Thursday, January 14, 2016

Once upon a time.....

Once upon a time...
It became too hard to go to a church that talked about families being forever. In fact, I remember one Sunday our Bishop stating at the pulpit that all he had to do was keep the commandments and he'd have his eternal marriage forever. OH REALLY?! You can't keep your spouses commandments though. I was struggling not to cry each week anyway, but that really hurt to hear. So, I told him I couldn't come for a while. I didn't need to explain. And he didn't ask for much of an explanation. He knew what I'd been through. I was released from being the organist and I said goodbye to my adorable nursery kids and tried not to look back.
I tried really hard to convince myself that it couldn't be true. How could it be? I had done everything right. I went to the temple often, I never turned down a calling, I read the scriptures, watched conference talks daily, did family home evening, I loved everything about the gospel! I put my heart and soul into my marriage and family. All of it.
But, I had been so broken so many times that I don't think I could even see clearly anymore. But I wasn't going to admit that to myself.
When I met Bob, we were going to a non denominational church. I didn't love it, but it was better than being reminded that you can do everything right and something that's holy and of God (your family), something you put your heart into can still be ripped from you and destroyed before your very eyes.
Anyway, I thought it was strange that no one dressed up. I always did. Even then. I dressed my girls up to go to church where everyone else wore jeans.
A few months after this picture was taken my sweet friends Mindy and Emily came to my house to check on me. We started talking and she said boldly, "Meredith, you're living the gospel why not just come back? "
I had a million reasons! ... but I couldn't think of any at that moment so... I agreed to go back that Sunday.
I had been gone for 18 months.
I lived with Bob and we weren't married yet. Crazy to think "oh I'll take my family to the LDS church. " I don't know why I wasn't more afraid! But we did it.
Mindy, saved our family seats and we walked in. I'll never forget that day. Once we walked in I was so embarrassed. I knew each person there. I had served with some. They were my friends, all while I was trying not to show what was really going on in a marriage some of them told me they'd envied. (Remember that! What you wish you had, probably isn't worth envying at all! If you look at someone and think they probably have no problems.... think again. They may be in tears pleading in prayer just to get through the day, maybe more than you. Might be nothing to envy at all.)
I'm glad it all happened now. It's humbling to think of the amount of pain I went through. For years! And years! Oh the choices I'd make differently now! Oh the warnings I see so clearly in hindsight! But it was worth it, to have my amazing Bob by my side!
I thought I'd have to have tough skin to go back to church. I thought there'd be comments and remarks that would hurt, but my ward literally and physically encircled us with prayer, love and support! No one has been more fellowshiped than Bob Haass! He was loved and befriended from the moment he walked in. And how strong a man is he to take us back and support us in a ward where another lesser man once sat next to us. He knew he'd be compared. And called the wrong name from time to time. But he wasn't. Not ever! He was just loved!
I don't know why this picture of my girls made me remember so much, but it did. I have so much to be thankful for. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. And he surely loves and cares about my family. And he hears us!
He hears us when we cry, plead and beg. He knows us. It's never ever too late to come back home. I'd wrap a Mindy up for each wayward soul and leave her on your doorstop if I could. Each person who's convinced themselves that "it can't be true".
I'm not as cool as her, but I'll say the same things... You're not that far from where you should be. Why don't you just come back?
Try it. No one is too broken that the Savior can't heal. I am living proof of that very fact! Make a promise to yourself to go this Sunday! You'll be amazed at how much love your Heavenly Father can provide through the Spirit and through everyone around who who is listening to the spirit!
You're not alone being broken. Welcome to the club! We'll get through life together! And by the way, it's the coolest club around! We're still alive!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Oh. My. Goodness, Mer. I had no idea you had gone through this. I guess that's what distance does. We just don't always know. I am SO GLAD that you find yourself where you are now. Bless you and your courage and your discernment and your spirit and your testimony...and bless you for choosing faith.