Same-sex marriage: Disagreement and love

The world is buzzing with political news about marriage, gender, love, and family. In my life, I have never seen the world so divided against each other and at the same time unwilling to see the others point of view. It’s heart-wrenching to see former friends unfollow the other, to see family members heated with frustration towards each other, and to see so much disunity.

Throughout it all, and on both sides, there’s talk of tolerance. There’s talk that love should win. There’s talk that LGBT lifestyles should not be supported. There’s talk that keeping two people apart because of religion is unchristian. Misunderstanding and anger abound.

My heart hurts. It hurts not only because of what I hear people saying to those around them, but hurt because I also feel misunderstood. I’m sure people on both sides feel this way. I believe all individuals want to agree and feel agreed with. As a result, this whole debate has left people feeling unaccepted by others, if they believe in same-sex marriage, or not.

In the end, the issue has hurt us all, in one way or another.

But, I think one thing needs to made clear. Love and tolerance are two separate things and can co-exist without disintegrating the other. Let me illustrate:

No, I do not support same-sex marriage. Yes, I know people who are LGBT. Yes, I love them. Yes, I want them to have a happy life. Yes, my religion plays a huge role in why I do not support it. Yes, I have read the bible and believe in a loving God. But, no, I’m not trying to keep people apart or make other people suffer.

Most importantly, I believe that I can love individuals and still think differently.

disagree and love 2I believe that love and disagreement can exist together. I don’t believe that to love someone fully means you agree with all they agree with–meaning high love equals high tolerance.  Nor do I believe that not agreeing with someone’s view point indicates a lack of love–meaning low love is equal to low tolerance. I believe you can love someone fully, accepting them for who they are, but still not agree with or condone their acts.

I can love and disagree, while still being respectful. So can you.

Dr. Alwi Shihab, the Presidential Advisor and Special Envoy to the Middle East taught out of the Quran when he said: “We must respect this God-given dignity in every human being, even in our enemies. For the goal of all human relations–whether they are religious, social, political, or economic–ought to be cooperation and mutual respect.” (Building Bridges to Harmony Through Understanding, Shihab)

I love that. Despite differences, we should probably stop ourselves before we speak or comment out of anger. Even if we don’t understand or value another person’s viewpoint, we can still seek to value them.

For example, I have family that embraces the LGBT lifestyle. I do not agree with their lifestyle, but I love them. We “like” and comment on each others pictures, we congratulate each other on important life events. We get together for family reunions and talk about things we both find interesting and play games we enjoy. I genuinely am grateful for them in my life. We choose to accentuate the things we agree on. We both know we don’t agree on religious or political issues, but we choose to love, see the good, and relate with each other about the things we do agree on.

We love while disagreeing.

Dallin H. Oaks, former Utah Supreme Court Justice, quoted Gordon B. Hinckley when he said: “We must work harder to build mutual respect, an attitude of forbearance, with tolerance one for another regardless of the doctrines and philosophies which we may espouse.” (Truth and Tolerance, Oaks)

This is all to say, I wish there was more love. Love that cares for people, while they believe differently than them. Love that holds onto their convictions, but still reaches out and finds similarities.

Love your friends if they disagree; love them if they agree. Love them if they accept your beliefs; love them if they don’t accept your beliefs.

You don’t have to lose your beliefs to love. You can love no matter what.

Mothers-Don’t give up

Mother.

I think I often take for granted how strong I am as a mother and how deep my influence is. I think about how I change diapers, wash in between his toes, scrub his hair, and spread the peanut butter on his sandwiches, and wonder if what I say is even sinking in.

“Am I even making a difference? Will he remember what I’m trying to teach?”

For the first few months as a mother, I almost felt like my efforts were in vain. I talked, giggled, laughed, read to, and sang to my son that was almost completely unresponsive. I held on conversations with him, even though he didn’t answer back; I told him my deepest dreams while we played; I told him of my deepest convictions–yet nothing. I almost felt silly at times. On the surface, it seemed there was no hint of understanding.

Mothers-Don't give up

Then, he began to talk. He began to respond. Now he even talks back and we can carry on a conversation. But, now I almost wonder if he hears me when I tell him how much I believe in God, how I know He hears my prayers, how I feel peace when I read His word. He runs from toy to toy and it feels like the words of my heart go in one ear and out the other–and that’s if I get lucky and they even get in the first ear at all.

But, despite all this, I have the firmest belief that in some small way he understands. He may not hear my words or listen to a complete sentence I say–but he sees me day in and day out. He sees that I care about people, he knows that I invite him to pray with me when I’m about to lose it and need extra strength, he knows that every night-without fail-we read God’s word.

We live our beliefs.

I have to think that someday he’ll look back and it will sink in–it will sink in deep.

I hope with all my heart it does.

I know that as a mother, my daily actions have more power than I realize, even if it seems like he’s not listening, we’re both crying, and there is peanut butter in everyone’s hair. I know that the simple things I do, that I feel go unnoticed–are not.

The things you do don’t go unnoticed either.

When the real history of mankind is fully disclosed, will it feature the echoes of gunfire or the shaping sound of lullabies? The great armistices made by military men or the peacemaking of women in homes and in neighborhoods? Will what happened in cradles and kitchens prove to be more controlling than what happened in congresses? – Neal A. Maxwell

Mom’s lets remember the influence we have. Let’s remember that the words we speak, the songs we sing, and hugs we give don’t go unnoticed–even if our babies are speechless and our kids run around like crazies. Because what a sad thing it would be if we gave up–if we looked around amid the chaos and threw in the towel.

Momma–don’t give up. Keep talking to your babe who can’t talk back and keep teaching that child who doesn’t have a moment to listen. Because soon, they’ll know and we’ll be glad we taught with our hearts and didn’t give up.

Each day I choose: flaws or fabulous?

Over the years, I think I believed a marriage was made better due to both individuals changing and becoming better over time–a slow refiners fire. Although I still believe this would make for a better marriage over time, I’m beginning to realize that the biggest change for my marriage will take place within… me.

Of course there are exceptions. Some marriages are genuinely harmful in nature and degrading to a spouse. But overall, many spouses in a marriage have a daily choice, I know I do in mine. My marriage could be joyous, fulfilling, satisfying, and meaningful, because of who I am and my attitude. Or, my marriage could be full of frustration, annoyance, disappointment, and contention, because of who I am and what I choose to see.

The choice is mine to make. Every single day.

Each day I chooseEach day I choose the quality and happiness I will find in my marriage. I can choose to see the flaws of my spouse and hone in on them. I can choose to not get past them and begin to think of ways that he needs to improve or the characteristics he needs to alter. I could even make a plan for his change and try to make the change occur through “subtle” hints, encouragement, or reminding. But, most likely, I would be the one making the marriage worse.

In H. Wallace Goddard’s book, Drawing Heaven into Your Marriage, he says:

Satan knows that healing human souls is something we humans always do poorly. That is why the devil wants us to be mate-fixing do-it-yourselfers.

This is a keen irony in our dilemma. We cannot fix our partners. We cannot even fix ourselves! But we can make ourselves humble. We can recognize our dependence on God for all that we have and are.

So when we presume to set our partners and our marriage right, we are intruding on the Heavenly prerogative. We are seizing the reins from God. It doesn’t work. We mortals make poor gods.”

I was not made to fix my spouse and tell him how he needs to change and the steps he needs to take. I’m not even the one who needs to tell him what to work on. That is simply not my job, and whenever I assume it, I’ll inevitably do it wrong. Why? I cannot even change myself very effectively without the help of God and His endless and all encompassing atonement.

So, what is my job in the marriage? To simply find joy in what I love about my partner. Celebrate his triumphs, celebrate his good, celebrate what I fell in love with in the beginning and leave the rest to him and God. My job is simply to love, accentuate the positive, and have charity for his weakness, as I hope he’ll have charity for mine.

In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to love my spouse. In the end, my marriage is only as good as my ability to see the good. And in the end, the only lasting change I can make takes place in me.

I am the master of my fate*If you would like to read more thoughts on marriage, feel free to jump on over to my blog about marriage and relationships: Working for my Marriage. It is still in the early stages of being created & designed, but the content is all there! 🙂

To my unborn child: My heart still yearns for you

{This post was written before I found out I was pregnant. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was feeling the loss of previous negative tests along with wondering about what the future would hold. I sat down on my in-laws porch and wrote this out on my phone…}

My heart today is at peace, but still yearning–sincerely, sincerely yearning that I will be pregnant with our next little one. I pray for that child and anxiously await the day I will know it is coming–on its way.

In my heart, I know the day will come. In my heart, I know that things will happen according to the will of God and His perfect timing. But even though I feel that peace, my heart still loves my unborn child; my heart still yearns.

You see, I’m starting to feel that a mother’s love knows no bounds. My love transcends earth and life. It leaps to an unborn child still safely in the arms of God in Heaven.

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My love feels a special kindred love towards our child. I feel as though the child is close by and knows me as his or her mother. And I yearn. I yearn for the day that we can meet face to face, skin to skin, and welcome it into our family.

Even though I’m at peace knowing that God understands and that he is guiding my process of conception, I still feel a deep, deep yearning that cannot be simply put in the back of my head, or forgotten.

I love my unborn child and I yearn for the day I will learn it is on its way into our loving arms.

I would love to connect with you! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get more daily updates. 🙂 Thank you for being apart of my life!

He asked to hold my hand

This little boy has got my heart. He tugs not only on my hand as he takes me from room to room around the house to play, but he tugs at my heart strings, too. He’s tender, he’s kind, and he tells me he is brave. “Brave” he will say with conviction.

But even though he is trying to be brave, he is still a boy who needs his mama, and I’m glad. Because this mama still wants her little boy. After all, nowadays there is less rocking, the closeness of nursing is a distant memory, and cuddles are becoming fewer and farther between as he grows more independent day by day. But even though he’s growing, I long for those moments of just being close–the two of us.

The other day after he was hard at play for a while, we climbed in the car to drive home and there he was in the back. He suddenly said aloud, “Hold hand.” I looked back and there he was reaching for my hand. “Hold hand” he said again. He situated his hand just right and then he looked out the window-Just content- “cloud!” and “mountain!” he exclaimed.

holdinghands

It was this moment that I was so grateful for. For a couple moments my boy was back in my reach. Just him and I, and the clouds and mountains within our grasp.

“A mother holds her children’s hands for a while, their hearts forever.”- Unknown

He may not reach back and hold my hand for much longer, in fact, in a matter of a few short years, I don’t think he’d be caught dead doing that. But forever, we’ll be close. He’ll be my little, rascal boy, and I’ll be his mom–forever.