The things which caused me to nearly skip church Sunday were little things that shouldn’t have bothered me the way that they did. In the end, however, three separate events in less than four days left me feeling like pretty much everyone I attend church with holds me to a higher standard than they would ever strive to attain for themselves, and that there was no forgiveness or even tolerance for my weaknesses — even as they were demanding that I love and accept them in all of their weaknesses. The last thing I wanted was to go where people preferred I not be.
Because of the darkness, frustration, and anger that we setting into my heart, I knew I was off course, but I felt powerless to break free. I was again trapped in years of conditioning that began in childhood and continued throughout my first marriage. By Saturday night, I was on my knees in tears explaining to my Father in Heaven that I wanted to do what was right and think what was right, but I just didn’t have the strength. I went to bed determined to go to church and do what was right, and even left my coat home that morning so that I wouldn’t be tempted to leave in the middle of our meeting block and walk home.
Because of that choice, I have another witness that God keeps His word, blesses us for trying, and is intimately involved in the small day-to-day ups and downs that affect us. He is because He loves us.
The first person to greet me as I came in the door felt like an angel of mercy as she told me she had read my Facebook posts and thought I could probably use a hug. I put my things down in a pew right in front of a friend who had, for no particular reason, decided to bring me some goodies the morning before, and who was willing to take time out of her day to get me home from work yesterday because my husband would be three hours later than what I needed.
The biggest healing came from the hymns. Here are some of the words from the first hymn we sang:
Lord, grant me thy abiding love
And make my turmoil cease.
Oh, may my soul commune with thee
And find thy holy peace. (“Oh, May my Soul Commune with Thee, LDS Hymns no. 123)
I could feel the hurt and frustration begin to melt out of my heart. Another hymn was sung to close out the sacrament meeting (worship service):
Be still, my soul: The Lord is on thy side;
With patience bear thy cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change he faithful will remain.
… Be still, my soul: The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below. (“Be Still My Soul,” LDS Hymns no. 124)
While it was bittersweet because I had just sung the hymn at a funeral the week before, my heart warmed to the comfort of knowing that I am loved by Someone who knows infinitely more than I, but who is totally committed to the good of His children.
The closing song of the Relief Society meeting (women’s meeting) finished putting things into perspective and healing my attitude:
Where, when my aching grows,
Where, when I languish,
Where, in my need to know, where can I run?
Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand?
He, only One.
He answers privately,
Reaches my reaching
In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind,
Love without end. (“Where Can I Turn for Peace?” LDS Hymns no. 129)
So, I stand as another witness that God really is there, that He hears and answers our honest prayers, and that He generously rewards those who seek to follow the Savior and do His will.
Happy New Year!