Monday, April 4, 2011

Divorce, Abuse and the LDS Woman

*Republished  by request and with permission. Original publication found here.

Divorce for any woman is hard, for an LDS woman there can be a couple more complications. The teachings of the Lord can soften our hearts to endure. I understand there are many reasons and excuses for divorce in present times. I have been divorced which seems to attract women considering the same option. I’ve been asked, “what should I do?” many times. My constant answer is to work it out. Don’t get divorced if you can help it, it sucks. Usually I follow that advice with... “but what do I know, I got divorced!” lol. Truth is, divorce is awful. I am grateful that I have been able to overcome my divorce, but it was not easy. I fell away from the Lord. Without the strength of a worthy priesthood holder in their lives, my children suffered as well.

I am remarried now and happy ;-) but the trail that led to my safe place was thorny and ambushed with pain. I align with the counsel of the Lord through general authorities in present times that divorce should not be an option unless there is abuse or infidelity.

For women who are enduring abuse, have Faith that the Lord is by your side. Recognize your Divine Nature - you are his daughter. Let your Individual Worth guide your choices and enhance your thoughts. Gain Knowledge of your situation and your options - its your Choice to be happy. Take it and be Accountable - your choices affect you as well as your posterity. Fill your heart with Good Works - they will increase your self esteem and bring you happiness and blessings. Allow your Integrity to shine through- no daughter of Heavenly Father deserves to endure abuse - don’t allow it. Your Virtue will guide you to remember these values and abide by them. Your Heavenly Father is there for you. He will guide and protect you if you let him. I have a personal testimony of this. Love yourself - you are great!

When you decide to begin the healing process from abuse or divorce, remember to keep close to the Lord, “*healing comes through the unwavering love of Heavenly Father for each of His children.... the power of healing is inherent in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.”

You will be tempted to “*undermine your self-confidence, destroy trust, create fear and generate feelings of despair” - don’t succumb. You have to believe you can resolve these, very real, but negative consequences. If you don’t, you will not recover. You will hear criticism, you will feel guilty, and you will hear gossip; absorb what you need and discard what you don't. Mature into thicker skin, it will help your journey.

The worst thing an abuse victim can do is feel sorry for themselves. Be brave; be strong, “fake it ‘til you make it” if you have to. If you really want to overcome abuse, you have to start believing you can overcome it and start working towards that goal. Don't waste time sulking. Trust me, you will regret it.

Make conscious efforts to build your worth. Assert your positive traits. Defend your significance with all your strength. It is part of the Lord’s plan that you understand the actions that are worthy of you as his daughter so that you can make choices that bring joy to your life. Not temporal enjoyment but true eternal happiness.
Inundate your thoughts with love, and forgiveness. Abuse can damage your ability to form healthy human relationships. “*Even when it may seem very difficult to pray, kneel and ask Heavenly Father to give you the capacity to trust Him and to feel His love for you.” Prayer in my darkest days was my brightest consolation. Never believe Satan’s lies that you are not worthy to pray. What earthly parent would deny their child a shoulder to cry on and not console them? So much more is His love that He will give you spiritual healing. Talk to Him with your heart. Pour out your thoughts and be honest. If you are mad tell Him. If you are sad tell Him. He is there, He will listen. Be humble, be childlike. You are His baby. I have learned this through my process.

This eternal truth was one that took me years to understand. Begin analyzing and pray that you may comprehend and accept this principle so that you may unravel diverted blame: “*It was Satan’s proposal that Father’s children be forced to obey, that there be no moral agency and therefore no personal growth. To preserve moral agency, the Lord does not restrain individuals from improper use of that agency. However, He will punish them for such acts unless there is full repentance. Through the Holy Ghost, He sends warning promptings to the abuser, but often that individual’s degrading appetite is so powerful that it blocks out that spiritual guidance. That is why our Father provided a way to heal the consequences of acts that, through force, misuse of authority, or fear of another, temporarily take away the agency of the abused.

In the end, I remember talking to my good friend Irazema and listening and telling her, “Man this sucks, amiga. Don’t know what to say or how to fix it”. But as President Scott said, “…*there is no magic solution, no simple balm to provide healing, nor is there an easy path to the complete remedy. The cure requires profound faith in Jesus Christ and in His infinite capacity to heal. It is rooted in an understanding of doctrine and a resolute determination to follow it. (Richard G. Scott, To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse, April 2008)”

Time heals all things. The Lord knows this and in his plan to help us attain exaltation, patience is a key virtue. Stay strong. When you fall, because you will trip, dust off and get back on track. Keep your head up. Things will be alright.

Some practical, every day things that help:
Clinging to the counsel of the Lord
Scripture Reading
If you have children, commit to being a great mother, search out ways to do this
Rediscover your family
Love your mom and dad
Serve Others
Good Support System
Goal Planning
Keeping busy
Stayin in holy places
Reading self help books
Writing in a journal (it is empowering to go back an read entries that help you gauge your progress.)

A book I loved:
"Surviving Domestic Violence" by Elaine Weiss

*Quotes by Richard G. Scott, To Heal the Shattering Consequences of Abuse, April 2008

Flor Flor has 3 children under the age of five, is 26 and just embarked on her second marriage. She loves her heritage, wants to go to Law School and own a business. She wants to share her story of overcoming abuse, domestic violence and staying strong. Visit her blog at http://FlorecitaGrowingUp.Com


kanaboke said...

What an amazing article! Thank you Flor for your Courage and Example!

Shahny said...

Wow what a powerful message!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your message! Continue to let your LIGHT shine!

Suzanne said...

This post was an answer to prayers tonight and was exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for sharing.

Michelle Cook said...

This is just what I needed to read today! Thanks!

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