Monday, July 08, 2013

Books that have been changing me

Over the past few months, I feel like my heart has really been through the ringer. NO, no major tragedy has taken place but I feel like I have changed. I even hesitate to share because it is a bit on the personal side. So, I won't share all the dirty secrets but I will share lot. I feel compelled to.

My heart has been really touched and my outlook has really taken on a new perspective. This is a result of a combination of many factors some heartache, some joys, and others small teaching moments from God. It has been the result of prayers sent heavenward in an attempt to be more charitable. I have been praying to be more charitable for years.. like at least 7 that I can actually remember asking daily that I could learn this skill. About a year ago I had an this experience and charity took on a whole new light to me. Flash forward 9 months and there I was running to be elected for a position.... one that I lost. I can honestly say I was really shocked to lose. Not that I was better or deserved it more, but I was utterly speechless. (On a whole other topic, this has been such a HUGE blessing in so many ways. I was blinded by wanting the glory of men rather than what the Lord was wanting me to do). Following that lose, I was approached with a new position and, once again, was shocked at the request. Truth be told, I had a sense that it was coming to prepare myself for my reaction., Unfortunately, I acted poorly. Picture a two year old tantrum fit... that was basically me.

Weeks later I flew off to the Philippines. To beautiful, warm, delicious, Manila. I savored everything. I touched everything. I put on 7 pounds and met family I did not know existed. It was just what my heart and soul needed. I needed time away from life. I needed time with just family... people who I knew loved me through my faults and bad behavior and who could offer me a good dose of "what really matters." Its a third world country and while we stayed in the most posh area, I was aware of the poverty all around me.
the AMAZING we falls we played in after a full day at the beautiful beach
I determined I would make this summer the one that changed my heart. So, I was introduced to two books that paired with my past experiences I have shared and some others not shared, really have made me to "Sing the song of redeeming love."

The first is General Conference EVERY DAY. I listen one talk a day. Thank you Sheri Dew for that tip
Enter in The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and What would a Holy Woman do? by Wendy Nelson.
Pair that with past discussions about the Power of Love  ,  late night talks with the hubbs, and some heartwarming mormon messages , that is a recipe for some big spiritual and emotional upheaval.

I have realized some areas in my life that are lacking meaning. They are there, but they are hollow. Some of the things brought up in these books are:

 really seeing people
what it means to be authentic
taking time to play
being able to be still...daily

Honestly, I could go on and on. What my take away so far has been is this. Charity REALLY is the pure love of Christ and it is ATTAINABLE. It takes practice. Practice at being really listening with my heart. I am not talking about listening to the spirit, but listening to my kids and husband. Cultivating (or feigning) the empathy needed to share in their joys and sorrows. Charity is about learning to let my first reaction to someone elses happiness be pure and deep sadness for their misfortune (verse "if they would have done it this way the.... or "they deserve that because..." and even "i knew that would happen")

Not letting moments pass unnoticed or people. I have felt unnoticed. I have felt that my efforts at friendships have not been returned. And then I get negative and scornful. That is directly opposite what a whole hearted person or a holy woman would do. Its not charity. Charity is continual giving. Its loving all the way, all the time. Its giving second, third and even 100 more chances.
i had no idea a picture was being taken. Usually I am behind it. But this is me, really BEING with my kids


well, at least that is what I think this all means so far.

Who knows, there is more learning to be done so may be this will all change but for now, I am grateful for these books and the sometimes painful things that I learned and am working on changing.

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