Saturday, October 4, 2008

All jokes aside

As you've probably noticed, I dedicate much of my blog to reflecting on my past. I think I do it because it is interesting for me to analyze myself, and also because I plan on having this blog serve as my personal history of sorts. That being the case, I feel like the following will be an important inclusion.
As a youth, my testimony--and the way I interpreted the gospel, was almost entirely borrowed from my parents. And it wasn't until after Scotty died that I started realizing it. Suddenly my parents' understanding and application of the gospel seemed to be changing and it was very hard for me. It was hard because I had come to accept and trust that their previous ways were correct and now I was being forced to question it all and try and sort things out for myself. Let me clarify. It wasn't like my parents had testimonies before Scotty died and not afterward or vice versa. It was just that their understanding of different principles changed, and as a result, the way they were raising kids changed as well. So I was left trying to figure out which way was better--the old way, or the new way, and I found myself being frustrated with my parents for causing me to have to go through this. (In case you care, the old way was good, but the new way is even better.) What I came to realize, though, was that I was really frustrated with myself for never having really developed my own understanding of the gospel.

So anyway, since then, I have been working hard to figure things out for myself and more importantly, I have been earnestly seeking for the Spirit to testify to me of truth. And I still struggle with some things. Specifically, I don't have the testimony I want of Joseph Smith and his prophetic mission. I believe he was a very important prophet and that he was the most important catalyst in the restoration of the gospel, but I don't think I've had the Spirit seal that testimony in my heart yet, as it has other things. And most importantly, I have not yet developed the relationship with the Savior that I want to have. And as hard as it is for me to say, I think it is because I am just now BEGINNING to understand and apply his atonement. In all my life, I have not sought forgiveness so much as I have the last three years as a mother. As a mother (and as a wife), I am being made painfully aware of all of my weaknesses, and I desperately yearn to be forgiven and to become more the mother and wife that Heavenly Father wants me to be. And despite how hard this has been, I feel so grateful to finally be recognizing a need for dependence on the Savior. And while I was visiting Sarah, she shared some of her insights on the atonement that I really appreciated. She said she feels like it is Christ's suffering for our sins and sorrows that allows him to give us the gift of Charity. In other words--Charity is a GIFT that only the SAVIOR can give because only He has suffered for all of us in a way that created such a perfect and pure love. (Man, I hope I got that right.) So anyway, don't get all worried about me, because I am working on it, and I am confident that my understanding and testimony of the Savior and his atonement will grow as I continue to work on it.

In the meantime, let me just say this--that I do know and have never doubted that Heavenly Father loves me and that I am his daughter. I know that he is aware of me at all times. I know that he listens to and answers my prayers. I know that he expects a lot from me, but that he is proud of my efforts and has great hope in my learning and becoming better. I know that he is a God of miracles. I know that he is a just God, but I swear I experience his mercy so much more often than I do his justice. I know that living righteously brings happiness. I know and have experienced the power of the Holy Ghost and I am SO grateful to enjoy its companionship when I am worthy. I am so grateful for the example of the Savior and for his perfect love. I know that it is his eternal mission to bring all of us back to our Heavenly Father. And I know that I feel the closest to Him when I am serving others.

And you know what else? I love the Book of Mormon. When I was growing up, I was super fortunate to have parents who both loved studying the scriptures. They were great examples to me. I saw them reading and studying the scriptures often and I knew that they loved to do so. They STILL do. And I've always trusted that the scriptures--particularly the Book of Mormon--contain the gospel and are very important, but it used to be difficult for me to comprehend how my parents could actually enjoy them so much. You know what I mean? So I went a lot of years wondering if I'd ever be able to say that I love reading my scriptures the way my parents do, and guess what? Now I can. I take that back. I can't say that I love reading them as much as my parents do because my parents even love Isaiah and Exodus and all that stuff. But I can say that I have really come to love and enjoy the Book of Mormon. Right now I'm not perfect at reading it every day, but when I do, I really do enjoy it. I've always appreciated the gospel gems, but now I recognize and enjoy the stories, I love noticing new details, and I love the power that comes from reading. The Book of Mormon even makes me laugh sometimes. So that's cool.
And I love General Conference now, too. It gives me the spiritual feeding that I really do hunger for now that I am a mom and my opportunities for Spiritual feedings are harder to come buy and usually interrupted by noise or needy or hungry kids. (Sorry for the run-on.) And it just feels so good to hear truth.

10 comments:

Janelle said...

I just wanted you to know that I love reading your words!

Heather and Billy said...

I love that you put your introspection on here because I think it hits home with more people than you know. I think it's okay to question things and I understand what happened with your parents after Scotty died. I also wanted to say that I absolutely 100% agree with what Sarah said. I remember when she was on her mission she wrote a letter home about praying to receive the gift of charity and praying to see others with that true love of Christ, as God sees them. She shared how she was blessed with that and was overwhelmed with a love for the people in the ward. Obviously it stuck with me. I remember trying it out...guess what...it worked!!! I need to pray for that more regularly.

Lisa and Bill said...

It was nice to actually talk with you when you visited w/your family. I do enjoy reading the insights you have & hearing about your triumphs with everyday life. And you have a great sense of humor-which is a must have while raising children!

I am constantly working on my relationship with the Savior too & really trying to understand the atonement. I came closer to understanding more fully His love while struggling with some very personal situations over the last 2 years. I do know for a fact that the atonement is real & it has healed so many wounds & given me a greater appreciation of what charity & unconditional love means.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts because a lot of people can relate!

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing Ann. It's good to hear other people's insights. In reading your blog I realized how long it's been since I voiced thoughts like those you shared. I need to do that more, talk more about the gospel and my testimony. Thanks for making me try to be better.

Jen said...

It's so great to read a spiritual blog! I hardly ever write anything spiritual in mine and I want it to be a kind of personal history too. Someone could read my blog and not even know I'm LDS! So great job on utilizing the blog sphere for spiritual thoughts. And it was SO FUN to have you guys over for conference. Let's do it again!

Heidi :) :) ;) said...

Ann, it is nice to read your blog. It is interesting reading about others spiritual journeys. I think that we have all had similar thoughts, but spurred by differing events. The books Joseph Smith the Prophet and The Life and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph (both) by Truman G. Madsen are amazing. I have the books on cd version (it is easier to listen to, then read with my kids around). Anyway, they are great if you are interested in learning more about Joseph Smith. They helped me learn what Joseph was like as a person. It is hard not to love Joseph Smith after reading the books or listening to them on cd. Sometimes they can be so deep that they make my head hurt, but I think it is good for me.

I hope you continue to do well! You have a cute family!

Danalin said...

Love it...love you.

McLeod Clan said...

Thank you for bearing your testimony, all though I know it's not your complete testimony because there are so many beautiful facits to Ann Lacouture that are truly amazing! I too absolutely love the Atonement and couldn't be more greatful for the Savior and the sacrafice he made for me. I have an appreciation for that more then some will ever know and it has for me as well grown as I've gotten older. You think you know so much when you are young but as you are forced to grow and build a testimony on your own... oh how it is strenghthened by actually using those devine principles in our lives. Love ya Annie! and again thank you.

Megan said...

A little under a year ago, I had these same feelings of not knowing and feeling and understanding the gospel as I felt I "should" at my age...especially being raised with it. And even more especially, because I am a mother and felt as though I should have a hardcore testimony on everything so my kids could learn from me, and that I could be that shining example for them. I was being kind of hard on myself about this when I went to church one particular Sunday, I believe the lesson was called "Mother's Who Know"..it most definitely touched my heart. But, as I was singing the closing song, I couldn't keep the tears in...

"Come, little child, and together we'll learn..."

It was the answer I had been looking for...it's quite alright to learn things WITH my children. It's ok for me to question things, as a child does. It's more than ok, it's crucial. For me, not understanding, or questioning something, has been a very significant practice in having principles (one at a time) seared in my heart. It seems as though I question something, and the answer is given to me in a way that touches my heart, and causes me to embrace it as part of MY testimony.

Now, I can make peace with the fact that I don't fully understand everything..I'm sure I won't on this Earth. I still seek and search and try to keep my heart open for new moments where the Spirit can help me along, but I do it with more peace now.

P.S. I never knew you, but I know Scotty... I decided to come over here from Mim's blog, and the first thing I saw was the post you had with the picture of Scotty.

CnK Hansen said...

It is such an amazing time when you realize that the gospel principles you learned when you were younger are really true! It feels so accomplishing! And to see them in action is even better, it's a for sure testimony builder!Testimonies are such a truth and light in our lives and it is amazing to share your testimony and to hear others, because hearing and telling only makes our own stronger! It's also so nice to know that I am not the only one who thinks about similar things! And I am sure that you have the gift of charity, you always have, everybody has it, sometimes people just forget how to practice it! I know that I do, but that's why practice makes perfect right?! And by the way, you and brian totally look the same! Just now you have beautiful kids to go with you!