FORGIVENESS, not the I am sorry and its over type forgiveness. But the deep down hurt, the knot in your stomach, about to throw up, head spinning type. The type that is found in our Savior.
The hurt that my Grandmother went through, the nights of despair, and the amount of tears that lead to her forgiveness is something that only Jesus Christ could help lift her pain. I am truly grateful for her example. Her road was not easy and she is my modern day pioneer. I know that we can do hard things and come out stronger through faith, prayer, and on complete reliance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
When thinking of the Savior and someone who exemplifies His characteristics, my thoughts immediately turn to my grandma. She has taught me to love unconditionally, to serve to my greatest capacity and to forgive myself and those around me. Her testimony and love for her Savior strengthens mine and the Light of the Savior shines through her. She exemplifies FORGIVENESS.
Like a WHIRL-WIND, divorce BLEW into my life. My husband wanted a bill of divorcement. My body crumbled and I lay in the fetal position.
“You want a what? But we are one, we have grown together at the hips. We have been married for 30 years, and we have four beautiful children, and I love you.”
I knew Heavenly Father wanted little families to stay together and I fought with all the strength I could muster up! While running every day to relive the painful stress, I prayed, “Please help me keep this marriage and family eternal.”
We left the comfort of our home nestled in the oak and pine and everything in it. I left my very successful job, and good paycheck. We left our caring friends and we boarded the airplane, leaving Huntsville, Alabama, and never looking back.
This was unlike any pain I have ever felt. My cherished life was no longer mine. We were no longer the “ROCKS OF GIBRALTAR,” or the “IDEAL FAMILY ON THE BLOCK.” We were crumbling right before the world. The pain in my stomach was unbearable and I cried, “Father, please remove this cup from me.”
As we flew cross-country, I felt as though someone had kicked me in the stomach, slapped me in the face, and jumped up and down on my heart. That day I felt just a fraction of how Jesus felt in Gethsemane when the pain and rejection was so great He couldn’t carry His cross.
I wondered how I would ever make it alone with no one to lean on. How could I ever survive emotionally, physically, and financially?
We arrived in Salt Lake City to the open arms of loving family and friends. My dearest cousin stopped by to extend his love and while he was there he related a story to me which I shall never forget.
It was about an old stone grinder. “You know, he said, the grinder just goes around and around all day. It never changes its course. The only deviation is in what it is grinding. If it is SANDSTONE, it just grinds it up to powder and the winds blow it away. But– if it is PRECIOUS METAL the grinding enhances and intensifies its beauty.”
He kissed me lightly and left. A few days later I called him and said, “Ok, so I am SANDSTONE.” He said slowly but firmly, “That’s entirely up to you.”
The MOULDING, SHAPING, and FORMING of our lives is painful, but we can be beautiful if we can endure to the end. We are like soft-clay in God’s hands. Sometimes real tragedy helps us get our priorities in order.
After a month of searching, praying, fasting, and living with my dear sister and family, we found a little place to call home.
We found a very nice area and we rented a little basement apartment that we fondly referred to as our BACK TO BASICS food, shelter, and water.
We decided on a new FORMULA for life: To live simply, laugh frequently, and love deeply.
Now if you think this is a rosy picture and I’m the perfect person, let me assure you, I am NOT, but I am a better person after going through the grinder and so are my children.
Suddenly single made me feel useless and non-belonging. That first SINGLES PARTY was a killer, and I never despised my ex-husband more than when I walked up the side walk to one of those singles dances.
I detested Friday and Saturday nights until I quit hosting my own “PITY PARTY,” and planned not to be lonely.
-I visited my elderly parents. And sought out a lonely or single friend.
-I chaperoned a party for my daughter.
-Called my children on the telephone.
-And I shopped until I dropped which makes all women feel better.
Did I say I was perfect? I was perfectly horrid. I despised him with every fiber of my being. And I prayed silently 24 hours a day that Heavenly Father would let him die.
I wanted his stomach to ache like mine and to lay in the fetal position.
I wanted him to feel lonely, poor, and rejected.
I wanted him to suffer humiliation, abandonment, failure and OVERWHELMING grief.
I wanted to pay him back for all the sorrow he had caused all of us.
I was bitter because he had ruined our HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
I can remember being so angry and frustrated I would get into my car and scream – all the way to where ever I was going and then all the way home.
Several times in my journal I had written things like: I have such terrible anger and bitterness lately. I’m on a roller-coaster ride. I just get in control and then I fall off again. I pray PEACE will engulf my soul. This bitter lady is not me. I plead with God that LOVE and FORGIVENESS would fill my heart again.
I moved from screaming to praying out loud in the car and on my morning walk. It was all starting to fall into place now. I was finally becoming humble and teachable. I was going through the refinement process. “Only God can count the sacrifices and measure the sorrow and know the heart of those going through divorce”.
One year after I left Alabama, I realized, he is not HURTING – he is at his peak of glory. I am the only one who is hurting and miserable and I am making everyone around me miserable.
Again I pleaded with the Lord, please change this hate I have for him to a Christ like love.
I prayed to have a change of heart and then I rose to new heights.
I can shape my future. I don’t need him to make me whole. I am okay, I am healthy, and happy, I am starting to think and talk other things. I started thinking interestingly, intelligently, and perhaps I even became a little desirable. Never trust a mirror it’s just an old piece of glass. Close your eyes and think beautiful and handsome.
One of the hardest things I ever did in my life was FORGIVE my ex husband. I remember chatting with my friend once and out of the blue she said, “Kathi, HEAVENLY FATHER LOVES him as much as he loves you!!!!”
It was all I could do to restrain myself from jumping down her THROAT AND SWINGING on her TONSILS, “But she was right, He does. Guess what, I love him too now. I love him like a family member. I can put my arms around him and sincerely tell him I love him and that I hope someday he can find true peace and happiness. He got his payback. He missed the joy of seeing his beautiful and talented children grow in the Lord.
My life has been a gleaning, gaining and forgiving experience. I am thankful for the good as well as the bad. Oh, but I hope I didn’t passively endure.
I am so thankful God has seen fit to bless me with God-caring-love-giving children.
For supportive parents and family.
For the gospel and the guide to eternal life.
I’m so thankful for Jesus Christ and the strength he gives me knowing I can LEAN on Him.
“TOMORROWS SIIVER LINING CAN ONLY BE SEEN AFTER THE TEARS HAVE BEEN SHED AND THE CLOUDS OF SORROW TURNED INSIDE OUT.”
After the trials we will be blessed for this life is the test.
“Sometimes with LOVE and TOLERANCE accomplishes MIRACLES that can happen in no other way.”- Gordon B. Hinckley
To find more on the #PrinceofPeace campaign go to mormon.org.
Another principle our Savior exemplified was Gratitude. Here is a phenomenal story on a dear friend who portrays so much gratitude.