Sometimes the storms of life are a blessing from the Heavens. Some of my favorite memories are walking in storms. I remember in my past being bundled up and feeling the warmth of my body as my exposed face was feeling the cold of a storm. Whether it be a stormy beach with waves crashing, the bitter cold of driving snow hitting my face, or hearing the first drops of rain that turn into a down pour of a summer storm, all of these memories bring a sense of awe and respect. An awe of their beauty, as earth and nature show their majesty and power that drives us to seek shelter and warmth. In this seeking relief and comfort is the duel realization of our insignificance that points to a larger view of the world and our place in it. And at the same time a significance of our place in the world and our experience of it. This is my awe of late as I attempt to relate to you the beauty, majesty and power of the storms of Heaven that have given me so much joy, and at the same time have driven me to seek comfort from their power and life changing force. It is in the quiet of the aftermath of the storm that allows one to leave the shelter of comfort to assess the changes of a fury’s power, and so it is in my life.
I often, metaphorically, step out from my shelter and see the storm clouds part, and the sun bursting through that speaks of hope and consistency. A consistency of the Spirit which has been a part of my life since I have turned my life over to our Lord, Jesus Christ. And now as I stand in the shining light and witness the aftermath of these recent storms of Heaven, that have blown through my life I can see the changes to my internal and external landscape. It’s been over the last several months that have brought about so much change. In fact, it has felt like the Lord has sent storms and winds of fury that has sent me running for cover. The changes, of late, have been the most severe and drastic that my life has ever sustained, that of being Married!
Yes, marriage! Just as you are trying to add the numerals of this equation to find their sum, so did I. Believe me, this too has taken me by such surprise that I am still trying to find my equilibrium. Now knowing this huge piece of information, I am hoping that you can now understand and forgive me for my silence over the last several months. In this silence of the blog it hasn’t been a reflection that the Heavens have been silent in sending the writings, but that They have chosen to communicate more through experience upon experience than through the usual form of a writing. It seems that as I have turned my attention to my new wife the usual writings have slowed but my witness of the interaction of Heaven and myself have not only changed form but have increased in nature.
After so many months it would be impossible to try to recount all of these experiences of Heaven bending so near. And as I reflect, I can hardly remember myself the layered experiences of how one experience led into another. But I can bear my witness that the Heavens are very much real and involved in our lives. An involvement that has not only changed my personal landscape, but has changed who I am. Like in the scriptures, of so many who have gone before, that have spoken of a mighty change, so it is with me. As one summits completely to the Lord, He has a way of bringing storm upon storm. Storms of change, crashing into your life that blow with such force you are not sure you will survive. Some storms seem like it would be easier to let go into their peril and pray for the ease of an afterlife rather than enduring the exhaustion of clinging while waiting for hope. But in all of the clinging and enduring I have learned of my own strength and desire to be all that the Heavens want me to be. And in these life changing storms I can see in their aftermath the wisdom of a Heaven. A Heaven that can see beyond the hardship of enduring each life-changing storm and can see the blessings of growth that come through Their winds of sanctification.
Perhaps here I can try to recount the storm of change that took me by surprise and brought my wife into my life
|My life journey continues to unfold in ways that I could not even imagine! Six years ago, I was instructed by the Heavens to return to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Which has blessed my life in ways that I could not foresee, and now I have been asked to trust again. This trust requires even a greater leap of faith… that of getting married! If you have been following this blog, you know by now that this has been an amazing journey that has been and continues to be completely orchestrated by the Heavens, coupled with my willingness to follow. As I have trusted and taken this leap of faith, by getting married, I have been blessed with a love that resounds on every level and in every way! The Heavens and Their miracles continue to show up in my life!
It was sometime in the middle of last summer that I ran into a friend of my niece. This friend, I have heard her name throughout the years and was often told by my niece that I needed to meet her because we had some of the same interests in emergency preparedness. So, the Heavens brought us together over a aisle of flowers at the local floral wholesaler, as I heard her say to the working help, “I will take whatever he is buying!” referring to the bunches of flowers that I just laid out on the sales counter. It was from that moment that my niece’s best friend growing up became my friend and has become one of my greatest believers and supporters of the blog, and my life mission. After a summer of spiritual conversations over scheduled lunches this new friend invited me over for dinner with her husband, children and some extended family (And yes, my now wife, was one of those extended members of the family). Little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me that would blow through my life like a storm that would rearrange my mental, emotional, and physical landscape.
As I met J., my wife, I was attracted to her commitment to the Lord and her own spiritual gifts which became apparent as we conversed and compared notes of events of things to come. What I also didn’t know that on the drive over to her cousin’s house (My new friend, the friend of my niece) for dinner she had a prompting from the Holy Spirit, “He is the one.” And as she asked for further clarification heard, “He is the one for you.” So here we sit over dinner and as we continue our conversation, she realizes that we knew each other from our young adult years of our late teens. With this begins her test of faith as she had heard of my gay past and was beginning to see how the equation wasn’t adding up. And at the same time, I was asking myself, “Do I knew her?” because I could see something familiar in her eyes. So, I caulked it up as a nice evening of meeting new people and that was that. It was over a few weeks that J. reached out to me mostly over the phone as she was seeking some advice in some of her family hardships. It was early in these conversations that she confided who she was and that we knew each other from our early young adult years, and I was able to place those familiar eyes.
It was over a course of several weeks of phone conversations and a few visits that our rekindled friendship started to take root. I knew that I valued her as a new friend but was oblivious to the intentions of the Heavens. It wasn’t until several more weeks went by that I received a phone call from her where she stated that she needed to come over to talk. We set a time, and as she walked through my front door for our visit, I could feel her nervousness. It was as she nervously tried to find her words and I patiently waited that I heard for the first time the intention of the Heavens. She later confided in me that she was expecting to me to end the friendship that night. I patiently heard her through as she shared the messages that she had been receiving from her own inspirations of the Holy Spirit, inspirations that came in the way she knew and trusted of the Heavens. It was as she was done sharing her received guidance, that I decided that I had better make things very clear, that I identified as gay. In which she informed me that she was well aware and that she wanted to be clear that she was just relating the experiences that she was being given. With that said, we ended the evening with my telling her that I appreciated her sharing her truth, but it wasn’t my truth and that I would need to pray about it to get my own answers. As we ended the evening, I thanked her for her courage to share that which she had been given, and that we would talk soon.
Well, the Lord wasted no time with giving me a confirmation to my asking for an answer. It was the very next morning as I was in my car just starting to pull out of the driveway that I stopped and felt the energy of truth charging up with a jolt to my body as I flooded with emotion and heard, “She is speaking the truth.” As I accepted this answer, I also knew that I would need more…maybe even two or three! As I was asking for more evidence that this was the way the Heavens wanted me to move, I was trying to stay open as I was also being overwhelmed with fear. It was only a few days later that J. came over to the house and as she came in I could feel some agitation. After we greeted each other we ended up sitting on the floor in the hallway, leading to my living room, because we were both enamored by my cat who was wanting my attention. As I petted my cat she relayed her day and how she received more messages from the Heavens as more confirmation that this was right. I was feeling a little left out of the loop with my one confirmation. As we talked and shared at one point in the conversation as she was relaying her spiritual experience of earlier in the day I started to feel my body charge up with energy. The kind of intense energy when I can feel myself in the presence of Spirit. As I could not contain the energy any longer and my body started to jolt with its charge and release. With the intensity of the energy making my body react I became very aware that it wasn’t only the Spirit but Christ Himself that we were in His presence. It was then that I announced to J. , “He is here!” We were both in awe, as she witnessed through me the witness of our Lord and Savior who had personally come to make His witness to me known as I received my second witness of the new direction that my life would take.
It was with these two witnesses that I began to feel the winds of change. The winds that announce the coming storm, as one can witness the trees beginning to move and the sky begins to darken. And so it was with me, I could feel the storm about to hit, but little did I know the changes that soon lay ahead. It was upon another visit by J. that I received my third confirmation that would change my life course. Again, as we were talking and sharing I felt the need to be honest and real with how I was feeling. I mustered up some courage to share as softly as I could searching for the right words… “I love you, but I am not in love with you.” What was I supposed to do with the way I felt and what was she now supposed to do with my honesty. She was sitting on the chase in my living room and I on the floor near her. It was in the silence that followed that I began to feel the emotion of a life of struggle and hardship. My life had finally began to feel at a manageable place. I had an incredible relationship with the Heavens and I was in more ease than I had ever experienced my life. And it was in those feelings that I said, “My life has had so much struggle, I don’t want to create more.” As I laid back on the floor and could feel the tears roll down over the temples of my face and collect in my ears. It seemed like by instinct that I began to breathe. Breathing deep breathes into the pain of the past and the pain of the moment and wanting to be free from both. As I continued to breathe my instinctual breath, I could once more feel my body charge up with energy and I was silent but again felt the presence of Christ. And it was in His presence that my body started to jolt, with an intensity that ran the length of my body. My body was vibrating with change. J. described it later, saying that my face glowed as His countenance was upon me. It was during this time that I could feel a joy fill my body and a love fill my soul as I exclaimed with my audible voice to J., “I love you!” A joy and elation was exuding from me as I received my third witness. A witness that I could not doubt. A witness that changed my life once more as I followed my Lord into unchartered territory.
J. and I quickly moved forward with our witnesses and new love, and we eloped to the LDS Temple to be sealed for all eternity. It was a joyous occasion of only my living father, her living mother, my new friend and her husband (that re-introduced us) )n physical attendance.. I could feel many, many others there of the Heavenly realm, which was confirmed by one of the temple attendants that sat in the room as she said, “The room was full!”
And so, I come out from the shelter and survey the changes that Heavenly storm after storm bring to us. And in all of the changes is the clear witness that the elements still know His name.