Thursday, March 18, 2010

A Story of Repentance

This is how I hope to explain
my first marriage to my children
(when they are old enough):

I was twenty-three.

The night I became engaged for the first time was really exciting. I wanted to be engaged, I wanted to get married and that night I really hoped those feelings would last. But when I woke up the next morning I felt like my soul had frozen over. I decided to pray and meditate about it, and when I did, all answers came from a very distinct, divine voice. We call it the Holy Ghost.

Do not do it.

The same voice whispered in the ears of my friends and family.

Do not do it.

They all said.

I could hear it all, I knew what they were saying was true, but there was a pride in me that could not be extinguished. The source of that pride was a deep insecurity about being wanted. I felt like I would never be loved by anyone ever again, this was my ONE CHANCE! At the risk of that, I decided to ignore the direct revelation sent to me from my Heavenly Father by the Holy Ghost.

I didn't understand this: the encompassing love of God.

I also decided to shorten the engagement to one month. For one month I could endure the pleadings, begging and flat out rejection of the people in my life. Or the loneliness of keeping pride in check. Not to mention the entire absence of my spiritual self. For one month I would carry on, plan a wedding and act as if I had all the confidence of a young bride.

One day while I was going about doing just that--planning a wedding dinner--my sister Page said, "You know we are here for you now, and you know we will be here for you when it ends." It was one of the most compassionate things anyone has ever said to me. Because at that point of course I knew it would end--my marriage--and yet I also knew I had to willingly walk into it for the sake of walking out of it.

All of these things are hard to explain. Unless you understand pride.

My mother helped me plan the wedding with all the energy she could muster. I was her second daughter to marry and I was given the same respect as Page and her wedding. Sometimes when I think about my mother driving me up to Salt Lake to pick out pricey, engraved wedding announcements and how her heart was breaking while we decided what font to use on my new last name, I want to cry. I pray I never have to go through that with my own daughter.

(Though I probably deserve it.)

On a very warm day in June I got married in the Provo Temple. I have explained before that as soon as it was official I felt as though someone had drained my entire body of blood. The room was tilting and I had a feeling of complete panic. I contemplating running out of the room.

It was this: the horrible consequence of disobedience.

But for the first time in a month I heard that divine voice--the Holy Ghost--again. It said to me,

You are going to be alright.

After the wedding luncheon I had this romantic idea of giving our guests rose petals to gracefully throw as we exited to our honeymoon car. I wanted everything to be over-glamorous to make up for how unglamorous everything really was (which is why I eloped the second time around, no need for anything but an official certificate, thanks). One of my brothers (I shall not out him) thought it would be funny to throw a fistful of crumbled petals directly at our faces, which made everyone else roar. At any other point in my life I would've laughed, but I remember feeling entirely devastated. I wanted to drop on the ground and sob.

I was married for nine months. Nine really horrible months. The details are not as important to me now, only that it was an unhealthy in almost all aspects where marriage should be healthy. After time spent praying, fasting, consulting with my bishop, my parents, and studying intently from the doctrine of my church, I knew I needed to repent. I needed to humble myself and ask for forgiveness, my health and happiness were at risk.

On one December morning while on my knees, I heard the Holy Ghost direct me again.

You can leave.

Which I did with the help of my petal-slinging brothers. There was no point in ignoring personal revelation anymore. I moved back in with my parents which had the odd feeling of being completely liberated. I was free. I knew what it felt like to walk hand-in-hand with God.

It felt like this: If no one ever wanted to marry me ever again, I would still have happiness beyond my imagination. I would always have a relationship with God. I would always be His daughter. I could always hear His council--I knew His voice. At that point, it was enough. Maybe even more than enough.

Of course, I knew that the voice could also have said, "You can work this marriage out" and I could've. The power of God has the ability to heal anything that is broken. It just wasn't what it said to me. It wasn't my plan.

My plan was this: one week later I met Christopher Erin Kendrick at a New Year's Eve party.

And at that point I knew I had been completely forgiven.

Today on dear c jane:
Good news! Toms shoes!

c jane's Guide to Provo:
Happy Birthday Stevie!