This is the third post in a series about my experiences as a wife of a pornography addict. In some ways I hate to narrow the view of my experiences by labeling it as such. Although the framework of our experiences is different, often times the lessons we need to learn, in different ways, are the same. Today’s topic is one that I know many of us struggle with! Part one, Part two.
In order to take control of my own agency again I needed to discover who Amy Nelson is. At the time I was a new mother and the identities of mother and wife were overwhelming me. I had lost sight of who I was as an individual, and more importantly I had lost sight of my divine nature. Why is it important to know who we are in times of trial?
“The second greatest question of life was asked by the ancient Psalmist: ‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him? ‘ In importance, this query is next only to that concerning the nature of God. Inability to answer this question has often defeated fervent faith. The correct answer has enabled men and nations to build their futures securely. Faith has been most effective when accompanied by an understanding of man’s relationship to Diety.”
(John A. Widtsoe, Conference Report, October 1936)
“Protective power flows from a correct understanding of who we are, of our relationship to God, and of our mortal purpose and eternal destiny.”
(Elder Bednar, Power to Become, p. 127)
We cannot build a house until we have a firm foundation. We cannot improve ourselves until we know who we are. Whenever I would wonder who Amy Nelson was I was often answered with the same prompting “[You] are a daughter of [your] Heavenly Father, who loves [you], and [you] love him.” (Young Women Theme) It was such a simple statement, but a statement of power and truth. Whenever I would doubt myself I would repeat that and over time I came to believe it.
Learning who you are is a tough thing. No one can answer that question for another, we all must discover it for ourselves, but we are not alone in our efforts. When we came to this earth we crossed the veil and a lot of our knowledge was hidden from us. Not only did we forget where we came from and the true nature of our relationship with God, but a big portion of our own individual personalities and knowledge was hidden. ‘But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in [the Savior’s] name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance.’ (John 14:26)
We can, through the grace of our Savior, remember who we are by listening to the Holy Ghost. As we study the scriptures, our patriarchal blessings, discover our strengths, work on our weaknesses, we will begin to remember our true nature.
“There are within each woman (and men!!) certain unique qualities – her intelligence, her combination of talents and positive personality traits, her inner self, her soul which are of immense worth. It is the duty of each woman to come to know and accept and enjoy being herself. She must respect her own inner strengths and from this self-acceptance be secure enough to live courageously and righteously and to reach out in serve to her family and fellow beings.”
(Ensign, Sept 1984, Being a Wife, Ann S. Reese)
As we remember who we are, and build upon it, we will become more unique. One of my absolute favorite quotes ever addresses that:
“Good, as it ripens, becomes continually more different, not only from evil, but from other good.”
(C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, Preface)
You may read that and think ‘But wait! Aren’t we all supposed to be like Christ?’ To that, I answer YES! We are all supposed to be like Christ, but are not to be carbon copies of him. Although we love our parents, we can live the same standards without being exactly like them. Although we love our spouses we can come together to achieve the same goals without being the same. Although we love our friends we can nurture those friendships without being identical. If we do not become carbon copies of those who we most likely love and trust the most, why would we ever want to become what other outside sources pressure us to become?
I absolutely love the thought that as I shed the natural man view of who I should be I become a more pure and true version of myself which allows the spirit to remind and teach me who I am in the eternal sense, not just on this earth but before the veil was drawn. I don’t have to be anyone else, I absolutely get to be me, and I love me.
“If we love God, do His will, and fear His judgement more than men’s, we will have self-esteem”
(Beware of Pride, Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1989)
An interesting thing happens when we stop focusing on others expectations of who we are and start paying attention to who God tells us, expects us, and wants us to be. People will be drawn to you, and they probably won’t even know why. Truth attracts truth, and when you understand the truth of who you are it is attractive (not in the ‘get a date sense’, well, maybe, but don’t do it just to get dates).
Elder Bednar’s promise of protection quoted above was truth in my life. As I gained knowledge of who I was the hurtful things in my life hurt a little less. I am a daughter of God, a divine being. I have the right and the ability to call upon the divine powers of heaven when I need help, and heaven will hear and answer me in the way that is best for me. Satan can only hurt me if I let him, and I do not have to let him.
I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, who loves me, and I love him!