Same Sex Attraction, Confidence Issues, Weight Loss and other Freaking Hard Things!

What defines me?

I have been trying to read this article
all day long and I was finally able to finish just a few minutes ago. It was just fantastic. Although quite long and I admittedly had to re-read some sections, (after four children I don’t brain so good) I still found it quite informative and it has given me a lot to think about. I wanted to highlight a section that really struck me very profoundly. Here is the quote:

“Several years ago I had the opportunity to talk with the stake president of a large metropolitan city in the United States. It’s also a city that seems to draw a large number of LDS individuals who are homosexual. In talking about his experience in ministering to many of these individuals—many who were faithful in the Church and many who had left or who were in process of leaving—he shared with me his conviction that violations of laws guiding appropriate expression of sexuality were violations of the law and spirit of consecration as much as they might be violations of the law and spirit of chastity. They were unwilling to fully consecrate their sexuality to the higher vision and purposes of God. This could be as true for heterosexual offenses as homosexual ones. I’ve reflected a lot on that idea in the years since that meeting and the Spirit has confirmed to me the truth of it.

The principles of chastity, consecration and Zion are intimately interwoven. The willingness to surrender all that we have and all that we are to the building of Zion, including our sexuality, is key to the process of purity and holiness of heart that are the defining virtues of Zion. We cannot become truly pure in heart without recognizing that all that we are is intimately interconnected with all life. To think that the process of righteousness or perfection happens solely on an individual level is erroneous. So thought the rich young ruler who came to the Savior saying he’d kept the commandments from birth and wondered what he lacked. The Savior, wanting to teach him that holiness isn’t about behavioral or ritual conformity but rather about caring for and becoming ministers of grace to others, commanded him to sell all and give to the poor (Matthew 19:16-22). But consecration isn’t just about giving up temporal possessions. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught, “We must be willing to place all that we have—not just our possessions (they may be the easiest things of all to give up), but also our ambition and pride and stubbornness and vanity—we must place it all on the altar’ of God, kneel there in silent submission, and willingly walk away.”

This part of Ty Mansfield talk really resonated with me. I don’t know that I have ever really thought of placing all that I am, all that I have, including and certainly not limited to my faults as a human being and the very nature of my physical body at the altar of The Lord. The concept has drastically shifted the way I have perceived what it means to give it all to The Lord. I have up until this time recognized that it is asked that we give of our time, posessions, talents, and resources to help build the kingdom of God on this earth. I also recognize that we are taught to bring our sins too The Lord to allow the atonement to work in our lives and to help lift those burdens. But I have not really contemplated that I also need to bring even the shortcomings of our physical body to Him as well.

The quote he uses at the end from Jeffrey R. Holland is especially poignant. It made me picture in my minds eye myself placing it all before The Lord. I have struggled so long with how to define myself. Trying to find this or that to help me really know who I am. I found myself feeling mundane and very ordinary because I could not extract a part of my life that was unique and special. When I was able to admit to myself that I was attracted to woman both emotionally and physically I felt sad but in secret almost happy to have found ‘my thing’. Since then I have struggled with living with that definition of myself. And maybe that struggle derives from my spirit telling me that it is not ‘my thing’. This argument between my physical body and my spiritual one that I cannot seem to resolve because I am still holding onto this idea of what defines me. It’s like I am holding two different pictures of my life. My physical side has a picture of me as a lesbian. My spiritual side has a picture of me as a heterosexual woman. And when I try to lay one on top of the other I cannot seem to bring them together in a cohesive way. Like trying to put magnets together when all they want to do is push in the opposite direction. Now that I am coming to the realization that I need to bring it ALL to The Lord, willingly give it away, I can in a sense strip the definitions away from both pictures, leaving just me. So I begin a new journey now to find who I really am. This time I will not be fooled into thinking it has anything to do with my infinitely flawed human body.

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My blessing of Hope

I was finally able to get in to see my bishop today and fill him in on all that has gone on this summer with me coming out to my family. It was a great conversation and I was able to bring up my newly discovered self-esteem issues that I would like help navigating. It was nice to hear that he agreed with my desire to start counseling again and I am excited to begin that process.

I have also entered into new territory with my husband. We recently went on a quick weekend trip to go to a wedding and were able to get sitters for the kids so we could go alone. It was just amazing. We drove for over 4 hours each way and talked the entire time. And even better…it wasn’t all about me. We talked about what he’s been struggling with and were able to just re-connect in a way that has not happened in quite sometime. It was so spiritually centered and my love for him has grown even deeper than I thought it could. It has always been my concern when talking with my hubby that when I am really honest, I will hurt him. But I do not give him the credit he deserves. He recognizes in me the strength I have and the choices I have made to be with HIM, to have a temple recommend and to strive to keep my testimony strong. He understands that although I am infinitely flawed, I am working to better myself. And somehow he is able to accept me and know that what I am experiencing, what I am feeling…is not a reflection of how I feel about him. I have felt such a relief to be able to say things as they really are and to not have to try and sugar-coat it to try and protect his feelings. He is secure in our relationship. That is such a comfort to me and in turn helps me feel secure. I doubt myself all the time and to know that he does not doubt me, has complete confidence in my ability to be successful in life, is the most loving thing he has ever done for me. Because I often feel negatively towards myself I continually doubt how people feel about me. I know my husband loves me but I don’t know that I really have felt it for awhile until that weekend. My husband is not an emotional person. When I saw him cry as he described how he felt about me, felt about our life together, it really took me by surprise. I don’t know why. He is my husband. We have created 4 beautiful children together. We have a life together. The difference is that I really FELT his love. Truly felt it and let myself actually believe it. It was a spiritual experience that I will not soon forget. Going to the temple after our deep conversations only added more depth to our experience and I can truly say that he is an amazing man. He has his flaws I know, but he does not let them define him.

Venturing into this territory of being officially out is scary and I find myself realizing that I was not quite as prepared as I might have thought I was. I can be ready to talk about it, to share my story, but that doesn’t mean that I have completely come to terms with this part of myself. I thought I was. How grateful I am to have the resources available to me to seek guidance from an inspired bishop, a devoted husband and a most gracious a loving Father in Heaven. How blessed I feel…even in the midst of this particular trial. A trial which will most likely last the majority of my mortal life. My hope for my future is that I can find a way to accept and love myself…flaws and all. My hope for my future is that I will be able to stop comforting myself with food. My hope for my future is that I can have realistic expectations for myself. My hope for my future is that I can understand love and that I will be able to recognize it and accept it into my life. I may not understand everything, but I have HOPE. That is so much more than I have had in awhile.

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