Sunday, July 27, 2008

In Vain

Camille Kathleen Waite

"Dear Father in Heaven," I begin my prayer. I am on my knees, alone, in my closet. I offer my thanks for how greatly the Lord has blessed me in my life. I enumerate many of the blessings for which I am particularly grateful at this time. No matter how low I feel, there are always blessings from the Lord. There is always gratitude in my heart when it comes to the Lord.

"I am grateful for the Atonement of thy Son," here I pause with the name of the Savior in my mind hesitant to voice this name. The emotion of true understanding washes over me. I am addressing the Father of our Savior. The Father of He who suffered for me- because of my sins. I am about to say the name of the Son who died the most painful death of all deaths that I might live. He put aside His will and suffered the weight of all mankind's sin and sacrificed his own life to pay the price of justice and break the bands of death. And here am I, one who contributed to His pain, about to speak His name to His Father ... and mine.

I know the grief of a parent watching his or her child die. I know the tenderness of a parent's heart and the sacred feelings attached to those children whose lives are cut short to fulfill the greater purposes of the Father's plan. Their names are sacred. To me, Camille's name is sacred. I speak it and want it spoken but only in respectful ways. 

At this moment in my prayer, just before I speak the name of the Savior, I know the Father feels the same.

How often is the name of our Savior spoken with disregard, disrespect and even in anger? I can't begin to explain how it would make me feel if someone spoke Camille's name is such tones. Imagine the most sensitive part of your soul, that which is most dear to you, being desecrated. 

In an instant, in the middle of this prayer in my closet, I better understand the Lord's commandment in Exodus 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."

I thankfully have never uttered the sacred names of deity in ways that I would now regret. But, I will never speak His name, the name of my Savior, the Author and Finisher of my faith, the Son of my Eternal Father, the same again. 

44 comments:

kdskids said...

I am grateful for church each Sunday. To be able to go and to feel of the spirit that is there. To renew covenants made and to strive to be a better mom, wife, sister and daughter.

I am also grateful for your family. For your openess, and your willingness to turn this heartache into a wonderful, positive opportunity for so many others out there.

How wonderful for all of us to be uplifted by each other. To take part of His sweet spirit through the inspiration delivered each day through your writings.

May we all be able to recognize His hand in our lives as you have done. We are all here for you...thank you for being here for us.

Hugs, Kathy

the petersons said...

You are so strong and faithful. This blog is incredibly smart. I went to my ward today, and I saw a man whose daughter was fourteen and drowned in Lake Powell. It was about twelve years ago, so I gave him your blog and he said he'll read it. He has never been the same since. He was a childhood friend. Thanks so much. You're faith and power has made me feel so much better and grateful. I love it.

Rebecca said...

What a lovely and eye opening post. I have been lurking here for a few weeks and haven't commented. I am pulling for you and praying for you. You have a beautiful family and I can not imagine the hole in your heart. Your strength and devotion make me feel inspired.

Micaela said...

That was beautiful insight. Thank you once again.

Laura said...

Stephanie, I don't know you at all, but found your blog through a friend of a friend who told me how your blog has touched them. I wasn't going to comment, but I read your post on how to treat someone who has lost--even a stranger, and decided I'd better. Your little Camille is beautiful. All of your girls are. I come from a family of 4 girls myself, and have a little girl, who was born in April of 2007, just like your Camille. I have cried as I read about your trajedy, imagining being in your position, but I rejoice in the plan of salvation and knowing that you will see Camille again. I am so sorry for your great loss, and wish I could hug you and cry with you, even being a total stranger. I am grateful that you have found strength in your sorrow and thank you for helping me to remember that I need to cherish the food throwing, the whining, the laughs, smiles, etc. Thank you. May the Lord continue to bless you and strengthen you, your husband, daughters, and your whole family.
Laura Jansson

MaryClaire said...

thank you. what a great and real perspective on such an abused commandment. people really do not realize the gravity of their mistakes when they do take the name of the savior in vain, and we all need to. not only should we refrain from speaking the savior's name disrespectfully, but we really should, as you do, say it only with the upmost respect.

Robin said...

I understand your pain. Im sorry. There is never a day that will go by that you won't think of her. Its been 2 years.

Robin said...

I understand your pain. Im sorry. There is never a day that will go by that you won't think of her. Its been 2 years.

MackSlackers said...

Stephanie, I too am a stranger that was directed to your blog by someone. I lost my only daughter shortly after she was born. She lived only 2 hours and we had no clue that their were any problems. She was a beautiful 40 week, 9lb baby that wasn't meant to stay. That was almost 10 years ago and speaking from someone who has done this grieving thing for a while I can't lie and say it gets a whole lot better. Sure there are better days then others but not ONE day has gone by that I don't think of her. Thank goodness for that. I now feel that when I'm sad and cry that it's her way of saying "don't forget me!" Unfortunately sadness is the only emotion I have for her since I wasn't given moments with her to create happy memories, so I'll gladly take the sad. Thank You for your posts. I am not the best with words, but when I was reading your posts all I could think was "Thats IT, Thats exactly how it feels." I remind myself that I have held in my arms another reason to return to our Heavenly Father. I have kissed the face of another reason to keep my family close and to remind me how important the temple is and eternal families are. Thank you Stephanie. I now have 5 boys. My daughter is a huge part of our family even though 4 boys have come since she was born, they all talk about her like they know her. And who knows, maybe they do. Her picture hangs on the wall with theirs. I have never had a problem talking to others about her. She is part of our family. Sometimes I am preplexed by why I haven't had another girl. But like so many other questions, I know I will find out some day. Sorry this is so long. Thank you again and I am so so sorry for your loss. Diana McInelly (omaha, NE.)

a.k.a. Jack said...

Wow! Powerful! Thank you Stephanie.
Love you,
Jenny (Earl) Norton

Marylin and Jimmy said...

It is wonderful how the Lord provides comfort for us in our deepest hour of need. I have been catching up on your blog since I had been out of town for my Aunt's funeral and I must say that you so eloquently stated some great ways for others to help in their friends or families loss. I want you to know that I think of you and your family everyday, we have not met and yet I pray for you as you were my sister. You spoke of your miscarriages and having two myself I had never wanted to mention them in a comment so you would not think I was in competition with your loss. Yet when you spoke of yours it brought up the emotion from those times in my life and it reminded me of how grateful for the knowledge of His plan I am.

Thank you for giving me perspective, now when my 4 year old does crazy things I take pictures and blog about them instead of being angry. Thank you for your thoughts and your feelings that you so openly share with us.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie: I am a visitor here almost daily since I found this a few weeks ago.

What an amazing analogy!! I am guilty of having used the Lord's name in vein and am NOT proud of it. (Even though as a child it was the WORST possible thing we could say- even more so than a cuss word!) Your analogy of what it must feel like to God to have His or His son's names used in vein is an UNBELEIVABLY and extremely touching example. I cannot thank you enough for sharing it!

You and Camille have truly changed my life in SO many ways, Stephanie- and I don't even know you; having come by this blog by pure "accident." (Or fate?) Each entry helps me grow as a person...especially where I need it most: in faith.

You and your family (and your sweet, beautiful angel Camille) will be in our prayers and hearts each day. You truly are a disciple of the Lord in the way you have shared your faith and love with so many people!!! You are a LOVED daughter of God!!!

Charity said...

Thank you for allowing perfect strangers to feel of the spirit and gain valuable insight's into the gospel through you, your family and your testimony.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family...

JB said...

Wow! I've always been appalled when people take our Savior's name in vain, but I've never thought about the issue exactly this way before. You are an extremely gifted writer, and your words always inspire me in my Christian faith.
You and your family are in my prayers every day. Thanks for being such an inspiration to so many.

Emily said...

I found your blog about a week ago and have been truly touched by your words. You are an amazing mouth piece of our Heavenly Father to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. You are a great example to me even though I have never met you. I have truly tried to be a better mother, friend, wife, daughter, sister, etc. since I have found your blog. You are an amazing person and have touched my life in a profound way. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience with me and I appreciate your daily blogs. I truly look forward to them and look forward to learning more from you on a daily basis. I truly think about your family a lot and hope that you can continue to find sources of strength daily. I know the lord loves you and your family so much. You all sound amazing. Thank you again for sharing.

Leslie said...

Stephanie, very timely. We like to watch design type shows and, "Oh my ___!" is often explained when a room makeover is revealed and was just commenting on how often that happens. We liked HGTV because it's a clean channel (or so we thought, there are other reasons it's not so much), but they may be the single biggest inspiration for people taking the Lord's name in vain.

Your ability to relate to what the heavenly parent's suffering must have been as you have suffered in a way that helps you to relate is one of those truths we all must discover as we find our divine nature and learn to be more like Him. As you make your way through these weeks and months, your ability to search for ways to continue to progress has given you this blessing. You have been blessed in your diligence to act in faith and in the ways you've been taught. You have been able to understand one of the "mysteries" of our father in heaven in some measure, able to relate somewhat to how he felt giving his only son. I am grateful that we have a gospel that isn't full of mysteries with no answers, that there is a way to seek answers to questions, to receive comfort, to be uplifted so that we can continue to progress and grow. I am grateful you continue to receive the comfort you need to fill in some of those deep wounds, to help you heal, to replace some of your pain with understanding.

I also want to thank you for being so open in your blog. Because of that, I just started a blog this weekend after having security of my family be #1 concern, especially b/c of needing to protect my family (we have some people that have caused a lot of strife to our family), but I realized by your openness that I am probably hurting us more in my quest to protect so I am going to try to tear down some of the walls I built up so that I can be more open about my testimony of the gospel. So thank you for that nudge you didn't know you gave. :-)

Leslie

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

I come here daily to read your words to hopefully gain an better understanding of the suffering my best friend is going through.

Like your Camille, her Teegan was taken way too young.

Thank you for sharing your heart and helping me understand my friend and myself so much better.

Today's post really struck a nerve with me. I am not a religious person at all, but they way you worded this makes so much sense.

I will no longer take the Lord's name in vain. Thank you for the eye opener.

Heather said...

I want you to know that your testimony strengthens me. I am LDS. I've never dealt with death in such a close circumstance. But I hope you realize how strong you are. Your faith and strength bless my life. I learn from your example of goodness. Keep on keepin' on!

allyson said...

you are a beautiful person.

Melody B. said...

You do not know me. My best friend serves with your sister (Michelle) in Y.W. in AZ. She had told me about your blog (how wonderful and gifted a writer you were and your story), but I failed to get your blog address from her before I left. Well, a few days later I happen to stumble upon it myself, strange actually. I have spent the last hour looking through your blog with tears streaming down my face and my heart ACHING for your loss. I am definetly one of those people who trip all over themselves in a situation like this (so PLEASE forgive me if I offend you in ANY way). I know you prefer only certain things said certain ways, but you also said not to not say something just because of being afraid of offending!:)

I think you are AMAZING! You probably don't feel that way every moment of every day...but you ARE amazing. My hands shake at the THOUGHT of experiencing the kind of pain you describe in some of your posts. I have not lived a charmed life by any means. I've had my share of heartache, but NOTHING that would come CLOSE to this. I have 2 daughters of my own, and I cannot BELIEVE that you can do this without so much as a "why me?" or even just a little anger towards Heavenly Father. I am afraid that I would not be as strong as you are. You are very real with us as you tell us sometimes there are days when just breathing is a chore, but then you also have days where (to me) you probably exceed even our Heavenly Father's expectations for you at this time.

I am just SO sorry for your loss. I am sorry that anyone has to feel that kind of pain in this life, but I thank you for teaching all of us a few thing along the way.

Camille is BEAUTIFUL!

Anonymous said...

Love to you Stephanie.

Jane

Brittany Osborn said...

This is something I feel strongly about as well. Unfortunately I think many people do not understand what it means to take the Lord's name in vain. This will help many I'm sure. Even using His name flippantly is inappropriate. I will try to be more respectful in my prayers and pause to think of His importance. Thank you for the reminder!

Ivens Events said...

I love this post and the photo of your beautiful little girl that tops it. You have such a way of teaching right from wrong, again I will say your daughters are truly lucky to have you to guide them as they grow. I also want to thank you for sharing all of your strength with all of us who log in daily. Your words force me to stop my busy life and recognize just how precious life is. Thank you for your inspiration, I feel very lucky to have found your blog!
Always in my thoughts, Tiffin :)

Deb said...

I just love to look at little Camille. She is just so beautiful and it makes me happy to look at her sweet face. Thank You for sharing so many precious pictures of her.

Crystal and Mark said...

Wow you are amazing. My best friends little girl had drowned on friday. I am telling her to come look at your blog. She needs all the help and love right now that she can.

Cardalls said...

What a beautiful and insightful post, put in such a way as I have never thought of before. Thank you for your insight

The Forney Four said...

I spent the last hour and a half reading your blog. I'm sure you can imagine my sobs as I read each word. I don't know what to say. this post touched me so deeply. Thank you for your faith. Thank you for being a beacon of light that the world needs. Your precious baby and I share the same name, so it was even more difficult to read details of your last 6 weeks. I grieve with you and express my absolute sympathies and condolences at the loss of your baby. I feel bad for the post I wrote on my blog this morning as I just feel so worn out. Now I feel like I need to fall on my knees and express my gratitude for the two angels who wear me out daily, but are absolute gifts from my Father in Heaven. Again, thank you for sharing your faith and your strength. I pray you will feel His strength to get through today.

Maureen said...

Thank you for your sweet and powerful reminder that we need to keep the name of our savior sacred not only in our hearts and our prayers but on our lips as well.

It has always amazed me how being a parent has helped me feel so much closer to my Father in Heaven. You have reminded us all that we need to not only love Him and His Son, but respect them for what they have done and continue to do for us.

Anonymous said...

Dear Waite family,
thank you for your daily inspiration. I would like to share with you what you inspired me to do - to share my testimony through my blog. I lost my brother 16 years ago - and while it never completely goes away, the pain gets easier to deal with. This is, in part, what I shared.
"It always surprises me, as most anyone who has lost someone knows, how life can be so normal and then - wham - oh yeah. Now I remember. I remember the pain. Maybe it is because August is soon here. Maybe it is because people are talking about the county fair. Maybe it is because it is such a deep hurt to loose someone you love that your body remembers of it's own will. It knows when it is time to mourn. I said that I mourn for me. I do not wish him back to this earth life for him. I know that where he is there is peace and joy and love and our Father in Heaven. I mourn for the sister-in-law I do not have. I mourn for the nephews and neices that are not with us, for the family photo that doesn't exist, for the hope that he would finally stop teasing me!!!! - or at least I could tease him back a little! I mourn that my husband never met him - they would get along well. I mourn that my sons do not know what a good man he is and that they are not getting teased by him. Even as I mourn I find peace though. Peace that these experiences are not to be had now - but they will happen. Life continues after death. My Savior died for me that I might be forgiven of my sins and live again. With my family. So it is more without than with for me now, but someday it will be more with than without." You are doing a great thing sharing the gospel and comforting many people with your strength. Thank you.

McGiven Family.... said...

I wrote you a note before but I wanted to say thank you again for your beautiful words of wisdom that are so inspiring to all of us. I have held my children a little longer and laughed a little harder with them each and every day since I started reading your blog. Thank you so much for your inspiration. You have touched the lives of so many in such a short time. Our prayers are continually with you and your loved ones at this time. Your angel baby is beautiful!

Mythreesons said...

What a perfect post, Stephanie. I've always struggled with explaining why we don't take His name in vain... somehow me just feeling sick over it wasn't enough. You have managed to articulate it so sweetly and completely. I love your daily inspiration and look forward to it. Thanks again for being so close to the Spirit. It's really such a blessing for all of US.

Jamie said...

Very well put. Once again.... inspiring!!

Andrea said...

I don't know you personally, but like many of your other blog stalkers, I visit your blog occasionally. My cousin recommended it, and I find comfort in your words. I am reminded each day about the importance of the plan of salvation, the Atonement, and my loving Heavenly Father who knows me. I am also taking more time with each of my children. Thank you for inspiring me to become better. You have a mission in life, and I know that your trials are a part of that mission. You have a way to reach out to others. Thank you for writing and sharing when you probably do not feel like it.

I am sure that you have read the article, but in the last Ensign there was an article about sharing the gospel through the internet. It talked about using your blog as a way to do this. I am trying to do this, but you are a wonderful example of this. I am sure you have touched many people with your strength and faith.

Shelle said...

wow, that was incredible! I agree with you and hope it is okay for me to link to your page! Thanks for the reminder and renewal of faith for me!

Kara Jayne said...

Stephanie-
That was so beautiful. I will never be able to say a prayer the same. Thank you.

Would you mind terribly letting me know the flowers of your two other girls? You mentioned that the tulip was for Camille, and the lily for Lauren. I could not find anywhere else what the others were. You can email me from my profile. If you are too busy and/or don't want to share that information I completely understand.

Lindsay Christensen said...

When I read your deep, heart-felt personal thoughts, I feel a deep connection with you... as though I have known you my whole life. I have felt the emotions you describe. My tiny son passed away in december. It is a pain that I would not wish upon anyone.

You are a strong, faithful woman. And a wonderful mother. I can tell. Take comfort in knowing that our precious children await our arival in the Celelstial Kingdom where we will have the oppetunity to raise them in a perfect world... a world free of pain, sorrow, and temptation. A world where everything is pure and holy! How great will be our joy!

I love you, friend. I pray for you often and my thoughts are always with you. hold on to your faith, and pray always. And remember that you are NEVER alone.

lyn. said...

I don't want to distract in anyway from this beautify post, but I do want to share with you an insight presented to our Sunday School class, not too long ago, about Exodus 20:7.

Our very knowledgeable, yet humble, teacher pointed out that, most likely, this scripture refers to men taking the name of God or Jesus Christ when they do not have the priesthood authority to do so.

D&C 63:60-62: “Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, even Jesus Christ. Wherefore, let all men beware how they take my name in their lips–For behold, verily I say, that many there be who use the name of the Lord, and use it in vain, having not authority.”

In other words, they do it "in vain" because it is fruitless, and non-binding. Just think of all the men and women leading churches today who preach as if they have authority from God, when they lack the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

I hope that made sense. Our Sunday School teacher said it so much better, and it really does make sense.

Of course, this doesn't mean that we have license to speak our Heavenly Father's name or our Savior's name in any way that is unholy or disrespectful. I couldn't agree more with what you said about reverencing those sacred names!!

love ya. lyn.

Cuddle Cottage said...

Your comments make me pause; I have broken that commandment and I am newly resolved not to.

I love the photograph of beautiful Camille.

Nick & Jeannette said...

I have never looked at it that way before. But reading this makes perfect sense and really struck me. I can't imagine someone using one of my kid's names that way. Wow how many times do I hear "oh my g__" and I probably don't think about it because it is such a common phrase.. Thanks for posting this.

Jori said...

Wonderful,wonderful post. I so enjoy your insights.

cmomof2 said...

I want you to know I love you, Im still reading your blog, still soaking up the messages. And I wanted to tell you, if you need me, Im here, and I love you!

Stephanie said...

A great explanation and perspective of what it means to have and show respect for our Savior!

Tabbi said...

I found your blog today. Thank you for being a good example of the church and it's teachings and for sharing them with anyone that reads about your life. This post is a lesson that I needed to hear today. I don't even know you, but your loss brings me to tears. I'm so glad that you have the gospel.

~plaid said...

Honestly, didn't read the comments. I know this is an older post. But I wanted to share my perspective.

I used to think just the speaking of a name was to be reverenced. While this is true, there is also a much greater offense. When we use the sacred name of another to justify our actions -- that is much more concerning to God and to those whose names we take upon ourselves.

It has bothered me when others will use the names of my children who died to get out of doing things because they are so "troubled," and yet it is clear it is just an excuse. It makes me so very frustrated that my little one's names are used in vain. In grief, it is hard for me. Sometimes I worry that when things are hard, and I blame it on the tender feelings I have of losing Bridget and Dominic, I worry that I am justifying not being the strong person I need to be and in vain invoking their names in justification. I know, though, that God understands my heart and my capacity and will judge accordingly. So don't misunderstand.

But there are many times that those of us who have taken the name of our Savior upon us wrongfully assert authority to use His name in relation to some sort of act or outcome that *WE* feel is justified, when in reality it is contrary to the Will of the Lord. I think we can't always discern, but there are definitely times when it is clear. Look at, for example, the case of Brian Mitchell who has justified his actions in the name of God. I think *that* is more horrifying a use of the name of the Lord in vain than simply using the Lord's name as an expletive. Both are to be avoided, but we really must be so very careful not to attribute any of our actions as justified. Even acts that are not as "sinister" as Mitchell's.