I'm going to break from my habit of posting my low first. Usually I want to focus on my high, but tonight I feel more like elaborating on my low.
High - I'm going to post highs both for today and yesterday. Today's highs were getting my hair cut (it always feels SO soft afterwards) and getting to spend a part of this afternoon with my favorite sister :)
Yesterday's high - Eric got off work unexpectedly early last night. He came home and we started to watch some Battlestar Galactica together. I was still working on the dishes and taking advantage of Eric playing with Sam so I could do so. After a few minutes Eric handed me Sam and sent me to sit with the baby so I could focus on the episode (plus Sam wanted to be fed and Eric sorta lacks the necessary equipment). He then took over for me in the kitchen and finished all of our dishes!! For the first time in probably a month all of our dishes are clean!! Thanks honey, you are the best. I love you!
Low: One of my dearest friends, whom I have known since birth, posted in her blog tonight that she has left the church. I'm not sure I can describe in words how that wrenches my heart. This is someone that I have shared many spiritual experiences and who I love deeply and it just makes me want to cry to see her reject her testimony.
Unfortunately, I can't say that I'm completely shocked to see this. I've watched her decide to live on the fringe of righteousness for awhile now. Not that I'd say she's been doing things that were blatantly wrong, just not staying as far on the side of the gospel as possible. She's been participating in things like drinking caffeine, swearing, and attending activities in questionable atmospheres. Obviously, none of those are against church doctrine and you can definitely be a member in good standing even if you do any of those things. However, it seems that the closer you stand to that line between evil and righteousness, the easier it is for the adversary to knock you over onto his side. Satan truly is out there trying to attack us on every hand, and delights to watch us fall.
I'm not saying that I think those things were what caused her downfall. I've been guilty on more than one occasion of skirting the edges of the gospel. However, I think it's the attitude we develop when we start participating in those activities that is dangerous. The idea that "well, it's not *sinning* so it's ok for me to do it" isn't always true. The Spirit withdraws from us as we allow ourselves to rationalize these activities and we slowly give ourselves over more and more to Satan.
As I was pondering these events I thought of this scripture in 2 Nephi 26:22 -
[The devil] leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord, until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever.
I had been taught before something interesting about this scripture. Flaxen cords are made from very fine threads. Each thread is very weak and is easily broken. However when combined with other flaxen threads it forms a very strong rope that is nearly impossible to penetrate.
I was looking up a reference to confirm what I'd been taught about flaxen cords when I came across this interesting article. It talks about the story of Samson. Because the writer of this article did a much better job explaining this idea than I would I will just quote directly from them:
...Samson playfully allowed Delilah to bind him with green withes and with new ropes and to weave his hair into a web. In each case he escaped easily, mocking the Philistines, until at last he was betrayed by his overconfidence, deprived of his strength, and bound with unbreakable fetters.
The story of the binding of Samson is a powerful lesson in the dangers of flirting with evil and confiding in our own strength.
I think the last part of that quote is most significant. As we skirt on the edges of righteousness, or as they put it "flirt with evil" we are relying on our own strength to keep us from harm rather than allowing the Lord to protect us. As we near that line we allow Satan to slip one more thin thread around our necks that can slowly drag us down to hell.
There is some good news with this parable though. Quoting again from that previous article - When a flaxen cord is burned, the ash retains the cord’s outward form but crumbles at the touch... This can be compared to the Atonement. If we decide to come away from these choices Christ can come in as with fire and burn those cords so that they crumble to the touch. That's not to say that it's as easy as just asking Christ to take over. If the cords were set on fire while you were wrapped up in them... you would have problems that would likely outweigh the ropes. But with His help we can free ourselves from those ropes or questionable activites, then He can burn them so they crumble to dust and become as if they never existed.
I want to just take a quick opportunity to bear my testimony of the gospel. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The more I put my life in line with the teachings of the church the more I realize that it is the only path to true joy. I have joy that is indescribable as I spend time with my husband and son and realize that we are blessed to be a family eternally. I can think of no greater blessing than to have the love of family forever, and of nothing more miserable than considering being without them. The more I free myself of choices that are evil or even questionable, the happier I am. I am so grateful to have the gospel in my life and for the way that it blesses me. I am grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ, that He would sacrifice his perfect life for us so that — as incredibly flawed as we are — we can return to live with our Heavenly Father again and enjoy the blessings of exaltation. Our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can possibly imagine. We are so blessed to have a prophet on the earth today to help lead and guide us through the challenges that face our day. I leave these things with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Notes: Just for the record, I don't want anyone to think that I'm condemning this friend. I still love her dearly (obviously, or her choices would not have such an effect on me) and hope for the best of everything for her. Nor am I coming out against the particular activities I've listed. My point is more the attitude of participating in fringe activities than these activities themselves.
Lastly, a quick legal note. All statements in this post are my personal opinion and should not be considered the official stance of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.