This is a long post so I do not expect you to read it all. that is ok. I am really posting this for me anyway!
Sometimes as women we need to take a time out. A time to reflect on our role as wife, mother, sister and individual. Deseret Books has put on a conference for the last 7 years. I have had the opportunity to go with my Mother the first 2 years it was in Sacramento. The 3rd year was the year my Mom had a stroke just weeks before. She still wanted me to go. I did for her with mixed emotions. Since that year I have not been back.
When I saw that this conference was coming to Salt Lake City for the first time I felt the importance of going with my sisters and sister-in-laws. I am so happy that all of my sisters here in Utah were able to go. Amber came down from Logan with her newest 3 month old baby, Brooklyn. I was able to pick up Sonia and Starr before we picked up Lisa. Our wonderful husbands all pitched in to help with our kids so that we could head to SLC early.
We got in about 11am. With the conference not starting until 6:30pm we had plenty of time to walk around Temple Square. We saw the Christus in the visitors center and listened to a presentation about the importance of family and the plan of redemption.
Then we saw the Joseph Smith movie. After struggling with parts of my testimony this last year this was just what I needed. It was reminder that Joseph Smith was a man, a person just like the rest of us. He was pre-ordained to play his role in the restoration of the Church. Had he received a patriarchal blessing would it have said, "to bring back the true church of Christ." Can you imagine having that said? If you said no, why not? What does your blessing say? Something about holding a calling in Young Womens and touching the lives of those around you? Maybe it says that you will be a mother and raise children unto the Lord. Or that you will have the opportunity to be an example to thousands.
Wether we are Joseph Smith or we are a primary worker we have been pre-ordained to play our role in sharing the gospel and strengthening those around us. Each of our roles are important. The thing I find inspiring about Joseph Smith or Jesus Christ is not that they filled their roles but rather they listened the promptings of the spirit and trusted those promptings. They acted on them. It was not easy. They were tarred and feathered, betrayed by good friends, spit upon, dealt with infertility and the loss of children, hated. We each go through our own trials. I may not be physically tortured but I have my own struggles.
So how do I learn by the prophets and others? I learn that I need to follow the promptings of the savior without question. I need to learn that by following the the Lord this does not mean I will not have problems. What it means is that I can have peace. When faced with trial or even certain death I can achieve the peace that Joseph Smith felt in Carthage Jail and that Christ had in Gethsemane. I can know without fear that I have fulfilled my mission that I was ordained to do.
After seeing this movie and having dinner we starting our weekend at the conference. Each year Sheri Dew chooses the most amazing speakers and musicians to share their experiences and testimonies with us.
We heard from Wendy Watson Nelson who told us our motto needs to be: NOT EVEN ONCE. How much easier is our life if we can answer the questions to have you done drugs, smoked, drank alcohol, broke the law of chastity or broke the commandments with the answer a resounding NOT EVEN ONCE.
What about questions like have you forgotten to say your daily prayers, had weekly family home evening, read daily scriptures. Can these by answered NOT EVEN ONCE have I missed a time.
This answer may not apply to some of us who have made mistakes and that our motto can be NEVER AGAIN. This can apply when we do miss our daily scripture study. I promise to NEVER AGAIN miss a time to strengthen my testimony.
I learned that whatever Christ wants me to do I will do.Sher Dew then spoke about our influence as wife, mother, ward member, neighbor, etc. We need to remember that we are being watched and that we have a profound influence on thousands of people.
Who do we look to for influence? Are we watching what our neighbors spend money on so we can buy the same things? Or do we look to the scriptures, the prophets, the strong men and women?Strong Families are created by Strong Women. I want a strong family so I guess I have my work cut about for me!
She said that sometimes we act as if we are going to stay here on earth but we aren't, we won't, we can't. Living to be happy and comfortable here on earth should not be our goal.
So how do we make our goal beyond that?
1. Know who we are - we are children of our heavenly father
2. Understand the atonement and take advantage of it in our lives.
3. Receive personal revelation so we can know for assurity how the Lord feels about us personally.
Mary Ellen Edmunds spoke of our Life Assurance policy. Jesus has paid all the premiums and we get all the benefits. All we need to do is accept and live by the agreement we made him. Then we get it all: happiness, family, heritage, the kingdom. Mary Ellen is a happy person. She is a great speaker. It is easy to believe her when she says that optimism is a choice. It is an attitude of happiness. She spoke of faith and assurance. Hope helps us feel things we can't see. But this is only half of the sentence. It should go like this: Assurance and hope help us feel things we can't see when we come unto HIM. Jesus wants us to come home. He is waiting to help us all we need to do is ask.
Michael Wilcox spoke of the scriptures. He reminded us of the importance of personal revelation and listening to the promptings we receive even when a prophet speaks. He said that sometimes we do not do as we have been asked by our leaders but we do another equally as good thing. As long as we are following our personally revelation we are doing what the Lord wants. He talked of the importance of listening but also of asking. The Lord is ready and he is the only one who can help. We can come to him with all things. I will saying this prayer tonight: Master if thou will thou canst make me clean.
Emily Watts spoke of the trials of our life. They make us who we need to be. Sometimes though we make the trials into a big tangled mess as we try to solve the trial by ourselves. If we take the trial to the Lord at any stage he can untangle us. She spoke of our fruit and how some fruit ripens sooner than others. You water and nurture the fruit but how and when it ripens depends on the SON. The fruit can be who I become through my trial as a parent. When is it my season to be ripe?
The Lord knows each of us. He knows our situation. I was chosen to be the mother for my children because I am the BEST Mom for them. I have been chosen and trusted by the Lord for this job.
Kris Belcher is blind. She shared her very touching story of her eye cancer discovered at the age of 7 months and the many surgeries and experiences leading up to the full blindness she experienced 6 years ago. Through many struggles she has learned that you can choose to throw a tantrum, be sad and cry through your trials or you can pray and let Heavenly Father know of your sadness, disappointment and frustration and let him help. Heavenly Father won't give you anything you can't handle WITHOUT THE SAVIOR.
Through this weekend I was touched by the spirit. I learned that I do not know everything I want to know. More importantly I learned that I know enough.
that I am where I need to be right now.I
am loved.that I have felt the spirit touch me in my life.
I will see my Mother again.I can be forgiven.
Jesus lives for me.my children need me.
I have talents.I need to pray more.
I want to be happy and happiness comes from the Lord.
It is up to me to seek for answers.
Heavenly Father wants more for me.
I am married to the perfect man for me.
I am so glad to have had this experience. It was wonderful to spend time with my sisters. I love them all so much. I am grateful for a family that puts effort into family. I love that we can overlook the minor things and focus on the goal. I am so thankful for a wonderful husband. I know that I can leave for a time out and that the house will be clean, the kids will be fed and alive. I know that he is the best person for them because he is their father. I am also thankful for him as a supporter of me. He knows when I need comfort, when I need space, when to rub my back and when to pray for me. He has been there for me through many trials and continues to be my rock. I only pray that I can be as good and strong as he is.