This picture was taken while I was in rehab. My parents came up every chance they had to visit. Like I said, my parents have been my rock these past few months as I have gotten sober.
I want to share an amazing spiritual experience I have had the past few months.
Like I said, I was very moved by Elder Holland's conference talk. I wrote him and told him about my struggles. I said that I was so ashamed of my sins that I didn't feel worthy of God's love and the Atonement of Christ. I had so much inner shame, and I also had people who I was very close to add to my shame by harsh words. My thoughts and their words combined left me helpless. I wanted to get back into the church, but I had so much shame that I didn't know how.
In Elder Holland's letter to me, he asked if it would be okay for him to contact my Bishop and tell him about my situation to help me head in the right direction. I wrote back and said he could contact him, but I was so ashamed that I didn't know if I would ever come back.
Well, sure enough, my Bishop called me and asked if he could come over to my house and meet with me. I agreed to his request, but still was anxious and full of shame. I didn't think I would ever be able to come back.
The next day, my Bishop and Stake President came over. They asked me to tell them my story. I told them, full of shame. I thought for sure they were judging me and wouldn't accept me. Then, the most amazing thing happened.
After I was done with my story, the Stake President said, "Alright, well that is over and in the past. You are forgiven. Welcome back!"
I was shocked! A million pounds came off my shoulder. I was forgiven and could come back. I felt the spirit of the Atonement so strong in that moment. I truly was forgiven. Everything was in the past and over with.
What a great example of forgiveness. It can almost be second nature to hold onto anger towards a person even if what they did is in the past. We put so much shame on each other by not accepting apologies and forgiving each other.
I am so grateful for this example in my life and I now will strive to be more forgiving of others and not placing shame on them. Shame is toxic and can really bring a person down or take them to a dark place.
Forgive. Love. Move Forward.