UPDATE: Obviously this was not the end of my journey…for which I am INTENSELY grateful for. Because this was a work in progress over a week, it was unknown how it would end. Every time I thought I was done I was not. For continuity I have copied all these posts in order. If you would like to read this entire experience from beginning to end you can do so here.
This is the end of my very long journey. You would think the other posts I have written would have been harder to share, but the EXPERIENCE of this (If not the words you read) was by far the most difficult thing that I not only have ever written, but it is by FAR the most difficult thing that has EVER been required of me. I hope that as you read, even if it is incomprehensible or unbelievable to you on many levels, that SOME part of your heart is reached. I am a Mormon, so my base, my terminology is of the faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But this is NOT meant as a proselytizing tool to get you to join my religion. That is simply not my mission or task to execute. I leave that to others. It is of utmost importance that you find your OWN path. Anything that leads you to Him. (Also…if you want a GREAT soundtrack to this moment…here you go. Utterly fitting.)
“I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. Mosiah 27:29“
Every singer has a role they were born to sing.
For me, that would be the Mezzo lead in Handel’s Messiah.
That is really a no-brainer and extremely easy for me to figure out.
What has been much, much, MUCH more difficult is figuring out how in the world to make sense of all that has gone on the last six days.
What was I born to do, here?
Because it has been utterly, completely, unfathomable mind-blowing, spirit altering, awe-inspiring, and any other descriptive term ya want to add a hyphen and an “ING” to, MASSIVE spiritual experience and transformation that for whatever reason, has been my highest honor and GREATEST STRUGGLE to experience.
I thought that overcoming my sins would be my greatest struggle.
I was wrong.
Then I thought that confronting, accounting, and paying for those sins would be my greatest struggle.
I was wrong.
Then I thought that the intense spiritual experience and revelations God gave me about myself would be my greatest struggle.
I was wrong.
THEN I thought that gathering all my courage to put this story before all the world to see would be my greatest struggle.
I was wrong.
I HAD NOT EVEN BEGUN TO STRUGGLE, FIGHT, AND SUFFER.
There is something that has been happening the last five days that only one human on this earth (my Bishop) had any clue I was going through and even he had only the tiniest, tiniest bit of information when the weight of the burden almost broke me into pieces.
I have been in CONSTANT, UNCEASING, AGONY AND PAIN.
This is confusing even to me. I had just had the single most powerful accounting of the power of God that *I* am aware of. WHY WAS I SUFFERING IN SUCH DESPAIR?
I’ll tell you.
But first, I must testify to you that EVERYTHING about what I went through is not only against every single action, thought, moment, feeling, and desire I have EVER HAD TO THIS POINT. That is critical. You are meant to see an utter, complete, and massive transformation of my entire soul and person so that there is not even one moment of doubt that this has happened ONLY THROUGH THE POWER OF HIM.
EVERYTHING about my life has deliberately led me to this moment.
To tell you this.
Once I set about to work and wrote down all my thoughts and feelings in my last blog post, and as it spread and spread and the emails and comments and stories started POURING in, I was hit with an insane amount of force. It was like I could literally FEEL every person who was reading my words. As I sat and read every word of every comment and email and tweet, I was allowed to see a portion of YOU. To feel some of your greatest pain and struggle. The sheer force of what was hitting me was endless, constant and agonizing.
And that is what it felt like for DAYS. SO powerful that my body was literally and constantly wracked with pain and energy to the point that I literally sobbed many, many times from the burden. It sounds Biblical, but it is the truth so help me God.
God lifted his veil JUST enough to not kill me.
You think I’m kidding.
The horrible thing about humanity is that there are not adequate words to describe all that I felt and know. Fortunately, God gives what is needed and he sent me a POWERFUL image to help me along with this. To explain what a struggle this entire ordeal has felt like to me.
I was in this flat, barren place, endless to the eye. My mantle was like…a Roman Centurion and while it was leather, I could sense it offered me the highest protection. Far off, I saw something coming. Roaring at me like the largest tidal wave you could imagine. It was MASSIVE. HUGE. And it was headed STRAIGHT FOR ME. I didn’t even flinch. I reached behind my back shoulders and withdrew two shining, flaming swords from their holsters and I bent down on one knee and SLAMMED them into the earth on either side of me. A roaring, bright and intense light poured out and shot out wide and tall. I could literally see these two forces swirling, beating, and fighting against each other.
It took all my might, all my strength and ALL my will to keep from being engulfed. The moment of greatest pain and crises came very early this morning at about 2 am. While it was extremely difficult, I was still holding my ground. Then the game changer was thrown in.
I was prepared for stories of struggle, faith, inspiration and heartache and pain.
I was NOT prepared to not only realize but INTENSELY feel the struggle, pain and crises of faith that some of my most loved and cherished friends and family were experiencing. For the longest time, as I pondered how to explain this not only to a wide audience but also how to reach those that are hurting and who I love without measure. Again, I was blessed with just the right image for me to put words to it. Back to Xena Warrior Princess holding down the fort with the flaming swords of…whatever…
I could see that I was starting to fatigue. I as slowly getting pushed further and further back under the weight of the energy that was slamming into me. But as long as I kept my hands on my swords, my head held up, and my gaze fixed, I would prevail. Then something caught my eye. Two of my most loved spirit friends. My fellow brother and sister in arms were walking right into that horrible awful storm I was doing my utmost to keep at bay.
I cannot tell you the panic and despair I felt.
I had NO ABILITY TO HELP.
And while I reached out (seriously, I am a text stalker this week. Ugh.) it was made abundantly clear that the rest of this intense battle I had to face was to be fought ONLY by me and my ONLY weapons were to be my inner spirit and HIM. (Because, uh…nothing in my mortal existence was gonna help out any.)
My panic over these two souls and my sorrow at their suffering is huge.
These two are of the most select. Who have helped me significantly. One is a close friend and the other is someone I have only met ONE TIME in person but who is like the dearest of brothers to me. To see these stalwart spirits and feel how HARD their struggle was more painful than anything that had occurred to that point.
I turned my head.
I was SCREAMING at them to “STOP! LOOK UP! GO BACK!!!!!!!!!!!”
They simply couldn’t hear me.
I could see the energy around me starting to weaken and shoot off randomly all around me.
My shift of focus was causing me to struggle and I felt myself failing at this most important task.
They were walking so close to me and yet were a million miles away.
My friends got right up to the edge of that storm. Right by my left hand. And I suddenly had the overwhelming temptation to reach out, grab them, and literally THROW THEM TO SAFETY.
But I KNEW if I let go of that sword for even ONE MOMENT, all was lost, I would fail in my task and we would be crushed.
And in a moment, I cared more intensely about them than any failure or what I personally would lose, if there was even a slight possibility they could be helped.
I could take action, or I could ignore them and leave them to their fate…And that I could NOT DO.
I KNEW I could no longer handle this situation on my own. I was perilously close to failing.
I pleaded for help from the Father.
Just as I was about to reach out, a raging stream of fire literally lassoed them and moved them back and I was allowed to finish my fight.
My relief was insane.
A voice spoke to my mind. His mercy was extended not just because I was willing to sacrifice all for those most loved, but because, like I said, these are VALIANT spirits who have earned it. But above all, while we are expected to do our level best, WE CAN ACHIEVE NOTHING WITH OUT HIM. And if we ask he WILL give us all.
I was given the reassurance that while I was not allowed to know their path, my friends would be fine and watched over. (YES, NATE. I AM TAKING YOUR HAND AND RUNNING THROUGH DISNEY WORLD TO A SOUNDTRACK AND SCREAMING AT YOU THAT “SOMETHING AMAZING *IS* HAPPENING RIGHT NOW”!)
I wish that was the end of the story, but no…I had more to face.
Added to this unbelievable weight were the SEARING answers to the unending stream of questions I had for God. The most inadequate way to describe what happens to my body when God spoke to me is to have you picture a cattle prod smiting me and coursing through my body.
Picture this happening again, and again, and again, and again. Hundreds, THOUSANDS of times in five NEVER ENDING OMG THIS IS GOING TO CRUSH AND KILL ME days.
Everything I thought I knew about God has been turned upside down on its head. I always thought that intense answers to prayers would feel good.
THAT IS NOT THE CASE FOR ME.
I always thought that should God ever communicate with me the experience would be of a kindly, cuddly, presence.
THERE WAS ZERO CODDLING, PEOPLE.
Once, when one revelation was particularly painful and long-suffering, I cried out to Him. “DO YOU HATE ME OR SOMETHING????! WHERE IS MY TENDER MERCY, DUDE?!”
The answer was searing and clear.
“MY GENTLE MERCY IS FOR THOSE THAT REQUIRE IT. YOU DO NOT. THIS IS A TASK THAT FEW ARE SENT TO EXECUTE AND ENDURE BUT YOU HAVE BEEN PREPARED FOR FOR ENDLESS MILLENNIUMS AND YOUR PATH IS TO BE AN EXAMPLE OF MY POWER AND UNCEASING LOVE FOR ALL MAN. YOU *WILL* BEND TO MY WILL.”
I have been through physical hell.
I, who had only had TWO prayers answered in her ENTIRE life, and beyond that, only KNEW that those prayers were answered because of PHYSICAL things that unfolded, was absolutely, unceasingly SLAMMED with answers, inspiration, and promptings of the most PHYSICALLY PAINFUL DEGREE. I have truly NEVER heard ONE prompting, ONE spiritual answer, ONE BIT OF GODS ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE WITH MAN and I was literally accosted for five agonizing days.
I’ve slept about 6 hours in 6 days.
I have eaten exactly two meals.
I’ve lost about 15-pounds, mainly because the physical FORCE of this has had me literally shaking and pouring sweat and in a constant state of rigid tenseness. It has not let up for even one small moment. Even when I had moments between the whole cattle prod thing my stomach hurt so much that I wondered if God had decided to huck a bleeding ulcer on to my apparently unending list of challenges.
I seriously had NO clue how to stop it.
And to be clear, this was not something done by me. By adrenaline. By excitement. By anything but by the creator of all. I tried my ever-living guts out to try to replicate the insanely intense electrocutions that rained down on me. It was not possible.
WHY WAS THIS HAPPENING?
HAD I NOT DONE AS ASKED?
WAS IT NOT ENOUGH???!!
It was NOT.
I was unbelievably confused. The burden was unbelievable. The weight of the concern, the sheer…power of his love for ALL OF YOU just about killed me. And I was SO FREAKING WOEFULLY UNPREPARED BY EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE FOR THIS EXPERIENCE.
It was like I was an utterly sedentary couch potato who was about 100-lbs overweight and then I was chucked suddenly into most horrible, difficult, demanding and crushing BOOT CAMP. Times a BILLION.
I HAD NOT EVEN *ONE* MORTAL TOOL TO HELP ME.
And that was EXACTLY the point.
He gave me greatness because until now every single thing about my person has not only NOT complied with his will, but I have FOUGHT BITTERLY AND *VOCALLY* AGAINST IT.
I not only never paid tithing, IT OFFENDED ME.
I not only did not seek religion or a higher personal relationship with him, BUT I MOCKED AND HID FROM MY STATUS AS A MORMON TO MY PEERS.
I not only never prayed but I HAD UTTERLY ZERO, NONE, NADA EXPERIENCE OF PERSONAL REVELATION OF *ANY* KIND.
I not only did not know of God’s love for me, but I thought it was a FANTASY that was NOT for people like me.
It is EXACTLY for people like me.
It is EXACTLY for people like YOU.
You just have to LIFT YOUR HEAD AND LOOK AND ASK FOR IT.
When I realized this, I again pleaded and begged to be allowed some mercy and peace.
But there was more to learn. (I swear, try imagining learning NOTHING for 38 and then pack in 8 billion years of learning into 6 days and see how you feel. Oy.)
I had spent all these days swirling around in so many answers, impression and just a massive amount of emotion and understanding that I had NO idea WHAT the primary message I was supposed to learn from this was.
This thread ran over all the days but I am condensing it so it makes a clearer path to my “Aha!” moment.
During my journey, I kept asking what was required of me.
Someone wrote to me and they were very concerned. “Reading this, I got a very uneasy feeling that you are not meant to live long.”
Suddenly, I had images and words and feelings flood my mind.
What WOULD I be willing to give to give this testament of HIM?
HOW FAR WOULD I GO?
If my last post was the last statement of my life, would I be willing to give up my life if asked to spread the word further, harder, and more? It was a very tough question. I saw all the consequences for my loved ones it would bring, but I ALSO saw the insane impact it would have in softening the hearts of mankind.
Yes. If that was His will. I would.
Now, for most people, THIS is the ULTIMATE question and sacrifice. I thought that might be it for me and that if I was willing, I might reach peace.
That is not the largest sacrifice for me.
I REALIZED just what that was this morning.
I had about an hour of really crappy sleep. I felt alone, EXHAUSTED and resigned to the fact that apparently GOD WAS JUST GOING TO TORTURE ME ENDLESSLY AND FOREVER AND NO ONE COULD DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
I got up and went for a quick drive.
And while I was driving, a series of rapid, weighty and POWERFUL questions were poised to me.
I came to a horrifying, awful conclusion of just what was being asked of me.
See…it is not my life that I value and fear most.
It is not money or any material thing. He could gladly take ALL that I have.
What he wanted was more.
I knew that I had to SHARE THIS.
NO ONE, (Again, save one tiny glimpse in a text to my Bishop) had ANY idea what I was going through. It is INTENSELY private.
Not only that, but the thought of laying this before my peers, my co-workers, my family, my loved ones and the HUGELY CRUELTY THAT IS THE INTERNET about undid me. Did he not know that I had already been done in by what had already been said? How I worried that people would think I was utterly insane, unstable and just…bat shit crazy?????!!!!!
Was I to have NO privacy in this?
Did he know how insanely hard I had worked to build this blog, my reputation, and did he know the reaction I KNOW IS GOING TO COME FROM HORDES OF YOU?
Did He not know how intensely cowardly and embarrassed I am over EVERYTHING?
How I have been TORTURED by what people think about what I write and what they think of ME?
HOW I HAVE NEIGHBORS WHO READ THIS FREAKING BLOG THAT I HAVE TO SEE AT CHURCH AND WHEN I AM OUT WATERING MY FREAKING PLANTS???!???!??!?!?!??!?!?!?!?
He does know.
And I realized that he had prepared me.
I have always thought of myself as unstable and a bit crazy.
I am NOT.
But I HAVE experienced those things.
I had to so that in these moments *I* knew utterly that I was sound, solid and CLEAR.
And beyond that….I had to make the utmost sacrifice to achieve what was needed. I had to be willing to give up my pride, my friend, my reputation, a decade of work, and every ounce of my will.
I felt like I had the option of bending to his will and that it was a CERTAINTY that I would go through to the end of my days feeling intense ridicule, loss, pain, suffering, challege and burdened with every single thought and action that was horrible to me OR I could take the much (temporarily) easier path and go my own way.
Was I willing to literally give Him EVERYTHING THAT WAS PRECIOUS TO ME.
I paused and the thought roared out.
Yes. I will do thy will, Father.
And in ONE moment, the MOST GLORIOUS, PEACEFUL, SOOTHING RELIEF FLOODED OVER ME.
EVERY bit of pain, anguish and torture I had been wracked with disappeared in a single moment for the EXPRESS purpose of not only riddling an entire post with more caps than I thought possible, but to SCREAM HIS MERCY TO YOU.
I finally know my mission in all this.
The power He has to transform in a moment is without challenge.
The requirement to bend down to him and submit is utterly necessary.
If you give all to Him, he will give ALL to you.
There is a particular story in the Book of Mormon about ‘the most vile of sinners’ that is utterly transformed by God. I have only read the Book of Mormon through once and that was 17-years-ago, so when my friend said this experience reminded her of that I honestly didn’t remember. In fact, I didn’t even look it up until I thought linking to a summation would be helpful to those unfamiliar with my face.
What I read was STAGGERING.
I FINALLY had some words to describe this path I had taken.
It was a beautiful moment.
24 For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have beenaredeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
25 And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be aborn again; yea, bborn of God, cchanged from their carnal anddfallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his esons and daughters;
26 And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in anowise inherit the kingdom of God.
29 My soul hath been aredeemed from the gall of bitterness andbbonds of iniquity. I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God. My soul was cracked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is dpained no more.
This experience has been utterly…beyond any words I have.
I still do not know why this was given to me of all people.
But I am insanely honored that it was.
As I went to lay down in my bed with my laptop to write this, a sentence came to my mind. I was unfamiliar with it, but thought that I had probably seen in on one of those wall vinyls that Mormons are extremely fond of putting on the walls of their homes.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
And the sweetest peace I have known came over me.
I passed the hardest test I have yet been given.
I am allowed a moment of rest from my roaring.
I now leave that to YOU to do.
To spread this to all the world.
And I feel peace and glory.