Love God, Love Yourself, Love Your Neighbor

March 13, 2017

I had, errrr, I mean, got to give a talk in my new  LDS church ward today. It was the shortest talk ever, being cut down by about 8 minutes as I sat there watching the time tick, tick, tick away after being scheduled to be the concluding speaker at the homecoming talk of a Sister Missionary (why do they do that?!). But I think it may have made the talk stronger. It certainly was short and to the point. And, like, BAM! Sister Beitler's in the house. Lol. Anyway. I had some requests to have a copy of the talk (why?) so here it is in the shortened form. 


Brothers and Sisters, I’m Kirsten Holt Beitler. I’ve been in the ward for 6 weeks. This is the ward I grew up in, so there are many familiar and much loved faces here and many I am excited to get to know. Just to give you a little background and so you don’t commit the sin of gossip, Yes, I have four boys. Josh is in college at the U. He is crazy smart and makes more money than me working as a programmer. Nathan is 16 and loves running, singing, making things, and anything outdoors. Jacob is 10; he is an artist and a writer and is very creative. Ben is almost 9. He loves anything that involves physical activity and is a talented soccer player and runner. Yes, my youngest two are adopted, just in case you haven't figured that out. We have an open adoption with their birth moms and families. Yes, I am divorced and have been a single mom for 18 months. Yes, I am living in my parents’ basement until my rental is ready.  I am an artist and used to run an art school and studio out of my home. I now work as the floral manager at the Harmon’s. Yes, I work full time. I have been a full-time working mom for 14 months.

Yes, I gave up my home in the process of facilitating a divorce that was brought about by selfishness and addiction and yes, we were very sad to leave our home. The last few years have been extremely difficult for me and my kids. We are learning that we can do hard things. I thought I already knew that! I hope we are fast learners.  I do believe in the healing power of the Atonement, I do believe in forgiveness, and I still believe in love. Anything else you want to know? Better ask me in person, ‘cause I don’t like gossip.

 

As I address today’s topic of the first and second great commandments, I want you to know that these are guiding principles in my life. I had to come by this knowledge through some very hard lessons and sacred miracles. So these ideas are very personal to me.  I believe that if every member of our church would truly follow these two we would be happier and better as a people, fewer families would be torn apart, and we would be closer to the Zion society that we need to become.

 

Matthew 22:36-40 states:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

 

I’d like suggest that the reason loving God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind is the most important commandment is because if we don’t have God at the center of everything that we do, we will never reach our highest potential. Why is that important?

 

God’s great work and glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (and women). That means His main goal is to help us reach our highest potential. We must understand our worth as potential Gods and Goddesses to see where we want to end up and why.

 

We must understand our inherent worthiness as sons and daughters of God to be able to have a healthy sense of self to protect us from the many harms that can come to people who wish to devalue us.

 We cannot reach our highest potential if we do not have a deep relationship with deity. We must have an understanding of how God feels about us to carry us through the disappointments and abuses this life dishes out.

 

If we do not wholly love God, that means we have centered our core values on something other than the ONE thing that embodies perfect love and wants the best for us.

If we do not wholly love God then we will not be wholly obedient and will, therefore, fall short of our goal to live with Him again.

If we do not wholly love God we will be blocking our understanding of how God feels about us and we will not be able to wholly love ourselves.

If we cannot wholly love ourselves, then we cannot obey the second great commandment, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. If you can’t truly love yourself, you can’t truly love others, either.

 

I didn’t understand that God saw me in a different way than I saw myself until a few years ago. I learned that I was seeing myself through eyes of betrayal, hurt and abuse, and so I was constantly looking for approval in all the wrong places and perfection. As I learned that these beliefs were lies authored by Satan, my life started to change. I realized that the truth of my identity is how God sees me, but I needed to understand exactly how that was. A wise Stake President set me on a course of study that gave me a solid bedrock of understanding that opened me up to some experiences in which God was able to show me how He felt about me. This healing process then allowed me to love others around me (the figurative neighbors mentioned in the second commandment) in a more genuine way. I am still learning how to love like God loves and I suppose that I will be practicing on this until the day I leave this earth and probably for a few eons after that. But it feels good. I feel better.

God is always trying to show his people of how much he loves us. But we must be willing to receive it. When we receive God’s love, we become willing to submit to His will .It is immediately after we say to our Father “Into thine hand I commit my spirit”  and really mean it, that we are lifted out of the pain of this world and transformed by Him in a “mighty change” of  heart.

I have felt this mighty change of heart. Sometimes I still struggle with keeping God in my center. When I am filled with self-doubt, self-loathing, anger, fear, or anxiety, I know that it is time to take a break and check in with myself. I ask myself some questions about where those feelings are coming from and what it is that might have crept into my center that might be replacing God and the knowledge I have about Him and how he feels about me.

I am so grateful that I am learning to do this. I get lots of practice doing this! I get lots of practice “loving my neighbor as myself”. I am nowhere near perfect in following these commandments, but I had a mighty change of heart in regards to them and now I know and understand what it was the Christ was saying. What it was that he was asking and why. So it makes it easier to keep trying to work on these commandments. And times when I fall short, I know that my Savior has given me the great gift of the atonement to help me start again. He did this because He loves me. He loves the me then, He loves the me now, He loves the me future. He knows and understands all the stuff. He finds me perfectly imperfect. And I will love and honor Him forever for what He’s done for me. 

 

To Coddiwomple (Or, Peace That Passeth Understanding)

January 16, 2017

You know how everyone is choosing a word that will be the theme for their year? I think I’ve found mine. I wanted it to be something like “JOY” or “HOPE” but instead I think it will be “CODDIWOMPLE”. Coddiwomple means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.I feel like I'm being very purposeful, but the exact destination seems to elude me.


This is why Coddiwomple is my word for 2017.

I’ve been looking for a rental for about a month now. I started on the ...


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On Having A Mary Christmas

January 16, 2017

I sit here on Christmas morning alone. Lots of people have asked me if it will be hard to not have my kids on Christmas, did I need anything, did I want to come over. I am so grateful for their kindness but I’m okay. I don’t feel alone. I’m spending the day with my Savior. First times are always hard. Change is always hard. Bringing fourth new traditions and finding joy in sorrow is something I am getting better at. Sometimes people will see that I’ve been crying and they might think ...


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Jump Therapy

January 15, 2017

I wake up this Sunday morning on my day off at 5:00 am. Ugh. But I’m rested and I’ve learned that when waking that early it’s best to get up and do something, starting with a talk with God, because if I lay there it inevitably turns into a talk with Satan, and ain’t nobody got time for that.

 

I get a drink of water and hop in the shower. I cry a little, because showers are good for that, as I talk to God about some of my worries, thank Him for His help this last hard week, enjoy the ...


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Trading My Dreams for a Dental Plan?

January 8, 2016

This post goes out to everyone whose life has turned out differently then they’d hoped. Those people who were on a track that seemed to stretch into eternity with no change in sight, and then all of the sudden, PLOT TWIST!

Well, not really all the sudden. What’s going on in my life right now has taken years to happen and years to come to fruition. Years for things to be cried over, agonized over, worked over, prayed over, and decided on. Years for things that needed to break to break. Ye...


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Solo Show-Beauty in the Eye

August 31, 2015

From The Independent:


"During September in the Olive Esplin Art Gallery at the DiFiore Center for the Arts, local artist Kirsten Holt Beitler presents a solo art exhibit, “Beauty in the Eye.” The opening reception will be held Monday, August 31 from 7-9 p.m.

The show highlights the impact of eye disease on a person’s life, family, and community. Several conditions are explored, including diabetic retinopathy, uveitis, macular degeneration, and keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease affec...


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Thank you, Mr. Holt

April 27, 2014

Love him or hate him, not many teachers have worked as hard for the students of Southern Utah as Mr. Holt. Ferron Holt has been a music educator and teacher for 37 years; first at Delta High School, then in the Washington County School District, and has been a member of the Utah Music Educators Association since 1976. In that time it is estimated that he has taught upwards of 10,000 students the joys of music and hard work. How do I know how hard Mr. Holt has worked during the years of his te...


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"Focus" On A New Body Of Work

March 22, 2014

One of the ways I process the things that go on in my life, besides excessive chocolate consumption and binge series watching on Netflix, is to do a painting about it. Ever since my eye sight started getting blurry in early 2012, vision has been on my mind. I did one painting exploring my angst over the initial diagnosis of Keratoconus, a degenerative eye disease that causes the deterioration of the cornea and brings with it ghosting, double or triple images, severe sensitivity to sunlight, d...


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The Thing That Is Left Is Love

January 5, 2014
  As an artist I have a tendency to feel like a failure for so many reasons; I don't use my talent enough, I don't make enough money selling art, I have too many other things I need to do, like to do, I don't draw every day, I don't work enough from live models, I'm not in a bunch of fancy galleries....When I allow those things to fill my mind making art becomes depressing instead of a joy. Then there will come opportunities that remind me what is really important about me making art. Today w...
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Arts To Zion Studio Tour

January 1, 2014
Well, it's 2014 and time for the annual Arts To Zion Studio Tour. Each year I am privileged to be included in a group of amazing artists who open their private home studio's to the public. Each year I am wishing I was not on the tour so I could be the one who could go snoop around in these artists' creative spaces. I am endlessly fascinated by what items people surround themselves with, what books are on their shelves, what materials they use, how they set up their space, and how their art fi...
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A Little Introduction...


Kirsten Beitler I am an artist, wife, teacher, and mother of four boys, not necessarily in that order depending on the day! This blog is about all the things that interest me; art, relationships, friends, kids, teaching, adoption, being a Mormon, chickens, essential oils, gardening...you know,totally normal stuff.


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All text and images on this blog are my property unless otherwise noted. Please, be respectful.   © Kirsten Beitler

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