You know when you wanna work out and get in shape and so you go sign up for the gym membership, buy cute new clothes (cuz My fat butt’s gotta look good at least), but then there’s that first step of actually going to the gym? You have to like find the time. As if! Why is it that we seem to have endless amounts of time until we sign that 12 month membership? Time is suddenly as precious as gold! I’m telling you, Satan is a fat couch potato who runs all his evil doings with a remote control and he just flips through our lives and when he sees us sign up for that booty boot camp, he stops and throws his cheetos at the TV while yelling, “oh no you didn’t! I want everyone to be fat and unhappy like me!”. Then he pushes slow motion on the channel of our life. It literally takes us pulling a move straight outta “The Ring” (if you haven’t seen it, watch it with the lights on) and crawling through the tv just to stop his madness and get our booties in shape! Well I’d like to relate working out or more so getting in shape to My personal experience of going to the Temple. Stay with me…
I dunno if we’ve established this yet or if you’ve never read any other posts, but I’m Mormon. I was born and raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. However, I would say that it wasn’t until a little over a year ago that I was truly converted. Gasp! But Jessie, you say, you were sealed in the temple to your first Husband and all that jazz?! I was indeed. I remember my first time going through the temple. I remember how important it was to my parents, to my fiancé parents, to him, and to most of the people I grew up with. At 19 however, I don’t think I personally knew the importance of it.
I was a rebellious and crazy teen. If I could call my parents everyday and apologize for my behavior from about age 15-18 I would, but I think at some point they’d tell me to stop. Needless to say when I met my first husband, the good ole Mormon Farm boy, my family was thrilled. We both knew that the right thing to do was to marry in the Temple, and so we did. And ya know what, it was beautiful. I will never regret it. I will never take that from my girls. For me to say I regret being sealed to their dad is to say I regret being sealed to them.
Side note: Mormon Temples are places worthy members of our religion make covenants or promises to our Lord. One of those sacred covenants is a sealing or marriage. We believe that marriage does not have to be “Death do us Part” but that families can be together through eternity.
Anyway…so here I was 19, doing all the right steps. I had been raised with amazing values and parents who were righteous followers of God. I leaned on them…a lot! I think I leaned on them for my faith as well. I’m not saying the first time I went to the temple I didn’t believe, I’m just saying I don’t think I understood everything and I hadn’t taken the time to truly search and find my own testimony of the temple and church, I was just kinda going through the motions if that makes any sense?
So you see I do remember going through the temple for the first time in July 2004, but I also vividly remember going through for the last time in October 2013.
My husband of 9 years was leaving me. The news had barely sank in and I found myself in the Idaho Falls temple sitting next to my sister in law at the time, trying to find an answer and beg for God to fix my life! Things like this don’t happen to women who are doing all the right things? I choose a righteous husband, had two beautiful girls, served in callings, paid my tithing, and performed lots of service for crying out loud…ya know…the motions. That’s all it was looking back. But at the time I remember sitting in the temple and not really praying but almost demanding God to fix this! I almost laughed as I sat and listened to the covenants being made thinking “well obviously it doesn’t even matter”. Why did I come here, if my life was just going to unravel anyway?!
I left the temple that day and never went back…until today.
Three and half years later I found myself ready to enter into The House of The Lord. This time though I knew it had to be for me. I have had my recommend (it’s like my ticket to get in to the temple) since September, but had only gone to do baptisms. I had been having a hard time Deciding when to go. It was like that dang gym membership! I had signed up for the membership but just needed to walk through that front door! So when I heard that some of the other women in my ward were making a trip I knew it was my chance. I needed a brand new temple dress that I had bought hemmed and asked a lady in my ward to help me out. I wanted to look good, just like that first day back at the gym! Anyway, the hemming was too short and I had a full on girl moment when I realized it was ruined (ps not the lady’s fault I told her the wrong length)! After my husband consoled my inner pathetic whining girl and bought me a new one (yeah I love him), I know I can rent, but I’m “that” girl, I was ready for the Temple trip!
5am. Yep we were leaving the church at 5am. Satan had obviously come across my life at this point while scrolling through looking for a life to disrupt. He thought for sure that early morning time would stop me. NOPE. I’ll get everything ready the night before and set three alarms…then Satan threw his bag of cheetos at me.
My alarm never went off! My phone charger was not plugged in (dang kids), and so my phone died. Yet, somehow I woke up at exactly 5am. I had missed the meeting up at the church, but after finding out they didn’t need me to drive I told them I’d meet them at the Temple! I had literally 15 minutes to get ready and leave to make it to the Philadelphia Temple’s 7am session. The thought did cross my mind…I’m not going to make it, maybe I shouldn’t go. My husband (who was jolted awake by my gasps of panic from waking up late) encouraged me to go. Did I mention how much I love him? Alright Satan, not so fast. I somehow made it out the door with everything I needed in time! The roads the entire way were clear and hardly any traffic! I know it was 5:30 in the morning but I live in the highest populated area in the country so it was a pretty big deal! I made it. Time to spare. I was able to breath a bit easier as I rounded the corner and saw this view of the temple all lit up in the heart of historic Philadelphia.
As I pulled into the temple parking garage I couldn’t help but think “Eat that Satan!”
So here I was kinda frazzled, trying to hurry and get dressed. And get into the session in time. I hadn’t really had time to appreciate the moment.
So the session lasts about an hour and a half…about 15 min in my stomach decided to channel its inner whale. Breakfast. I hadn’t had any in my rush to leave. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat trying to take in everything and yet hide the grumbling. The Temple in case ya didn’t know is a very quite reverant place, so you can imagine the sounds echoing…it was spectacular. This is not how I imagined this morning going.
Now it’s almost time to enter the celestial room. The most beautiful part of the Temple. I say a little prayer to God, asking to calm my stomach and give me peace. I instantly started to feel full and my stomach calmed down. I was able to enjoy the last moments of the session.
As I entered the Celestial Room, I was instantly overcome with emotion. I had never felt like that before. It was a rush of happiness mixed with gratitude. I sat down, grabbed some tissues, and silently thanked my Heavenly Father for this second chance. It was the most beautiful and spiritual moment I’ve ever had at the Temple.
As I sat staring up at the beautiful chandelier I knew that this time would be different. This time it was for me. I had started this journey back on my own. My husband now has joined me of course, but It wasn’t just “the motions” this time. I had a change of heart. The road these past 3 years, has been long and hard with a few potholes along the way and sometimes Ive thought Im not sure I can do it or if it was going to be worth it. Yet, it was then in that room this morning that I could feel God saying how proud he was of me, and I was proud of myself. That feeling alone made it all worth it!
I feel like I took the first step today. I went to “the gym” today for the first time in a long time. I want to tell all those who think it can never happen for you, that you won’t ever be able to enter the Temple again, that you can! You are stronger than Satan! Crawl outta that TV, where your life is on pause and scare the crap outta fat Satan sitting on his couch thrown! I know that his biggest fear is us taking control of our lives and turning our hearts to God and becoming spiritualy fit. We women, and I’m going to be bold and say especially us divorced women are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to putting God first. That’s why Satan try’s so hard to stop us.
Today I gave Satan the finger (I’m sorry I’m still a little rough around the edges) and I took control and changed the channel…Infact I changed my life.