Thursday, August 19, 2010

Think You Can Make It Through This Long Post?

If you read my past post HERE where I shared the news of my divorce (which is official and finalized, by the way—no 90 day wait after all), then you read that I listened to Jack Marshall’s talk on CD called Calming Storms - Overcoming Hurt, Injustice and Anguish the week before receiving the news myself. I have been wanting to do a review on it for weeks, but have been unsure about how to explain how much it helped me without sounding like I was tooting my own horn. More about that at the end of the post. Can you make it that far? My mom and (I’m pretty sure) my sister Sheri both had Brother Marshall as an institute teacher and told me how much he loves to tell jokes. I was in one of his BYU Education Week classes before and he definitely did! He starts this talk on CD with several jokes. I’m sharing this one just for my several Idaho blogging friends.

The first man had married a woman from Iowa and had told her that she was going to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from Illinois. He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a beautiful girl from Idaho. He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.

After the jokes, Brother Marshall starts talking about the importance of forgiving the person who has caused us hurt or anguish. Of course, it is a commandment to forgive others. He quotes Terry Warner from Scapegoating and the Atonement (Side note--That sounded like an interesting book so I looked it up, but couldn’t find anything with that name. I found a talk on CD called Why We Forgive by C. Terry Warner. Now that’s on my list to listen to! And I saw another book he wrote called Bonds That Make Us Free: Healing Our Relationships, Coming to Ourselves that I would like to read someday too.) Back to Brother Warner’s quote. “The sin of refusing to forgive involves us in the sin of refusing to accept Christ’s forgiveness.” This reminded me of something I learned when I read The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers Heal Our Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell. (Although I have to say the book was not one of my favorites, I did learn something about forgiveness from it which I will never forget. Someday I’ll have to post about that.)

He also quotes Wayne Muller’s book Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood (another one that looked interesting and I found the book you can read a little of online).
“For to let go of the ones who hurt us is to let go of our identity as the one who was hurt, the one who was violated, the one who was broken. It often feels like the bad guys are getting off scot-free while we are left holding the bag of pain.”

While I don’t think I have had a problem with forgiveness in my case, I have felt exactly like this quote. It’s hard to explain without going into details, but I’m sure that most of you have felt similarly at one time in your life to varying degrees.

Brother Marshall uses many scriptures of how Jesus handled injustice and betrayal and uses the examples to teach us how we can be like him. The one part of this whole CD that stood out the most to me when I listened to this just days before my life was changed was the story behind the two short verses about Simon of Cyrene in the Bible. “Who?” you may be asking.

When our dear Savior was forced to carry the crossbeam to his crucifixion, he became weak and tired and the soldiers pulled a stranger out of the crowd that had gathered on the street.

Mark 15: 21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

The Bible doesn’t tell us anything that happened while the two walked along together so we don’t know what was said, but apparently even in the midst of this overwhelmingly painful physical suffering, Jesus thought of others. How do we know?

Romans 16: 13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

Elder Neal A. Maxwell in his talk A More Determined Discipleship in 1978 gave his apostolic view that this Rufus spoken of so briefly years after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, is Simon the Cyrenian’s son Rufus. Paul even used the words, “chosen of the Lord” to describe him. So apparently, whatever Jesus said to Simon on that day changed Simon’s life and made him and his family become Christians.

Brother Marshall says that when he read Elder Maxwell’s words on this, he thought to himself, “Marshall, do you think there could have been other things on Jesus’ mind that day as he marched to Golgotha to have nails driven through him then to reach out and minister to another person in his hurt, in his betrayal?”

After I listened to this CD, the only thing I could remember from it to blog about was this story. After I was in the middle of my own pain and suffering, days of feeling like I was in a bubble where nothing else seemed to matter, I remembered this. How could I follow Christ’s example? Reach out to others during my own suffering. Forget myself in service. Please do not think I am boasting of myself here. I would just like to testify of what I learned to be true through practice. I still wish I did more.

But while I could barely find the energy to get out of bed, to cook (and you know I love to cook) for my family, to clean, in the middle of that, I decided that I needed to find ways to serve others. I did not do anything dramatic. As a matter of fact, I only did things that I often do—take dinner to a family, mail cards to a few people to thank them for things they’ve done, take balloons to a friend on her birthday, listen to a friend going through a divorce herself (without being able to tell her about mine yet), things like that. But it helped me. It helped me see how much others are going through and it helped me see how others overcome their trials and I could too.

I bet you’d find it hard to believe, but during this time, a friend of mine moved to a new city, a little girl in our ward died, a wonderful woman in our stake (used to be in our ward) died, two friends were going through their own divorces, a woman in our ward had a mini-stroke and almost died, several family members found out they’ll have to move due to an increase in rent, another friend lost her house due to foreclosure, and lots of other trials all around me. Thinking of them and serving them, even in the little, insignificant ways that I did, helped me to see outside of my bubble and was like therapy to me.

I am so grateful for Jesus’ example to us. I’m grateful that I was able to listen to this CD and apply a part of it when I needed it most.


  1. wow, val! great post. i'm gonna have to get that talk on cd. seriously been struggling with infidelity in my husband's family. that's old news (as in started 2 1/2 years ago, continued for a while). their divorce was final this last february. not dismissing divorce as if it were nothing, as i come from a family of divorces myself. but what happened between the couple sucks, but that's between them & God. what's been the worst has been watching the effects on their kids.
    like i said, divorce is not foreign to me. neither is others' infidelities. but what's different, is the unfaithful individual has always left my life. it's hard to have to still be related to the one who chose poorly. the one who sacrificed their family & covenants for that choice.
    what's more is it has barely been 6 months, and now he's moving a new lady up from vegas to marry her along with her kids (she has custody of 4 of her 6...and there's abuse issues that come with the baggage. it's so scary!)...we don't know this lady...and he's choosing the new woman's kids over his own 3. breaks our hearts. and i've been angry. angry at what's gone down, and angry at what he expects: the rest of us to accept her/them & embrace 'em & be BFFs. not possible!
    his ex-wife we all love. she's continued to honor her covenants. she's been a righteous mother/wife/woman always. even in the 2 years between him declaring he wanted a divorce, through all his ups & downs, indecisiveness, his abandonment of the church, and then the ultimate divorce. she's the mother of some great kids we're related to that we love.
    i'm not sure there's room in my heart to push her out to make room for the new gal...and i'm not sure there's room for the new gal + the old one...does that make sense?
    i'm trying to forgive and let go. so hard. but it's just that, so hard. too bad he doesn't realize he's broken more than just his marriage/home/ & immediate family. he's broken us all. hard to trust.
    my heart goes out to you. stay strong. stay close to the Lord. keep up the service.
    a wonderful woman once taught me that if she ever starts to feel low, down about what's in her life, or "woe is me" then she knows she's got too much time on her hands & that she must serve more. you're a great example of that. you aren't tooting your own horn, btw. i get what you mean. thanks!
    ::mega hugs::

  2. Another great post, Valerie. I have been more and more amazed at the grace and faith you've displayed the last few months. You are a wonderful example of forgiveness and service.

  3. Valerie, you are amazing! You handle your trials with such strength.

  4. yeah, sorry for the long comment. just apparently have a lot inside that your long post trigger to come flowing out.
    i don't talk about this to anyone besides my husband & one of his sisters, and all 3 of us are in the same boat emotionally on it.
    my dad's been married 3 times, divorced twice. my mom has been married & divorced 3 times, and had several relationships/engagements sour due to this kind of crap.
    it's been a mess of a life to grow up in, but in a way i'm grateful. this way i can see the red flags better i guess. and even more motivation for me to be very careful when it was my turn to marry. careful as in when looking for what i really wanted. also makes me want to try harder....and i pray harder than perhaps if i didn't know the ugly side of divorced families...ya know?
    not saying you weren't careful or that you didn't work hard or pray hard. not saying that at all. just saying that perhaps if i hadn't watched my family go through all this so often that maybe I'D have been more careless in choosing my spouse. that's why i'm grateful.

    i know we're not standing right there in the everyday trials with it all, but the little bits you've shared with us out here are amazing. YOU ARE AMAZING! keep it up. when the pain wants to immobilize you, don't let it win. keep going. keep moving. keep loving those kids. they need you more than ever before. they need you to still discipline them when necessary. they need to know there's still structure. they need to know not everything is caving in. they need to know their mama is their rock, along with the Lord.
    so, no matter how much it may feel that you're not making a difference or that you're stuck pushing against an unmovable wall, never give up!

    the other thought is, sadly, we're seeing the fulfillment of the prophecy that in the last days there will be a sorting. remember? the wheat from the chaff. and we've been told it will start within the church. i think about that every time i hear another of this guy in our familiy's boneheaded decisions. sucks, but we knew it was coming. so i have to remember that God doesn't lie to us. unfortunately one of the casualties is super close to home for us.

    ok, but enough of that. my head & heart are exhausted from the past 48 hours. i think i'm gonna go help paint the family biz's office with my SIL. loud, fun music. girls painting. food! should get me feeling more optimistic.

    hope you find a mini thursday vacay of your own today. =)

  5. Valerie - I read the entire post. You are an amazing lady. Your capacity for forgiveness and love are a true example to me. You are also a great example of using the Atonement in your own life.
    I am glad things are better.

  6. You are a remarkable example of Christlike motives and behavior. Thank you. I love your quest to use the atonement in your own life and the way you express yourself. It's encouraging to think about the blessings we have been given by the Savior.

  7. Great post, Valerie! You are a strong woman and a great example!
    I'm from Idaho, so I LOVE that joke!

  8. Valerie, I agree, you are totally amazing. Just remember that and keep on going. I am going to have to listen to that CD. It sounds like a keeper. I look for good CD's to listen to and we all listen on trips and stuff. That way the kids get a dose also. We love John Bytheway and Mary Ellen Edmunds. There are also some really great youth speakers that have helped us all. Remember that you are loved!

  9. I can't think of anything better to add than all the other great comments left here.

    You are amazing. And I can't even begin to image what you've been through and are going though.

    Hang in there. You are a great example to all of us!

  10. Great testimony again.... I am so uplifted by your faithfulness!


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