Sunday, April 16, 2017

DAY 1840... He Lives

For as long as I can remember,
the Fourth of July has always been my favorite holiday.
I LOVE fireworks,
BBQ's,
and America.
Plus it was the day my husband proposed to me so it's really special. 
(Proposal video can be seen HERE).
But this year,
Easter has officially become my favorite holiday.


Easter symbolizes many different things to many different people.
To me,
when I think of Easter,
I think of the atonement.

Without the atonement I know that I wouldn't be here, 
meaning I so wouldn't even be alive.
Without the atonement I wouldn't have two beautiful children and an amazing husband.
Without the atonement I wouldn't be who I am.

The atonement offers me a chance,
every single day,
to be reborn and to start fresh.
It's not just a one time thing.

I think that the reason that Easter has snagged my favorite holiday spot,
is because this year,
more than any other year before,
I have used the atonement in my life to heal.

I'm not going to lie,
I had some pretty rough times in the past where I needed to repent,
and I definitely used the atonement to do so,
but this past year I have used another part of the atonement,
the part that I don't remember ever being taught about when I was young.
In fact,
I remember being 19 years old,
living in Hilo, HI,
sitting in church,
when a certain scripture really helped me to realized the importance and entirety of the atonement.

The scripture I read that day is found in the Book of Mormon in Alma 7:11,
it states:

"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the world might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people."

I knew that I could use the atonement to repent of my sins and that Christ made that possible,
but for some reason,
I honestly have no idea why,
I missed the part about Christ suffering for our pains and our afflictions.
I had gone to church for 3 hours every Sunday for my entire life!
How did I miss this for 19 years!?!?!?
I have talked to a couple other people about this and they don't ever remember being taught about this part of the atonement when they were younger either.
It's not just me.
That should probably change.
Teaching this type of knowledge to children and youth could be greatly beneficial!
So many youth feel completely alone and sad and scared,
and to have a full understanding of the atonement could help with that.
But that's just my opinion of course.
But seriously,
why are we not teaching our children about the fullness of the atonement?
Christ suffered for all our pains and afflictions and sicknesses.

Do you know what that means?
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I broke up with a long time boyfriend and was so devastated that I couldn't get out of bed.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I moved every year or so when I was younger and I left my friends and life behind.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was hit in the eye with a shovel in the 3rd grade and it tore my retina.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was raped,
physically and emotionally.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I was suffering through Hyperemesis while pregnant with Aniston.
That means that Christ knows what it felt like when I failed a test that I had studied so hard for.
That means that I can never truly say, "No one understands",
because Christ understands.

He knows everything and has felt every single feeling that I have felt or will feel.
He understands heartbreak and loss.
He understands illness and when you stub your pinky toe and think that you will never walk again.
He understands fatigue and exhaustion at the end of a long day where my kids have done nothing but scream and destroy the house.
He understands temptation and the guilt of succumbing to it.
Christ knows.
Christ has experienced it,
and I still cannot wrap my mind around how painful and hard Gethsemane must have been for him.
Even he asked God,
his father,
that if it were possible,
if he could "take away this cup from me" because it was that hard and that painful.
But just like in our lives when we are suffering through trials,
this was a necessity for Christ and our loving Heavenly Father did not remove that cup for his benefit, and more importantly,
for ours.

There's a quote from Jeffery R. Holland,
who just happens to be one of my most favorite people ever,
that states:



You guys!
Do you know what this means?
It means that we are just like Christ.
He truly has experienced the feelings and the emotions that we have felt and that we feel daily.
It's amazing to think of how similar we really are to Christ.
I love that!
To me,
it's only when someone becomes relatable to me that I feel a connection to them and am able to consider them a friend.
There were many years when I felt like Christ was unrelatable,
and where I honestly did not feel a connection or have a relationship with my Savior.
That makes me so sad.
But now,
I consider Christ my friend,
my confidant,
my enabler.
I find a tremendous amount of strength through Christ and understanding the fullness of the atonement.

The atonement is such an AMAZING gift.
The atonement is such a huge and wonderful blessing.

This past year has been intense for me. 
It's been a growing year,
for which I am thankful,
but it's also been a healing year,
and an opportunity for me to rely on the atonement to heal.
(If you're new around here and wondering what the heck I am talking about you can catch up by reading THIS blog post.)

I feel so blessed to have the understanding of the atonement and of Christ that I have.
I feel so blessed to celebrate Easter to the celebrate Christ and his life and his resurrection. 

One of my favorite hymns is I Know That My Redeemer Lives.
The words are powerful and true and perfect for Easter.
My favorite verse in this song is the 2nd verse where you can find the following lyrics,
"He lives to hear my soul's compliant.
He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart."


As I have been attempting to teach my children about Easter this year,
my emotions were pretty strong.
I couldn't talk about Easter and Christ without getting emotional.
I wanted to do justice to Christ and his sacrifice and I really wanted them to know that Christ is 100% there for them no matter what,
but that's a tough thing to teach a 2 and 4 year old.


Aniston recently has become obsessed with Claire.
Not in a creepy way of course,
she;s only 4 geez,
but it's like her first celebrity who she can't get enough of, 
wants to be just like, 
and who happens to be her age.
So this video has been a huge resource is helping me teach my children about Easter and how it is so much more than a creepy human size man bunny who breaks into your house when you're sleeping and hides eggs and leaves gifts.


I love that song,
and I love listening to my children play around the house and singing it at the top of their lungs.
There is also a book that I bought from Seagull Book that puts pictures of Christ to this song and it too has been an amazing resource to use to teach my children about the atonement.

I hope that in your Easter traditions this year that you are able to take a moment and reflect upon Christ and his life and his sacrifice and his resurrection. 
Jesus Christ is our Prince of Peace and is ready and willing to help us no matter what.


He died for us,
he lives for us,
and he will always be there for us.

HE LIVES!
Happy Easter!



Sunday, April 9, 2017

SUICIDE

Let's talk about suicide. 
Can we do that?
Is that allowed?
Actually,
I don't really care if it's not allowed,
or if it's considered frowned upon because I believe that everything should be talked about,
especially when it comes to mental and emotional issues.

I recently finished watching Netflix's 13 Reasons Why,
Mom,
I know you're reading this,
don't watch it,
you will hate it,
but it made me think about my past.
It made me really think about my past with suicide.


When I was 14 I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression.
I didn't completely understand my feelings and my emotions or why I was feeling the way I was feeling.
I was confused.
It was around that time that I started thinking about suicide.
I was convinced that the world would be better without me.
I was convinced that my friends and family wouldn't care.
I was convinced that I didn't need to live anymore.
I was convinced that I didn't matter.
So I made a plan.
But I couldn't go through with it.
Instead,
I started cutting.
Cutting is something that I would continue until I was 24. 
10 years of cutting.


When I was 18 I left for college.
A few weeks before I went to college I had my wisdom teeth out and was given plenty of pain medication.
I ended up with dry sockets and was given an extension on my pain medication to make sure I was going to be okay especially since I was going out of state for college.
I held on to those extra pills.
College was rough at first for me,
I made some bad decisions and hated myself for it.
So I made a plan.
But I couldn't go through with it.
Instead,
I stuck my finger down my throat and threw up all those extra pills.


When I was 21 I went through a very bad break up.
I remember sobbing for days.
I was hurt and confused and thought I had nothing left to live for.
I thought I was unlovable.
Why do breakups make us feel this way?
Especially when you look back and can see 100 reasons why that person was so bad for you?
So I made a plan.
But I couldn't go through with it.
Instead,
I swerved back into my lane on the dark country road in order to avoid a head on collision.


When I was 22 I was raped.
This destroyed my already low self esteem and really confused my thoughts.
It made me question everything I thought I knew and believed in.
It changed the way I viewed the world.
I felt completely alone.
I felt totally worthless.
So I made a plan.
But I was stopped by a friend who came into my room one night and took away all the razor blades I had hiding everywhere.


When I was 23 I found out the man who I thought I would marry had been cheating on me for 9 months.
I was completely devastated.
He had already asked my Dad if he could marry me.
He had already bought the ring.
He had fooled us all.
So I made a plan.
But I was stopped by a group of friends who left what they were doing, came to my house, and climbed down into my basement window when they couldn't reach me by phone to make sure that I was okay.


Days before I turned 25 I sunk into the deepest depression I had ever experienced.
I was single,
alone,
not happy,
I thought I had no future,
I was convinced I was ugly and fat,
and I was allowing myself to be used by someone I was interested in,
but who basically wanted to keep me on the back burner.
So I made a plan.
But I couldn't go through with it.
Instead,
I went back to my hotel on the Vegas strip at 3 in the morning and cried myself to sleep. 

I haven't made plans since.

So why is this important?
Why does this even matter.
Well honestly,
to some people it probably doesn't.
But if there is one person reading this who feels lost and alone and scared and has a plan,
please know that it does get better.
It gets better than you ever could imagine,
but you have to push past it.
You have to push pasts the negativity and the crazy loud thoughts.
You have to be strong.
And I know that's hard,
and I know that it seems impossible,
but you can do it,
and there are people all around you who want to help you,
who will not judge you,
and who will love you unconditionally,
if you allow them to do so.

But look at the girl in those pictures.
She doesn't look sad,
she doesn't look lonely, 
she doesn't look like she had daily suicidal thoughts,
but she did.
She was struggling every single day.
She was barely keeping her head above the water.
It is just so important that we treat each other nicely,
listen to each other daily,
and comfort each other when needed.
You never know what someone is going through,
and it would be awful to not give the time or that friendship to a person who really needed it.
And really,
what good does it do for us to judge one another and treat each other so poorly?

I am honestly glad that all my plans fell through.
In fact,
I'm not just glad,
I am thankful all my plans fell through.

As a parent,
especially a parent who still struggles with irrational thoughts,
because the suicidal thoughts never really go away,
you just learn to control them and push them away,
and you learn how to recognize the good and know,
without a doubt,
that it outweighs the bad, 
I am absolutely terrified that my children have been predisposed to thinking the same way that I thought for so long.
I am terrified that they will struggle with anxiety and depression as I have.
It's the reason I tell them daily how special and important they are.
It's the reason I tell them I love them over and over again.
It's the reason I stop everything to hold them and cuddle them even though I don't like to be physical touched or hugged.
It's the reason that we talk a lot about important issues even though they are so young. 
It's the reason we talk to our children like they are adults and not children.
It's the reason we tell each other our peak and our pit at the end of every day so that I know what made them the most happy and what made them the most sad.
It's the reason I choose to be so involved in their lives.
Because as a parent,
to know that my child was thinking those thoughts,
or had made a plan to end their life,
would ruin me.
It's one major reason that I am really glad that I never followed through with my plans.
At the time I thought that me dying wouldn't mean anything to anyone.
But I was selfish,
and that was wrong,
because I know my parents would have been brokenhearted.

It's my worst fear that I will outlive my children.
But to outlive your child because they were so sad and felt like they had no one to talk to,
and no where to go and so they decide to end their life,
that would be the worst.

I struggle daily with negative thoughts,
and with thinking up reasons why if I died it wouldn't be so bad and wouldn't really matter.
But then my kids come up to me and hug me,
they tell me they love me,
they cry out for me,
they hold my hand out of the blue,
and I recognize that sometimes I am the only one who can make it all better,
and I realize that they need me.
And I realize that I need them even more.
They are my magic and my reason for life.
My children are my passion and I believe that they were sent here to rescue me.
And they have done that time and time again.


If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts,
or depression,
or anxiety,
there is hope.
You will have to work for it,
you will have to fight your brain and your way of thinking every stinking single day,
but there is always hope.

For me,
my hope and strength come from my children and my husband.
But strength and hope are different for everyone.
I encourage you to find your own strength and hope and hold on to it.
Work for it.
Be thankful for it every single day.


The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day if you feel as though there is no one else you can turn to. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.

Take it from someone who has made many plans to end her life,
IT
GETS
BETTER.
I promise.