Christian, exmormon, mormonism

Broken into Freedom…

This weekend is the 187th semiannual General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Growing up, this weekend was always filled with family and great food.  Often, we would spend Saturday playing with cousins while the adults watched the Saturday Conference sessions.  On Sunday, we were able to sleep in a little and were up just before 10 to watch the Sunday morning session instead of going to church.  In the afternoon, we would again spend time playing with cousins while the adults watched the final session of conference.

As a kid, conference Sunday was my favorite; mostly because it was like a typical Sunday.  We didn’t go to church and we spent time playing with cousins.  As I got older, especially as an adult in the Mormon world, I was expected to watch and pay closer attention to all the sessions of conference.

Conference was hours and hours of the LDS Church leaders telling you how you are supposed to act and how you will get through your trials if you pray harder and read the scriptures more.  They pushed the importance of listening to and following the church leaders.  The leaders would talk about the importance of the Book of Mormon and the church.  They would bear their testimonies and vow that they were witnesses of the Book of Mormon and the truth of the Mormon gospel.

For someone who always struggled with the person I was “supposed” to be and feeling like I was someone different on the inside, these messages were hard.  I would listen to those in leadership positions and feel shame and guilt for the thoughts and feelings I had that were different from what was being taught to me. I wanted to be a good Mormon and a good person but I felt lost.

cor

I had heard about “Freedom in Christ” but never really understood what that meant until I became a Christian.  Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery”.   In my Mormon life, I was very burdened by the “yoke of slavery”.  I was bound by rules and laws that had nothing to do with God and everything to do with religion.  The yoke of slavery was trying to be the person I was “supposed” to be and fit into a mold that wasn’t made for me.  Trying to follow the LDS leadership and strive to do everything right.  I struggled with depression and low self-esteem.  I hated myself so much because I could be that person I was supposed to be.

Before I gave my life to Christ depression and suicidal thoughts were a constant in my life.  I believed everyone would be better off without me because I struggled so hard to be that person that I was never meant to be.  My life was full of chaos and frustration.  I was never calm and even when I had a good day, I would find things to be discontent about because that was the only way I knew how to function.

When I gave my life to Christ, I immediately felt the bonds that were holding me loosen.  In that moment, I began to realize what it meant to experience Freedom in Christ.  Over time I learned that being Free in Christ was being the person He created me to be and not trying to fit into another person’s perception of who I should be.

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As I grew in my Christian walk and grew closer to God, I became more comfortable with myself, my flaws, my scars, and my insecurities began to melt away.  As I began to learn about God and His love, I began to understand that He created me and loves me just as I am.

The song, “Broken Things” by Matthew West has recently become one of my favorites.  The chorus and 2nd verse say:

Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true
You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I am all Yours

The pages of history
They tell me it’s true
That it’s never the perfect
It’s always the ones with the scars that You use
It’s the rebels and the prodigals
It’s the humble and the weak
All the misfit heroes You chose
Tell me there’s hope for sinners like me.

I love this song because it reminds me of although I’m a sinner, broken, a prodigal, and weak, God has a plan and a purpose for me.

This weekend as I watched the quotes of the LDS leadership fill up my FB page, I reveled in the truth.  I am so grateful that I am no longer bound by religion and I am now free.  I have true freedom in Christ.  I am no longer a slave to rules and laws of man.  Many people believe being a Christian is what binds you or holds you back from being free.  But I believe being a Christian is the only thing that truly makes you free.

dance

I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in the freedom of Christ.

 

 

Christian, exmormon, mormonism

UNCONDITIONAL…

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything.  I enjoyed a great vacation and am adjusting to new changes in my life.  But, I’m back and pray that I can continue to post on a more regular basis.

Facebook reminded me today that 1 year ago today is when I started writing my blog.  It’s amazing how fast time seems to go and how many things can change in 1 year.  One year ago, my life was so different than it is now and the changes that have happened in my life weren’t even on my radar a year ago. However, there is one thing I have been praying for, for the last 2-3 years and God finally gave me a yes and a wide-open door to that prayer.

overwhelming

For the past 2-3 years, I have struggled with my place of employment.  I have spent a lot of time pleading with God to open the doors for a new place to work.  I went to interviews and whatever the circumstance, the timing wasn’t right.  No matter how many times the door shut in my face, I knew in God’s time, He would provide what I was praying for. Although, the last several months have been very difficult, I know God is watching over me and only wants the best for me.  My answered prayer is a new place of employment and for the first time in a long time, I’m excited about the future of my career.

I still struggle sometimes with that internal dialogue of not feeling good enough when God doesn’t give me the answers I want when I pray. I often think it’s because I’m not good enough for God or I’m not living right.  It’s amazing how quickly those thoughts can over take me when God says, “No” or “Not right now”.  I get so caught up in what I want, I forget that God loves me and has a plan for me.

In my Mormon belief system, the ongoing message was live according to what the church teaches you and Heavenly Father will answer your prayers.  One high up leader, Boyd K. Packer said, “Keep your covenants and you will be safe.  Break them and you will not.”   A more recent quote by another high up LDS leader, David A. Bednar said, “Ordinary people who faithfully, diligently, and consistently, do simple things that are right before God will bring forth extraordinary results”.

Romans 3 28

I feel like when I was growing up, I was never really taught about God’s love.  I believed God’s love was contingent on being the faithful, diligent, consistent Mormon; which I was not even close to.  So, how could God love me? I believed God’s love was always connected to how I was living my life and when prayers weren’t answered, it was because I needed to learn something or because I wasn’t reading my scriptures enough. I think back now about being a kid and the things I prayed for.  It’s a good thing God doesn’t answer every prayer.

As a Christian, I have learned God’s love is unconditional.  I don’t have to earn it.  I don’t have to be good enough.  It doesn’t matter what I have done in my life, God loves me.  I am His child.  It still blows me away when I stop and think about God, he created the universe and he created me.  He wants the best for me in my life.

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Now when prayers aren’t answered, I know it’s because God has something better for me.  When those thoughts creep into my head and I feel like I have to be better, I stop, and laugh at myself because I know God isn’t going to withhold blessings because I’m not good enough.

PSALMS 136 1 4

I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in a world of God’s unconditional love.

Christian, exmormon, mormonism

Great Expectations…

I had plans to post a blog all week last week but I have been super busy and, much like life, things didn’t go as planned.  So here I am, a week later, finally finding time to write my blog.  So often, this is how life goes.  We have great expectations of how we want things to be or things to turn out.  I never thought my life would be the way it currently is. expext define

I recently read an article that talked about the biggest problem in relationships, and it wasn’t anything most people think.  It listed the biggest problem in relationships as “expectation”.  I completely agree with the article.  And although it was referring to romantic relationships, I feel expectation is the biggest problem in every relationship; including our relationship with God and our relationship with ourselves.

Expectation creates so many problems in life.  I live in Idaho and we “expected” thousands of people in our area for the eclipse.  As of today, those expectations haven’t even come close to reality.  And, that’s the problem with expectations.  So often, we have a prefect picture of how things are “supposed to be”. We know in our heads how everything is going to happen.  We worry and fret over this picture in our heads and when things don’t turn out like the picture, we are angry and frustrated; and often feel like life isn’t fair.  The thing is, life isn’t fair and nothing is certain.

Living in my Mormon world, there were a lot of expectations but the outcome was certain. I knew if I was good enough, I would reach the highest level of heaven with my family.  That was the ultimate goal.  I’ve talked in many blogs about all of the requirements that the Mormon faithful have to accomplish.   The picture that is painted is one of bliss and happiness if you remain faithful to the end.  But I struggled to fit into the picture of what those expectations were. I liked the picture but had a hard time being one of the faithful followers.  It didn’t matter how much I tried, I would always give into my sinful nature at some point.

uncertainty

As I mentioned, the biggest problem in relationships is expectation, that includes our relationship with God and ourselves.  As I progressed through my Mormon life, my expectations for myself began to change and hopelessness filled me.  How could I ever reach the perfect picture if I couldn’t even manage a day without doing what was expected of me.  Hopelessness turned to depression and suicidal thoughts.  I hated life and myself.  At times, I was angry with God.  The expectation was that God would help me through my struggles and God would give me strength.  But time after time I failed and the only thing that was certain was that I wasn’t going to make it.  I have never done well with expectations.

peace

As a Mormon, my expectation was that I could complete the requirements necessary to go to Heaven.  My expectation was if I lived according to what the Mormon Prophets taught, I would be happy and be able to be with my family forever.  The requirements were black and white and I could check them off as I completed them.  Baptism ü, Young Women’s awards and recognition ü, Marry a return missionary in the temple ü, and so on.  The criteria are clear and the expectation is that you will complete all criteria to go to heaven.

As a Mormon, I relied a lot on myself and the Mormon leaders for my salvation.   Becoming Christian and understanding what it means to give your life to Christ was a life saver for me.  I learned very quickly that my salvation had little to do with me and everything to do with Christ.  I also learned when you truly rely on God and try to live life for Him, expectation goes out the window.  So often as a Christian I think God should do things the way I have pictured in my head, and a majority of the time, that is not what happens.  The best part of being a Christian, is when I have those expectations and the perfect picture in my head, God’s is always better.

There are many times when I have gone through difficult times as a Christian and I have cried out to God to make things different; or there have been times when I have been angry with God about the struggles in my life.  The biggest problem with both of those scenarios, those are my expectations.  And even in those times when I am struggling and saying to God, “this isn’t fair” the positive results far outweigh the struggle.

I have said many times, I don’t think I could have gone through my current situation if I was still Mormon.  I truly feel that way about most experiences in my life.  This most recent struggle is life changing and sometimes it’s difficult to see there might be something positive that comes out of it.  But if there is anything that I expect as a Christian, God is always faithful, and he wants more for me than I could ever even imagine for myself.  On the hardest days when I get overwhelmed with the struggles in life I focus on that.  I know Who is in control and I know He only wants the best for me.

His promises

I’m just a Small Town Girl…living in a world of great expectations.

Christian, mormonism

Devotion, Community, Responsibility.

In Chi Alpha we have three pillars that we are challenged to live by.  To be devoted, to live in community, and to take responsibility.  Today I want to offer that challenge up to you, because these should be things prominent in every believer’s life.

The first pillar is to be devoted.  Now, what does that mean?  We need to be devoted to Christ, not just on Sundays when we go to church, but in every aspect of our lives.  We need to show our devotion to God in the way we live.  Devoting our time by reading our Bible and spending time in prayer.  Devoting our finances by giving tithing.  Devoting our lives by striving to live like Jesus every day.  This shows that we are trusting God.  Everyone is busy.  You may be reading this thinking you don’t have time in your day to dedicate to reading your Bible or spending meaningful time in prayer.  By taking that time and setting it aside to specifically devote it to God shows that you trust Him with your time and you know He will provide enough time in your day to get everything you need done.

devotion

When I get up in the morning the first thing I do is read my Bible.  If I end up sleeping in, I make sure to do it that night.  I try to read 4 chapters every day, two from the Old Testament and two from the New.  I also take 15 minutes to just talk to God, no matter what it’s about.  Whether it’s sitting docile for Him to speak to me or going through a prayer list, I talk to God for 15 minutes.  I also set aside time to write this blog because I know this is something that God wants me to do.  I try to show my devotion through the way I live, the way I talk to others and interact with people.  Jesus said to, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and trying to do that in your everyday life is a great way to show your devotion to God.

The second pillar is, to live in community.  This means spending time with other believers.  God wants us to go out and spread the gospel, but it’s also important to grow in your own relationship with Christ and spending time in fellowship with other believers is one of the best ways to do that.  Join a Bible study.  Take some time and have lunch with a friend from church.  Even just taking the time to chat with some people after church instead of rushing home can do amazing things for your relationship with God.  I’ve experienced this first hand.

communitiy

Growing up, I didn’t really have any Christian friends.  We didn’t start going to our home church until I was in 6th grade.  The majority of my friends were Mormon and I only had a couple of friends from church.  When I started college things changed a lot.  I started going to Chi Alpha and met some of my very best friends there.  Being surrounded by Christians grew my relationship with God enormously! I finally had people I could talk to about what God was doing in my life that were my age!  The impact that living in community and fellowship with those Christians had on my life has been amazing.  I have grown, in God, so much in the last year.  I don’t even think I would recognize the person I was a year ago! Spending time living in community with other believers is life changing and gives you someone to live life with.

The last pillar is, to take responsibility.  This one is a bit harder for all you introverts out there like me.  Taking responsibility means to pour the love of God into others.  God told us to, “go out and make disciples of all nations.”  So go out and do it!  Pick someone (or more than one person) in your life that you’re going to pour into this next week or even the next month or year.  Talk to people about God and pour the love of Jesus into their lives.  Take responsibility for helping God’s kingdom grow!

responsibility

At the end of Chi Alpha this year they gave us a little card for the summer.  On it we were supposed to write three things; a believer, a non-believer, and a residence hall floor at ISU.  Those two people and the residence hall floor were what we were supposed to take responsibility for this summer.  I prayed and God gave me more than just those three and I’ve been praying and doing my best to pour love into those people that God put on my heart.  Sometimes it’s hard because a couple of them I don’t know very well.  Luckily, all I have to do is trust God and He will give me the courage to start up a conversation and give me the words that will speak to their hearts!

The Chi Alpha pillars are what a believer’s life should look like.  We need to be devoted to God, to live in community with other believers, and take responsibility for the job God gave us.  My challenge to you this week is to think about how you are living out the pillars in your life and take time to live them out.  Take time to read your Bible every day and pray.  Spend some time with a fellow believer.  Pray and ask God to point someone out in your life that you can take responsibility for.  I would love to hear about how doing this impacts your life. Let me know in the comments.

diciples

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… standing on the pillars God gave me.

Images taken from Google.

Christian, mormonism

Never Been a Moment

This week the song, “Never Been a Moment” by Micah Taylor has been on my mind a lot.  I love the chorus of that song, especially the last part.  “There’s never been a moment that I was not loved by you”.   God’s love and acceptance for us always amazes me.  He loves us so much!  He couldn’t love us more!  Unfortunately, so many people don’t know about God’s amazing love and grace, or doubt that He could love them.  There was definitely a time in my life that I questioned God’s love for me.know-whose-you-are-stg

Middle school is a rough time in life, as everyone knows.  I have never met anyone who said, “Let’s go back to the good old days in middle school!  Best days of my life!”  If anyone has ever told you that, they were probably lying to you.  In middle school you’re struggling to find your place in the world.  All you want is to be accepted.  I was no different.  All I wanted was to be accepted by my friends, peers, and teachers.  And for the most part, I was.  Except, for one thing.  As you know from when my mom was writing, I was raised a Christian in a dominantly LDS community, and everyone knew we were different.  Because I was not LDS, and thought I knew everything there was to know about the Bible, this caused a lot of animosity between me and the people I interacted with.  When I was in 7th grade, our differing beliefs caused a huge fight between the rest of my friends and me.  Teachers got involved, and being LDS, they took the side of my friends.  At that point I lost almost complete faith in God.  Not only did I question whether or not there even was a God, but I questioned that if there was, why would He put me in a place I didn’t belong?  If God truly loved me, He would put me in a place where I was accepted by my friends and teachers, right?  With that line of reasoning, I thought God didn’t love me at all.  Maybe He was punishing me for all the lies I had told, or the times I took a piece of candy without asking my parents.  Maybe that’s why He didn’t love me; because I sinned too much.  I thought, that because I was not being fully accepted by the people around me, that God didn’t love me.  I was seeking the acceptance of others, not from God.no-mistake-stg

If I had realized then that God loves and accepts me for who I am, no matter how many times I sin, no matter what I do wrong, no matter how many mistakes I make, the rest of middle school and beginning of high school would have been a lot easier for me.  It took the better part of two years for me to realize that God’s love for me is unconditional and that He loves me so much that He sent His son to die for me.  Back in middle school I never would have believed that someone could love me so much, so unconditionally, and so perfectly.

October of my freshman year in high school, I had the opportunity to go to a Casting Crowns concert in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I was still seeking the approval of people rather than God.  I don’t remember exactly what was going on at the time, but I remember that during the concert we were asked to take a moment to pray for whatever God put on our hearts.  I was at one of my lowest points so I was crying out to God, asking Him if He loved me and to show me that He did.  As soon as I finished that silent prayer, the woman next to me, who was a complete stranger, turned to me and said, “I love you and God loves you,” and gave me a big hug.  This answer to my prayer started me on an uphill climb that hasn’t stopped.

That next summer, my youth group went to the Hills Alive Music Festival in Rapid City, South Dakota.  I was still not in a very good place.  I had a lot of insecurities, especially about my appearance, as most teenage girls do.  I didn’t think I was pretty enough or skinny enough for any guys to even consider liking me.  I was still seeking acceptance from others and that was the basis of my insecurities.  Sunday, the last day of the festival, there were several different Sunday services we could attend.  I went to the one that the band Seventh Day Slumber was holding on the main stage.  As the lead singer, Joseph Rojas, shared his testimony, I was in tears.  He shared about God’s unconditional love and acceptance for us and for the first time, I truly believed it.  I rededicated my life to Christ and have come a long way since then.  Because I know God loves me for who I am, and accepts me, made me perfectly, my insecurities have fallen away.  There is no need to be afraid of what other people think of me because I know only one opinion matters – God’s.  I had His love and acceptance the whole time and never realized it because I was too sucked up in what the world wanted me to think.  There is so much freedom in Christ.  Knowing that He loves me no matter how many times I mess up is the most amazing thing ever.  He never left my side, even when I doubted Him, which is why I love Micah Taylor’s song so much.  There has never been a moment that I was not loved, fully and completely, by the God of the universe.  He has always been with me by my side, ready to catch me whenever I fall – and He’s doing the exact same thing for you!  Never forget.  God loves you exactly as you are.  So much, that He sacrificed His son to die a horrible death on the cross so He could spend eternity with you in Heaven.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.cross stg

I’m just the daughter of a small town girl… loved unconditionally by the God of the universe.

 

Christian, exmormon, mormonism

Honest Liars…

I’ve had many different thoughts go through my mind this week. Different subject’s, different experiences, and how different my life has been since leaving Mormonism.  I kept coming back to same thing.  It’s so easy to stay in a situation, or in a life you don’t like, or that doesn’t make us happy, because we’re scared of the unknown or because it takes too much effort to get out of it.

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Growing up, I lived with the mentality that one of the most important things is what other people thought.  I had to live with the ongoing belief of, “what will people think”.  In a town, predominantly LDS, it still can be a struggle.  I always felt that people were judging me, pointing out the things that I did wrong, and in many ways waiting for me to fail.  I feel like this is still the mentality of the town I live in, but my mentality has changed.

I remember when Brian and I had taken out our temple endowments, and after we left the temple that afternoon, we talked about the things we experienced.  I think we both knew then we would never go back, and yet, for several years after that we pretended to be a part of that world.  Yet, in the back of our minds, at least, in the back of mine I knew something just wasn’t right about it and that I didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.  But how do you walk away from everything you’ve ever known?  It’s so easy to justify things that are wrong when you want to stay where you’re at or when you’re too fearful of the unknown and don’t know where to go.  There is a Ted Talk I once watched and have used with my clients called the Honest Liars.  It talks about the lies we tell ourselves every day to justify the things we do.  I encourage you to watch it.  I learn something every time.

I think Brian and I lived in and participated in that world for so long that we didn’t really question it because we didn’t know anything else and we were scared of the alternative.  Comfort zones are kind of a catch-22.  It’s not a bad thing to be in a spot where you’re content, happy, and everything’s going okay.  The problem is that you can’t grow there, you aren’t challenged.  You become stagnant and just go with the flow because it’s easier.  It makes me think of the quote, “even a dead fish can swim downstream”.  It was easy to justify some of the things we experienced because that was easier than facing the truth.

Facts stg

But even after we quit the Mormon Church, I still identified as Mormon on a regular basis.  Every time I went into the hospital to have one of my kids and I was asked to identify my religious affiliation on paperwork or anything, I would put LDS.  I didn’t necessarily live by their standards or attend regularly, but that was my identity, my culture, it’s who I was, or so I thought.  I was still in a place where being a Mormon was part of my identity because that’s how I was raised and I didn’t know anything else was out there.

I often say that Brian and I went through the difficult time in our life because it was the only way that God could get our attention.  I think we were so caught up in just living life, a life of self-deception because it was easy.  We were going through the motions and just living our life, we were stagnant.  We didn’t know that we needed something different.  It was easy to lie to ourselves.  Easy to justify and conform to what everyone else around us was doing.  I didn’t want to stand out, to be different, after all, what would people think?  We didn’t know that God was missing from our lives.

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But when God revealed Himself to us, He did it in a BIG way.  God came into our lives and immediately began healing years of damage.  He took away the negative self-talk that I struggled with my whole life.  For the first time ever, I began to believe that I was good enough.  I didn’t need to please anyone.  And one of the biggest things He did was begin to heal our very broken and damaged marriage.  For the first time in my life, I began to be honest with myself.  I didn’t like the belief system I grew up in.  I didn’t like trying to fit into someone else’s view of how I was supposed to live my life.  I did like this new God I had been introduced to.  A God who created me to be exactly who I was.  He created me with the good, bad, and ugly of who I was.  He wanted me to be me.  And as I grew in my knowledge of Him, the bad and ugly started to become good too.  The things I hated most about myself, I began to love.  The things that I was taught to hide from others I began to embrace.  I was learning to love God and love myself.

lady bug stg

Self-deception is easy. Going with the flow is simple.  Floating downstream is effortless.  Lying to yourself and justifying things you don’t like or agree with is easier than change.  Questioning, discovering, letting go and finding yourself, that, is hard.  Being honest with yourself, that’s one of the most difficult things to do in your life.

I know the closer I am to God, the more I focus on His Word, the more honest I am with myself.  I’m still an honest liar.  I think it is a part of life.  But I think the more you start to reconcile the big questions and struggles in your life, the easier it is to be honest with yourself.  If you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone, that is when you grow the most.  A comfort zone is where dreams are just dreams and everything seems impossible.  When you look outside your comfort zone, dreams become reality and the impossible becomes possible.

worldview stg

I guess my point this week is, don’t stay in your comfort zone.  There is a reason you are having doubts and questions.  There is a reason for you feeling uncomfortable.  God wants your attention!! Don’t wait until God has to do something big to get your attention.

God is my comfort zone.  When I follow him, when I’m in his word, I don’t have opportunity to become stagnant.  When I start to get too comfortable, God challenges me and makes me grow.  These opportunities make me become a better person.  They make me trust more in God and rely on him more than myself.

I’m just a small town girl…living in a world where God is my comfort zone.

Christian, mormonism

Not a symbol of death…

Finally had a minute to finish this up and get it published.  I hope you all had a great Easter!

I’ve thought a lot about what I would write about this week.  There is no better subject than the Cross!

Growing up in Mormonism, Easter was a holiday that was more about the Easter Bunny, Easter eggs, and candy than anything about Jesus.  I never knew anything about Palm Sunday or Good Friday.  And I was taught that Christ bled and atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and not on the Cross.  The focus for me as a Mormon was that Jesus rose from the dead.  The events leading up to that really didn’t seem to matter much especially His death on the Cross.

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I remember thinking as a teenager about the anguish that Christ went through in the Garden; the weight of sin that he had to bear for me, let alone the whole world.  I knew I was a sinner and I knew that just for the weight of my sins, a lot of blood was shed. I always felt guilty for the pain I caused Jesus. I had no clue about the things that happened to my Savior before he was hung on the cross. I don’t think I even had a clue about the suffering he endured while hanging on the cross.  I think in my Mormon world, that was skimmed over, because it’s brutal and violent, and because Mormons struggle with understanding the concept of death.  It’s difficult to imagine, the beating that Christ took.  The lashes and whipping that he received.  Not because of any crime but because of who He was. That he carried his own cross up to Calvary.  He was then nailed to that cross and left there to die.  He was made fun of and the guards gambled for his belongings.  He was tortured and he suffered and died.  Christ chose to go through all of this, because He loves me…

isaiah 53 5 stg

It’s overwhelming to think, of the pain and agony that he must have felt.  The humiliation and embarrassment.  And yet, even though He had the power to remove Himself from all of it, He still took it all on so that I, an undeserving sinner, can be forgiven of all I have done wrong, and everything I will ever do wrong.   Wow!  Amazing!  Just the thought of what Christ went through, so the world’s sin would be paid for, leaves me in tears.

In Mormonism, the Cross is a symbol they choose not to focus on.  The official statement on the matter from LDS.org is:

“The cross is used in many Christian churches as a symbol of the Savior’s death and Resurrection and as a sincere expression of faith. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we also remember with reverence the suffering of the Savior. But because the Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of His death as the symbol of our faith.”

The purpose of the Cross is so much more than a symbol of Christ’s death.  It is a symbol of sacrifice, forgiveness, and grace.  It is important to understand the purpose of why Christ had to die.  In the Old Testament, the Israelites, had to perform animal sacrifices to receive forgiveness of their sins.  They had 613 laws they had to follow.  When they would go to the temple to perform the rituals and sacrifices, they would pick the best animal they had.  The one that was closest to perfection that they could get.  Yet, the animal sacrifices weren’t enough.  We as Humans needed sacrifice to forgive us of our sins.  It couldn’t be just anyone.  It had to be a perfect living sacrifice, who’s blood would be spilled for the redemption of the world.  1 Pet. 1:18-19, ” knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  Christ came down to earth as that perfect living sacrifice.  He faced sin, temptation, ridicule, and willingly spilled His blood so the Old Law would be fulfilled and the animal sacrifices would no longer be needed.  This started a New Covenant with Christ where our sins are already forgiven and we are covered by grace.

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I don’t understand how the Cross can so easily be swept away.  It’s like recognizing the beauty of a butterfly and saying the caterpillar doesn’t matter.  The butterfly wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the caterpillar.  Christ wouldn’t have risen from the dead if he hadn’t first died on the Cross.  They are one in the same.  You can’t separate his death from his resurrection just as you can’t separate a caterpillar and a butterfly. To me, Palm Sunday, the day that symbolizes Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, through Easter Sunday when Christ is no longer in the tomb and has risen from the dead, are all one event.  Intertwined and connected.  And his death on the Cross is where my sins were forgiven.  The reason I know, I am forgiven is because Christ conquered death. Christ’s resurrection is proof that He overcame and conquered death.  If he conquered death, I am forgiven.  But you can’t celebrate His resurrection without first accepting his death.

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What a greater symbol of Christ being alive, conquering death, and being forgiven of our sins than the Cross!! To me, the Cross encompasses Holy Week all into one symbol.  When I see a cross, I am reminded of what my Savior did for me, for the world, and that because He lives, I am forgiven and will live with Him again.

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I’m just a small-town girl…forgiven, loved, redeemed, by His death on the Cross.