The iconic words of Axl Rose: “where do we go now?”

After all the months of “chin up, shoulders back, soldier on” I’m worn out. I’m much older now so it’s not the same worn out as it was when I was chasing kids and hounding a husband and trying to find myself in the mess. It’s a better version than that. It’s resolute. Confident. Less worried. I know who I am. I know who my kids are. The husband is no longer gnawing out my soul with his uncertainty.

Now I’m just a little sad.

Working full time at a job that I love is still tiresome and difficult. I no longer worry if everyone likes me or the work I’m doing. I do my best and leave it there. Our massive company party which my team planned was a huge success to some, a sad flop to others and I’m miraculously at peace with what I felt was an incredible event.

Maybe you don’t realize how big this is.

It’s huge.

I’m no longer crippled with self-doubt and hatred. I no longer lose sleep over my not-enough-ness because it doesn’t exist. I am enough.




Mikeal and I are only communicating through a third party and this gives me no end of emotions. I’m at so much peace without the constant battle against my boundaries. I make terrible decisions regarding him and lose all sense of direction. I feel loved and have fun and I also fall back into toxic levels of inadequacy and defense when I get near him. I cannot shut down the hope I have for an US which never fully developed.

It was a hard holiday season, and as soon as the gifts were unwrapped, we took down the decor and the tree was on the curb. Done. Moving on.

I just felt heavy. A heaviness which increased as the days grew closer to Christmas, but which sadly didn’t go away with the pine needles on the carpet.

Today is our youngest son’s birthday, which is also the anniversary of the day Mikeal met Shane- which wasn’t the problem but a symptom of something much bigger and so much less manageable that either of us understood.

I’ve tried to forgive, surrender, move on, cut out and anything else I can think of but it persists. And I spend every December 28 forcing myself to be upbeat, present and joyful for my amazing boy. He grew up under the shadow of his dad’s infidelity and my inability to manage my life so perhaps a birthday without a forced-happy mom would feel uneasily out of place to him. I’m so sorry, my sweet boy. Someday I hope we can give you more than this.

I worry about Mikeal a lot. Something I’m told I need to shove off my back but can’t seem to find the will to do. If I stop caring, worrying, wondering, then what do I have? If I don’t have him, where do I go?

On more surface levels, I have answered this question. I am generally happy and carefree these days, no longer wearing the knife protruding from my chest marked “husband pain”. It’s a good life. I have great friends, support, career (!!!) and hobbies. I have my beautiful, healthy children in my home. I have a best friend in Jesus and an ever-burgeoning tie to the Divine Feminine. I am flourishing in this life.

But all I ever wanted was to flourish WITH Mikeal.

To be honest, we tried. We really really tried this first post-divorce year to make a go of a non-married relationship. Boy did we try. We aren’t ready. I know that I need to fully release him before I can heal that space. This false idea of who WE are is a shoddily-constructed floor covering up a mess of work which will erode at my foundation until I expose it and clean it up. It’s time.


It’s time to allow myself happiness without certainty of his whereabouts. It’s time to open up to greatness and the long, arduous, delicious steps which lead there. It’s time to mess up, change course, change course again and again and again. Creation is messy and I’m creating a life. Which is also messy.

The word for 2020 is DISCIPLINE. Discipline is what builds the muscles required to fly. I want to fly. God whispered into my soul that he is ready for this and so am I. He has plans for me which don’t involve my feet being planted on the ground.

I don’t know where we go now. My work is teaching me to map, forecast and get proactive. It’s risky business. Maybe on December 28, 2020 I will feel a little less sad, a little lighter of heart, and have a better clue where to go next.

Until then…

Next Phase Relationships

I could have sat down and written out an outline and concocted some outrageously clever or moving way to tell this story, but that isn’t exactly how I do things. So I didn’t. And we are here so I’ll just start.

We filed for divorce.

And it really and truly, 100 percent is completely ok. I can’t quite get myself to call it “good” but I’m confident that I will in the pretty near future. “Good” is reserved for the day when I don’t wake up sad or am able to say the word “divorce” without choking up just a little. Because as much as I love not feeling the weight of his infidelity or desires for humans that aren’t me, the weight of not being his wife anymore is still a little heavier on the scales.

The thing is, it just couldn’t work anymore. Not the way we were doing it. There are all kinds of “maybes” and “what-ifs” that could be thrown out and you’re welcome to toss them all around as much as you like, but I feel confident that we squoze every last drop out of our potential as we knew it before calling the attorney. I mean, we decided to split on Jan 1, 2018 and didn’t sign the papers until Aug. 19. This was no rash decision.

What is so, so good in this very moment is that our love is intact. Our like is intact. Our togetherness and life-doing is still intact. His love for me hasn’t had to change, and though mine for him has, he has been patient with every color and shade that it has had to go through to get to this place. Because he’s that good. And so am I.

23 years together has earned us the right to still be excellent friends.

He is looking for community and I’m looking for a stable future. We each turned to what we have always been looking for. I enrolled in school and picked up a job and he is immersing himself in our home remodel and exploring male relationships with a freedom he longed for for… ever. And at the end of the day, I sit on his bed and we laugh and hug and I go up to my room and relish in the quiet of my own freedom.

I will not preach against Mixed Orientation Marriages. I won’t. No one can tell me that we made a mistake or that no one should embark on such a fruitless cause. Because nothing about what we did was a mistake and the fruit it bore was beyond sweet. Our path is taking a turn, but it isn’t a wrong turn because it hurts. Pain can always beget growth if used for that purpose.

I choose this now. I choose to love him and whomever he chooses. I choose to feel joy in the beautiful space God has created for me. I still live in a beautiful home with my precious children and their dad, in the town they know. I choose to love my little retail job and the kids I work with and I choose to look forward with great anticipation to my future in whatever field I land in.

Leaving the stay at home wife/mom life is riddled with guilt but that doesn’t have to be the whole of that story. I’m so blessed to have teenagers who love my company and are so excited to see me take my spare time to serve them and their friends at school. Every moment I am not working/schooling is spent with them which makes our time so sweet. I’m confident they will never question the love their parents have for them or each other.

They know their dad is gay, which has opened doors for their friends at school to be candid with them about their sexuality. I can think of no greater blessing from this than to be a safe spot for a gay kid who is unsupported in their own home.

I’m grateful for every day of my marriage to Mikeal Jensen.

And I’m grateful for every day of my new path. God is faithful. God is provident. We are loved and supported in every way.

My love and heart are with each of you who have walked this path with us. As that “crazy blog writing lady” as one reader referred to me, all the way to whoever I am at this moment, your presence has been meaningful.

As Peter Pan said, “Here we goooooooo…….”


I keep feeling the Spirit (the Holy one…) nudging me to write.  Like, in a BIG way.  It has been a summer for the books and the one huge thing I’ve learned is that God is so real, and so present, and SO much smarter than me and that I am living beneath my capabilities.  Thus, every moment is an exercise in learning to surrender to that greatness. Because that is so scary.  I have to learn it, ever. so. slowly.

I have so much to say but my voice is so very, very flawed. Limited. Biased, Unlearn-ed.  So here I am listing all of the reasons NOT to do what I feel that third god is telling me to do instead of practicing what he has been teaching me to do.  Die to Christ. Ambitions, proclivities, fears, all dead. In He who gives me not only living, breathing mortal life, but LIFE in all the sense of the word.  And not just life Eternal, but LIFE in the here and now.  John 10:10 I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (in the Doctrine and Covenants 66:2 to be exact, He says that we might be partakers of the glories… when we receive Him….)

We all have a story. And God placed a lot of talented story tellers on this earth. I definitely have a story, but am definitely not a storyteller so why would He call me to be one?

So let me just say this: Isaiah 43:18-19 says to forget the old things because I’m going to do something new in you.  I will make a way in the places you wouldn’t expect.  (I, in this case is HE, being Jesus Christ.)  He is talking to the Israelites who had be held captive in Babylon, and wouldn’t be delivered for many more generations, but he would walk with them through their captivity.

Aren’t we all captives?

I’ve got a food problem. Well, a self-control problem in general.  I am definitely captive to that.  I’m captive to my insecurities, my fears, my need to be right and to be heard, my lack of trust in the Lord and pretty much everyone else. But He has walked with me through that.  And unlike the Israelites I don’t have to wait 250 more years to be delivered.  And maybe they didn’t either. But I want to let go of petting my sins, hand them to Him and take the hand of deliverance that He is offering me.  I’ve tasted it and I am convinced that freedom in Christ is better than control in Mandi .

We have experienced a miracle this summer. Small m miracle to most, but definitely a noteworthy moment in our blip on the timeline.  A change of heart. An opening.  My heart has begun to believe and to trust. It has begun to shed the years of anger and fear and self-preservation and retribution. That my husband is gay and cheated a lot is feeling less and less important. I don’t have to hold on to that and use it as a shield anymore.  It never really served anyone as a shield anyway.

When I was young, I never felt very good, physically or emotionally.  It was hard to be taken seriously as I was pretty dramatic even in the smallest things.  I learned that in order to get what I needed, or thought I needed, I would have to convince those around me of the seriousness of my condition.  I have a sore throat = it feels like giant spikes are closing in on my throat, etc… along with a fake scratchy voice and a slow trudge through the house, preferably past the people I was trying to impress. Even better if they were watching tv and I could slowly walk past and heave a rather weighty and well-timed sigh.

At 21 I served a mission to San Diego. It became apparent pretty soon after I arrived there that things weren’t right with me, but I didn’t know exactly what was wrong and couldn’t verbalize my problems. The rigidity of the schedule, the pyramid-scheme feel of the “leadership ladder”, the utter lack of measurable results all played into my despair.  I wasn’t self-aware enough to know that I required self-care. That I was a human, God-created individual and that my needs and personality weren’t so easily malleable into the “ideal” missionary that I expected (and I’m quite certain mission/church leadership expected) me to suddenly become once I put on the tag.

I knew the pat answers to all of the questions, sort of knew the doctrines of the gospel, understood on a rudimentary level that I was a daughter of God and had every right to His grace, guidance and comfort, but didn’t really know how that could make a difference to or to my work. I thought that all that I had and knew was more than enough to make me into a powerhouse missionary who could light up any room, change lives by her word, and bring multitudes of sorrowful souls to the Lord of All.

I had Zero idea what it was all about.

And that was dangerous.

Every day was a mountain. I obeyed to the letter- except for my lunch-hour and driving to La Jolla and Old Town naps- prayed like crazy, read everything I could get my hands on, and threw myself into the work.  But it never fit. It was like walking 100 miles in too-small shoes all day, every day.  I doubted what I was teaching. It made no sense to me that God would create so many millions of souls, and require them all to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ as-told-through Joseph Smith or they were shut out of the highest glory forever.  Especially when so very few of those souls had any desire to even talk about Jesus Christ, let alone Joseph Smith.

Though telling the First Vision was a deeply moving experience, I found myself embarrassed when we would tell it to someone who remained doubtful.  I hated telling people that unless they accept “our” baptism and temple ordinances, their loved ones would be lost to them forever.  I hated inviting people to church, knowing that attendance and membership was hard, requiring more faith than most likely they, (because even I lacked it) had.  That church was not as shiny as the doctrine. That the people weren’t always that friendly or helpful and yes, the Pentecostals down the street probably did have a much better children’s ministry than we did.

It weighed on me to the point of suffocation.  “Have more faith.”  “Pray more.” “Fast again.”  “You aren’t calling on the blessing you received.”  “Just forget yourself and get to work.”  “You need to love your companion more and work together as one.”  Everything pointed to me, and my failure to become That Missionary.  There was no room for me, only her, and honestly, I didn’t like her very much.  That beautiful Gospel that I thought I loved became a noose around my neck.  And I had to get free.

After less than three months, I packed my bags, called the airline and booked a ticket home. It was only at the insistence of my companion that we tell the mission president of my plans.  When I told him I was going home, he laughed, which made me even more determined to go. Once he understood how serious I was, he offered everything he could within his power. A sit-down with a Seventy. A stay in the mission home for as long as I needed.  A phone call home.  But it just wasn’t enough.

In retrospect, I do wish I could have stayed and figured it all out. But it has been 22 years and I’m just starting to understand some of it.  I came home and fought the darkness of depression that was slowly but doggedly encroaching on me.  I was medicated but it would be another 17 years before I understood that the term Anxiety was more fitting for me.

But what that experience taught me is that people won’t take you seriously unless you’re really, really sick. Preferably in an observable way. So if I had a bad day, I had to stay in bed or make artwork out of my own blood. I had to go into rages and smash pottery.  I had to really show those around me that I truly needed help.  You see, even my depression wasn’t enough, I had to make it more.

When Mikeal came to me and told me he looked at porn, I shrugged it off. We would work through it. When he came to me and told me he had hooked up with a couple of random guys on business trips, I shrugged it off. We would work through it.  When he told me about the men propositioning him at work, I shrugged it off. We would work through it.  When he came to me and told me that he had been keeping an affair from me, I sat up and took notice. And I behaved like every jilted wife was supposed to behave. Because that was how I would get the attention and help I needed.

I struggled with knowing the appropriate way to handle the situation because the only thing that was certain was that I hurt, and that I deeply, desperately, loved this man.  So I inflated the reaction. I went to what I knew.  And because of that, it took me many, many years to even begin to see recovery.  I didn’t even know what recovery was.  I built up a wall, but busted open the sporadic hole to let Mikeal in on occasion. I held up the pretense that I had forgiven him and all was well, while at the same time shooting barbs at him and making sure he knew exactly how much pain I was in .

It is this shield that I am finally beginning to identify and let down.  Perhaps it’s because he hasn’t hooked up with anyone in years. Perhaps it’s because he is finding his own healing. Perhaps it’s because I’m in those proverbial 40’s where all women begin to get real with themselves (except those who don’t, and get botox and cheek implants…).  But I can say that for the first time in my life I see a ME that is legitimate.


So maybe I’ll find some focus to the writing. Because these pointless rambling posts can’t be all there is.  If there really is a greatness that God is aiming to unlock (a notion that is so thrilling and so scary and feels so prideful to even mention) I want to be present for it. If I’m going to write, I demand that it to serves a purpose outside my own need to express.

The end.

What happens when Husband runs into his old boyfriend at Staples.






They catch up on life, apologize a little, and move on.








And wife doesn’t fall apart.







Life moves on.


(and now I need to write about betrayal trauma and healing. but goodness I’m so far from being an expert on the subject. but let me say this:  your healing is paramount. his healing is paramount. and you can heal together, eventually. but it hurts like hell and it feels at times that there is just absolutely no freaking way that your path could be right. and sometimes it isn’t the right path. and you with God can be the only ones who make that determination but God can do big things even when it feels like he is totally ignoring you. but is isn’t. ever. you’re always in His hands. always.)


*This was in my drafts folder. Written a few years ago. Don’t know why I didn’t post it then, but here it is now.

I think I’m ready to tell this story.

#2 son was a big surprise.  Conceiving a child was something my body did grudgingly, and once it happened, it spend the first few months of gestation angrily reminding me how much it opposed the course of action it was undertaking. Once we passed the first trimester, my body and I came to an understanding and we all got along quite well

So when there were two pink lines on the stick a mere 12 months after #1 son was born, I was beyond shocked.  And scared. (Because we had just moved 2000 miles away from our caretakers, and who was going to come over in the middle of the night to watch the kids while I was rushed to the hospital to get IV fluids?) Husband, as always, put on his Protector/Man pants and dove right into feathering a nest that I could collapse into for the next three months.  He is a remarkable homemaker.

It took years for me to emotionally and mentally adjust to life after carrying my third child.  I don’t feel like I will ever be quite right again, but I’ve achieved an equilibrium that we can all live with.

Having babies is hard.

Imagine my shock and dismay when I had the telltale urge to do it all over again when #2 son was barely two years old.

But it was more than an urge in the sense of “hey we should have another kid.”  It was more like angelic visitations showing me a small female child that was waiting for me to give birth to her.

It was freaky.

But also intensely special.

But mostly freaky.

Because everything had just fallen apart.  Everything. I just couldn’t do it.  And I yelled at God on a daily basis, disgusted and filled with wrath that He who knew exactly how horrible my life was and how completely imbalanced I had become would ask in His not-really-asking-but-commanding way for us to bring a child into this wreck of a life.

So I turned my back on it.

I halfheartedly half-jokingly mentioned it in passing to Husband who just got really angry and asked me why I would even consider such an inane concept because he couldn’t even foresee us ever being intimate again let alone bringing my level of child-induced psychosis back.

So that was a big no.

But it never really left.  You know how that goes… God gives you an idea, and a glimpse of the results of that idea and just leaves it there for you to do *something* with.  And it’s totally up to you.  And for those with mountains of faith, they trust in Him and His ability to lift and carry and support and move obstacles when necessary so that potential can be realized and that idea becomes a gleaming slice of identity and world-enhancing greatness.  But I just left it there.

Until last year.

The unforeseen became seen and the intangible hoped-for became reality and *we* were very much a happy married couple with all the baggage emptied.  So the little girl began visiting my periphery again. Only this time she visited him as well.  And we both thought it best that this angel be given a chance in our cockeyed family.  Plans were made, dreams were discussed, rooms were mentally rearranged and we got right down to the gorgeous work of making a baby.

Except we aren’t exactly youthful anymore.

And my body still was reluctant to make babies.

So it didn’t.  Just like that, our massive life-changing, faith-affirming, God-induced plans were set aside.  They kind of just… fizzled out.  There was talk of testing and procedures and whatnot but none of that felt realistic or even right so that was it.

No more babies.

I still wonder what that all was, who that baby needed to be and why we were a part of the whole thing.  I wonder if it was just an opportunity to test God’s faithfulness- to see Him working in our lives- to bring us all together.

I don’t love things that end in a *shrug* but I know our family is complete. And I can comfortably move into my dotage.

To Shine

We stumbled on a third segment of our Far Between interview on youtube yesterday, and were a little disappointed to see that many of those “unsolvable” issues are still, five years later, unsolvable.  He still doesn’t know “how to do this” and I’m still feeling bad that he feels that way.

The girl in those interviews was in a constant state of panic. Her fight-or-flight instinct was in overdrive, but at the same time she knew she was where she wanted to be and why. It was uncomfortable to watch and even more uncomfortable to think that nothing much had changed since then.


After some discussion and time to let those feelings settle/gel/clarify, we both realized that even though we still have no idea how to do this, we are doing it, and have become much more present in the intervening years.  There’s a gravity to our togetherness.  I no longer live in the constant, gripping, physically overpowering fear. Thank you Lord for that.  (It wasn’t without it’s long term effects. I’ll write later about that.)  He is facing down his junk and I’m (thinking about) facing down mine. There is more padding on my hips, more hair on my head (and on his face) and life is taking on the patina of age and experience.

But we are still largely without concrete answers.  Maybe the answers are through the lived experience and not in trying to live a proscribed experience.


A few weeks ago we met up with some fellow MOM couples for a “group meeting” of sorts.  I had been feeling a lot of the old fears and insecurities, and he had been feeling a lot of the old “what the heck am I doing” so it was with a pretty hefty measure of trepidation that we approached that house full of vulnerable strangers.  We seemed to be the most outwardly fragile people there (upon reflection, we may have merely been the most honestly introspective couple there.  Maybe not.  I like to make up stories, and I’m working on that.  There will probably be more on that later).

We all shared a recent positive and a negative relational experience, and it was very freeing to share the burdens of living life.  Middle age, parenting, marriage, all of those universal life experiences that can weigh but feel lifted with the nodding head and “I’ve felt that too”.  Without the common gay, there was common life experience.

One of the couples talked about a sharing/check-in exercise they use called FANOS. Fanos is a greek word meaning, “to shine” or “to reveal”.  Now, because I a) make up stories and b) think the worst I live in a constant state of “oh crap, he’s at the end of his rope and it’s one breeze away from being over.  Yeah, for 22 years I’ve had those feelings.  For this reason, I’m constantly begging him in sometimes really unhealthy ways for reassurance. My reassurance cup is more like a funnel so no matter what he says/does, I’m in a perpetual state of insecurity and begging.  Fun.

Don’t worry, he hates it too.

All either of us want is for us both to be healthy and content together.  We do this dance around the pain, carefully stepping around the tender spots.  We find a safe spot and gently plant ourselves down, careful to not upset the fragile balance.  This, we excel at.  (Speaking of dancing, I’ll write about ballroom dancing too.  That’s a fun one.)

So- FANOS.  Through the Sexual Addiction 12 steps, there is a lot of talk about checking in.  But it felt like checking in to your parole officer- more of a chore than anything.  The last thing either of us wanted was for me to be any sort of authority over his sobriety.  Nevermind the fact that my emotional minefield isn’t exactly the best spot for him to plant his insecurities and indiscretions. FANOS stands for Feelings Affirmation Need Ownership and Sobriety. (This concept comes from Mark and Deb Laaser of Faithful and True Ministries.  Awesome people. If you’re doing the Sexual Addiction thing from a Christian walk, their books and seminars are golden.  I cannot recommend the wive’s book enough.)

So every day we check in using the FANOS formula.  The boundary around it is that it is quick (no drawn out conversations) honest, and no judgment.  The “quick” boundary is imperative. So many nights he is just diving in to bed to avoid the long, drawn-out conversations I love to have late into the night.

I cannot believe how it has opened us up to each other, strengthened trust, shored up our relational and personal foundations and elevated our contentment.  So simple.  I’m able to stop hiding my junk in fear of his judgment, I’m not making up stories to fill in the blanks, and he is beginning to believe in me.  For years and years, the dance was becoming more and more restricted without either of us realizing what we were doing, but sensing the constriction that was choking us.  Stupid fear.  He was afraid of hurting/freaking me out, and I was afraid of rejection/pissing him off with my crazy ugly mess.

We are “shining” or “revealing” ourselves.  Something that can be pretty darn scary to someone whose pain receptors are especially ripe around vulnerability (usually because of past experiences with rejection).  The gorgeous truth of my lived experience with Shining a light on the whole-of-who-I-am to him is that it is more like falling into a goose down comforter with a roaring fire and steamed vanilla almond milk than walking through shards of glass (which is more akin to our previous experiences with checking in).

So- there you go. One more thing that makes Us work.  Or whatever it is that we do- it doesn’t always feel like you could call it “working”. Give it a try.






I’m tired.
like, bone-aching, mind-numbing, depressingly tired.
and I’ve been like this for a while. As in, a couple of years.
I’ve been to doctors, naturopaths, therapists, yogis, gyms, nutritionists, and every time come away with a “this will work. do this” and a whole lot of resulting disappointment and a whole lot less in my wallet.
But I continue to hope. Because I want to walk the El Camino in Spain, and walk through Petra, Jordan, and run on saturday mornings with my man. I want to make it through a day without needing a nap and without barking at my kids because their needs are just so much more than I can physically attend to.
So when Mikeal says to me “what if this is how its going to be? As in, forever?” another part of me dies. The part that climbed Angel’s Landing, and ran 13 miles on a regular basis, and hiked through rivers and rocks and could spend endless hours at the mall digging for bargains.
What happens to that person?
There is purpose in everything. And I’m beginning to accept that my purpose right now isn’t to be physically active. I have put off my dreams and desires “until I get better.” I’ve assuaged my guilt, my shame, my sadness by promising myself that I’ll get to that “thing” after my next appointment and i’ve got answers and a magic bullet that will at least make things better Enough.
so what if better is now? what if this, right here, is sacred space, just as all the other moments of greatness are sacred space? what if there is something so divine in this experience, that if I just paused long enough to see it I would see God? In this moment.
Sadness over losing the vitality I once had is shining a light of gratitude on the greatness that I was blessed with. I was a bright, active, shining star in the cosmos of this universe and wow! How blessed was I to experience those things?
And now, I get to be a divine entity in a different way Still created by the hand of God, still shining and bright, but with a smaller radius, perhaps? I get to slow down. I get to deliberately choose my activities. I get to be intentional in how I spend my time. I get to experience breath, and seasons, and textures, and flavors on a level that my rushed, pushed, intense-self didn’t comprehend.
I get to wait at the bottom of the hill. I get to savor the beauty that is there while I wait for the others to have their high-climbing, exuberant adventures. But what a blessing it is to have been to the top of that hill and to know both sides of the moment.
I might be sad for a few more moments. And I’ll probably be sad again. But I’m going to embrace this moment. And be grateful for it.


When I hurt, I want to freeze. As if movement would cause me to bump into another painful angle and cause more pain. And yet in my mind I intentionally gouge myself against every possible angle to cause as much pain as possible. Possibly to render myself useless, and thus to have a valid reason for my lack of physical movement.

Yet again, there comes the voice of calm reason which pulls me away from my self-imposed emotional bashing long enough to whisper, “try this.” And I resist, because emotional bashing is my comfort zone. It’s where I go to inflict the most amount of pain so nothing can hurt me more than I am able to hurt myself. Which is considerable.

But the pain is a lie. It is a total fabrication. It is a distortion of reality- the reality which is that I am completely and totally okay.  That my marriage is beautiful even at its worst. That I get tired and grumpy and pessimistic, but that even in that moment I am a glorious, divine creature created in the image of God.  THE God. And He completely and totally digs me and approves of the life I’m living.

Pain is an indicator that something is “off.”  But not irreparably off, just enough that a little tweaking is in order.  Maybe some spit and polish on the attitude, or a bit of time in prayer and repentance.  Because life is more than checking a bunch of boxes on a scavenger hunt and turning in your list at the exit interview- it is becoming.  It is Becoming Even as (HE) is, and (HE) doesn’t believe in wallowing or hiding or cowering.

So I take (HIS) hand and answer “here” when my name is called. Sharp angles and all. Because in His hands, the angles disappear and I really am okay.

Not so great into very great…

usually hinges on a paradigm shift which can magically happen by choosing what your Higher Self is urging you to do. Lay down and be angry, or move in the direction of happiness (even if you don’t feel it just yet)?  Happiness may not follow, but at the very least not angry will. 

Same goes for the gospel. You know it’s true, but it just doesn’t seem realistic or do-able. Bitterness and anger breed more of the same. So walk in the direction of the gospel. Do the gospel. Live it. Eventually it will make sense in you. You will be the gospel.

If we aren’t earning heaven, but learning heaven (Brad Wilcox) then we had better get learning. Which can be hard and difficult and very uncomfortable. But each obstacle has been carefully placed in order to teach to our unique needs. Every single one. Including The Gay. And The Husband Who Is Gay. And the propensity toward anxiety and depression, yet the behaviors stemming from them are all flooded in CHOICE! I have the marvelous opportunity to choose to see good and respond with good. 

For real, folks. 


And P.S. I saw Shane this week and literally did not think one bad thing about him. This stuff is totally for real.

The day I didn’t kill myself

“She will find what is lost” by Brian Kershisnik
It was just another in a long line of dark days where the balance sheet of lack vs. abundance weighed heavily in the red. Desperate calls to yet another therapist/chiropractor/psychiatrist/ left me with empty hands, hollow heart and panicked mind. Every escape had been exhausted. Every source of momentary pleasure brought no relief, leaving me desperate in the letdown of unmet anticipation.
There was always the voice that whispered potential and comfort if i could “just hold on” a little longer but longer than a moment was just too long and so I sat on the edge of my bathtub calculating the number of oxycodone, ibuprofen, Unisom and Xanax we had in the almost-empty bottles in the narrow cabinet that we had bought on clearance at Target. It wasn’t perfect for the space, but neither was the space and no matter how much I tried, the color of the tile in this bathroom would never suit me. I contemplated the work we wanted to do to the house to make it “just right” and how it never would be because I never would be.

My babies were in the basement, content to watch a show, and I could send a quick text to husband that would bring him home in time to save them from seeing me, but not in time to get me back. I knew they would suffer but not anywhere near as much as they would with me as their mother/companion for the rest of their lives because I was broken and toxic and all around me suffered for it.

Or so I thought.

So I contemplated the pills.

Just like so many have done before me. The jeering mocking voices of Satan’s Angels were reaching a fevered pitch, daring me, coaxing me to move. But then the noise became muffled as what I can only describe as angelic sentinels with swords drawn surrounded me as I sat on the edge of that tub in the blue monogrammed bathrobe I had bought for the birth of my second son. There is a picture of a woman who is kneeling, a flood of angels coursing toward her and all I could see was the faces of millennia of ancestors crowding around me in that small space, all with faces reflecting my unrealized story- a story that didn’t continue into eternity just yet. I knew some of them- the usual arms of my Grandpa and Great-grandmother, dear ones who had seen me through many previous dark days- but most were unknown but who clearly loved and desired my life to continue.

In the presence of celestial beings, pills and sadness and toxicity don’t exist- only truth. Which is light. Which is the real reality that I lost touch of when I entered this mortal reality. And as that truth whited out the falsehoods of my imagined despair, I clung to those faces and their projected messages of potential.

The faces departed as my feet met foundation but the swords and those wielding them remained. Later, when husband, in response to a worried message from his sister (thank you, my friend for listening) rushed into the house, said that the celestial presence was still in force and their calm was palpable. I imagined the forces parting enough to let him through.

So I didn’t die that day.

And so I wonder what angelic sentinels stand guard around those who do.

What is different when it actually happens? Are the ancestors less insistent? Are the jeering voices more powerful? Is the soul more empty?

Which brings me to General Conference and Elder Perry and counterfeit love.

The internets were awash with heartbreaking stories of young people who had lost all hope after hetero-marriage was encouraged at General Conference last month.  Which completely breaks my heart. Wide open.  I am sad that truth is so intensely difficult to comprehend.  Because it is truth, you know. The balancing act between teaching the more difficult truths and empathizing with those who just. cannot. see it is heartbreaking. But Christ died for all of us. All of us.  So we can try and try again no matter what side of the coin we can see.

And so I imagine those desperate and pained spirits arriving at their new home and beginning to see the truth- with the arms of the Lord encompassing them. When all of their generations come to greet and to comfort and pour all of their love into them. Do they get a “rest”? Do they understand? Do they then turn their spirit-bodies to attend to their loved ones- those they left behind- and encourage truth seeking?

I know that they go on. I know that they attend us. They are not without hope. In fact, they bring us hope.

I have a friend from high school who couldn’t bear the burden of living any longer and moved on. He and I weren’t close, but we were friendly, and when I heard that this faithful young man was gay, my heart broke a little because I knew a little of the pain he was enduring. His death was hard for me. And I wonder so many things. But I have felt his presence encouraging me to persevere through the darkness when I have wanted to follow him, so I know that he knows that it is better to be here.

I do know I have purpose. It may not be great in the sense that I will make a big splash in the world, but it is great in the sense that the blessings that our prophets and apostles speak of are bigger and more magnificent than we can comprehend. Blessings that I need to receive. Learning that I need to do. A person that I need to become.  And it begins with baptism, the receiving of the Holy Ghost, the remission of sins through repentance and sacrament, continued through the temple ordinances and the sealing ceremony. Sealed to a man. A man whose priesthood I share.

Which brings us to Elder Perry and his “counterfeit love” statement.

It’s not so much that all non-celestially-married love is counterfeit, because there is mind-blowingly amazing love out there which is beautiful and full and right in its realm. But anything less than those blessings initiated with the ordinances of the priesthood just aren’t going to take you the full distance. But who’s to say that every single person in existence wants a part of the action that is happening at that full distance. Perhaps what they have here is what they will want when they leave. 

I don’t know. I don’t know why it makes so much sense to me but really just pisses other people off. 

We have to offer this higher alternative to people because we want them to be there with us. But how do we offer them and teach them without making them feel hopeless because they flat out don’t love in the way they have to in order to get this something that everyone is harping about?

So we just love. We teach, and we love. And we learn, and we love. And we listen, and we love. And we learn some more. And we just live the best way we know how without thinking we know more, because we may know truth, but we don’t know everything.

Love, love, love. Without any thought of changing minds or convincing others- just a focus on extending the arms of Christ’s mercy and tenderness to all.

Lose yourself for Christ’s sake and you will find yourself.

Trade your hands and will for His and you will discover your true-gorgeous-divine-self.

Extend that mercy to your own failings. 

Look to the true purpose of our existence: to become. 

Which is why I didn’t die. 

Because I’m so far from becoming I couldn’t even approach the possibility of rest.

So I mourn for the souls who can’t take any more. Because I get it.  I mourn for the souls who mourn for them. Because I get it. I mourn for the souls that turn to hate and blame. Because I get it. I want to gather every one of  them and show them the faces and sentinels that surround them, pleading for them to remember the real reality that exists just outside the door of hatred and uncertainty- of disappointment and sadness- of utter loss of hope.

Certainty is there.

Blessings of greatness- not only in the eternities, but on this very planet- are there.

The huge, all-encompassing arms of our incomprehensible Lord and Savior are there.  Always.

And I’m so glad I stuck around to figure that out.