The plans were set: rooms reserved, wardrobe selected, children cared for. Sorry, no casserole in the freezer. I was off to join my family for our annual pilgrimage to Women's Conference at BYU. The weather did cause some last minute wardrobe changes and necessitated some shoe shopping once we arrived. Oh darn... I met Mom and Dad and Sally at the mall and then we met up with Lindsay later for dinner...Brick Oven of course. It was all so familiar and something I look forward to each year. This year, for me though, I seemed to have a delayed reaction to what I learned and received. Maybe because of my own personal struggles....I don't really know. But as I have read through my notebook this week and tried to recapture the moments, I realize just how much I learned. My notebook was full of stars, meaning that I felt the Spirit a great deal. So with a little nudge from my niece, I will embark to share some of what I have gained. This is mostly for me, but if it happens to help another, I will be happy.
After the opening session with President Julie B. Beck, I felt that I could go home, having received everything I needed to come for. The theme for the Conference came from Moses 6:33-34: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you. Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me. How do we walk with the Lord? What does it mean to serve the Lord? What is my mission? We are here to develop ourselves and build the kingdom of God. Taking care of our posterity takes precedent over all things. Sister Beck spoke about Rebeca as one of the most important and pivotal people in her generation. She knew how to get revelation. Each of us is as important to our time and family as Rebeca was to hers.
What is the Lord's spirit? It is the power to know and do his will. Go to the temple and pay attention. Receiving and acting on revelation is the most important skill we can develop. We cannot navigate this life without it. If sisters of God know and do what they have covenanted to do, the world will be okay.
How do we choose to walk with the Lord? We need an increase of faith and personal righteousness. We need stronger homes. We must seek out and help others. We have individual and group responsibilities. Women are like a lioness at the gate of the home. She guards her home from evil influences. We must prepare our children to go out and serve the Lord. This takes power. There must be priorities or we lose power.
Sister Beck developed a system that she has tried to live by. It involves three categories of priorities: Essential, Necessary, and Nice To Do. She gave a list in each category but asked us to seek to develop our own list by revelation. Essential: seeking revelation, spending some time in the scriptures everyday, personal prayer with pen and paper, time to ponder and fast, keeping covenants, repenting and partaking of the sacrament weekly, going to the temple frequently, sharing the gospel, expressing testimony often, giving service. The essential things are necessary for our salvation. Necessary: attention to home and family; making a home where the Spirit can dwell; having a house of order; cooking meals so that we can have a place to gather and teach; smiling!; teaching our children through family home evening, playing and recreating; being a support and comfort to our husbands; becoming self-reliant (which is going to become even more important in the times to come); avoiding debt; loving one another. Nice To Do: crafts, lunch with friends, movies, reading, hobbies, "time-out". These are nice but they won't save us. It takes personal revelation every day to order our priorities.
Now this is a mighty long list and we absolutely can't do it all. We must make our own list and prioritize to walk with the Lord. We can't do it all. We can't work every shift. For mothers with children at home, we must be at our best at the swing shift! Safeguard that time--meals, teaching, time together.
She shared a scripture in D&C 84:106: And if any man among you be strong in the Spirit, let him take with him him that is weak, that he may be edified in all meekness, that he may become strong also. The single sister are strong! They don't belong to a "single" or "family" ward. Just a ward where they are needed and can strengthen others.
Visiting Teaching has great power when it is done correctly. We need to be a true friend, not an assigned one. It is an opportunity for daily service. Visiting teachers are the "first responders" when there is trouble. We truly all belong to a "relief" society, patterned after the order of the priesthood and functioning like a quorum.
She gave a suggestion for scripture study: obtain a new paperback Book of Mormon and write three questions on the blank page in front: 1) Who am I? 2) What are my responsibilities in the house of Israel? and 3) How can I fulfill my responsibility? Write the answers to these questions in the back of the Book of Mormon as we read and discover our answers.
One final scripture: D&C 133:57-59: And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fullness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity--To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord's errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight. And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit. I truly believe and testify that as women we represent those weak things of the earth that are being prepared for the Lord's errand. We shall confound the wise and thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit. We have a great work that the world would tell us is unimportant. There is nothing farther from the truth. Satan would have us believe that womanhood and motherhood are of lesser value. The opposite is true! But we must walk with the Lord to have the strength and power to fulfill our divine missions. I know this is true.
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