One of the first major lessons I learned after Jake died was a lesson in Self Worth.
Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God- D&C 18:10
My eyes filled with tears and I started to cry. I never expected to have such an amazing instant answer to prayer. I was filled with a sense of love and peace, knowing that my Heavenly Father loved me. He loved me enough to answer my prayer and also enough to tell me personally that in His sight my soul was great. I thanked my Heavenly Father for hearing and answering my prayers. I will never forget that experience, it was the first major testimony builder in my life.
Even with that sweet message and reminder I struggled with self worth through High School. I would have to often remind myself of that experience and go back and read that scripture. When I met and married Jake my self worth seemed to get stronger. I loved being a wife, and I thought that I was pretty good at it. Jake was a very easy person to be married too and this made me think I was a pretty good wife. He was a very good husband. I was told daily how beautiful, smart, kind, loving, and amazing I was. Jake filled me up. He made me who I was. I was a good person because of Jake. His love made me better everyday. I loved being a Mom and he made me feel like I was the best Mom a little boy could have. He complimented me always and Never and I mean Never criticized me. I know that seems like a lie, but it’s not. In fact, about a month before Jake died I asked him why he never got mad at me or found fault with me. His response, “If I have a problem with something you are doing, it’s not your problem, it’s mine. I just deal with it and move on.” (This statement is profound in many ways and maybe points to why he was done proving himself on this earth. Can you imagine if more people in the world thought this way!) But I challenged him on this telling him that “if he holds it all in, he will one day just explode!” He simply responded with, “No I won’t, because it’s never stays an issue.” That gives you an idea of why he gave me a good self esteem. When I was down on myself he would spend hours telling me how amazing I was and everything he loved about me. Jake gave me my self worth. Everything that was good about me was because of him! This was great…while it lasted.
When Jake died, so did I. All that was good and kind about me, all of my faith was drained out of me. I was filled up with pain, sorrow and grief. It was all consuming. I had felt pretty because of Jake, I was faithful because of Jake, I was kind because of Jake, I was a good mom because of Jake, and I had worth because I was Jake’s wife. My self worth had been defined by my relationship with Jake, and now he was dead.
A couple months after Jake died I was asked to speak for a large church congregation on “Overcoming Trials”. I was not overcoming any trial at this time. I was being swallowed whole by this trial. I was in a fog of grief that left me hopeless in a downward spiral of misery. This opportunity to speak sent me to my knees in prayer and I was quite honest with Heavenly Father. I prayed, “if you want me to talk about overcoming trials, you better start helping me to overcome this misery!” This was a blessing in disguise that I will always be thankful for. The speaking assignment truly opened me up for the inspiration and revelation that I needed to start my road to healing and see a pathway through the fog. It also gave me the inspiration and awareness that I needed to rebuild my self worth.
As women and girls we often define our value in our relationships. If we have a good relationship with our children we must be good moms…and if we have a strained relationship, we must not be good moms. If our marriage is strong we must be good wives, but if it’s struggling (even if it’s an issue our husband is struggling with) then we must not be good enough. It was something we did to cause his issues. We build ourselves up through relationship with others when they are good, and we tear ourselves down when they need work. I don’t think very many men understand this reality. If our marriages are struggling, we are almost always struggling with our own self worth because of that. Men tend to define their value in their careers, their success’ or failures, their hobbies and interests, and I dare say even the way their favorite sports team is playing;) This is a generalization and doesn’t apply to everyone, but I think a lot of people do this.
In my church we have a program for our youth. The Young Women’s and Young Men’s programs. The Young Women recite their theme each week at the beginning of our meeting. The first line states:
We are daughter’s of our Heavenly Father who loves us, and we love Him.
This teaches a very valuable lesson. We are all daughters and sons of a Heavenly Father that loves us. We are all important to Him personally. I repeated this statement every week for years, but I didn’t learn the importance of it until Jake died.
My self worth should never have been placed upon any person that lives on this earth. There is nothing and no one that can be constant and never leave us. The only person that we can build our self worth upon that will never leave us alone or let us down is our Heavenly Father. Even people we love and that seem to love us completely can betray us, let us down, lie to us, or by no fault of their own just die. The only sure thing in this life is the love and support of Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ. We have to build our self worth on them. “The foolish man built his house upon the sand, and the wise man built his house upon a rock.” I didn’t see building my self worth on Jake as foolish, in fact, I don’t think I was even aware that I was doing that. But when the rains came pouring down, my self worth was washed away and I was forced to figure out how to rebuild. I learned to build my self worth upon a rock.
The worth of souls is great in the sight of God. I am a good person because I am a Daughter of God. If I build my self worth on His love for me and all the potential He sees in me, I can begin to trust that and believe in myself. I have to remind myself of this lesson often. The voices in my head or of those around me in the world can try and “rain” down on my self worth to weaken it. If I stay true to who I am and can keep my foundation built upon my Heavenly Father my self worth can never be drained out of me again.
My name is Julie and I am a Daughter of God who loves me, and I love Him.
Questions to Ponder:
What sandy foundations is your self worth built on?
How can prayer better help you to see yourself the way God sees you?
How can you help your children build better self worth?