08 September 2013

Sunday School

It has been easy for me to become disillusioned with the church  programs I was raised with as I cope with the damaging effects of pornography and addiction. 
“There was never a lesson in Sunday school about boundaries.” I’ve been known to spitefully accuse. 
A few weeks ago as I brushed my little girl’s hair for church I had a strong impression. I realized that at church she is learning all the important things she will need in order to face the challenges ahead of her. 
It’s possible that women all over the world have wondered why Sunday school lessons weren’t “relevant” to their crisis. For example, there wasn’t a lesson about how to cope with losing everything in a natural disaster, or how to process through the feelings of an untimely death of a family member.  I’m sure there is a broken heart who wondered why she never had a lesson in young women about the anguish of a double mastectomy. 

The gospel is universal.  It is designed to offer peace and joy to the souls of all who suffer.  And while I still plan to teach my daughter about boundaries and self-care, I realized that at church she is learning exactly what she needs to know.

There is a loving God in Heaven who knows her.

Blessings come from living in obedience to God’s commandments.

The safest answers will be found in her heart, planted there by God through the Holy Ghost.

Jesus Christ suffered an atonement that qualifies him to be her most loyal friend and advocate.   He will always remove her pain and shortcomings when she turns to him.

Joy is found in kindness and charity. 

Her body, no matter what it looks like, is a sacred creation and can be capable of amazing things when she cares for it. 

Her virtue is hers to protect and respect.

Honesty and integrity will give her a clear conscience and confidence. 

Reaching out and offering love to others will be her greatest source of happiness. 

I find myself occasionally facing fears about the suffering my children will inevitably face.  In my codependent moments I become desperate to control the information they receive and the circumstances they face.  But when I look back at my own journey into recovery I see a beautiful patchwork of guidance, friendship, leadership, lessons, websites, and resources.  A friend here, a blog there, a 12-step meeting, and a “chance” encounter. 

God can’t possibly have individualized Sunday school lessons for each of his suffering children.  So he sticks with the essentials.  And then with providential power, God orchestrates His world to provide what each of his children need, when they need it. 

He is the God I worship, and the God I want my daughter to worship.  He can be trusted.  He will provide. 


  1. Thank you so much for blogging. Your entries are helping me immensely.

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  4. Love this, Jane. You really put into words something I've been feeling welling within me the last several months -- just that recognition that God does work all things for my good. That everything, any situation, can be worked out when God is at the helm, and it will be OK. That everything comes back to Christ and what he's done for me.

    On the flip side though, is it wrong to expect more of ourselves as Church members -- to delve deeper and into more meaningful discussions, so that we can be there for Sister Johnson who's husband is dealing with a porn addiction, and Sister Smith who is dealing with a double mastectomy, and Sister Jones who has postpartum depression. Do we sell ourselves short if we don't expect more than where we're currently at. I have seen miracles in my life as God has brought one tiny thing or one additional person into my life, one by one, to build a bridge to a better place. But, why can't we work together to build one big bridge that's accessible to more people. We talk so much about this 'Pioneer' journey us WoPAs (and recovering addicts) are on. What do Pioneers do - don't they go ahead and blaze the trail, so that it's not SO FREAKING HARD on every person who comes after? They don't go ahead, hack away at all the overgrowth, then behind them pile it back onto the trail so nobody could tell someone came that way before. They smooth the way for people who come behind them -- they do the hard thing so that it's easier for the next people who come. Basically, they improve things for others who come along (which is what talking to your Stake leaders, and writing this blog, and meeting with WoPAs in person all is a part of) -- but can't part of that be changing the culture at Church. Changing it so we deal with and talk about issues that are affecting over half of the families in our pews, not to mention all the other trials that are bringing people down. Aren't we stronger if we work together than if every single person has to blaze their own trail.

    So, I'm conflicted. Part of me knows that this trial has been for my good, so I obviously believe God can work long, winding miracles. BUT, this doesn't negate our need in the Church to TALK about real things. And to really address the pains we're all dealing with. Sure, God can slowly and surely bring into our lives through small miracles all the people and things we need to heal -- but why can't these things already be in place at Church so it's not such a lonely journey for every single person? Isn't this what Pioneers do?

    Also -- can we ever really effectively talk about the atonement if we never talk about what He has redeemed us from? (I'm not sure -- I'm genuinely asking that because I'm not sure!) :-)

    I believe God will provide for me and my children, and all His children -- I just wonder what place me, and my Mormon culture in general, are expected to play in his provisions for others. I just really, really feel like we could do better. And should expect more and give more in our faith communities.

  5. This is one of the most accurate and wonderful posts I've ever read!!

  6. And isn't that exactly the point? I think yes. I love you. (As always.)