Monday, July 07, 2014

Families and Fruits

Recently someone talked about her family and how that family is the plan of Heavenly Father.  Agreed.  Family is part of that plan.
Yet ... what makes a family sans gay people a better family?  More part of God's plan?  If I were at a family reunion with my partner and my children, and someone looked around basking in the glory of family being part of God's plan, would they skip over me and mine?  Would they say, "Except for their family.  Their family isn't part of the plan."

I challenge that notion. 

I was raised in a "traditional" family.  I was part of a "traditional" partnership which resulted in the "traditional" offspring. And now I'm part of something seen as "less than" and "unworthy".  Yet ... I'm happier than ever, feel more connected to my Savior then ever before, feel more peace about me and mine than I ever have, and ... I know that my family unit is part of His plan. 

If by their fruits ye shall know them ... is my orchard to be ignored just because it's not the fruit you're used to?  Discarded just because someone told you it was bad?  Look for yourself and see, and I challenge you to find an absence of God, His blessings, His favor, and even an absence of His approval in my family unit.  What you will find is a secure, loving, happy family who loves God and receives His blessings regularly.  A family that absolutely belongs together. 

Family is definitely being threatened, people, but your "traditional" one isn't on the receiving end.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Cuztomizing Christ

There's a blog post floating around in cyberspace that tells us to "quit acting like Christ was accepting of everyone and everything."  I'm not even linking it cuz it doesn't bring me feelings of the spirit.  I'll trudge through a few points in particular, however, so my thoughts make a bit of sense.

The author starts right off with "Too many people are neglecting what is in the scriptures and trying to 'customize Christ'."  This is also a lot like Elder Holland's talk, wherein he says, "Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds."

Before anyone gets in an uproar, I am not disparaging Elder Holland.  I love him, always have.  I'm not even disparaging his comment, per se. What I dislike and find uncomfortable is the tendency people have, when reading or hearing those words, to feel that I am trying to have a god who doesn't demand much, a comfortable or smooth god, or one who doesn't rock the boat.  Or that when I take issue with someone thinking such of me, I need to be called to repentance.

Anyway, it's things like the article I am not linking to that get people on the bandwagon of thinking I've got it all wrong.  (Even if I do have it all wrong, isn't that between me and God?) "Instead of looking for a Church that teaches truth, many are on a quest to find a church that can satisfy their innate desire to worship God, and yet at the same time, live the lifestyle that they want to live regardless of how ungodly it really is."  Yeah, he's not talking about "lifestyle" of judging or gossip. 

He says in his article: 
If Christ were walking the earth today preaching the same things He was preaching back in His day, people would be flying off the handle. He’d teach hard things. Draw a line in the sand. Tell people He loves them. Ask them to repent. Maybe even get mad and turn over some tables. (Matt 21:12-13) Then they’d call Him a bigot. Self-righteous. Un-accepting of others and their way of life.
I honestly don't think Christ would be (is) as harsh as this presents.  Isn't He our Intercessor?  Our Redeemer?  What did He teach, really?  Love, compassion, turning your life over to Him, serving Him and others, not judging - remember the Samaritan?  Yes, He asked people to repent, a lot - from judging, from being too critical of others (including Him), and thinking they knew better than God.  I don't see anything at all in His teachings from the Bible that make him appear to be a bigot.  Nothing but love and acceptance, kindness and mercy, forgiveness. 

Here's what someone named Candace Datz had to say: 
If I am to err in interpreting the Bible, which I probably will since I’m a human being, I would rather intentionally err on the side of more inclusion, acceptance, and generosity. I really can’t imagine Jesus saying to me, “You were too kind and loving and you didn’t put your foot down enough,” but I could definitely see him saying, “You didn’t take care of those around you and you alienated those that I love.”
That sounds more like how I feel about Jesus.  Am I really so off base in how I see my Lord and Savior?  Is there any place in our hearts to see that we *can* indeed depend on Christ's grace and mercy, and that perhaps He just might want us to feel better about ourselves?  This isn't me customizing Him, making him comfortable or smooth, nor is it me wishing He just wasn't so demanding.

A woman commented on a thread on facebook about this, and I love what she had to say so much, I'm going to paraphrase and add my own twist ... I have spent much of my adult life trying to understand how to manage being gay and LDS, how I fit, or don't fit.  And ultimately, His grace and mercy, and the atonement are all I can count on. There is no part of this journey of reconciliation that has been easy, smooth, comfortable.  But the simple beauties of the gospel and Christ have indeed brought me peace.  While my searching has brought me more questions than answers, there are still simple truths that shine through ... when I can remember just what is important. One thing this searching has taught me, almost more clearly than anything else, is the nature of Jesus Christ, my Advocate, my Rock, my Mediator, my Light.

When it comes to this journey of being gay and LDS, I'll close in her perfect words, "The Savior is my beacon of hope, my provider of peace, my Elder Brother. That's not manipulation, that's peace. And I'll take all the peace I can get."

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I was driving around Antelope Island this morning alone, enjoying the cool day with my windows open.  I stopped on a hill and looked out over a beautiful sight and missed my mom.  She loved nature and beautiful things, and I found myself wishing I could share this with her.  Of course, being dead, I imagine she can see it any time she wants to, but I wanted to be the one to share it with her.  So I just drove on and a few seconds later, a grasshopper jumped through the window and landed on my nose.  Grasshoppers are about the only creepy, crawly thing that doesn't freak me out, but landing on my nose is sort of startling.  A few seconds after my fright, I laughed about the whole thing.  And rolled up my windows.

I shared this adventure on facebook and a few minutes later, a dear, constant friend messaged me with this, with the title "Animal Totem: Grasshopper".

 Uncanny Leaps Forward
The  Chinese symbol of good luck and abundance,
Grasshopper gives its totem people the ability to take chances. 
To move on hunches and take the leap forward. 
Things might not move for them as they do for other people;
progress is not step-by-step, but rather extremely fast. 
Trust your own instincts on when to make the leaps. 
Trust your inner voice. 
It will lead you to great successes. 
Don’t be afraid to leap –
and remember that Grasshopper only leaps forward – never backward.

How awesome is that, now that I think about it?!  (In case you're not sure about totems, Webster's Dictionary defines a totem as: "A natural object, usually an animal that serves as a distinctive, often venerated emblem or symbol. A means of personal or spiritual identity."  From the internet "Animal totems play huge roles in our lives. They aid in self-discovery and capture our imagination, giving us incredible avenues of self-expression and awareness.")

What's most amazing about this is this totally describes my life. I'm experiencing so much abundance in joy, love, peace, means.  I don't share much about my personal life online anymore, so this isn't going to reveal anything earth moving.  If you want to know about something, ask me outright and specifically, and I'll likely tell you.  I do want to share, however, that things are amazing in my life.  My children are well, happy, have jobs and cars, they share with me and turn to me for discussions about life ... great people there and how amazing they share their hearts with me.  My job is going well and I'm able to participate in ways that allow me to help others learn and grow, and I get to earn enough money to take care of all my needs and then some.  I have amazing friends who accept me, share in mutual understanding, stick by me and enjoy my company.  I have love as I've only previously imagined, in a way that I have attempted to mold previous relationships into without success, and now it comes with ease, peace, and contentment.  Spiritually I am feeling quite close to the spirit and feel the influence in small and large ways, guiding and directing me, giving me "kudos" or even redirecting me as needed.  I have honestly never had things so good, and several times a day I sit in awe and gratitude. 

That grasshopper was ... as my friend said in her message to me ... right on the nose.