The post in which Elyse relates the thoughts tumbling around in her head and relates them in a longish post without pictures.

3.12.2011

The title says you've been warned.


Sometimes, blogs become a part of my social life. A little pathetic sounding, I know. Sometimes I piddle away all my time reading fashion bloggers, DIY blogs, or just life and SAHM blogs. One thing they all have in common are the religion. The blogs that I follow are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Each blog stands for something different. Some may be setting an example by dressing modestly but fashionably. Some show their positive outlook on life by living the gospel through relationships and daily experiences. Some are just plain inspiring. All make me want to be a better person. I look at it as a daily dose of the spirit in my life. To me, there is something very different between the scriptures, the Ensign, conference, and then uplifting material, whether it be books, music or other types of media. Sometimes I struggle reading the scriptures, and I'll go in spurts of reading the Ensign regularly. But (sadly) I get on some type of social network every day, and I always stay caught up with the blogs I'm following.


For a while I felt that I was being really lazy and idle just sitting around during the day, reading about other people's lives and wishing that I could be like them. The ever-present downfall I have of comparing myself to others made my experiences more of a depressing 'I'm not who I want to be' type of experience. My style will never be as cute as so-and-so. Why can't I write like her? If I could only be that good at photography. My blog is never that witty and funny.

I had a terrible attitude. Really. And I was being idle. Because as much as these blogs are meant to be uplifting, I really wasn't letting them be. I was focusing on what I was not, instead of what I am.


Moving somewhere unfamiliar has challenged my sense of who I really am. What is my personality? How do I really treat others? Is my testimony strong enough to stand on it's own? Can I really be a leader? Am I being an example? How am I actually qualified for this calling?


I really had to get out of my protected, naive, and sheltered shell of a life.
Where my family was always around me. Where my mom cooked me Sunday dinner. Where, if I ever got sick of my husband, I could just go to my mom's house. Where, if I ever needed some random ingredient to finish making cookies, I could just run to my parent's house and use it. Where, if I needed to watch Lost on Tuesdays, I could use my parent's cable. Where I could go to birthday celebrations. Where I was at the center of every friend get together. I knew people at church and they knew me. Where I could could go to school and meet new people. Where getting a job was easy. Where I had connections. Where I didn't really have to do my calling in the college married ward because I was busy. Every one around me was Mormon. Where I took everything for granted. Everything.


And then I moved to California. Where I knew nobody. No one at all. I had no connections. Nobody knew who my parents are and that I did good in school. In fact, nobody had even heard of my school unless it was BYU (which it wasn't). I realized that if my car ran out of gas on the freeway, I would actually have to call a tow truck and pay for my car to get towed instead of having at least 10 friends and family on speed dial who could get to me in 5 minutes back in Utah. My ward became my saving grace and my family. I had to go to play dates with moms if I wanted to survive or make any friends whatsoever. I had to volunteer for every little thing the church offered so it would give me something to do. I had to magnify my calling more than I had ever thought possible. I needed my visiting teachers to come visit me because it was my only social interection. I lived for Sundays where I could go to the one constant place I knew with semi-familiar faces and a handful of people who knew our last name. I needed the gospel in my life and I didn't have my family there to be the building block of my church attendance and testimony or bail me out of anything anymore.
My testimony was strengthened when I would walk into my new church building, and I felt like I was home. Like I was somewhere familiar. I went to the temple a lot because I felt like I was back in the St. George temple with my family and friends. It was the only place that felt familiar, and it was so amazing. I didn't feel that much familiarity with anyone else or anwhere else in California.

And then in sacrament meeting one week, I realized that it was because of the Spirit that I felt so at home at church. The spirit was familiar to me, and it made me feel welcome and safe in that environment. That week it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was home. I would always feel at home if I could go to a place where the spirit was and where there are people who are equally filled with the spirit and stick together like you are their only family. Like you belong there. My testimony, which was non-existant about ward families, grew ten-fold, and is now one of my strongest testimonies. A ward family is divinely inspired. Without my ward, and without sounding too dramatic, I don't know what I would have done. My ward saved me without even knowing they did anything. I never realized how much a tiny little smile can do for someone, even if the person giving it thought it was no big deal. My stubborn little brain never realized that I can't do this alone.

I still tear up whenever I think of the overwhelming feeling of love of the ward I'm in. And when I think of the love that I feel from my Savior and how much He is aware of me and my stupid little struggles, my heart overflows with gratitude and love for Him and those around me.

That leads to the real reason for this post, which was not supposed to be this soul-bearing, blubbering rehash of a testimony meeting.


I am filled with awe, sincere love, and am humbled by the knowledge that Jesus Christ loves me, but mostly that he is mindful of not only me and my silly problems, but every single person on this earth.

Recently, I found a blog that has inspired me, makes me cry, opens my eyes, encourages me to be a better person, reminds me to take inventory of my life, work on my personal relationship with my Savior, and makes me understand the Atonement a fraction better. And it's a guy's blog. A (Gay) Mormon Guy. He writes in the most sincere, heartfelt, and loving way. He is down to earth and his faith is incredible. He's a non-practicing gay member of the church, and I read his blog faithfully every day. He is an inspiration and an amazing person.


That was the reason of this longish post. And I hope that you all got to the bottom of it, because he is so worth reading, and he strengthens my testimony every day. So go read it.

7 comments:

  1. Elyse that was beautifully written. Thank you. Ive also read his blog before and thought the same thing. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. As Much as I hated for you to leave, I am so glad for your
    experiences. You would never get those if you would have stayed here. Good for you elyse. I knew you would nail this part of your life, like you do everything else. Sure do miss you though.....

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  3. I am so grateful to know your beautiful self. Your experiences right now are PERFECT for you. I know you will handle them with grace and courage like you have faced everything else that has been placed before you. I admire who you are and a bit jealous of your adventure!

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  4. I loved this post and I love you and I hope that you know that so many people read your blog and wish they were more like you.
    Also, add me and Joey to the new blog so we can post. joey.carlson@gmail.com and suzy.carlson@gmail.com. Thanks for making it for us!

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  5. Hello my friend! So funny timing to read this post. Here I am sitting in a hotel in downtown San Diego (clay and I came for sping break). We just aren't arent usually big city people and as we were walking down the streets finding dinner tonight we were thinking how foriegn we felt. I look up to you so much for making this experience of yours a growing one. Its good to have those times when you are completely out of your element. I love Cedar but I think you know, as well as I do that its sometimes easy to be complacent in a place you are so comfortable. Good gong my friend for making the best out of you situation. By the way.. that guys blog.. WOW. Talk about someone who is determined not to become complacent. I love ya girl and miss you!

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  6. I loved this. :) It was bound to happen sometime...you becoming a fan of 'ward families'! ;) Seriously, thanks. I think we all take it for granted. Love!

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  7. I miss you in our ward... I miss you period.

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