleted. And we cry, or scream, or get angry that we did all this work, all this good work, what we thought was right, to have it all fall apart.

But once we stop, take a breath, hopefully say a prayer or two, and get back to work, we'll see, it ends up exactly how the Lord wanted it to end. And we almost always see His way was so much better than ours.

I know this program isn't going to change anyone's life. It's not going to rock someone to their soul, or change their entire perspective. They're usually just a sweet simple reminder of how adorable the kids in the church are, and the simple truths they come to testify of.

But you know what. This primary program changed my perspective. 💗

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Be Still & Know

I consider myself to be a pretty happy person. When things go wrong or get me down, I find some chocolate (obviously, have you seen me lately lol), have a good cry, text "my person" and pick up the next day and go on. I'm pretty good at this.

I've had some pretty low moments in my life. Nothing too crazy or intense, in comparison to some, but for me. And its always amazing and a testament to me to look back and think, "Hey, I did that. Look what I made it through!"

What's getting me right now is I can't put my finger on what the heck is wrong. I just feel like there is an icy cold grip on my heart. Is this what anxiety feels like? I'm generally pretty go with the flow, so if something is bothering me I just sit back, watch some Netflix and get back to life when I feel like it. But lately it's been more of keep busy so I don't stop and think, I don't feel this feeling. What is that !

I can probably list some things that it could be... Scrolling through facebook and seeing all the craziness going on, geez. I mean my life isn't that bad. But I'm not saying my life is peachy-keen right now either. We've all got our share of behind the scenes burdens, that either we're used to carrying so we don't notice or we're in denial we're carrying. Maybe because anything I could attribute this to is out of my control. 100%. If you know me, this sucks. I HATE to not be in control. I always have an answer. I have a plan. I have a solution.

And I guess I do have a solution. Maybe. When I was thinking of sharing this, probably more for me than anyone else, ya know, therapeutic, get it out, blah blah blah. For some reason the same scripture kept popping into my head.  Depending on your religious affiliation its Pslams 46:10 or my for LDS readers out there D&C 101:16.  "Be still and know that I am God."

There it is.

For my purposes I'll refer to the D&C scripture. Especially since its surrounding text has a little more meaning for my heart.

That whole scripture reads:

Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

I love that only part of this scripture was whispered to my aching heart. I had to go seek it out. Love that. Make me work.

Let my heart be comforted concerning Zion. How did it know I was worried about my future, my families future, our salvation. The first part. Be comforted. ::Breathe, Haley:: We're all taken care of. Not just me and mine, but all flesh is in His hands. He's got us, guys. He's taking care of us. Be comforted, because He's holding us. Remember the kids' song, He's got the whole world in His hands? It's true.

And then, be still. //Stop stressing, Haley// Just be. Be here and now. Don't worry about what's coming. I mean still plan and work and do things, but not with fear. Only faith.

And probably my favorite part. Know that I am God. <3

How do you come to know God? For me its scriptures and prayer. Well, duh I'm afraid and lacking faith, I can't tell how long its been since I've read scriptures, for me. It's been weeks. Solution #1 ! No brainer, I know. And prayer. Lately, I find myself only guiltily praying when I need something. "Oh hey, um.. sorry its been a while, but... i need this favor 😬😬" Yup thats me. So solution #2. Pray! My Heavenly Father cares that I'm worried, tired, stressed, overwhelmed, scared, happy, sad, excited, nervous, WHATEVER. Just as a parent wants to hear how every detail of your kids day was (well most days 😜) that's how our Heavenly Father is. He wants to know how your day went, He knows. But he still wants to hear it.  And lastly, I can know God by simply just watching. Watching the sunset. Watch the wind blow my clean clothes. Watch my kids play (hopefully sweetly together). And there we have it, looping back around to being still.

I'm sure I'm not that only one that deals with these (hopefully) mild anxiety moments. Hats off to people who have bigger issues and deal with this more often, constantly. My heart goes out to you. And I know sometimes praying and scriptures aren't enough. But for now, that's my prescription. Because that was my first question. When was the last time I'd done these things. Weeks. Well no wonder you've felt "off" for that time. Seek help if you need it. Whether from a doctor or the Healer of our Souls.

This was long. Sorry. Again, hopefully this was just therapeutic for me. If you made it this far, I'll give you a cookie next time we meet !

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Feast on the words of Christ... or casually pick at it when I'm spiritually hungry?

So random post. It's been, what, almost a year since my last post? Why not post something totally random and off topic ! At midnight, no less !

I usually struggle to mark the standard "to-do's" off my list. There's always something I should be better at, do more often, blah blah blah. ((Can i get an amen!))

But recently I've tried to take the pressure off myself, and say "hey, you've got two kids, home alone, ALL.DAY.EVERY.DAY. with a husband at training 12hrs a day, and then home to study/prep for tomorrow and sleep, before he hits repeat and does it again!" I know being a single mom is hard, and i'm not "technically" but really, I'm a single mom. ((don't glare at me))

So those days the dishes stack up, I'm ok with it. Those days I'm fishing for ANY sort of clean undergarment, gold star if you made it through the day, Haley!

But one BIG thing that bugs me, constantly, has been scripture study. It's been on my mind a TON lately, especially the last few months, after being called as our Ward (congregation's) Primary President. ((Basically with the help of two amazing counselors, I oversee the children program at my church, 18mos-12 years. Teaching, music, teachers, etc) ((can you say "AHHHH!?")). I feel like with this HUGE responsibility, I definitely need to make sure I'm doing all I can to stay spiritually on the right side and in tune with the Spirit. And scripture study is RIGHT at the top of that list of Holy Ghost magnets. ((can i copyright that? Holy Ghost magnets!? Im seeing an awesome visual lesson for kids! See its working! Inspiration! sorry i digress))

But let's be honest. If I barely squeeze in a shower three times two times a week, when the heck am I supposed to hit the mom pause button to stop and sit still and FOCUS, study and really take in the scriptures?? Without littles wanting my attention!?

So I've been trying to find out how I can feast. In the Book of Mormon (coolest book ever, go check it out), there is a prophet Nephi, and he said, "Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all thing what ye should do." LINK

So how can I feast? When I don't have the time for a feast. Think about all the time and prep and savoring that goes into Thanksgiving dinner? Especially versus a normal dinner. Now do that everyday. AH. So I've decided to hit the scripture study, as often as I can. Obviously the goal is everyday. BUT, my goal 2.0 is to FEAST when I actually get the time to. So instead of halfheartedly reading a chapter everyday, between snacks and yelling at kids, so I can check it off, I'll be more aware of how I'm spending my time, and carve out a chunk and actually STUDY during my scripture study time. And sometimes its an hour, sometimes its 15 minutes before a baby cries through that dang monitor. But you know what, its a dang good 15 minutes.

I've gotten a cheap lame little notebook. I made the front cute with my little scripture journal title, and I turn on some awesome instrumental Jesus music. And open my scriptures. I go verse by SINGLE verse. It takes a while. A lonnnnng while. But I can stop and read the cross references. Or think about why they used this specific word or analogy. Or take the time to google the meaning of a word I *think* i know, but in reality i have no idea and just skim over.  I bring up some awesome study guides put out by the LDS church that go right along with the reading ((shout out to institute manuals. i. love. you.)) They break down verses, historical context, definitions, everything ! It's incredible the knowledge that just hits me. And instead of rushing through my chapter so I can go take care of something else, I'm sad when I inevitably have to stop studying and go back to mom mode.

I only want to share this because I've been studying in 2 Nephi (Book of Mormon) where Nephi basically is teaching & quoting Isaiah from the Old Testament. And if you've ever tried to read Isaiah, wow. Go you. I'm pretty sure there's a stigma in the church with "the Isaiah chapters" and books on how to read, understand, apply, survive reading them without dying of confusion. But after I've stopped just rushing through the confusing poetry that is Isaiah, there is SO much good stuff ! I wish I could just keep going on for hours and type out my notes, and sit down with you and read you a verse and go, "see, isn't that SO cool !? Did you know that's what he meant?! AH !"

I feel my heart exploding with love for Isaiah, the incredible responsibility he had in his war stricken time, and the amazing words he recorded for all people. I love Nephi for teaching these scriptures to his family. And I hope he took the time to explain the nitty gritty details I'm uncovering. I'm so thankful for modern prophets that receive revelation and pass them on to us to help us understand the scriptures, the meanings, and how they apply to our lives.

I love the Book of Mormon. I've read through it quite a few times and love it more every time. And I want to love EVERY part. I want to dive into it and completely immerse myself in the teachings found there. I hope I can take the time to feast, actually fill my hungered soul, from time to time, as often as motherhood will let me. I hope it's not a casual 'open-the-fridge-door-to-see-what-looks-good' snacking type of relationship.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

When ye are in the service of your fellow beings...

“And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17)

Since General Conference (a bi-annual broadcast the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints holds where we gather to listen to messages prepared from Prophets, Apostles and other general leadership) I've decided every week to listen, read, take notes, review,etc the talks from the latest Conference. It's a goal I usually have every year... but we'll see. Mostly because I get SO excited for Conference. Look forward to it and drink in the messages prepared, and love it. And then don't ever go back and remind myself of those messages. It's sad. It's a waste. So with my new-ish goal in mind, I started last week listening to Cheryl Esplin's, the First Counselor in the General Primary Presidency, talk titled, "He Asks Us to Be His Hands."

I wish I could narrow down some of her great material and share some here. But you'll just have to go over and read/listen to it yourself. It's found here. Wonderful. Beautiful quotes, examples about service and what we should be doing.

I had a very busy week, full of service. Some of the days I was happily serving. Other days, begrudgingly. But, throughout the week I remembered this talk. I'm supposed to be serving. I'm supposed to WANT to be serving. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to find more ways to serve. By the end of the week I was sad I didn't serve in any way how I had "planned" to serve. Instead I kept thinking of all the times someone came and helped me. When someone brought me dinner, took my son for a play date, stopped by for some grown up conversation. I was mad at myself. "Haley, why didn't YOU do any of those things?" 

But then, after I stopped being down on myself, I realized look at how much help you had. Look at the amazing examples of service you have around you. Look at these amazing people placed in your life, bringing Sister Esplin's talk to life. They're living the words shes spoke. 

I may not have gotten around to serving "the way I planned" this past week, however, I was able to stop and see the countless ways others stepped in and provided that same service I wanted to accomplish. With Chris gone for almost a month now, it's getting tough. But you all never cease to amaze me how you jump and step in. I am in awe of your Spirit, your sacrifice and your desire to follow our Savior. Just as the scripture stated in the beginning, you truly are serving God. 

Thank you.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Location, location, location

I know you always hear that "location, location, location" and how it makes ALL the difference. In everything it seems. Real estate, jobs, life. Perspective. <-----   I've been thinking a lot lately, since I have some "thinking" time during the cleaning & mickey mouse episodes.

Things have been... rough for our family. I can't say hard, well maybe I can. They have been hard/rough for us. I know there are a BILLION families that deal with harder/tougher/tragic-er (is that a word?) things every day all day. But I'm a firm believer that just because there are children starving in China and that make $0.50 a day doesn't mean you can't also be experiencing tough things in your life.

All this recently came to light in my mind when I got a sweet birthday message from a best-ish friend I haven't talked to in forever, sadly, cause I'm terrible at keeping in touch with people. Ugh I hate it. So he doesn't really know whats going on in life and all the gritty details of the stress and struggle that we are going through. But something he said pierced my heart and at first I rolled my eyes and then really got to thinking. Amid the happy birthday wishes and haven't talk and hope you're well he said "You're accomplishing your dreams." I rolled my eyes. Seriously. Might have even had a little scoff in there when I read that. Im not a jerk (usually) but I'm sorry. Who's freakin' dream is it to be SO uncomfortably pregnant, jobless, husband pretty much jobless, with two degrees, debt, loans, bills, and NO foreseeable reliable income !? I can't sleep, from baby stuff, and then just life. When will Chris get a job? Do I need to get a job? Can I leave TWO kids and go to work? Can I even hack it and stay home with TWO kids ?! When is his next pay check coming in? When will our insurance kick in, since ya know, there's a freaking kid busting outta my gut? And my friend has the NERVE to say I'm accomplishing MY dreams?!

This all passed through my head in the millisecond it took me to continue to the next sentence. And then the next day it kept popping up, "I'm accomplishing my dreams." Really?

Now I don't know what his life situation is save his amazing wife posting adorable pictures and what info I can sherlockianly deduce from said statuses and pictures. So to me he has a new house, a good job, she pins adorable things I'm assuming she's got the money to fund, and they have adorable dates and cute pictures, and and and and.

I want a job (for me or hubby), I want income, I want a house, I want want want etc etc. I'm starting to see a grass is greener thing...

They've been married for some time, and while this is TOTALLY my own conclusion and my insane thinking and what if's, but I love him and he can forgive me if I'm way off base, but what if there is a struggle for family happening? That I don't see? I have ALWAYS dreamed of being a mom. And now I have an amazing little princess coming in the next 6 weeks (EEK!). That gives us two awesome little babies. So he may see the pictures on Facebook of my pretty awesome little guy and think man.. I can't wait till I have one of those, whether from their personal choices or otherwise. So maybe from his *location* I AM accomplishing my dreams. And from my location he's accomplishing his and mine. I want what he's got and all the while I've got stuff too.

"The things you take for granted someone else is praying for."

I'm not saying this friend is praying for what I've got but someone somewhere is. Whether it be an awesome husband, an adorable son, my incredible family, church, faith, health, a house, a dishwasher... whatever it is.

I've watched from a distance as friends struggle with infertility, infidelity, divorce, addiction...

"Be thankful for what you have. Your life, no matter how bad you think it is, is someone else's fairytale."

Remember perspective people. From where you're standing things might look pretty terrible, but... change your point of view. Change your location. Its all about location location location.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My two cents no one asked for...

This should come as no surprise to you reading this, seeing as it's mostly all anyone can talk about right now. I usually always refrain from commenting on controversial issues on Facebook, or posting my own thoughts, or whatever the case may be. Heck, sometimes I am even so scared to LIKE someone else's status, picture, comment so someone will see it roll their eyes at me and go off on some tirade against my opinion.

However, this is something that has been on my mind A LOT the past day or two. Something I have written and rewritten in my head. I've hit the internet to read, to "research" if you can. I've read statuses, discussion, blog posts, on either side of the spectrum. And usually that's where I leave it.

Except I can't.

Some thing I remember from the past few conferences give by my church, some of the addresses said things like:

  •  pray for the faith and strength to be more bold in opening your mouth to proclaim the restored gospel
  • are called upon to boldly defend
  •  will speak boldly, hoping to edify and not to offend.
  • This desire to share the gospel with others and the confidence to testify boldly.
Bold. Be bold. 

So this is me being bold. Like above, I do not wish to offend. I only wish to express my opinions, as I've seen so many do the past two days. I am not a writer; it will be a feeble attempt at best and I will warn you, I'm sure I will word something wrong, or something will be misunderstood or twisted to seem a certain way. Bear with me. Cut me a break. Think back to how many times you've seen me go on some tirade on your status I didn't agree on. Oh, I haven't? Please remember that.

I will start this saying I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am a Mormon, LDS, whatever you know us as. If anyone who knows me personally know this is a very HUGE part of who I am, of the decisions I make, big and small, in life. How I talk, how I act, even down to what movies I see. We are Christians, we strive to follow Christ, in the best way we know how. We try. We fail. We get up and try again.  I am not perfect, no one is. 

It should come as no shock then that with Bruce Jenner coming out as Caitlyn would be something I don't agree with. Something I can't support. [Here's where I will become weak in my words, if I've even been strong at all previously.]

In my church we believe that "gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose." (See The Family)  God created man and woman. We are his precious creations. To avoid the cliche I've seen all over the internet, God makes no mistakes.  So for Bruce/Caitlyn to look at what God gave him and decide our Heavenly Father messed up and he can fix it, just isn't right. That gender extends beyond this earthly life. It was who we were before we came and it will be who we are in the next life. 

I make no assumption at understanding what it's like AT ALL to be so uncomfortable in ones body, to feel like you are wrong and living a lie every day. I am not transgender, gay, lesbian. I have had my demons in the past and made my mistakes but I make no comparison at all between anything I've struggled with and what so many people deal with daily.  

I cannot speak for God in saying why these things happen, why He created someone a certain way, or "let" these things happen. I'm not God. I'm not all-knowing. But I believe through study and prayer I can try to understand His way and what the Truth and Right is. 

In MY opinion (I do not speak for the Church or any other members), I believe we are sent here to this life to overcome trials and obstacles. Through this process we learn, we grow and we ultimately strive to return to live with our Heavenly Father after we've proven we are worthy. Maybe you roll your eyes when I say this, but maybe Bruce/Caitlyn's trial in this life was to overcome those feelings. To embrace God and His plan for Bruce/Caitlyn's life and find happiness in the only way possible: through Christ, His Atonement and obedience. 

I know, how dare I say something so insensitive? But I believe so many people (straight, gay, trans, whatever) seek for "happiness" in this life in such worldly ways: drinking, sex, lying, money, food, whatever floats your boat. But we were sent here to be obedient to God's commandments, follow Christ's example and return to Heavenly Father someday. What if instead of paying money and altering the body and soul God gave you, you instead turned to Christ who suffered in a garden and on the cross and FELT every single thing you deal with every day, and let that healing act wash over you and help you accept the cross you've been asked to bear in this life? Why? Why do you have that cross? I don't know. Why are some born disabled, why are some born with mental disorders? I don't know. I don't think trading in happiness in the next life is worth the temporary happiness you'll feel here, however "long" this life may feel. It's tiny in the vastness of the eternity you're trading. 

I hope I am not mistaken for judging. I agree that God and Christ are the only ones capable of judging. I make no assumption at knowing what God thinks, says or will do when Bruce/Caitlyn passes through this life into the next. Honestly, I think they'll both be there with arms WIDE open, with love, compassion and caring. Just as we should be. Loving. Compassionate. Caring. But that doesn't mean there won't be consequences for his actions that he will have to face when he comes to stand before his maker. 

A friend had a perfect quote when she expressed her views (and she did it SO well, so read her blog post if you want a better articulated presentation of my feelings) when she said: The fact that most people believe giving in is the only way to true happiness in this life just goes to show how much we’ve lost the concept of faith. (Her amazing blog!)

Where is the faith that once we make it through the trial in this life, we will be rewarded in the next? That faith that God is there to reassure, to help, aid, guide? The same faith we exercise when we turn to our Savior for comfort and support in our trials? 

Just as an alcoholic must wake up everyday and look in the mirror and say No, today I will not drink. Unfortunately, you may have to wake up everyday and look in the mirror at a body that feels wrong and say God I trust you, I know you have a greater plan for me, help me get through today as the man/woman you made me to be. 

I do not wish to judge. I do NOT wish to bully. My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with this daily. I can't even imagine how hard it is to get out of bed each morning feeling alien in your own body. 

And lastly, I found this beautiful testimony of a transgender person who instead of changing his body God gave him, sought help through Christ and was able to live a full life, married, with a child, and have happiness. His testimony is what really struck me and I hope you've made it this far and will go just a little further and read his words. 

"I also suffer from GID [gender identity disorder].  As I child who did not grow up in the Church, I remember praying to God wishing that He would transform me so that I could stop feeling wrong and live my life the way I felt it was supposed to be. He did transform me, but not in the way that I expected. At the age of 17, I was baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This put me on a difficult path but on a path that was more than worth it. After graduating high school, I moved out West and attended BYU-Idaho before going on a mission. My mission was very hard for me; it was not what I expected it would be. However, my experiences, though difficult, helped change my life. After my mission, I married a wonderful young woman (who is taller than me and knows about my problems) and we just had our first baby boy. Throughout my whole life and up to this point, I have suffered from GID, but I have not let that change my life or who I am. I am a son of God, sealed to an amazing woman, father of an angelic child, and He has a plan for me. I know that because I have tried to live the commandments of the Lord, our Heavenly Father has blessed me with strength that is not my own. My internal problems have not vanished; nor do they feel bottled up deep inside. I feel that I have become at peace with my feelings. I imagine that my feelings are locked up in a cage deep inside me; she, not at peace, might rattle a cup against the bars from time to time or even scream bloody murder (which makes it harder to ignore), but that does not mean I need to open the cage and let those feelings out. Many of us with these feelings tend to believe that no one else knows what it is like to suffer this way. That is a mistake. While our problem may not come from our own personal actions or the problems of others may not be as life-changing, I believe it is insulting to degrade the inner feelings of others by saying that ours is a harder lot. I have seen good people struggle on problems that would seem infantile to others, yet I know that what they are feeling is just as real and just as painful. We cannot let our temptations lead us down the easy path away from our Heavenly Father. Although the path is hard and I cannot live the way that I would wish, I know that the path that Heavenly Father has chosen for me is a better one. Already I have experienced and grown a hundred times more than if I had chosen to follow those feelings. Every day for the rest of my life I will have to wake up and look at the small, effeminate body I was given in the mirror and prepare for the fight of that day. I cannot wait to wake up in the morning and take on that challenge. We, as a people, have so much to gain from taking the hard path. Our lot is a hard one, but that just means that when we overcome it, we will be that much stronger. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that there are many General and Auxiliary Authorities who suffer from our temptations; it would have to take a challenge of that magnitude to produce such strong men and women of faith. Finally, I would hope members would not make excuses for us. Yes, we need all of the love and support you can offer us; that is not the problem I speak of. There are other members who are praised by the world for their “open-minded-ness.” I have been given excuses from this people my whole life. “You’re just a new convert,” they would say, “You don’t have to serve a mission, that does not apply to you. That would be too hard.” If I had listened to that, I would have never grown, met my wife, had my child; I would have had none of that. We cannot listen to the easy words of members who tell us that we can live our lives the way we want that that everything will be okay. That will just rob us of the blessings that our Father is waiting to bestow upon us. Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us, but He also has a Plan for the whole human race. I applaud members of the Church who suffer from GID or same sex attraction who still enter the Temple and are sealed for eternity with their spouses, have children and who choose the plan God has for them and not follow the temptations or selfish thoughts that plague them and us each day. We need to have them as our examples so that we may follow the hard path and know that it might not get easier, but it sure as hell will get better. Not just better, but the best our lives could ever be. 
~ Nate"

I hope I have made an appropriate stance. I have to be bold. I have to declare what I know is true. In this world of corroding morals and values, I can't expect to teach my children right and wrong if I'm afraid to open my mouth on these issues. I love ALL of you. All shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, religions, beliefs etc etc. This truly comes from a place of love. Please ask questions, ask to clarify. Please be respectful. Please be 
patient with my shortcomings. 

In the end, I'm Haley. And I'm a Mormon.

Want more information on my beliefs, church, or anything else? 

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