For those who are curious, I have not posted in so long for two reasons- I have been incredibly busy- more so then usual. Also, despite being busy, I just haven't had much to write about. It has been busy, but boring busy.
I am returning to the blogoshpere with a thoughtful and reflective post today. Last weekend, I went to another "Time Out for Women" conference in Cincinnati with my mom and my sister, Emily.
What an amazing weekend!! If nothing else, I knew I was looking forward to a weekend away from the world as well as hanging with my mom and sis, but I also think I needed a little spiritual uplifting. Well, I got that and more. I would like to share a few things that struck me during the weekend.
My disclaimer to anyone who actually reads this entire post- if you ever hear my Relief Society lessons, I may include some of this sometime, so forgive me when you hear it repeated someday.
The conference went two days this time- Friday evening and Saturday. On Friday, we were privledged to hear presentations by Sheri Dew and Wendy Watson Nelson (married to the Apostle, Russell M Nelson)-who also happen to be best friends. I found their stories fascinating- especially their playful banter back and forth as they told part of the story of how Sis Nelson came to marry an apostle. We listened to amazing violin music by Jenny Oaks Baker- I highly recommend a CD by her! (I bought one!)
Saturday included presentations by Emily Watts, Michael Wilcox, Kim Nelson, Kris Belcher and music by Hilary Weeks. Most of them were hilarious and thought provoking at the same time. While every presentation said something to me, Emily Watts and Kim Nelson were speaking directly to me. Emily spoke a lot about how we often stress about "keeping up appearences." We worry about how things look to others. I have sometimes been embarrased by my small house that isn't perfectly clean or decorated. I worry about how I look to other people. She reminded us that "the inner committment is more important than the outward appearance." She also talked a lot about our frustrations with our children. She reminded us that we just need to realize that, just like unripened fruit is not enjoyable, sometimes we get frustated with our children and we need to remember that they may just not be "ripe" yet but will someday ripen into beautiful and delicious fruit. She used the example of her stubborn 3 year old daughter, who when 13 years later was getting ready for her first prom was more insistent then her mother at a dress that was perfectly modest. That stubborness, while annoying when young, had blossomed into a morally strong and determined young woman. She reminded us that God loves our children just as much as we do and has a plan for them. We just need to be patient and love them and teach them while we wait for them to ripen and the results will likely be beautiful.
What Kim Nelson taught was like a much needed slap in the face. He taught about the depth of God's love for us. I have always known that God loves me- I don't think I have ever really doubted that. But he demonstrated it in a way I had never thought of. He asked this powerful question: "If you saw a mother treating her daughter the way you treat yourself, what kind of mother do you think she would be."
I realized if I saw a mother treat her daughter as I treat myself, I would likely call Children's Services. I would never tell my daughter that she was fat, ugly, stupid, not good enough, hopeless or the many other things that cycle through my head daily. Nor would I ever want my daughters to think that way, because I would want them to know how beautiful and smart and loved they are. That is how are Heavenly Father feels about us. We need to allow ourselves to see ourselves as Heavenly Father sees us. I love my children more than absolutely anything. He pointed out that that is why Heavenly Father gives us the blessing of parental affection- to understand how God feels about us. I need to change my thinking. I need to see myself as he does. My other way of thinking is what Satan wants me to believe- that I am not good enough. Anyway, it was an eye opening and humbling statement to me.
Kris Belcher is completely blind after a life time of eye problems. She became permanently blind after a sugery to remove a tumor from her retna- she had a 1 year old child at the time. She spoke about how hard it was to deal with, the depression she faced because of it and how she managed to move on. She said she always hated it when people told her "God won't give you anything you can't handle" (I know I have said that before) because she wasn't/couldn't handle it. She explained that if we could handle it all on our own, there would have been no point of a Savior. Wow- a good point, I thought! She said it was when she began to rely on God that she was able to handle it and move on. She feels the statement needs changed to "God won't give you anything you can't handle without God's help." Oh how true that is. If we would just put things in our Father's hands, we really could deal with anything He put in our hands.
So, it was a very powerful weekend. It was so fun to get to hang out with my mom and Emily- just chatting, eating out and just enjoying our "time out." I left there on a spiritual high, determined to be a better wife, mother and daughter of God. Of course, it only took about 24 hours for me to raise my voice at my kids again and only about a couple hours to think badly of myself again, but I am trying. With God's help, I can do anything right? I am His loved daughter!
15 hours ago