Conversion: the process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another
27 years ago September 28th I embarked on a brand new adventure. . .a full time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
During the 17 months (yes, 17, not 18) that I was gone, I had many different, special experiences. Throughout my journey I will share many of those experiences, but one of the greatest experiences was my own conversion. Wait, what??? Yes, my testimony grew, but there was a greater beginning to my conversion, a much different conversion than I had ever anticipated.
A couple of weeks into my mission my health took a downward spiral. The water hitting my skin in the shower was sooooo painful. There was finally a breakdown, a realization that I couldn’t carry all that I had carried for at least 13 years all by myself. Here I was 21 years old serving a full time mission and I was finally sharing that I had been abused in many different ways for over 13 years. It was like my spirit finally felt safe, away from my hometown, away from those that were a part of my life that had abused me.
"The water hitting my skin in the shower was sooooo painful. There was finally a breakdown, a realization that I couldn’t carry all that I had carried for at least 13 years all by myself. "
The abuse was physical, emotional, sexual and the feelings were intense. My companion had me visit with the Mission President and it was agreed that it was best for me to stay on my mission. The agreement was that I could continue to see the counselor throughout my mission as long as my companions were alright with going on their P-days. At that time we were handwriting letters so they could sit in the office and write their letters while I was in my appointments.
As I began meeting with the counselor and we started going through my history he said, “There’s only one way you’ve made it this far carrying all of this by yourself. You’re STUBBORN and a FIGHTER.” I guess that’s one way to put it - lol.
I was able to receive counseling at different times throughout my mission. It came to the point that there were concerns about me going home and between the Mission President, my counselor and I we decided I should return home 4 weeks earlier than planned.
Through that preparation and making that decision I was given a priesthood blessing. To this day I’ve never forgotten a part of that blessing - that there would come a time that I would share my experiences, healing process and that I would have the opportunity to bless many lives through sharing my experiences.
Well, there have been many times that I’ve been prompted to share my story and experiences over the 25 years that I’ve been home, but I haven’t felt ready. I’ve been insecure, scared and really nervous. Many say that 2020 is the year that has been the hardest, but for me 2019 was the hardest for me. There were many AMAZING things happening in our lives, but through it all there was enough for me to have a breakdown. The middle of November brought me to a point that felt there was no returning to happiness and I couldn’t handle anymore. Gratefully I have a very loving Bishop that spent hours with Rick and I through this time and he had a counselor he highly recommended. I thought there was no way I could take the time for myself - my family needed me and I had many commitments.
The end of December I started counseling and have been going to counseling every single week since then. It has been the MOST DIFFICULT THING I’ve ever done. I thought I was fine, that I had my life really together, but as I’ve gone through real healing I’ve come to better understand pure, real happiness in life that I had no idea existed. As I’ve gone through this process it has become very clear that it’s time to share my journey and the things I’ve learned. It is time for me to share my real conversion, a complete change in ME!
I hope you will join me in this journey and learn from my experiences. We are in this together. There is healing. There is real happiness. There is peace within. You can have healthy relationships with those you love. I’m still on my journey, but honestly, it’s truly been an amazing journey.
9/29/2020 10:23:07 am
I am super proud of you!! I know - from my front row seat - at least to some extent - how hard this journey has been / is for you. I know It is not easy to do what you are doing - but you are doing it! You have the courage and determination to take on this healing process. I Love You!!
9/29/2020 11:09:36 am
I'm so excited to read this and am proud of you for sharing. You are amazing and everyone around you knows it.
9/30/2020 08:09:53 pm
Cheri, this has been a long time coming and I am so proud of you for taking this step to share your story. It is a story of courage, determination, faith, hope and healing and I look forward to reading it! You are amazing! Love ya’!
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A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity