Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Night I Found Out That God Answers My Prayers


Leaving the world of being a drug addict is not easy, even with the Lord's help.  Everything in my life has been changing.  And I mean everything.  From the state I live in, the people I know, to the way I think ...its all different and sometimes its a very uncomfortable transition.

Through this process of change, there are many moments of self doubt.  With a lifetime of poor decision making, I often wonder at times if a choice I am making is the right one.  Praying for guidance and comfort, then trusting in myself to interpret the spirit can feel confusing and overwhelming.  While at times I feel "tuned in" to the spirit, more often than not, I get lost and distracted when fear and my expectations cloud what the spirit is trying to say to me.  

I was having one of these moments a few months ago, when I saw the tender way God can answer prayers.  

It was only my second night in Denver.  In needing a complete disconnection from the people of my past, I moved to Denver and into an apartment with my niece.  It's a quaint, little apartment in an old brick building near the downtown area.  That particular night, my niece had left to hang out with friends and I was alone in the apartment.  I was feeling a mixture of emotions, but mainly what I was feeling was overwhelming anxiety.  Being in a new place, an entirely new city..felt very unsettling.  I didn't know my way around and other than my niece I didn't know a soul.  That night I couldn't get my phone's internet to work.  It being Saturday night, I was hoping to make it to church the next day.  The problem was, I didn't know where the chapel was or what time church started but I felt strongly that I needed to get there.  I was also on foot so I knew that if it was 9:00 am start time I would have to figure out transportation and where to go.  
Feeling the walls were closing in on me, I went outside back of our apartment to get some fresh air and think.  The back alley outside is about as daunting as any back alley can be.   It's a beautiful view of the city, but you have to look past the insulin needles and meth/crack pipes laying all over.  The little orange caps from the needles quite literally sprinkle the ground around the alley.  There are typically addicts and homeless people everywhere.  You can find them digging through the dumpster, laying in the dark corners on the pavement, or sitting on the short brick wall resting.  As I stepped outside and breathed in the night eyes looking at the paraphernalia on the ground I began to really doubt my decision to move.   Moving here to Denver was a decision that was carefully made with a lot of prayer.   My sister and I spent weeks praying and waiting for the inspiration before choosing this place.  The way it fell together seemed inspired.  But that night seemed, looking around, that maybe we had made a mistake.  As a recovering drug addict, how could the Lord have chosen this to be the place that I would recover and start life over?    Feeling doubt, I asked Heavenly Father to please comfort me and let me know I had made the right decision to move here. I said a short, but very heartfelt prayer for comfort.  

After my prayer, I went back inside and took off my coat and my shoes.  I went to go sit down and at that very moment, there was gentle knock at the door.  I opened the door and there were two sister missionaries standing there.  

My niece had lived in this apartment for over a year without a visit from any missionaries or anyone from the church.  But on this night, literally moments after my prayer, there they were.  I of course invited them in and shared the story with them.  We laughed and teared up together.  It was an amazing moment for all of us.  I teased them for weeks that they showed up that night faster than Jimmy Johns.  I mean talk about freaky fast.:)

Scriptures, book of mormon, Heavenly Father, God, Lord, missionaries, comfort, prayer, answers

I will never forget those two amazing sisters and their sacrifice they made to serve a mission for the Lord. I will never forget that night when the Lord heard my prayer and sent the sister missionaries to my door faster than Jimmy Johns.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm Getting Bold in the Bishop's Office


    Jesus Christ- Bishop-Repentance-Atonement

    Many people know the dread that can wash over a person when they are about to walk into the Bishop's office and confess something for the first time. Tired of feeling the deep shame and carrying the burden of sin alone, one bravely makes the decision to do what seems like the impossible... confess to the Bishop. Sitting outside his office with jittery feet and sweaty palms awaiting your turn, one feels complete terror of the upcoming moment. The moment when the secret he's been holding will finally fall from his lips and into the Bishop's ears. 

             He thinks to himself, "What will happen when I finally say those words out loud?" 

    Soon, it will be my turn to share the secrets I have been holding for years with my Bishop... GULP.    To say it mildly, each time I think about saying certain things out loud, I begin to feel paralyzed. I think, "Am I really about to do this?" or " Will I be able to say to him things that are almost impossible to say to myself?" ... Double GULP.

    This whole process of repentance is brand new to me. While I was raised in the LDS church, my parents became inactive when I was 13 years old. Other than a sacrament meeting here or there over the years, I have been completely inactive for 28 years. In fact, I've been gone so long I somehow went from "inactive" to "less active" with no effort at all! ;). I have struggled with drug addiction and alcoholism for most of my life. Let's just say my list of things to discuss with bishop isn't exactly .. uh .. short.

    Dieter F. Uchtdorf-LDS-MORMON QUOTE

    For years my addiction problems seemed hopeless. No matter what I tried, I was unable to make real headway towards healing and living a clean and sober life. I felt utterly alone and abandoned by God. Things began to change a couple of years ago. After an unexpected and powerful spiritual experience, I began to realize that I wasn't doing this journey alone after all. I started to hand things in my life over to God. I didn't believe it would work at first, but I was willing to give the "faith experiment" one good try before I gave into giving up on myself for good. Bit by bit, moment by moment, miracles have begun manifesting themselves in my life.   The choice to act in faith changed my entire world. 

    While I have already begun to live differently and stop sinning in the ways I was before, it is very important to me to go through the formal process of repentance with my Bishop. I have not been worthy to take the sacrament in 28 years. I have never received my Patriarchal blessing. These are things I very much want. Someday, when Heavenly Father feels I am ready, I want to enter the the temple and make my covenants with the Lord. 

    All of those blessings start with this one upcoming terrifying moment.  So I will not let the fear stop me and I will be bold in the Bishop's office.  I will not mute or minimize my past.  I will take absolute responsibility for my actions and trust that the Lord will find a way to continue to remove the guilt and shame and replace it with peace and joy .  I will believe His words and promises about repentance.   I will have Faith that it is possible for my weaknesses to become great strengths.

    Book of Mormon-LDS-Scriptures-Alma

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