May 2, 2004

What a hectic and unusual morning. I woke up, and found, to my dismay, that it was snowing outside! I immediately rushed upstairs so I could bring all my freshly planted flowers inside from the frost, and found another shock -- Heath sleeping on my couch. Ok, it bothers me that she didn't ask permission for him to stay. It's not necessarily my opinion of him that makes him staying bother me; it's the fact that he is emotionally unstable and she has told me what happened to her when they lived together. Why would I want that in my home? Especially without my permission? I didn't say anything; the whole morality of the issue of this little triangle she has created already breaks my heart; but I told her I had washed my hands of it all, since when I tried being a friend and talking to her or giving advice she snapped that she didn't need another mother. So I don't mother her. I don't even share my opinion of her decisions. But when she allows one of those decisions to potentially affect the place where I call home, where I sleep, well that is AN entirely different issue. I'm not going to broach the subject; rather, I will see if she comes to me and offers an explanation. If she doesn't, I will let it pass unless it happens again. She's right; I'm not her mother. It is hard enough on me to see the people I love making poor decisions, but that is something I just have to learn to deal with and accept. Otherwise how am I going to know how to be a mother someday?

But the shock of this caused me to run through our screen after I opened the patio door. Needless to say, I broke it and I can't fix it. But I brought my flowers in.

When I got to church, after driving through that snowstorm, I sat down alone in the back. Our 1st counselor got up and bore his testimony. He bore it on the gratitude he has for challenges and trials. Well I couldn't help it; tears started to stream down my face. I didn't want to bear my testimony period, much less on that subject; after all, the last time I bore my testimony was in January and I was so elated and so happy and so grateful for the blessings in my life. But I got up there, because the Spirit prompted me. No one else was ready to go, so I did.

I blubbered my way through it. It was short. I did not share any personal experiences, but I did share my testimony. I referred to Paul and how he said that he would "rejoice in his infirmities and afflictions", after learning that God would not remove the thorn in his flesh. I shared my gratitude for such maginificent examples such as Job, Paul, Joseph Smith, Abraham...Jesus Christ himself. I shared how much I was recognizing the clear meaning of the Atonement when I learned about these wonderful men. How they never denied their God or their Christ; how they stood by what they believed and/or knew to be true despite the trials and afflictions that came upon them. And I said something odd, but since I was prompted to say it, I know it must be true: "I think that real joy comes from understanding that our trials and challenges are to refine us; to teach us to be more like Christ; to more fully understand His Atonement. Joy comes from being grateful for even the most difficult and heavy of burdens." I didn't say much else, but I reaffirmed my testimony of the gospel, and my gratitude to have it in my life. I then left, and I had to run upstairs because the tears where just flowing by that point.

When I got out of the bathroom, our Relief Society President was waiting there for me. She is a wonderful girl, but we aren't friends, meaning we don't spend time outside of church together. But she has such a big, compassionate heart. She just looked at me and she pulled me to her and just hugged me. I couldn't even try to be my usual stand-offish self. I just fell into her hug and sobbed. She spent the rest of the meeting talking to me; or rather listening. I didn't want to share my burdens. I didn't want anyone at church to know about them. But I told her anyway. When I mentioned my fear; or lack of faith concerning God's promises to me -- and that burdening question in my head about how could he promise anything contingent upon the free agency of another, she nodded in understanding. The more I meet good people in this church; the ones who really have strong testimonies, I learn more about people who have received personal revelation that never seemed to be fulfilled, or revelation that was denied because of another's choice. But they still remained strong. So can I. It was pointed out to me that I have already passed the most difficult part of this test of faith; I have demonstrated to my Father in Heaven that despite the outcomes of anything in my life, I will believe on His words and remain faithful to the end, come what may. She suggested that I record in my journal all the promises, the blessings, and the promptings that I receive from Heavenly Father. I haven't been doing that, and I think I will start after I'm done writing this blog. But it is easy to forget what He tells me, and then when fears and pain creep into my heart, I forget the peace, love and guidance He has shared with me previously.

Keith gave me a blessing during the next block of meetings. I won't get into details because yes, that is private and sacred, but basically, I was told that the Lord is pleased with me. Keith said I should eliminate distractions that hinder me from becoming a better person and distract me from my mission. In my blessing I was told that Heavenly Father is well aware of my current situation, but He will continue to send guidance and strength to help me overcome those reoccuring thoughts and negative feelings that have been controlling me lately. I was also told that the Lord does talk to me individually. Some people get advice or guidance from Heavenly Father through priesthood blessings. I do get some, but every blessing I receive tells me the same thing; that the Lord will guide me through personal revelation. I must trust that. I was also told again to serve others; and to find peace and joy in the Atonement. I was also told many other things, but I won't get into that here.

I missed almost all my meetings today because of all this. Because then during Relief Society, my bishop pulls me in. I haven't spoken to him since the incident at his house February 9th...other than to tell him I was fine (which at the time was not true). He told me that he wanted me to be the new Gospel Doctrine teacher. Well, I had been waiting for a calling like this, but I guess I was a hesitant to accept. Will I be reliable enough to do this? But the bishop told me he knew me, and he knew from experience that when I am given the opportunity to serve in an important calling, I truly shine, and the real Michelle comes forth. He said, "Michelle, you have so much to give! So much love, so much empathy, so much intelligence, so much testimony! There are people here who need you to teach them. " He then grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and said, "You are an amazing young woman. You need to know this, and believe it. Please trust me when I tell you that I am asking you to serve, to come to our activities, and to be more social for a reason. I am preparing you for motherhood. I am preparing you to be a leader in this church." I admitted to him that I hadn't been social at all for the past three months. I didn't think I was depressed, because I had found such peace in the things I had been learning. But after what Keith told me before the blessing, and during, and seeing the worried faces of my bishopric, my visiting teacher yesterday, and Keith and Kim today, well, I realized that I was indeed in a depression. Keith told me he was going to come kidnap me and make me be social. My bishop wants me to socialize. I told him it's hard, because I just don't trust anyone other than Christ. I love people, I really do; and I want to help and serve so very much, but I have to get over that hurdle of mistrust. I have just been hurt so much; too much. Forgiveness is not a problem for me, I told him. I don't feel hatred, or offense; no, rather there is indeed an increasing of love towards the person who had/has hurt me, just as the scriptures say there should be. But sometimes that increasing of love makes it all the harder to deal with; all the harder to trust.

But I know he's right. He was so adamant about how I needed to get out of my shell so that I will be a good mother someday and be able to teach those very things to my children. He is convinced I need to know how to be a leader. I know I have these qualities within me; I know that when I put my heart, spirit and mind into it; I'm a great teacher. I possess so many leadership qualities that I honed when in High School. As he said, it's time to practice those again. It's time to reach even further from myself than I am (even though I'm doing so much better now than I was before).

I think I will accept the calling. It's a very humbling and noble call. I know that I can affect the lives of many people for good; and learn so much from the process. But as for the part about being social; well that is going to be harder. I have larger hurdles to conquer there.

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