Kate Lee: Overcoming Paralyzing Self-Doubt
It was just a normal temple recommend interview but it changed Kate Lee’s life. It was a simple question, “Is there anything else that you need to talk about?” On this week’s episode, Kate Lee shares in detail the transformative experience that allowed her to see herself through God’s eyes.
I feel like, because I so often listen to my doubts and believe my doubts, I kept myself from Christ. I kept myself from God. I kept myself from progression. And the second I started listening to the Spirit and trusting the Spirit over my doubts, then my whole life changed.
1:08- A Temple Recommend Interview
4:41- The Lead-Up to This Moment
8:23- "Is There Anything Else You Want To Talk About?"
10:38- Orchestrated by God
16:14- Homework Assignments
21:38- Taking Time
23:25- Tools for Combating Doubt
27:26- Change of Life
29:37- Painting a Picture of the Love of Christ
39:15- Ecclesiastical Leaders
42:11- The Love of God Through Painting
42:23- Two Scriptures that Teach Unconditional Love
44:56- What Does It Mean To Be "All In" The Gospel of Jesus Christ?
This episode originally aired on September 25, 2019.
Morgan Jones: Artist Kate Lee recently wrote the following on Instagram, "I used to focus only on what I thought I wasn't. I would only allow myself to believe the negative things I thought were truth about who I was." But something changed for Kate during a temple recommend interview, and on today's episode, she shares what led her to now be able to honestly write, "Believe in who you are, let go of your insecurities and let light in. You have so much to give to this world. But you can't do that if you're holding too tightly to the things that hold you back."
Kate Lee's art is exclusively available through Deseret Book. Through her Christ-centered art, she seeks to share not only her love for the Savior, but His love for all of us. She and her husband, Mike, are the parents of two boys and two dogs.
This is "All In," an LDS Living podcast, where we asked the question what does it really mean to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ? I'm Morgan Jones. And I am so grateful to have Kate Lee with me today. Kate, thank you so much for coming.
Kate Lee: Thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
MJ: Well, I have to tell you for those who are listening who maybe haven't seen the videos that Kate did with LDS Living, they are remarkable. I will put them in the show notes. And you can not only hear her testimony, but also see her testimony through her art as well, which is really cool visually. But I watched those videos back, I'd watch them before, but I watched them again to prep for this interview. And I was so struck by this story that you have to offer because I think that so many people in the world right now are struggling to feel their self-worth and to feel God's love for them. And I think your story is really unique because it starts kind of with your ecclesiastical leader kind of showing you that love step by step and so if it's okay with you I want to start with your stake president because I love him. And if I could give him a big hug, I would do it. Hopefully someday I get that chance.
KL: We can arrange that.
MJ: Thank you. That would be a dream come true but I feel like it would be great if we could kind of tell listeners what your life was like leading up to this temple recommend, normal everyday, I mean we don't have a temple recommend interview every day but normal temple recommend interview. What was your life life like leading up to that that?
KL: I mean, if you want to go all the way back to when I was a kid but really what I carried with me really from when I was a little kid was super, super insecurities. You know, I just felt like, I felt like it was a very unwanted child. And so because of that I just, I really believe that nobody liked me including, my teachers and my friends and just the environment around me. I really felt out of place in where I was and that was through elementary school, that was through Junior High, that was through high school, into my mission. It got a little better through my mission, you know, but that was just insecurities that I carried with me for my whole life. And so I kind of just walked through life aimless up until my mission, right? And then just, I just felt like I was less important than everybody else. And that included Heavenly Father, and that included Christ and that didn't really matter to them. Does that makes sense? And so leading up to this interview, so we moved to Layton just over six years ago, we moved to Layton, and it was about three or four months after we moved to Layton was when I went in for this temple recommend interview. Prior to that I had just been carrying this heavy doubt about who I was. My boys were seven and nine when we moved and I just kept telling my husband "I want to be a good mom. I wish that I could be better as a person. I wish that I could be better as a human being. I wish that I could be good enough for God, you know, like, I just don't feel like I'm good enough for anybody and how come Heavenly Father gave me these two children to raise when I'm not a good person?" And so this is the weight that I'm carrying, I'm not good enough at anything...anything that I've been given, I'm just not measuring up to any of that. And so, I go into this temple recommend interview with the only intention of getting it renewed. And that was it. You know, I didn't have any intention of talking to him about anything. I wasn't even. That was never even in the plan to go and talk to him about what I had been carrying. I just wanted to get the recommend and get out and be done and move on. But during this interview, do you want me to talk about that?
MJ: Yeah. Well, and maybe before, before we go into that, when you say like the way that you felt all growing up. I'm sure that there are a lot of people listening that feel that way for various reason. What were some of the things that contributed to those feelings in your life?
KL: There are, I mean, there are a lot of factors that play into that. I think specifically, was just home life for me was difficult. I felt like the environment that we were in wasn't the worst environment, but it wasn't the most loving environment either. And, you know, I felt like, I wanted to be accepted. But I felt like I wasn't accepted at home. And so that played into other roles in my life, like friends at school, I felt like I wasn't accepted there. And just the people around me, you know, just different groups like church groups, or I was on the basketball team. I felt like I was just the worst person on that team, you know. So it's just the way we were raised was just kind of...it wasn't awful, but it wasn't the best either. Does that makes sense?
MJ: Yeah. And I think it's interesting, you touched on the fact that you had talked to your husband about some of these things. And I'm curious, like, what was his response when you voiced some of these feelings? Because I'm sure that there are spouses that are like, "Can't you see how great you are? I wouldn't have married you if you weren't great." So what was your husband's response? And why do you think maybe you needed to hear it from someone else?
KL: Right. Well, my husband gave that same response? Why can't you see that you're so amazing. I wouldn't have chosen you or whatever and, and the whole time since, you know, I mean, we were missionaries together. We can talk about that or whatever, but we were missionaries together and so it started then "You're a good missionary. You do good things. Why are you doubting yourself?" and then when we got married, it's like, "Honey, you're so good. And you're missing it. You're missing the greatness of you." And I would always say, "Thank you for being so nice to me. But honey, you're missing it." You know, like you're not seeing who I really am. And I just tried to convince him I'm not good. And he would just, obviously he'd come back with these good, "Honey, come on, let's talk about this, kind of a 'you are a good person,'" I think, because I needed to learn to trust. And I learned through my stake president...is how I learned to trust. Trusting was something that wasn't. I didn't ever learn that growing up. I learned to put up walls and shield myself because I was told negative things about who I was. And so when somebody said something positive about me, I was like you're wrong. Because I've been told I'm stupid. And that's truth. I've been told that I'm not as important or I'm unwanted or I'm unloved or whatever. And that's truth. Why are you telling me these good things because those are lies. Does that makes sense. So for Mike to come in and say "Honey, I love you because of this" or "I love you" period. That was really really hard for me to be like, "But you don't because I'm bad or I'm stupid or I'm ugly," you know, these things are things that went through my head. So it was easier for me to believe the negative than to accept the truth. Right? And then, anyway, I think when my Stake President came in and he started telling me things, he allowed, he gave me opportunities that I hadn't had before to start to learn to trust and open up about different things that I was too afraid to open up about. Does that make sense?
MJ: Yeah, totally. Okay. So let's go back now to that temple recommend interview. Okay. So you're in this interview, run of the mill, right. And then tell us what happened with your stake president. Okay. So I go in and it's just your basic, you know, questions and you get it signed and everything, and then I'm getting ready to leave and he says to me, "Sister Lee, is there anything else that you want to talk about?" And I just brushed it off? I said, "No, I'm okay. Thank you though." And I tried to leave and he stopped me again and he said, "Sister Lee, is there anything else that you need to talk about?" And in that moment, it was like, you know, where time stands still almost. And you can just see the whole scene playing out, it was like one of those moments where it was like, "I can talk and tell him things and I can be vulnerable here or I can just run and you know, not have to face this." And I knew that if I didn't take this opportunity, I would regret it. And so I just, I mean, this is all in a couple of seconds, but I just started crying, like I just burst into tears really. And I started to talk to him about things that I went through when I was a kid and these insecurities and these doubts and everything that I had been carrying for so long, things that I was too afraid to talk about. I started to open up to him. And it just, it was amazing. It was one of the most like, not word vomit, but you just pour everything out under the table. It was from that interview, we talked for two hours in that first initial interview and we talked about Christ and who Christ is and what he can do for us and how does Christ feel about you Kate? And, you know, my answer was, "Well, I'm the last person to be saved. He's going to save everybody else. And it'll be 'Oh, yeah, Kate over there, maybe we'll talk about saving her,'" you know? And anyway, we talked about these things. And he said, "You need to know who you are, you need to see yourself as a daughter of God. And you need to see yourself the way that Christ sees you." And so he said, "Why don't we start meeting every week to talk about these things, and essentially, to heal from all the doubts and stuff that you've been carrying your whole life?" And so we did. We started meeting from there every week for a really long time, for a really long time. We met probably for about four years.
MJ: Oh, wow.
KL: And so it was good, though. It was hard, but it was good. You know?
MJ: Yeah. One thing that I love about this approach is just I think sometimes life feels so busy. And maybe we don't take the time to recognize people that are struggling right or that the Spirit is trying to help us see that someone struggling, we're in such a hurry always. That's just the pace of our lives, in our culture. But I think the fact that he took the time and now hearing that this happened for four years every week? This is a man who has his own family, his own job and he's doing this as a volunteer. And I just think that is remarkable. And so there are a lot of questions that I have surrounding this. And I think some might hear the story. And they might think, "Well, he's the stake president, he was not a therapist?
KL: That's right.
MJ: But he invited you, he started extending invitations, and we'll talk a little bit more about that. But he started extending invitations of things to do almost like homework. And some might say, you know, "Did he overstep his bounds as a stake president? For you Kate, do you feel like your Stake President was led by the Spirit? And why?
KL: I absolutely feel like he was led by the Spirit. I feel like the whole moving to Layton, you know, needing to get that recommend, all of that just came at the right time...that it was just Heavenly Father had a plan in store and it all came together at the right moment. I think he was...I just think if it had happened anytime sooner, I would not have been ready, my heart wouldn't been prepared to open up in the way that it did. You know, I feel like he just was very guided. And I wish that I could explain the spirit that was in those meetings. I wish I knew how to have the words of the vocabulary to explain the spirit there. But you could see when we were talking, and I was sharing my experiences and stories you could see, it sounds so cheesy, but you could see him listening to the spirit, because he would take minutes to pause. And he would think, and then he would come back with these answers or assignments or scriptures or whatever. And it would be exactly what I needed to hear or what I had been struggling with. And we hadn't maybe hadn't talked about it in that conversation yet, you know, and he would just have these different things, different things to say that I'm like, the spirit is just working right through you right now. And you could see it right. Just in the moment. I don't know how, if that makes sense. But it was a really cool, I do feel like he was very guided and directed. And it was just, I needed it. And my husband always says I think the reason we moved to Layton was specifically so that I could meet with with my stake president because of the things that he's helped me with and brought, you know, he really has led me to Christ through him taking that time and meeting with me.
MJ: Yeah. What do you think it was Kate about him? You mentioned that there was this moment where it felt like time was kind of standing still.
MJ: But what do you think it was about him and his nature that helped you trust him enough to open up about these things that you had been dealing with your entire life?
KL: Right. I think something that I have always craved is to have and I apologize if I get emotional, but...
MJ: We've got tissues?
KL: Thank you. I saw that.
MJ: We've made that mistake many times before. Today, we're ready.
KL: Good. Because I might need it, all of them actually. Just ask him. I think I went through like 30,000 boxes of tissues in his office.
MJ: Thank you Costco.
KL: Right. That's right. No, but so I think something I've always craved, though, is to have a father that was really involved in my life, I did not have that growing up. And I really don't have a good relationship with my father now. And I just have always wanted that type of relationship, you know, and so for him...for him to ask me, "Is there anything else that you need to talk about?" That was really the first time that that anybody that would resemble a father figure had asked me that question. And I thought, are you really interested? And I did ask him, "Do you really want to hear this? Are you really interested in what I have to say and what I have to share?" And he says, "Of course, of course." And, again, I wish I could describe his voice, you guys. It's just very Heavenly Father-like, he's just very comforting, a good guy, you know? And so I just feel like when he said to me, "Is there anything you need to talk about?" It was just this very calming invitation that "You can trust this man, and you can talk to him about the things that have been on your shoulders," and I did feel the spirit in that moment. "This is your opportunity to move past what you've been carrying for so long." So I think, you know, again, everything just kind of came into every...all the things I had been carrying just all came into play at the right time. Yeah, I feel like that was very orchestrated by Heavenly Father.
MJ: So from there came from that first meeting, you mentioned that this went on for four years, right? And that he would give you these different assignments? What were some of those assignments? Can you give listeners examples? And how did you see them changing you?
KL: They're so good. So I went through, prepping for this podcast, I went through and found my journal that I kept while I was meeting with him. And I wrote...there's so many assignments, so many good ones. But some of them I mean, a lot of them were like, go home and read the scriptures. Like how, how can you apply these scriptures in your life? or why do you think this is a meaningful scripture for your life? So I'd go home, and I'd read and I'd write, so was a lot of them. But a few of my favorite ones were I kept, this sounds so dumb, but it was so good. It was an anger journal. And he gave me permission. He says, "Do you ever allow yourself to feel the anger that you carry?" You know, like, "Do you validate those feelings?" And I'd say, "Well, no, because I'm trying to be forgiving, and I'm trying to move forward." And he says, "You have to feel the anger, you have to let yourself feel that" and then he's like, "Don't hold on to it. But feel it and then move past it." And so he said, "I give you permission to write an anger journal," you know. And so I would write down all my frustrations and everything that I had felt or whatever, everything that I was holding in, you know, and it was, I don't know what that sounds like. But it was so therapeutic for me to be able to validate those feelings that I had not validated yet. And to put them in a journal, and then to just close it and be done with that anger. And to like, put it aside, you know, and I did not keep the journal. Thankfully, we had a big fire pit and I burned it.
MJ: You burned it? Perfect. That's what you should do with an angry journal right?
KL: Yeah, but it was good. But that was one of my favorite ones. Another one was my sticky notes assignment, which I've talked about before. That one was actually one the most powerful assignments.
MJ: Can you tell those that are listening that haven't seen that what that is?
KL: Oh you guys, it's the best. So we were in a meeting, and we're talking and I was just telling them, you know, this is how I feel about myself. And he started pulling out sticky notes. And he put them on his desk. And he says, "Okay, I want you to write down what you think is truth about you, write it down." And I was like, "No, I don't want you to see this. Like, if you see it, then you're going to know that I'm a failure, and I'm not okay with that." And he goes, "You just write it down, write down what you think is truth." And so it took me a minute, but I started writing down things. Like I'm stupid, I am ugly, I need to evaporate, my problems aren't worth it. You know, I'm a bad mom. And this is what I thought was truth about me, you know, that I, I'm worthless. And he looked at them and he he said, "Thank you for writing them down." And he picked them up, and he put them aside. And then he pulled out more. And he said, "Now I want you to write the truth." And I really protested with him. I said, "That's truth over there. That is who I am. That's how that's who Heavenly Father sees is this over here." And he said to me, "Sister Lee, that is not who Heavenly Father sees," he says, "I want you to take these sticky notes home, and I want you to pray about them. And I want to listen to what the Spirit is going to teach you about who you really are." And I was scared to do that. Because I thought "If I take these to Heavenly Father, he's gonna agree with me." And he's gonna say, "Yeah, you had it right the first time." And so it took me a few days to be comfortable with the idea of praying about these sticky notes. But there was one morning when my boys had just left for school. And I just felt like, Okay, I have from 8:30 to 3:30, I have all day to do this, I'm not gonna do anything, no pressure, you know, to do anything, I'm going to just try and get the courage it takes to pray about these. And so my boys left for school. And I just told myself, "Do it now. Do it right now. Because, you know, what do you have to lose, basically, so I knelt down at our couch, and I just started to pray about these sticky notes. And I didn't really get any words out, it was more just weeping. But thankfully, Heavenly Father knows what we're feeling. He knows our prayers. And without even trying, I didn't even really have to ask, you know, is this true? Is this true? You know, it just was, like these positive words just filled my head. And it was just like, "You are so good, you're so much more than what you're giving yourself credit for," you know, and, and I tried to write down, I tried to keep up with the spirit. I was trying to write all this good positive stuff down, and it was just coming so fast. And, you know, it was just this moment of warmth and peace, it was a quiet moment, but it was just like, warm and like a blanket, like when you get tucked in bed, and it's really cold outside, and you get a nice warm blanket on you. It was just an amazing experience. And so I wrote it all down. And I've treasured that. I have it in a folder. You know, one side says "Truth." And the other side says, "Lies," and I keep it with me often because I forget really easily, you know, what the truth actually is versus what I think is truth. And so that was just one of the most powerful, for me, one of the most changing assignments that he's given to me.
MJ: Yeah. I couldn't help but think while you were talking about how I wish that I could talk to the Stake President, maybe you can arrange that as well. But I was just thinking, you know, what was this experience like for him? And what would he say about his gratitude for having had that experience and why it was worth every effort? Because I was thinking, you know, he probably was putting in work to come up with these things. I don't know, maybe, maybe it just came off from the Spirit. But I think a lot of times we have to put in work, right? And I love this so much. Because I think that there are opportunities within the Church where the Lord gives us a chance to be worked through, and that sometimes we're the ones that benefit from that more than anyone else. And I think right now, with the Church, you know, not only do we have stake presidents and bishops and Relief Society Presidents, but we also have like ministering interviews now, which allows for a lot more people to sit in spaces like this and to have opportunities for the Spirit to work through them. And so I think it will be interesting to see how that begins to benefit people in their lives. And I think just taking that opportunity to say, "Is there anything else that you need?" is huge.
KL: Right, it is huge. And there's a lot of people that need that. A lot of people, I feel like from just my own experience, it's scary to open up, because you don't want to inconvenience anybody. And you don't, I mean, sometimes it's hard to trust that somebody is really going to step up and help or whatever the situation is, it's really difficult to open up. And so when we can say, "Hey, I'm here, and I'm your friend, and I'm going to stick by you, what do you need personally?" And to be there for them, not just say it, "Hey, I'm here for you, but don't really call on me, because I'm not really going to be there for you," but to mean it and be there for them. Because that's how I feel like my stake president, he gave me his time. He didn't ever throw his hands up in the air and say, "I'm done with this. Like, we've been working together for four years. Come on, like get it already," you know, he just, he was so patient and understanding and thoughtful about it. And anyway, I feel like we can do that for other people as well. It would just be such a great movement for all humankind, not just people in the Church. Everyone out there needs it.
MJ: Totally. You mentioned Kate, that sometimes it's easy to forget these things, even years later and so what do you do to kind of retain these things, this transformative experience that you had, and when there are moments where those doubts start to creep back in, what are some tools that you found to be effective?
KL: Practice, because I feel like at first, after I did this sticky note assignment, it was really easy to fall back into, "Well, that was...Heavenly Father was lying to me" kind of thing. But...that's why I kept it with me so that I could reread it over and relive that experience over and over to remind me that that's truth, right. But I do think it's a daily thing where we tell ourselves good things about ourselves, I think we get too much in a habit of being like, "Oh, my hair is this or I'm not as cute as so and so, we're just comparing each other, comparing ourselves to each other. And that just naturally tears us down, it just naturally kind of defeats our spirits. And, you know, I think if we can get in the habit of saying, "You know what, maybe I don't like my hair today, but I'm still a good person," you know, I'm still good at this or whatever. And we focus on what the positive is. And that's what I try and do when I do get stuck in those moments. I try not to get stuck for too long, you know, like, or I'll talk to myself, "You're feeling this way because why? Like, what happened? What led up to this? Let's talk about that. I always tell myself, let's validate why you're feeling this way? You know, and so I do talk to myself about that. But I always try and come back with "Well, you're still good. Yeah, maybe you messed up. But Heavenly Father still loves you and is still proud of you for lots of things." And the other thing that I like to do, I have an Instagram account that I post my paintings and stuff on, I always try and leave a caption that is positive and that hopefully helps others feel light and good afterwards, because it helps me most the time I'm posting it for myself, you know, so that I can continue to walk forward or whatever, but trying to lift others by being positive with yourself is key. It's key to overcoming all of what Satan wants you to believe.
MJ: Yeah. I think it's neat to see Kate, in person. For me, it's been inspiring to see because you exude confidence. And maybe that's something that you haven't always felt and obviously something that you've worked hard to get to. But I think that it's so neat to see that that is possible, even when you have thought the roughest thing about yourself, you can get to a place of confidence and strength. In this experience, how long ago did you stop meeting with the stake president? Or how long, what time frame was that?
KL: I'd say it's been about a year and a half? What are we 2019? Yeah, about a year and a half that we consistently...we still keep in touch you know? He's currently not my Stake President anymore because we've moved, but we do, in fact I was just texting him yesterday about just different things. Life is good. We like our new place and that kind of stuff. But yeah, it's it's been like, consistently, it's been about a year and a half since we've fully met.
MJ: And how have you seen that transform or change both you and your family? Because I think that this is probably something that has affected your marriage and you as a mother, how have you seen those things?
KL: Just by meeting with him?
KL: I just think you talked about confidence, gaining that confidence, because I've been told that a lot. Oh, you seem so confident. I'm like, really? Because I do not feel it. You know, and I certainly don't believe that, you know, but I feel like that confidence, gaining that confidence in the last four plus years, I guess five years now, it's really, it's changed me in the way I am as a mother, like, I'm not so hard on myself when I mess up as a mom, because I'm not gonna be perfect. None of us are right? But like, with my boys, I'm not as hard on myself. "Okay. Well, I probably shouldn't have gotten upset about that kind of thing, but it's okay." And, you know, instead of before, I would be like, "Oh, I'm the worst mom, like, Why did you make me a mom, you know, I'm ruining lives here. These are children of God, and I'm leading down the wrong path or whatever." So that confidence has just helped me to be calm, and I feel like it's brought a lot of happiness. I've allowed more happiness into my life, which is great. And I've included God in my life, which I didn't do that before, because I didn't believe he was interested in me. And so now I'm like, hey, Heavenly Father, kind of, I mean, not so casually. But I do...every day I tried to make sure that I'm involving Heavenly Father because He wants to be involved. And then with my marriage, it is it's just, we just have a lot of fun. It's more I don't want to say the wrong way, light hearted, but I'm not taking everything so personally, right? Does that make sense? And so it's just, it's better all the way around. Because I've gained knowledge of who I really am. And I'm okay with who I am. All of my insecurities, all of my flaws, everything. I'm okay with who I am as a person. And that just made everything lighter.
MJ: Yeah, it's almost like a weight.
KL: Yeah, completely lifted. And then you can breathe right and be happy.
MJ: Yeah. So at toward the end, or I don't know exactly what part of this four year timeframe we're talking. But at some point, your stake president found out that you like to paint?
KL: Right, he knew that right from the beginning.
MJ: And he invited you to paint a picture for him. If anyone has shopped in Deseret Book, in the recent past, you have likely seen Kate's art. And it is not like something that you just do at home by yourself. And so for you when he invited you to paint this picture what was going through your mind? And then what did you end up painting?
KL: Okay, so it was it was one of his assignments that he'd given to me. And then he handed me a scripture reference during this time we were talking and the reference is 2 Nephi 26:22? I think is what it is. But it talks about the flax and chords. So that's the Scripture. So he hands it to me, and he says, "I want you to paint this, this scripture," and he's like, "I want you to interpret it however you want." And I said, "No. I said, No way. Are you kidding me? I'm not the right artist. I'm so not good enough for this." And he said "No. Yeah you are, you can do it." And he basically wouldn't take no for an answer, which I love about him but because he does it in such a loving kind way. Yeah. Right. So I was like, "Okay, okay, I'll take this home. And I'll think about it." And I thought about it for a really long time. Like I was so nervous. "What if I paint it and he hates it?" And then he's gonna be like, "Oh, yeah, she's a failure here." You know, like, these are all the thoughts are going through my head, I'm not interested anymore. She just wasted my time" kind of thing. And so I got all these ideas and I started drawing it and then I put it on this canvas. And normally, it takes me about an hour, to sometimes up to four hours to paint a picture, not super long. But this painting took me nine months to paint, like, forever, because I drew it and that was okay because I could erase it. So it wasn't like I wasn't committed, you know, yeah. But once I put the paint on and I paint with watercolor. But this one was acrylic. And so once it was on, it was on, you know, you're just committed. And so it took me nine months to paint this picture. And it was just something I really wanted so I prayed about it a lot. I wanted to make sure I was going to get the feeling right, I wanted to make sure it was going to get, you know, the emotion that I felt, I wanted to get right on the canvas. And so the scripture talks about flaxen cords. And I'd been talking with my Stake President, and he's so inspired because he gave me the scripture reference that talks about flaxen cords and how they gently lead you down to hell. And I was thinking, my flaxen cords are my doubts about who I am. And and they are. They're keeping me from progressing. They're keeping me from happiness that I can have, like they're keeping me from things. And so he, in essence, like by asking me to paint this picture, he's inviting me to break free of these flaxen cords. And so I want to put that emotion on the canvas. Right? So I'm petrified of getting it wrong. So I made sure that I wasn't going to rush myself. But nine months later, I finished the painting, and I was proud of it but I was terrified to take it out of the studio to let anybody else to see it. Because then I'm like, I can be proud of it now. But what if my Stake President sees it and he's like, "Nevermind, like you just blew the whole, like, we can do anything now," you know, but I took it to him. And just, again, I wish I could describe the way his reaction was and everything, the way he talks, he was just like, "Oh my goodness, this is so beautiful. This is exactly what I was hoping for, you know, thank you so much for it." And he says, "I want to keep it and put it somewhere that's gonna just be so sacred for me," you know, just the everything that he was saying was like, "This is amazing. Nobody's ever reacted the quite the way you're reacting." And it was a new thing because I'm like, "Oh, I'm trusting, you know, like, I can trust you with this, and I'm okay with this." But during that nine month period, I also learned how to trust God, more and more, I learned how to trust in my abilities. Like I'd always wanted to be an artist my whole life. That's all I ever wanted to be was an artist. But I never felt like I was good enough to be the artist that I wanted to be. And I always just doubted that. And so with this assignment, it was like, I kind of blossomed through it. I know that sounds cheesy, but it was just like, I started as this timid shy artist, and then it just kind of came to be like, "Oh, I can do this, oh, I actually want to do this," and I learned to just rely on Heavenly Father and him teaching me who I can actually become through that. And from that painting I gave that to my stake president was such a positive experience that I wanted to do more, I feel like that assignment opened up doors for me, you know, that really started this momentum that hasn't stopped. You know, it taught me that I really can paint those Christ-centered paintings that I always craved to paint, you know, it just was such a, again, right along with the sticky note assignment, it was one of the most powerful assignments that he'd given me because of what it taught me and how it brought me to Christ and how it helped me to share my testimony on paper, you know, and through my paintings and stuff.
MJ: Yeah, I love that so much. So Kate has shared with us that painting, correct me if I'm wrong, but it is not available.
KL: It's not available. But you can go knock on his door, he'll let you see it.
MJ: But also we'll share it, if it's okay with you? We'd love to share it on our Instagram account, which is allin.podcast. So if you want to see what that painting looks like, which is stunning, you can look there, but when you were telling that story I found myself becoming really emotional, because I was thinking about how Heavenly Father gives us all talents, and opportunities, and how sometimes we may feel like, what if we bring this to Him, what if we come back to Him and we're like, "This is what I did with what you gave me." And He's like, "You blew it."But that I think His reaction actually will be much like your stake president in that it's like, this is exactly what I hoped you would do with this and I think that is such a beautiful thought.
KL: You're making me get emotional.
MJ: But I think that that is what this is all about. Right? That God is giving us this moral experience so that when we come back to Him, He can show us his love in that way.
KL: Right. And I think that's why it's so important for us to know who we are, I feel like the world so often tells us what we have to be and we really listen to that too easily like we listen to, here's the standards that you have to meet from the world, right? And we listen to that, does that make sense? And when we do that we're really keeping ourselves from progressing or from becoming who we're meant to become. I feel like, because I so often listen to my doubts and believe my doubts, I kept myself from Christ. I kept myself from God, I kept myself from progression. And the second I started listening to the Spirit, and trusting the Spirit over my doubts, then my whole life changed, my whole perspective on what I wanted to be and who I could become changed. It wasn't, well, I can't do that because I'm not good enough. It was like, Well, why not try that? Like, what do I have to lose? And I think, yeah, it's just really important that we try to seek out who we are so that those things that we've been given, because we all have something different to give, you know, but when we seek that out, and we're really trying hard to develop that that's when we can really reach that full potential and we can have that joy because we're promised to have joy here, right? And we can have that joy if we're seeking out those things.
MJ: Yeah. For those listening, that are not familiar with the scripture that you were referring to, which is from the Book of Mormon, I'm just going to share that really quick. And then we can move on to our last couple of questions. But in 2 Nephi 26:22 it says, "And there are also secret combinations, even as in times of old according to the combinations of the devil, for he is the founder of all these things. Yay, the founder of murder and works of darkness. Yeah. And he leadeth them by the neck with a flaxen cord until he bindeth them with his strong cords forever." And then I love the next verse because it says, "For behold, my beloved brethren, and I say unto you, that the Lord God worketh not in darkness." And I love that in the painting, again, you all need to go and look at this. But in the painting, you show a woman reaching toward Christ. And you see her breaking free of those flaxen cords. And I just think that is such a powerful, powerful visual. Kate, as we wrap up, I am curious about two things in regard to the love of God.
MJ: And one of those is how did you feel the love of God through your stake president? And what would be your advice to other ecclesiastical leaders, both male and female, who have the opportunity to sit with people in these like, very vulnerable, sensitive spaces?
KL: Right. So the first one, how did I feel the love of God from my stake President, I feel like kind of, like I talked about before, he was the first father figure that I really trusted in my life, you know, and that he was patient with me, and he never gave up on me. Like I said, he never threw his hands up in the air and said, "I've had enough. We've been talking for so long, and you're just not getting it." You know, he just, he was consistent. He was constant, you know. And I feel like because he was constant, and he didn't tell me to "Go away, I don't have time for you right now." It really taught me who God was, who really Heavenly Father was.
MJ: He was modeling that behavior.
KL: Yeah. Because before I had believed that Heavenly Father wasn't interested in me, and my stake president taught me otherwise. He just he taught me how to trust, I don't know, and to trust, Heavenly Father, and that I was important to Heavenly Father, because if I was important to my stake president, then I must be important to Heavenly Father. He just taught me how, you know, Heavenly Father is always by our sides continually. You know? Yeah.
KL: Yes, unfailing. That's a good word. Yeah, He's really rooting for us. Your second question? Yeah, I feel like in these situations, it can be really easy to, because there's a lot of people that maybe you're seeing if it is another Bishop or another stake president or Relief Society president or whatever, it can be really easy, because you're over a lot of people to just kind of, "You're okay," kind of rushing through, you know, right. But to sit and be patient with them, really to kind of almost put yourself in their shoes and what they're going through. I think of the scripture that's in 1 Samuel, I think it's 16:7, and it talks about how the man sees the outside, but Heavenly Father sees right to the heart, you know, that's really what we need, to see past the outside and right to the person's heart and really look out to them, but to be patient and loving and prayerful for these individuals, because maybe they seem okay on the outside because like I said about earlier, people have said to me all the time, "You seem so confident," but I'm not like on the inside. Like on the inside, I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm so this, you know," and they can seem okay on the outside, but we don't know what they're feeling on the inside. And just by taking that time to be patient with them and prayerful and trying to put yourself in their shoes can make a huge difference. Huge difference for more than just one person. Because meeting with my Stake President just didn't help me wasn't just for me, it's helped my family, but it's also opened up doors with paintings. And it's just kind of this domino effect. And so that's so neat.
MJ: What has painting and really devoting yourself to Christ centered paintings, what has that taught you about the love of our Heavenly Father?
KL: That we all matter, regardless of where we are, I feel like Heavenly Father, we talked about that unconditional love. And I feel like that statement is so powerful, and there's so much depth to it. Because a lot of the time we put like, limits on "Well, Heavenly Father loves you if you're this," you know, but I really learned how deeply Heavenly Father is concerned about the person and not what we've done, or, you know, what we're currently doing or whatever, He's so concerned about the individual. I think about, can I share two scriptures really quick?
MJ: Yeah please.
KL: I think about there's the story of Saul/Paul, right? And we've just learned about that in "Come Follow Me." He had done some things that were not great, right? And Heavenly Father, I mean, could have just said to him, forget it, you have done some pretty bad things, and I'm done. But he said, "You know what? let's move forward from that I've got to work for you to do, I'm worried about who you are. I want you back. And so he's not so focused. He's not condemning Paul, for the things that he did in his past. He wants him to be able to succeed. And then I also think about Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah. They were naughty. I tell my boys all the time, "Think of how naughty they were, you know, and Heavenly Father came and said, "Hey, I love you. Let's forget about this, let's move forward." And Heavenly Father is really concerned about who they are and who they can become. And he's not so concerned about what they've done in the past. Right? So learning through these paintings. I've learned so much about how Heavenly Father loves every single one of us, not just people in the Church, but every person on the planet, which is something that has been such a great lesson to see it in a different light.
MJ: Yeah. One of my favorite things that I learned in the MTC talking about Alma and the sons of Mosiah, kind of extending that to the sons of Alma. One of my favorite things that I've ever been taught about in the Book of Mormon is how after the scripture, which we all know about "If all men had been, were and ever would be like unto Mosiah" And then the very next verse says, "And all the sons of Alma right, which means that we're including Corianton, who was also naughty, right? And had made a lot of mistakes by I think that shows the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, that it's for all of us totally.
KL: Regardless, you know, it just people need to remember that, that we were covered.
MJ: Yeah. And you're not, you can't, it's so hard to get outside of the bounds of that. Another thing that that reminded me of, I was just listening to a podcast the other night with Brooke Snow, I don't know if you've ever listened to her podcast, but it's very good. You should look it up. But she talked about worthiness, and how our true self is worthy, always and that when we feel like we're unworthy, it's actually just a longing to get back to our true self. And I think that we sometimes especially as members of the church can be so hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up. And I just have a really hard time believing that that's what God wants for us. And God wants us to feel that relief. And that, like we talked about that weight being lifted, whether it's by feelings of unworthiness, or feelings of doubt, or whatever it is. And so, Kate, thank you so much, you have sparked so many thoughts for me and things that I want to do better. And, in conclusion, what does it mean to you to be all in the Gospel of Jesus Christ?
KL: I love that you guys ask this question. And I was thinking about it on the way down here. For me, I feel like to be all in I need to allow myself to be vulnerable, and teachable. And I need to trust the plans that Heavenly Father has for me, because He's going to lead me down greater paths, than I can take myself you know, and being vulnerable is just, for me, letting people in or sharing my testimony or just different things like that, wanting to read the scriptures because sometimes that can be really difficult, but I need to be vulnerable to be teachable and be able to trust Heavenly Father.
MJ: Thank you. It was perfect. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing your testimony both through your art, and with us here today so I'm just so grateful.
KL: Thank you. Thank you for having me. It's a good day.
MJ: A huge thank you to Kate Lee for joining us on this week's episode to Derek Campbell of Mix at 6 Studios for all of his help in making us sound good. And to you, my listener friends, for joining me on another episode of All In. I'll look forward to being with you again next week.