Hope: I Am Enough

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but I have problems.

Looking at Facebook, is sometimes seems like I’m the only one. But I don’t post every time I have a bad day, and I guess neither do you.

What I don’t post are days that I cry solely because my brain chemicals are imbalanced. I don’t Facebook that my husband and I already have recurring issues and arguments, something I don’t think people expect from newlyweds. You won’t find my internal battle on your home page, the “I feel fat fat FAT” versus the “I am beautiful no matter what!” All that and more, and you’ll never see a word of it (unless you read this blog, because yeah).

I have problems, and I am growing up. My birthday is coming up pretty soon, as well as the new year. Usually everyone’s gaze turns forward to anticipate the changes that the new year will bring. But right now, I’m looking inward.

Depression does this stupid thing where it robs me of energy plus any hope for the future. And I fall victim to this kind of thought pattern, letting it follow me into days when I would otherwise feel fine. I forget that I’m in my early twenties with most of my life ahead of me. I am a glowing starball of potential, but I forget, and I lose that hope.

So today I am most grateful for the desire to improve, albeit steadily. Although I still have problems and make mistakes it feels like every other minute, I hope I will not lose sight of my current infinite worth and my greater potential. Because remember, you do not decide your worth. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love you and believe in you and you belong to them, so you are of infinite worth. At the same time, you can keep improving every day because everyone can learn to live and love better.

This is what hope is to me: Knowing I am good enough, and then trying to be better.

It’s hard, but I try when I can.

 

 

My Capital-T Truth

Dear humans who read this,

I hope that the holidays treat you well. I hope they are filled with joy and love, and that all your dreams come true. I hope you look back on December 2015 as one of the best times of your life, and that you move forward into 2016 with renewed energy and hope.

But if you are struggling, if you feel alone or depressed or abandoned or empty, if darkness surrounds you and you don’t see a light ahead in your future, lift up your eyes.

There is always hope in our Savior, Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we never need lose faith in a better tomorrow. His Atonement will make up for every unfair thing in this life. It is with His light that I have survived some of the darkest nights of my life. I know that He loves me, and if He loves me, then He certainly loves you, too.

Don’t give up. There is always light ahead. I understand hopelessness, and the anger that can result from it. I have turned from God and lashed out at Him in prayer, blaming Him for struggles and pains that we all inevitably face in our earth life. I know that He knows me by name, and He is constantly aware of me, of my desires and my needs. He knows me better than I know myself, and still He loves me.

Hold on to that hope. Take whatever embers of light you have inside you and let His love make them brighter. I testify that good will triumph over evil. I feel it deep in my bones, an undeniable truth in my soul. He will come again, and He will bring peace and rest for His faithful children.

This is the greatest gift I can give to you, my readers: I give you my testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, my Savior. He lives, He loves us, and we can choose every day to follow Him and let Him heal us.

I wish all of you a wonderful holiday season and an amazing new year!

Much much love,

Maney

Poetry Friday: The Old Oak Door

The Old Oak Door

They beat the old oak door with metal, hot
With orange flame, they cast a holy scene
Through windows of stained glass, an afterthought
Of sacred things that men have turned obscene.
The pastor in the chapel holds his face
And worships at the feet of Christ the Lord;
The mob is all enveloped in God’s grace,
Though fire and blood deface the old oak door.
The pastor cries, “How can these souls be starved?”
For long he has been faithful to the cause.
So many years have passed that God has carved
Lines on the pastor’s face with holy laws.
The pastor takes a passage through the floor;
And, shrouded, joins to burn the old oak door.

Poetry Friday: Average Grace

Average Grace

Fingers pinch at the tips
nerves scream
nails scrape across rough wires
voice strains on highs and lows
muscles stiffen and burn
neck aches

no one I can see can hear me
but my pain brings a circle of ghosts
drawn to the history I share
through song

You’re Not a Sad Story

I’m writing this late at night which is usually a bad idea, since my thoughts can be so disjointed and my writing tends to get pretty wonky. But I want to say something:

Lately I feel like I’ve been carried out of a really terrible trial, and my heart is slowly opening up to let in the future. The annoying phrases that haunted me so much in depression mean something better, like “today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Instead of ripping me open, these words resonate in me, give me comfort.

Things are still hard, and some days I am empty, and I still hate reading my journal entries and blog posts from last semester because they dissolve my stomach, but that’s part of my life, and maybe your life is like that too. You and I, we deal. We move on. We carry our crosses. We stand together. And even when we feel alone, we’re not.

God is good. Living can be hard. Things are complicated. Hold on, keep keep keep keep keep holding on. Jesus loves you, just the way you are. There is always hope, even if you can’t see it. And I, dear reader, love you too.

Let’s do this life.

Feeling Better Better Better

A few months ago I expressed my concern that once my mental health started improving, I wouldn’t have anything left to blog about. Now after about a month of slow posting, mostly reblogs and Poetry Fridays, let me say one thing:

Mental health is not so bad.

I’m no longer desperately clinging to, and then dejectedly hanging from, one last thread of life. There are bad days, of course, but now I can distinguish between my emotions, all my feelings spread across a palette from the lightest yellow to the deepest indigo; tears over past horrors, hours of inexplicable contentment, bursts of energy, and more and more. I am so consumed by this diverse spectrum that I can hardly even remember when all my emotions ran together in a blackish, hopeless mud.

Life is actually and really and truly okay. I am moving forward. I’m making plans. I am learning about myself–learning to love that girl for who she is. I’m learning where I want to go in life, not just physically, but emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Things are definitely still hard. It hurts to remember what I’ve been through, to think about all the sadness and pain in the world. But things are beautiful, too. I’ve been patient; allowed myself to just heal slowly, months and months passing until I can’t even recognize myself anymore. And I have a loving family, medication, and a supportive counselor to thank for that. Not to mention the many prayers that have been offered on my behalf.

Yes, that’s right, prayers. Maybe you’re noticed, readers, but I’ve haven’t mentioned much of God or religion for a few months. I guess that was part of the healing: learning to trust God again and let His love heal me. Great, I’m tearing up as I type this. I’m so grateful that I feel deep within me that the doctrine I’ve been taught my whole life is truth. That doesn’t mean I don’t get to ask questions. There’s plenty of room for that. But the beauty is, I don’t want to trouble with questions right now. I’m just soaking in the beautiful feeling that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings into my life. I love Him so much. Not as much as I should, of course, but I’m working on it. He’s patient with me.

So anyway, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting in the coming months. Maybe I’ll go back to three a week again, or we’ll just stick with Poetry Fridays for a while. Whichever, please know that I’m doing better. I love and appreciate you all for being a part of my crazy journey through life. Keep being your wonderful selves, my dear readers.

And because I have had this song stuck in my head for several days, here is Regina Spektor’s song “Fidelity.” Do the lyrics pertain to this post? I don’t think so. The music just sounds like turning a new page to a “better better better better better better better” chapter in life.

What Santa Taught Me This Year

Every year my parents instruct us to write a note to Santa to put with the milk and cookies. This year I was the only child who conceded, but only because I had the ulterior motive of pointing the finger of blame at a certain jolly old man. I wrote a letter to him asking questions like, “Does it ever bother you that people sometimes compare you to Jesus Christ?” “Why do you keep buzzing around the world ever year in 2014? Don’t you feel like kids lose their innocence way before they can even enjoy your existence?” These questions were followed by a call to action to use his resources to stop feeding consumerism and actually help better the world. Ho ho ho.

This was Santa’s response, though the writing style is very similar to my father’s.

Dear [Maney],

You ask hard questions, and they have troubled me too for many years. Before I offer you an answer, I think I should clear up a misapprehension about my nature. I am a legend, a myth, a magical being, and a one-trick pony.

I am what humans have made me, and I cannot change myself unless the stories about me change. I do one thing and I do it with power and craft. I cannot take upon myself the lofty goals you suggest, as I have no free will. That is left for the humans, and it is the source of their power and tragedy.

That said, I do what I can when I’m not wearing the red suit. I read to kids in cancer wards. I serve soup to lost men and women. I am a ferocious knitter and I whip up warm hats and hand them out in snowstorms. I know about “think globally act locally,” [Maney], and I take very seriously any comparisons to the Prince of Peace. I strive to live up to the image.

But I cannot change the world. I have no power there. You humans have all the power, [Maney], and I hear you shouting “Cop out!” but it’s not. It’s the design. Stories are not actions. Actions create stories. Because of good saints and long-ago acts of good will, I am who I am. But you can be anything, and all of you can be naughty or nice at will, at your whim. I envy you.

I also stole some eggnog. Mmm. Thanks for the cookie. My best to the others and see you next year.

PS. I do watch, you know. Keep up the good work. You and each of you are of inestimable worth.

* * *

So, dear Readers, I hope your Christmas (or other assorted holidays and celebrations) was merry and bright. Here’s a music video I whipped together this year. It’s super high quality. 😉