I was driving home from the gym this morning and thought it a good day to pick this up again. It has been a year of trauma for my family, and, though I would love to forget most of it, I would hate to forget what I've learned from it.
I am not saying I will be the best at posting, but I think I will just have to see how it goes.
As so much time has passed since I've last written anything I actually want to say, it's kind of hard to know where to start.
The end of 2011 I was talking to my mom one night and she quietly told me that I needed to go back to church. I had known this for some time, and had made all sorts of excuses as to why it would have to wait. But I knew she was right. So I did. Between her and my lovely neighbor Audrey quietly directing me in the right way, I just started going. It was terrifying! I was going alone. To a family ward, with lots and lots of noisy kids.
I remember going home afterwards and crying in frustration that I hadn't felt anything inside me change. All I could hear were the screaming, playing, arguing, banging, kicking, kids. Not to mention their parents. It was so hard to continue going. I knew, at the time that they deserved to go to church as much as I, but I so desperately wanted to feel something inside me change. I guess I was looking for some miraculous metamorphosis. Suddenly this flawed and sinning girl, would turn white inside, and she would remember all that she had known so confidently before that the life she had chosen to live had snuffed out.
But, I kept going. I will admit to missing a few times. My husband at the time started going, albeit grudgingly. I started recognizing names and faces and the members of the ward became familiar. I noticed the noise less and less.
In May of last year, my Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. We all lived in a bit of a fog for awhile. There was a lot of fear, and a lot of denial. She had surgery in June and they were able to remove the tumor, but had to take all of the lymph nodes on the right side of her arm. It was a hard time for her. It was a hard time for all of us. I would write more of it, but it's not my story to tell really. I can say, that faith can be an ongoing struggle. And the beauty of it is, we are all at different levels of our strength so that we can help each other through the weaker times.
I moved into with my parents in August of last year. My marriage ended in a pretty messy way. It was difficult, but not so difficult at the same time. I think, having the distraction of my Mom's health, in some ways, helped me skate through some of the hard points. But I have to give most of the credit to Heavenly Father.
I remember times, at night, where I would start to panic. My breathing would increase, the tears would fall and I would think I was falling apart. And then it would disappear. I was once again capable of juggling the issues of my divorce, my home, my parents and siblings hardships. I've learned since then, that it was Grace in action. The enabling power of the Atonement to overcome all things.
There is a scripture that kept coming to mind. One of my favorites actually. 2 Nephi 4:19. Not the whole verse, just the end. "...nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted."
The inside of me is still flawed, and there is much that I still have to learn and do in order to find a fraction of that which I so casually left behind when it comes to my testimony. But I know in whom I have trusted. My God that been my support. I know that no matter what life throws at me, I can handle it. There may be tears, and heartache. But through the Grace of God, I am capable of dealing with it all.
Above all, I know that Heavenly Father loves me. That I am important to him. That in itself is miraculous! I am such a lucky girl to have all of this so readily available to me! The knowledge, the scriptures, the Temple. I can accomplish anything if I can focus this stubborn heart of mine on the right things.
I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable, but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.
Whether you are not yet of our faith or were with us once and have not remained, there is nothing in either case that you have done that cannot be undone. There is no problem which you cannot overcome. There is no dream that in the unfolding of time and eternity cannot yet be realized. Even if you feel you are the lost and last laborer of the eleventh hour, the Lord of the vineyard still stands beckoning. “Come boldly [to] the throne of grace,” and fall at the feet of the Holy One of Israel. Come and feast “without money and without price” at the table of the Lord.