Church has been such a challenge for so long. I feel so uncomfortable and saddened to write that sentence. The words feel harsh and yet they also feel so vague and non descriptive that they seem unmeaningful. Funny that…. But even as I write those words, my spirit rebels… for I do not want to think of church as a challenge. I don’t want attendance or thinking positively at church to be a challenge at all. A good friend this week told me that “church is supposed to be a sanctuary, a place of relief…. a place of respite.” Church has not been that way for me for a little over a decade now and I desperately want to find that again for myself.

So I have been trying. I have thrown myself into my calling. I have used my creativity and my extra resources to get more materials for the library, to add activities and to work to get more members involved in using the library. I have pushed myself to 100% attendance at Sacrament meeting and to keep coming… no matter what. I have tried to reach out and make some new friends and to find friends in those that I didn’t really have the opportunity to really get to know in the past. And I feel like these attempts have really helped. I no longer long to stay home and it no longer feels right to do so. I have some really wonderful friends- ones that I want to trust…. that I feel in my heart that I should trust…and I hear the Lord whisper that I need to learn to trust people again and that these friends are good and strong and love me…. that they are worthy of my trust. The very real possibility of moving out of the branch now feels extremely painful and the opportunity for even more loss in my life. In some ways, it feels like the only thing that I haven’t lost… a gift that I have cultivated and has become a real family. You know, a real family… with members you love that are friends as well, that are strong and will be there no matter what… and those who have hurt you and you can’t truly reconcile with, but they are family and so you try to love and help them anyway. And knowing how much Heavenly Father loves them- as well as his love for you- makes the betrayal and the pain they have caused seem lessened and, in some ways, less personal.

So I was truly determined to get to church today and I was going to do three things. I was going to sit in Sacrament meeting no matter what and I was going to sit with someone and not just find a bench to ‘hide’ in…. I was going to make the library’s hours more regular and go to class. And lastly, I was determined to not allow anything to phase me today. I was going to look at everything with a wide angle lens and remember the important reasons for coming to church. In anticipation of that, I took medication to make sure I slept the night before and had a large meal…... Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I was totally broadsided by something today that I didn’t expect and I wouldn’t even have known how to prepare for. That’s the bad news…

But here’s the good news! I was able to sit through the whole meeting. I was able to find a way to sit and really listen and they were some great things in the meeting. A few lines of some of the talks felt so pertinent that I wrote them down. They have been running through my head all afternoon… so I thought I would share them. Maybe someone else can enjoy them or find them useful as well…..

“We can choose happiness over bitterness…” – Isn’t that really true… I recognize that it is hard (Boy, do I recognize that!), but we really can make that conscious choice and fight to make that a part of our reality. I really want that for myself. What do you think of this thought?

“We should prepare now to live in a better world” – Everyday is a preparation for the world to come… for a place that we as human beings cannot really comprehend even as we make choices that will lead us bit by bit towards the future world. Every choice can lead us closer or farther… or even find us sitting by the side of the path, foot sore and forlorn. I found myself wondering if I am one of those sitting by the side of the road, weary and desperate for a ride… even as I know that I have to walk the path and that a ride isn’t possible or even a good idea. What am I doing to prepare...? What specifically are you doing?

“Bad situations can wear down even good people” – I felt like this statement really reverbated through my soul. One of the things that so many lessons and scriptures tell us over and over is to keep ourselves in safe ways. They suggest that staying away from temptation is so much easier if we never put ourselves in the situation that the temptation is possible. Seems true enough. But this statement seems to cause my brain to focus on the awful situation that I am mired in and my feeble attempts to crawl out of it… and I realized that I feel too tired to do it. Could I have kept myself out of this situation? I don’t really know… What I do know is that doing the right thing is becoming harder to do… in some ways even harder to comprehend doing. I feel like I can safely testify that at least for me, a bad situation is really bringing me down to a place I never imagined I would find myself in. I still do not know how to avoid it in the future, but the lessons I have learned will help avoid some of the situations I have recently found myself in and I intend to protect myself a little better than I have in the past. What do you think about this statement? Do you think it is applicable to you?

May next Sunday be another step towards a brighter future for all of us! :)


  1. I don't think you should feel bad about admiting church is a challenge. I struggle every week. Good for you for doing something about it.
    I have watched as one bad situation, or bad situations have worn down amazing people. One would never know they were an alcoholic if they never tried alcohol. But then some good can come out of "being brought down to a place you never imagined you would be in." It's a lot easier to help someone get through a difficult time when you have been there yourself. The only key is you have to make it out.

  2. Rachael... You have a really good point. I am struggling to make it out and I feel like my experience will hopefully not only be for my good but others as well. I do just have to keep climbing out! And I will keep trying. I am really trying to see church in a different light. I think that helps a little bit too, but I think it will be a challenge for a little bit.... I guess all we can do is try. :)