“Ask A Coach” – Responses To LDS Mixed-Faith Family Questions

LDS Mixed-Faith Family Questions

I am excited to announce that the first 2 episodes of “Ask A Coach” have been posted on my YouTube channel!   My goal is to provide some solutions to questions that often come up in LDS mixed-faith families. 

Episode 1 Questions:

1. “Are you okay if Dad and I still talk about our church experiences around you?”

2. “Will they turn away from the health habits they’ve followed their entire lives?”

3. “My husband just told me that he doesn’t believe the church is true and he wants to tell me all the reasons. What do I do?”

Episode 2 Questions:

1. “How are we going to tell our children that my spouse is leaving the church?”

2. “The language we use to describe each other as “believers” or “non-believers” is important.”

I plan to address a few questions in video format every couple of weeks.  I will let you know when the episodes are posted and the questions I address.

If you are in a mixed-faith family – I NEED YOUR HELP!

I know what my mixed-faith family questions were and are, but I would like to address YOUR questions.  Could you take a moment and send me an email with a few of the questions YOU are looking for answers to?

My goal as a life coach is to provide support for LDS women that want to remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ, even when their children or husband lose faith and choose different paths.  If this is you, I would truly like to assist you in this journey. 

Thanks!

Rethinking Sin, Salvation and Everything In Between

All Things New

Recently I’ve been reading the book titled “All Things New, Rethinking Sin, Salvation and Everything In Between” by Fiona and Terryl Givens. Reading this book has changed the way I think about several gospel concepts, and I am very excited to share what I am learning. 

Several of my Instagram friends started talking about this book “All Things New”, and I resisted getting on the bandwagon until one day Fiona Givens spoke to the LDS Life Coaches group I below to. I was so excited by what she had to say that I bought the audio book and listened to it.  Then I wanted to be able to underline phrases and concepts, so I bought the paperback book too!  The book is now underlined in many colors and dogeared. 

The book is divided into two parts. The first part is a history of Christianity with a focus on the nature of God. The Givens write about how the view of Christianity changed from the early church through the teachings of Luther, Calvin and Augustine, and how the modern restoration fits in. They discuss how the way we view God, has changed over time, from a loving God to an angry, punitive God, and how these views damage our relationship with Him.

The second part of the book looks at our language and how the distortions that have crept in over time have damaged our language and understanding of basic gospel concepts.

Because I have understood several concepts so differently, I’ve returned again and again to read the chapters on Sin, Repentance, Forgiveness, Salvation and Obedience. I’ve also researched these 5 words in the Gospel Library app, looking in the gospel topics section, topical guide, and the Bible dictionary.  I’ve even read recent General Conference talks with this book playing in the back of my mind. I love finding teachings in General Conference talks that support these thoughts. In Elder Christofferson’s talk, “Our Relationship with God”, he said that repentance, obedience, and sacrifice matter because “they are the means by which we collaborate with Him in our own transformation from natural [wo]man to saint.” I love the idea of collaborating with Christ to become a saint.

One of the things that I found so interesting was reframing the concept of “Sin”. When I grew up, I thought sin was terrible and felt I had to be perfect all the time. I didn’t want to do anything that might create sin, and when I did sin, I couldn’t face my own weaknesses or shortcomings. In reality, I was trying to be “my own Savior” by being “good” all the time.  I was also rationalizing things that I did as not really sinful, because sin was horrifying. This way of thinking caused pressure on me all the time to always do things the “right” way. It didn’t really bring me closer to Christ, it actually kept me away from Him. 

The example the Given’s used to reframe the concept of “sin” was from the new world as Christ did ministering and healing, not preaching, rebuking or judging. They suggest looking at “sin” as being wounded, and wounded so deeply that we are separated from God and that we need to be “healed” of our “wounds” to return to God.

I started asking myself how I had been wounded this week or how I might have been the one to wound others. At church, I approach Sacrament time by thinking about wounds and how God was able to help me heal from my wounds and minister to others that are wounded. I really resonated with this teaching and I found that thinking this way helped me be more willing to see my own hurts and how I hurt others. I really felt changed and I saw myself having more love and compassion for myself and for others. I am seeing things in a more optimistic way and I am more willing to change myself rather than hide away from sin.

So I offer an enthusiastic two thumbs up for this book. I think that it is especially appropriate for mixed-faith families, as I have witnessed people who I love that have been wounded by their association with the church. Seeing them as wounded changes how I view them and our relationship. Now I just want to be better at loving them.

If you read this book, I would love to hear how you felt about the concepts. I would also be interested in hearing about any of your favorite books that have helped you with your mixed-faith family.

How to Speak with Love When Referring to Those Who Have Left the Church

thoughtful businesswomen discussing problems in bright workspace

Just a brief note about some exciting news: I was featured on the Latter-day Life Coaches Podcast today! 

“How to Speak with Love When Referring to Those Who Have Left the Church”

We discuss the importance of how we speak about, and how we speak with those we love that are experiencing challenges to their faith.  

Here is the link to listen:      https://ldslifecoaches.com/

                 or

Here is the link to watch:      https://www.youtube.com

I’d love to hear what your favorite take away is!  You can simply click here to provide your input or submit any questions you would like addressed in future Q & A podcasts.

Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Feel free to share this information with a friend or loved one that may benefit from this podcast.

The Choice Has Always Been In You

The Choice Is Yours

I like to put my own name and pronouns in the scriptures that I am studying. Personalizing the scriptures help me internalize it more. Recently, I’ve been learning about agency – my own and the agency of everyone around me. Today I want to share with you what I learned about agency from thinking about this scripture:

Jennifer should be anxiously engaged in good causes and do many things of her own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness in the world, for the power is in her, wherein she is an agent unto herself.” (see D&C 58:27-28)

RIGHTEOUSNESS

I feel that I bring to pass righteousness in the world when I do simple things like decide to smile and say hello to every person I meet on my walk. I bring to pass righteousness when I recognize that my actions may have hurt someone and apologize quickly, frequently, and sincerely. I bring to pass righteousness when I look into the future and see my interactions with others, then choose how I want to show up, and take actions to be the person I want to be.  Making my own choices and taking action is very powerful – and I love feeling powerful. It’s exhilarating!

POWERLESS

There was a time when I thought I was always at the mercy of situations and people around me.  They all had power over my life. If the weather was terrible, it meant I couldn’t do what I planned that day and it made me sad.  When I thought that my children were unhappy, it meant that I needed to be unhappy with them. When my husband’s actions made me angry, I thought that meant that I could be mean back because “he made me angry”.  I thought that was the way things should be – but I also felt POWERLESS with every one else creating my feelings.

POWERFUL

Then I learned how to take responsibility for myself and not be at the mercy of events or people around me. I learned how to coach myself using the self-coaching model, and it helped me see that my thoughts create my feelings and my feelings drive all my actions.  

Thoughts → Feelings → Actions

I’ve learned that it is ME!  I am responsible for how I act and react in every situation. I also learned that I have the power to choose my thoughts, and no one can take that power away from me unless I let them.

IT TAKES PRACTICE

I didn’t learn how to use the self-coaching model instantly, it took practice, LOTS of practice, and I still make mistakes. I’ve actually learned that part of my power comes from knowing I am not perfect, and when I make mistakes, I can turn to Jesus and let Him help me.  I’ve discovered that using my agency to take responsibility for me has brought me closer to the Savior, because I can see how much I need Him. I never realized the power of the Atonement when I was blaming everyone else for what I did. 

I am continually learning to love myself, to love and trust God, and to love those around me. My desire to share these things that I am learning with others was the genesis of creating my Becoming A Whole-Hearted Woman program. I started putting my whole heart into becoming the woman that I wanted to be. 

I CAN ASSIST

If you want help defining and becoming the woman YOU want to be, to feel the power of being the one who has control of her own life, I would love to assist as your guide and coach. You have the power within you to be happy, joyful and loving, no matter what is happening around you. Let’s talk. 

You can reply to this email or follow this link to set up a time for us to chat.  This costs you nothing and will provide some useful tools.  We can talk about how you can stop feeling out of control of your life and how powerful it feels to be in charge of your life.

When General Conference Is Hard

General Conference

GENERAL CONFERENCE TIME

While I was raising my family, General Conference was a special weekend. I really wanted my children to enjoy listening to the talks, and so I created special conference traditions, mostly around food and games.  I was trying to create family memories of being together and listening to talks from the Church’s General Authorities. I really loved being able to share my favorite General Conference moments with my family, and listen to them share their favorite talks, temple announcements, and church news.

THEN THINGS CHANGED

Several members of my family no longer participate in the church or in General Conference. My husband has stepped away from the church and so have some of my adult daughters. We have a good relationship with each other, but they each have their own relationship with the church organization. A couple want to hear some news of the church, however others don’t want to know anything. 

GENERAL CONFERNCE NOW

I have tried a whole bunch of ways for me to participate in General Conference – with varying degrees of success. I’ve listened to Conference in our living room, in my office with headphones, and on my phone.  I’ve visited my active brothers or sisters’ homes and watched Conference with them.  I’ve even taken myself on Conference retreats. Unfortunately for me, General Conference is just not the same as it used to be. Not only am I missing the people who used to watch it with me, but I also hear different messages than I used to. 

Some talks used to really resonate with me, and others didn’t as much.  I would listen and prayerfully seek inspiration about how to apply the lessons to my life. Now that my family doesn’t look like the “ideal” LDS family, I find that some talks are VERY painful to hear.  

WHAT WILL HAPPEN NOW?

I ask myself, what’s going to become of my unbelieving family members in the next life?  I know that I love them all very much and it can really hurt to hear how they are portrayed at General Conference.  Sometimes the messages imply that their life will never be as good on earth or for eternity as mine, because they no longer believe in the Church. 

MY NEW APPROACH

Since I am a believing member and I love each member of my family, I really have to approach General Conference with A LOT of self-compassion. If I need to take a break during a talk, I do. If I need to read certain talks rather than listening to them, I do that too. I prepare for each General Conference with a believing heart, I pray for those who speak to us AND I don’t force myself to participate when it hurts. 

There are additional ways I participate after General Conference, and one of these ways was for me is to join an Instagram group called Inklings. Each week a different General Conference talk is discussed online.  When there is discussion around concepts that were hard to hear during General Conference, sometimes talking them over with other believers brings insight. 

SOUND FAMALIAR?

If you find that some parts of General Conference are hard to listen to, I encourage you to also allow yourself some self-compassion and discover how you can find joy in the gospel messages, and protect your heart at the same time. 

Sometimes having someone to talk to helps. 

Happy Belated Pi Day To You!

strawberry pie on white plate

Pi DAY
My husband is an engineer and loves Pi day. It’s a favorite joke between him and our daughters, who have memorized Pi out to the most digits.  (3.1415926535897932384626433)   It’s so fun to remember Pi jokes and fresh pie from when our kids lived at home, even though I only know Pi to 3.14…

REAL PIE
I love pie too, but not the mathematical kind. I love strawberry pie. For me, strawberry pie brings memories of my mother teaching me how to make it – memorizing the recipe for her pie crust and then also memorizing the steps to make the strawberry filling. She didn’t use jello in her recipe, she used crushed strawberries sweetened with sugar and thickened with cornstarch, and poured over fresh strawberries topped with the most wonderful whipped cream (not out of a can). I can still smell the strawberry filling cooking. 

MEMORIES
Even though I don’t usually eat pie since I went gluten-free 15 years ago, I can still remember the recipe and the steps to make it.   Both of these memories are important to me and to my children, and to their children too. They are stories of another day and time. What life for me was like before they were even born. 

Some children and grandchildren are more curious than others and ask questions about my life, but all of them eventually want to know where they came from, who they are, because of who their foremothers are.  

YOUR STORY IS RELEVANT
A whole-hearted woman knows that her stories are important to her family. They might not be able to see how their stories are directly relevant to their family, but they know they have been blessed by the stories of women who have gone before them, and they trust that something about their life will be a blessing to their children or grandchildren’s lives.

When we work together in my Becoming A Whole Hearted Woman program, one of the things we will work on is your personal stories.  The turning points that have made you who you are today. You will identify those times when you made a choice in your life that defines who you are. We will write those stories down so you can share them. Those stories help you make sense of your own life and the forces that shape it, and also help your family know, understand and love you even more. They are part of your legacy. 

I love how our stories are part of the legacy to our families, and I decided to include my mother’s strawberry pie recipe below so you can share a little of my family’s legacy. If you are gluten-free like me, you can use gluten-free cookies to make the crust.  I use crushed gluten-free sugar ice cream cones and crushed Pamela’s shortbread pecan cookies for my crust.

STRAWBERRY PIE RECIPE

  • 1 baked pie shell
  • 8 cups fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 3 T cornstarch
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T powdered sugar
  • ½ t. Vanilla
  • Puree enough strawberries (10-12 ounces)  to make 1 cup of puree. In a saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch, then add the water and the puree. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until the mixture is thick. Set aside and cool to room temperature. 
  • Arrange the whole strawberries in the pie shell and then spoon the glaze over them.
  • Refrigerate for two hours.
  • Mix the whipping cream in a mixer, and add the vanilla and powdered sugar when it starts forming peaks.
  • Top each slice of pie with a big spoonful of whipped cream.

Oh, and enjoy eating with family and friends!

The Best Investment I Have Ever Made! (And It’s Not Financial)

crop woman writing down notes in diary

This week I wanted to share one of the best investments I have ever made! 

No, it’s not financial, although it pays AMAZING dividends. It’s actually an activity that I go through most mornings, and I call it my “Morning Devotional”.

I love my daily early morning devotional time. It brings me a sense of peace and order that sticks with me all day long. Over the years, I have worked out a practice that I can do regardless of how I feel or how much time I have. I love it because it began as a gift that I offered to God, to give my time to meet with him daily, and as a result, my head, my heart, and my body are each filled to overflowing, and I have enough energy and strength to be there for myself and anyone who needs what I have to offer during the day, usually I have plenty, and to spare. It has been an amazing return on my investment. I always end up with more than I give. I love it so much that I want to share it with you and perhaps you will find it’s the best investment you’ve ever made too! 

My morning devotional grew out of a list of healthy habits that used to help me overcome feelings of depression when I was a young mom. As I got older, I  wanted a closer relationship with my Heavenly Parents, I wanted to know Christ better and I wanted to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Those healthy habits formed the foundation of my morning devotionals. I still find that spending time in the scriptures and seeking the spirit is the best anti-depressant for me.

The elements that make up my morning devotionals include:

PRAYER
Many kinds of prayers, such as, prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving, prayers for individual people in my life, mighty prayers, prayers asking for blessings, prayers to help me understand what God wants for me. I usually open and close my devotional time with prayer.

MUSIC
I am fond of gospel and Christian music, and particularly Southern Baptist, but my favorite style of music is scripture set to music. Music really sets the tone for my devotional time. I have a couple of playlists that I’ve created on Amazon music.

SCRIPTURES
I love to read my scriptures. To me, there is no right or wrong way. I read long or short passages, using multiple translations or even recite memorized scriptures. I have no fixed number of scriptures or length of time I need to read. I am not in a hurry or working to any set schedule. I might spend a week on one verse. 

JOURNALING
This both helps me sort out my thoughts and puts me in a place to receive revelation. I enjoy writing letters to God, asking questions, and then listening for answers. 

STUDYING
Currently, I am studying “Come Follow Me”,  belong to some Gospel study groups, including the Inklings group on Instagram and do two or three study guides each year with Multiply Goodness.   Additionally, I usually set aside one day a week to work on my topics that I struggle with or want to know more about.

WALKING, STRETCHING AND MOVING MY BODY
I have discovered that there is a strong mind-body connection, and by moving my body more I can better access my inner thoughts and feelings. For instance, I might take a walk and all I do is process an emotion, like anger or grief. Moving my body helps me get those difficult emotions out in a positive way. it also gives me a minute to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me.

MEDITATION 
I have studied various forms of meditation and have found several to be helpful to me. I currently use an app called the Small Seed App that uses scripture as the foundation for each meditation. I really love a meditation where I create my day spiritually before I live it for real. This has been an intentional way for me to preview what I want for the day.

MINDSET WORK
I use a technique that I learned in lifecoach training called “the model”. I use it in combination with journaling to use my agency to choose how I want to show up each day. Some days are better than others. Let’s just say that I am a work in progress.

BELIEF PLAN OR POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
The most influential book I read last year was “Soundtracks” by Jon Acuff. The premise is that we all have thoughts that we have playing like “soundtracks’ in the back of our minds. We are actually able to develop our own soundtracks that help direct and shape our lives. I call it my “believing on purpose plan” and I create one each year that I read as part of my devotional time.

The biggest worry people have when I tell them about my morning devotional time is that it sounds like it takes forever…  I admit that there are some days when I allow myself to have all the time I want in devotional, and it can take hours. I have busy days, just like you do, when I have only a few minutes.  So I don’t include every element every day in every devotional.  I love the flexibility that comes from picking and choosing what I think will bring me closer to God and keep me most centered that day. I almost always open and close with prayer and have at least one verse of scripture. It’s like a sandwich – prayers are the two pieces of bread and I layer the rest between like fillings in a sandwich, until I feel like it is delicious to me. 

Here is a partial list of the daily benefits that I have received from this process:

  • I am a better person at the end of my devotional time than I was when I started.
  • I have much more enthusiasm for the day when I take the time in the morning to talk things over with God.
  • I feel impressions that I try to follow.
  • I feel like I am guided.
  • I make better choices.
  • I love people more.
  • I am not distracted by the news.
  • I don’t over-react when something doesn’t happen the way I want it to because I have a broader perspective.
  • I am more accepting of myself and others.
  • I allow myself to feel all of my emotions – even the negative ones like grief, worry or sadness.

All these benefits don’t mean that I never get thrown off by unexpected bad or disturbing information, it just means that I have created a habit of having time to bring the hard things to God and process them with Him/Her.

One of the elements of “Becoming a Whole-Hearted Woman”, the coaching program I’ve designed to help LDS women learn to accept everything life can throw at them, is coming to love and understand God deeper.  This morning devotional time is just one of the tools that I teach to help us spend intentional time with God, getting to know Him/Her more deeply. 

I’ve created a simple worksheet to help you design your devotional time, and I would love to help work on it with you.  If you would like to receive some of the above daily benefits in your life, click the following link to email me at Jennifer@JenniebCoaching.com and we can setup a time to talk.

Honestly, my Morning Devotionals are one of the BEST investments I have ever made in my life!

ALL my best!

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JennieB Coaching
Your Life With Peace, Joy and Purpose