On Grace and Giving

I call it my great mormon meltdown (circa October 2016). I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll probably mention it again as I continue to evaluate and to find myself again.

Yes, it was General Conference that triggered this melt down and ripped the stuffing out of true-blue Mormon heart. Nothing specific happened; it was just timing. I’d heard these same talks from church patriarchy before, but this time my heart was tender, so they felt more harsh, more patronizing, more false.

What does a faithful Mormon girl do with smashed up paradigms and broken institution expectations?

Suffer.

Pray.

Wonder.

Grieve.

I pitched my tent on the side of faith’s mountain – and stopped moving forward in Mormonism. I just sat still – to sift and sort my thoughts and emotions.

I’m not done sorting and sifting, but there are a few things that helped my grief.

Today, I share 2 of them in hopes that these ideas may help your faith journey as well.

Grace

I am broken. Not I-give-up-Broken, but I-am-not-whole-Broken. The very nature of this mortal life breaks me – giving a fractured feeling rather than a whole feeling. My own failings break me further. My disappointments, betrayals and unmet expectations break me further still. My understanding of spiritual things is broken. I cannot comprehend all things.

My fellow Saints are broken. Mortality is a place of breaking for us all. Hurt, disappointment, and loss.

Our church is broken. It is broken by its establishment in a fallen world by mortal men and women. It is broken further by its own hurtful policies, misguided leaders, false doctrine, mean-spirited members, patriarchal structure.

For all our brokenness – we need the broken body of Christ. The sacrament bread is broken and we take it into our broken bodies. And we pray that the grace of Christ will one day make us whole.

In smaller, tender, healing ways, we can give grace to each other. I am choosing to offer grace to my church for the un-intentional (or intentional) hurt it causes. I am choosing to offer grace to my church when it does not open a space for my life or my viewpoint.   And I hope that as I give grace, I will receive Christ’s healing grace in return.

We all need the grace of the Atonement – me, my fellow saints, and my church.

Giving

In the temple I covenant to give all that I have and all that I am (time, talents, recourses) to building up the Kingdom of God on earth and for the establishment of Zion.

When I frame this covenant as doing everything the church asks me to do, I feel resentful. I know the church will suck up all my time, talents, energy, and resources without giving back. I don’t want to feel depleted. And I don’t want to give of myself only to feel resentment.

Moroni 7:6 tells me that an evil gift profiteth me nothing.

I am learning to reframe this covenant. I am doing this by redefining what the Kingdom of God is for me. The church (institution) is no longer synonymous with Zion. When I give my time, talents, and resources to God, I give them to God alone. This may be to church members or to my community or to my family. The church institution may get some resources too, but not just for the asking. I give gifts that I can give freely. And I feel better doing it.

I give because I love God. And that’s all.

 

Using these new lens of grace and giving are helping me to move forward within my Mormon faith.

 

 

 

Suzette

Suzette lives in the Washington DC area and works as a Professional Organizer. She enjoys blogging and serving on the Exponent II Board. Her Mormon roots run deep and she loves her big Mormon family which includes 20 nieces and nephews, 6 sisters, 5 brother in laws, 2 parents – and dozens of cousins. Her favorite things about church are the great Alexandria wards, temple worship, and all things Visiting Teaching.

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4 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    This is beautiful, Suzette. I love your focus on the ubiquity of brokenness and the fact that grace is there for all of us.

  2. Amy says:

    I love this, Suzette. The image of taking broken bread into broken bodies was especially meaningful. Love on your journey as it brings greater insight and wisdom.

  3. EFH says:

    This was beautiful. I loved it before I even read your name.

  4. Kristine Anderson says:

    love love love love love
    this is perfect, thank you Suzette

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