Monday, August 4, 2008

Inadequate Response

Today I want to respond to the anonymous first comment on yesterday's post. For those who don't read the comments, I have quoted it below:

"Stephanie usually when I read your blog I feel as others do - spiritually uplifted and motivated to become better. You are a great example to all of us and I'm sure so many of us have learned to love you even though we do not know you.
 
"Today though I am feeling a little inadequate and I wonder how I can ever achieve the spirituality you have achieved. I have a testimony the same as you do, but as I compare my life to yours I see all the things I'm not doing, and I wonder if I can ever catch up. You have experienced a terrible loss, and yet you seem to be such a pillar of strength and fortitude. How can I learn to be as diligent in my spiritual development, so when I feel I am losing "it" I can find the peace you have found?"

This comment raised an issue that has been a growing concern for me personally with this blog. It also touched a sensitive nerve for me that I want to address.

First let me address my concern. I think I need to throw a bit of reality into this honest, yet edited blog. As my husband noted in his comment, I am far from perfect. I just don't blog about my faults. That doesn't lift me up and right now I need to write things that uplift me. 

I choose to work on my weaknesses privately. I do not beat myself up for them. I am humbled by them. I am grateful for the humility they give me. I work on them. But honestly, I am sure that there are many I just will not overcome in this life. 

I keep working and trying to improve but I trust that Christ will make up for my deficiencies if I give my heart and will to Him. I repent everyday and pray for help to do better and I trust in the power of the Atonement. It is the only hope any of us have of achieving the perfection necessary to be in the presence of our Father.

As for being a pillar of strength and fortitude--Yes, sometimes I feel as strong as a rock. It is strength beyond my own. When I feel like this I go out in public. I call friends. I write strong feeling posts. 

But there are other times when I feel more like a puddle of tears than a pillar of strength. Last Friday was a day like that. Just before writing my post that day I had spent nearly an hour in my bed huddled in the fetal position in gut wretching sobs feeling completely incapable of dealing with life and wishing I could crawl under a rock and disappear. It wasn't pretty. 

My husband laid by my side trying to cheer me up and comfort me. He worried about what happened to make me so sad. What had triggered this? There is no trigger. Sometimes the dam just overflows when a single drop of worry or stress is added to the lake of my life.

I am not always strong. But I always manage to remember where to turn for strength. And even in my weakest, lowest moments I know I have at least 3 very beautiful wonderful reasons for pulling myself up out of that bed and going through the motions of living until my heart feels alive again.

Okay now for the sensitive nerve: Inadequacy. 

Warning: Soap box magically appears. 

I know how many women there are out there who feel unnecessarily inadequate. It is time we all realize that this is a tool of the adversary to depress our spirits and dim the light of our true Divine Nature.

When we approach the judgement bar of God, He is not going to judge us as compared to our sister or brother. 

Remember the parable of the talents? We are all given different kinds and numbers of talents. It is totally unimportant how many or which talents we are given. What is important is how we use and improve upon those talents. 

As one of the commenters responded -- It is not as important where you are in your spiritual progression as which way you are headed. Life is about becoming like the Savior. We must only look at our life and ask ourselves, "Am I living my life to become more like Christ?" If the answer is "no," we must repent and work to turn around and head in a more direct route to becoming like Christ. If the answer is "yes, but i feel I will never get there," then we pray for hope through the atonement.  

There is an epidemic lack of self esteem in so many women, young and old, in our day. Woman was the Father's ultimate, most complex, and beautiful creation. We ought to better appreciate the work on His hands. Can you even imagine the power for good the women of the world could be if they all had a perfect understanding of their true Divine Nature?

I know the Lord loves us even more than I love my own children. He knows us far more intimately. He wants us to feel that love and know how precious we are to Him. He wants us to do our very best to live the commandments and become more like Him. 

If we are not living the way we should, we need to let those feelings of guilt work in us to motivate change and a new resolve to be new creatures. If we are trying our best, we need to accept that our weaknesses give us essential humility and know that our offering of a broken heart and contrite spirit is acceptable before the Lord. Jesus Christ's atonement will make up for us what we lack.

The Lord is the only true source of self esteem. When we know the Lord accepts us and is happy with our offering, the world's, our peer's and our own assessments of ourselves are unimportant.

I pray that we all can seek to align our lives with the Lord enough to feel his acceptance of our offering.  In that acceptance comes the peace that prevails through the horrors life can throw at us.

42 comments:

noorda notebook said...

so true! loved that.

thanks again :)

Anonymous said...

Stephanie-

Thank you again for this beautifully written and eloquent post. You have given me strength today. I often despair, and feel I am not good enough, or get down on myself for my inadequacy's. I KNOW it is a tool from the adversary, and yet is still something I need to work on. If I could only remember my divine nature! Thank you again, for reminding me to trust in the atonement, and in Him.

Rebecca and Bradley said...

Thank you for today's message! I agree that women often forget their divine nature and self-worth. Satan uses discouragement as a tool to bring women down, because he knows how much our Heavenly Father depends on women to bring about His eternal plan.

Our Heavenly Father loves His daughters. He knows us personally and wants us to be happy. We each have the opportunity and potential to enrich the lives of those we interact with each and every day. We must try our best to remember our divine roles, even when we have hard days, so that we can continue to help our Heavenly Father’s children. It’s what we do best. We must not forget.

Jas & Cam Fam said...

Stephanie,
I am a good friend of Marleen's. I recently moved to Utah from Las Vegas. I have continued to follow your blog after reading Marleen's post titled "pray for Camille". Like so many others, I have been so moved by your strength and "poetry" you have written since loosing Camille.
I shared your blog with my sister who too became addicted to your uplifting words of wisdom. We cried together reading your posts and almost felt like we knew you, and Camille.
Last week my sister and her family found out their little girl, Madalyn who is 18 months has a very rare and aggressive cancer. This has been very hard for all of us to deal with. I know that you don't even know me, or my sister but as I have tried to find a way to comfort my sister as she is down at Primary Childrens, you are the one thing that keeps popping in to my head. I know she admired your strength and all that you have been through. If you have any words of comfort that I might pass on to my sister I know you are one person that she knows has gone through worse. If you can...thanks. Camille Wilcock

Small and Simple said...

I have been directed to your blog by two different people...one of who was Brittany. I have been reading it for a week or so now, but wasn't ready to comment. I lost my eight week old baby girl June 11th. Brittany knows someone I know...you know how small the blogging world is. It is hard for me to read your blog sometimes. I just cry because I am so sad that anyone else has to go through this. It is good to see you finding strength and it seems like writing about it is helping too, and not just you. I love you as a sister not only in the gospel, but also as one who knows such heartache. You and Brittany are in my prayers every night, and even though I don't communicate with Brittany very much either, I feel the same for her. To be on the same path, at the same time is so difficult and so comforting at the same time. You seem to have a great influence here on your blog. I am so happy to see you using it for such good. Thank you.

The Rogers said...

sorry, i was logged in under "small and simple" when I commented. that is not my blog.

my love and prayers.
stacie

Carolyn said...

A light went on in my head just the other evening when I was contemplating the whole purpose of life, the plan, my plan. I started thinking about how I'm really good at beating myself up, degrading almost, inadequacy. Depression.

Then, I thought about how the adversary is very smart to be attacking the family at this time. I thought about my roll as the mother of my family.. the roll of all women in families. Why do all women have such a hard time with themselves? Then I realized that if Satan is attacking families, one of the pillars in a family is the mother. He is the one putting all those doubts, fears, depressed feelings into my life. He is attacking me which in turn effects my family.

Like you said, "It is time we all realize that this is a tool of the adversary to depress our spirits and dim the light of our true Divine Nature." This realization helped me put on a new set of armor against that attack.

I love you Stephanie and I'm so thankful that I have you -a strong pillar- in my family!

MaryClaire said...

i needed that post more today than you will ever know. i spent about half our lying in bed with the covers over my head today in tears because i just didn't want to deal with all of the things i wasn't doing well enough as a mother. guilt and inadequacy had completely taken over, and it seemed to be more than i could tackle. usually, i see my weaknesses and quickly rise to the occasion of working on them to make them better, but yesterday and today, i didn't have the strength or desire to do that.

so, thank you. thank you for being inspired to write what i needed to read at this moment.

www.adorn-jewelry.blogspot.com said...

You are so good at putting these things into words and also into perspective. thank you! i love you. if you can just remind everytime you talk to me of how wonderful i am, i am sure i could remember my divine nature more:)
em

A's Mommy said...

You do not know me, but I have stumbled onto your blog and have been deeply touched. You're strength and testimony have uplifted my spirit and I thank you for that. Your words are poetic and I have been deeply touched by them. I am so sorry for your loss and will add you and your family to my prayers. May God bless you and thank you for touching my soul!

Anonymous said...

Stephanie-
Thank you so much for this. I sat here in tears as I read this because this was the answer to my prayers. I have been struggling with this in the last few weeks, and this just lifted me in a way that I can't thank you enough! Thank you!

Hull Family said...

I too have to add my name to the list of faithful "Daily Scoop" blog readers. You are such an inspiration to me. I came across your blog a few weeks ago and there has not been a day that has gone by that I have not reflected on your situation and been strengthened by your faith and understanding of the Atonement. Thank you for sharing your beautiful testimony with others. After I read your posts, I often feel like I do when I leave an amazing Relief Society lesson or hear a conference talk that I really felt connected to. You are touching so many lives with your blog and are truly helping others to change and draw closer to the Savior through your beautiful thoughts and words. Today was the day that I just needed to finally post a comment and say "thank you".

Anderson and Associates: said...

I have wanted to leave you a comment for a while, but I never wanted to take away from the spirituality of your amazing blogs. But I just wanted to let you know that what I get most out of your blogs and the comments left, is an overwhelming felling of what I like to call "GIRL POWER". I think that women are amazing and we do need to realize that we are very strong. You blog brings women together in a positive way, where we can support and uplift each other. We are stronger than we are given credit for. My family has 5 girls and my Dad always made sure that we knew we could do anything and we had what he called "GIRL POWER". Still to this day, the last words out of my mouth before I hang up a phone call with my dad is "GIRL POWER!" Thank you for empowering women. Your girls are lucky to have a mother that rocks "GIRL POWER".
~Nicole

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, I am the first anonymous post from yesterday that you responded to in your post for today. I did not expect you to reply, but I am grateful you did. I am also grateful to the comments of others who have made me realize I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy's. I don't feel this way every day, some days I am acutely aware of my divine heritage and feel comforted by knowledge of the atonement. Last week I bought a book at Deseret Book just because of it's title. It is called, Odds Are, You're going To Be Exalted" by Alonzo L. Gaskill. I was so intrigued by the title I wanted to know more. I love this book. The cover states, "Evidence That The Plan Of Salvation Works". I found great comfort in the words of the author when he stated, "The thought that God would promote something that would ensure that the vast majority of His children would never again be able to dwell in His presence is incomprehensible."
Sometimes life seems so big, so hard and we feel alone and scared.
Luckily we have to gospel and blogs that help encourage us along. I keep thinking someday when I'm standing on the other side of the veil I'm going to look back at my life and someone will hand me the magic button that says, "that was easy".

Stephanie said...

Dear Stephanie,
I also have and still do struggle with feelings of inadequacy.
Having a strong testimony and still crying and being heartbroken often made me feel conflicted.
Your ability to express in words the reality of life. You are being comforted and you have endured a heartwrenching loss is a daily testimony and comfort to us all.
God bless you for being so willing to share your heart with the world.

Chelsa said...

Stephanie- I've been a silent reader of yours for awhile now :) Never really felt the urge to comment, BUT this post made me want to! It was beautifully written and so very true. It made my heart smile.

Heidi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Farnsworth Family said...

Great way of expressing the power of the adversary. We can be our own worst enemy by being so critical of ourselves and comparing our lives to others. We each have our own trials to live through and the way we handle these trials can bless us, if we allow it. We also have to recognize we will have a bad day here and there, but if we keep ourselves focused on doing what is right, our treasure in heaven will be worth it in the end!

Kevin and Jamie said...

I think that all of us at one time or another struggle with inadequacy. Fortunatly you are there with your blog post's to remind us where to turn in life's trying moments. Even though what I am going through right now cannot compare to the pain you might feel right now, you have helped to lift me and inspire me in ways that I can not begin to describe. Thank you for bearing your heart and soul to us strangers out here. I see and feel the difference in my life as I change around my priorities and put my spirtual develpment first in my life. You with your posts have prompted me to do so. Thank you! I pray for you often and I love you, even though you have no idea who I am.

a.k.a. Jack said...

To anonymous-
I think is it so common for women to feel the way you do. I think we all feel that way at times (sometimes more than we should). Here are my thoughts. I think that the closer we come to being like Christ, the more apparent it is to us how far we truly are from Him. Just look at the prophets from the scriptures. Here are people we look at as nearly perfect, but they mourn in their inadequacies. Take, for example, 2 Nephi 4:17-18, where Nephi exclaims, "O wretched man that I am! Yeah, my heart sorroweth because of my flesh; my soul grieveth because of mine iniquities. I am encompassed about, because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me." There are many other examples like this from other prophets throughout the scriptures. I think this is the case for two reasons. 1. As we draw closer to Christ, we come to understand Him more--to know Him more, which causes us to see how far we still are from being like Him.
and 2. I think, like you said, this is a tool of the adversary. He wants us to fail, so the closer we come to Christ, the harder he tries to discourage us. Anyway, Steph has already said it, as have a few other commenters, but it doesn't matter where we are in the progression, just that we try to progress. That's why we have the atonement. That is why the atonement is such a marvelous gift. One final comment. Stephanie and I grew up in the same ward. This ward was a great ward for many reasons, but one particular reason really stands out to me. That is this: the members of the ward were open and honest with each other about their faults. No one felt like they were the only one who was not perfect because everyone knew each other's faults (and strengths for that matter). Because of this, people did not judge one another. It was a unifying aspect of this particular ward's social structure. Sometimes, I have noticed as I have been in many wards, sometimes people are trying so hard to be perfect that they hide their imperfections. The problem is that, then the social structure is built upon a facade that everyone is comparing themselves to. how can we help each other and grow together if we think we are the only one that makes mistakes. If the prophets of the scriptures are making mistakes, despite their divine callings, then we know that the rest of us have flaws as well. It is a natural consequence of the flesh. So, don't despair. We know how you feel and are struggling right along beside you.
-Jenny

Bonnie said...

I stumbled across your blog and I am grateful for your words. Thanks.

Meliss said...

Stephanie~
Thanks for your current post. I've only commented one other time, but felt like I need to comment this time. I look at your blog almost daily and have felt strength. Thanks for your current post. I have recently been feeling a little inadequate about things and as I read your post I figured out that Satan was trying to get me down and I needed to get myself up again.
I agree with you and others that trusting in the Atonement helps us become closer to Christ and helps our knowledge increase. No one is perfect and Heavenly Father doesn't expect us to be perfect. Our Savior is the greatest teacher and example for us to follow.
Thanks for your inspiration and strength to many people. Hope that others you read these comments will also be able to align themselves and become closer to Heavenly Father and the Savior. I realize it is hard sometimes because I've felt that way at times, but if we just continue to live the way we are living we will be okay. I am remembered of a time a friend told me that if we are doing our part and feel like we can't go anymore Heavenly Father will pick up the rest and help us along the way, all we have to do is ask.

Melanie said...

I, like many others, have been a silent reader for quite a while. I feel compelled to add my thoughts as this topic is so encompassing to me.

Stephanie, I've refrained from commenting until now because, from the deepest part of my heart I just couldn't put into words what I feel for you and your family right now. What a tremendous experience you are going through.

I'm commenting now because I feel that this feeling of inadequacy that we all feel is more than just feeling not good enough. I feel it's a snapshot of what's going on in our lives in it's entirety. If I don't feel adequate one day it's not just about one thing, it's about everything.

I love that you touched on how imperfect you (as we all) are. I think it's incredible that even in our flawed and seemingly hopeless state of imperfection, we have been given the opportunity to go towards a greater end. To go on our quest towards exhaltation. What an extraordinary gift that we have been given: to progress towards a much higher goal even though we are not perfect. This quest is not reserved for the 'ultrarighteous' (I hate that term). We all have this chance.

It is so easy to get down on ourselves. So easy to see our peers and wish to be more like them. I say embrace your flaws and work on them personally. It is only when we, as women especially, embrace each other for our differences that we can come together and learn from each other.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, what a beautifully expressed post. I have not psoted before but I cannot imagine you are anything other than a perfectly human mother - no more and no less. Your openness is what is truly a blessing to all who find this blog. Your husband and daughters (all of them) are so lucky to have you.

I thought of you just now as I saw an ad on TV for Good Morning America tomorrow, Wed. They will be airing an interview with a singer, Steven Curtis Chapman, whose young daughter died in a terrible accident earlier this year. I was touched by even the brief ad and heard so many of the same things you have been saying. I went to the website and I *think* this link will show you the same ad I saw:

http://abcnews.go.com/video/
playerIndex?id=5518680

Skip it if it is too close to home for you, but maybe it would shore you up, too. I think of you and your family so often and offer up so many small prayers in those moments - I hope you can feel them.

AHEM said...

Hi Stephanie, I have spent some time reading your precious blog today and have both smiled and cried. You have a gift for words. Thank you for writing and allowing those who do or do not know you into your life. I have been inspired by you today to write more fervently in my journal, take more time to kiss my little ones, and appreciate the smallest of things.

Marleen said...

Amen. So, easily the Advesary can affect the woman I am. We are.

Let me know if you want to contact Camille directly.

Heather Marie said...

A while ago I read this story about the feelings that all women/mothers feel. That "invisible" feeling. The "I'm not all I should be" feeling. I read if often and thought to share it with you.

http://busyjordans.blogspot.com/2008/05/great-story.html

May we all recognize the great masterpieces that we are adding to!

Judy said...

Stephanie,
You certainly should not have to explain your blog to anyone. I love reading about your life and how you are getting better every single day. I can't understand why someone would come to YOUR blog and put all of their problems on you, how they are feeling inadequate etc. You have enough going on in your life. You did not go on to someone else’s blog that you did not know and put your problems on them. This is very insensitive and I am appalled. I did not see where you said you were perfect in any way. You have only told your story and we have been lucky enough to be able to read and share it with you. My advice is instead of coming to someone else’s blog and pouring out there sorrow MAYBE they should start there own blog and pour their heart into that instead of making your comment section and your blog about them. You are much more patient that I b/c I understand compassion but everyday certain people are just taking over your blog and you feel the need to write about their comments instead of about you and how you are feeling. You are not a blog mind healer, you are a mother that is healing herself by writing about it. Sorry for the rant but I just could not believe what I was reading. Maybe you can change the name of your blog to “Free mind help for the needy”.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie,

Your blog has been an inspiration to me over these past few weeks, since it was brought to my attention. (We know Aaron and Carolyn from medical school.) As my husband and I have pondered the grief you and Jonathan must be experiencing, we have both found renewed appreciation for our own daughters, one of whom is just older than your precious Camille.

It's so easy to take our loved ones for granted, especially when our children try our patience to the hilt! But reading your posts this summer has honestly rekindled my desire to live IN the moment, treasuring each precious child for who she is right now.

Thank you, and keep pressing forward! You are awesome.

--Carrie Linscott in Missouri

s g said...

Stephanie...I absolutely LOVE what you say here in this post, we all need to remember who wants us to feel inadequate and depressed, certainly not Heavenly Father.

I am so glad you mainly blog positive, strong, faith-filled messages...you, more than most at this time, know of the suffering and pain this world can bring, and I love how refreshing your thoughts on life are and they help me to stay focused and give me a lift. Thank you!
Sara G.

Heidi said...

Thank you, Stephanie!

Felton Family Update... said...

Dear Stephanie,
I am also enduring the pain and patience of a childs passing. My daughter passed on almost 7 years ago. Thank you for your faithful, eloquently written words that remind and inspire me to live a worthy life.
Till we meet...

Sarah S. said...

Dear Stephanie,
I am glad that Judy said something in your comments. I was thinking along the same lines, but wasn't going to speak up.

In one of your earlier posts, you wrote about how people would start to cry around you because seeing you reminds them of Camille's death. You are so understanding and caring. I think that people need to be strong around you and strong for you- you don't need to be their shoulder to cry on right now. I feel like that is what some commenters have done. I know it is only because your blogs are so well written and we all feel like this is a place to share. I think we all need to remember that this is your blog and it is best used as a tool to help you grieve, not as a place for us to seek advice and support from you- our comments should be giving that to you!

You write that your blog is here to "entertain, inform, and inspire." Your blog does that for me. I would hate to see you get bogged down with other people's worries. Right now your focus should be on healing yourself, and your family. Thank you for keeping your blog up- I look forward to reading it everyday.

Just me! said...

Beautifully said!! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

"Let me know if you want to contact Camille directly." What?

Team Chilton said...

Thank you so much. I could write a ton, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing that. I truly feel the spirit when I read your blog.

Oby and Tara Bennett said...

There is much to be learned from D&C 121:45 Let thy abowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy cconfidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.

Indeed, charity and virtue, combined with the atonement, are adequate for our inadequacies.

Oby and Tara Bennett said...

Another thought, one of my favorite quotes:

Only the mediocre are always at their best.
-Jean Giraudoux

DEANNA said...

Stephanie, once again, you simply amaze me at how hard you work at remaining strong yet knowing that you also need to nurture the softness that makes you who you are.

I have never suffered a loss as great as you but have gone through some very very difficult waters. I wanted to invite you to read a story I have on my blog if you have time. It is something that has changed my life, yet totally different from your, and made me who I am today. I am not of the same faith as you, but numerous families around me are. I gain a lot of strength in daily life just from seeing them and reverting back to my own religious beliefs.

Thank you for sharing your daily feelings..good, badm indifferent or sad.

If you ever feel up to it, please email me at motorchic@cox.net. I will invite you to read our blog. I think you would find my February T27 blog something you might relate with.

I will continue to read and pray for you, your husband and your beautiful family!

Megan said...

This post hit me!! Thanks, it is so good to hear that even though you are a strong person, you do allow yourself to fall apart when necessary! I feel for you and your family and truly have been touched reading your story (blog)! You are amazing and I can only imagine the great blessings that will be waiting for you in the next life! Thanks for sharing so openly!

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous -- different camille

galbraiths said...

thank you. you have a beautiful way with expressing the feelings in your heart. which are often the feelings in most mothers's hearts. thank you for saying what I don't know how to and helping me understand better. we are daughters of God, we just need to remember that.