Friday, October 2, 2009

The Agenda

With Sheri Dew - third from the left.

At Time Out For Women they asked each of us to have a question in our hearts. I had a lesson to prepare for our YW regarding worthy thoughts, purity... and since that was what I had been pondering in my heart - the material pretty much presented it to me in those two days.

They also asked us to share with someone, what we KNOW...after this conference, or what we've always KNOWN to be true.

I have a lot of other topics I want to write about - but I'll start with what I KNOW.

I wish I could take what I KNOW and toss it into every man, woman and child out there. Because I believe that if we KNOW who we are - we can move mountains.

As children growing up in the LDS Church we are taught who we are. The first songs we learn are "I am a Child of God". It's instilled as soon as we can talk. This simple message is vital to our missions here on this earth. Because we all have a mission. We are here to fulfill those missions. The fact that we're here, in this body demonstrates our support of God and his plan for our salvation. That is powerful to know... to truly understand and KNOW in every fiber of our being.

I didn't always know who I was. In fact, my soul took quite a beating as a child. I often felt out of place. I remember the feeling I had often as a child, standing amidst a crowd of kids, and feeling completely alone, as if I was a cosmic lab rat. That all these crazy experiments, the taunting, the emotional havoc, the physical hurt, was all something conspired to test when I would go crazy. It was in those moments that I called out to God. That I asked him to rescue me from my predicament. I wasn't rescued in the way I wanted, but my faith was always strengthened. It would have been so easy, so incredibly easy for me to take the path into an unhealthy, unstable lifestyle, I'd have all the excuses I needed to go down that dark, and twisty path, but I didn't, because the Lord increased my faith. I learned at a young age, that He walks beside me.

I discovered early on that if I wanted to become like the people I admired, the ones with faith, with joy, with generosity, that I could become like them, by working hard on myself. That I could make myself the person I would want to be, with the Lord's help. I haven't always been outgoing, or warm. I think if you were to look back at my childhood - you'd find a girl who hid in bathrooms, was scared and awkwardly alone. I used to be the one who would wait to have someone, anyone come say hi to her. That's not me now. Because I didn't like sitting the on the sidelines. I chose to be the person I wanted to be. My Savior gave me the strength to do so.

I found examples, good and bad that I could learn from. I found a co-worker who didn't know who she was without a career - I knew I wanted to know who I was without anyone or anything to distract from who I was at the core.

Just recently I have started to learn the joy of finding out what it means to be loved unconditionally by my Father in Heaven. I've discovered that with my Savior there are no strings attached. He loves me no matter what choices I've made, what mistakes I've made... He loves me, right now, just as I am. Some of you have already learned this ... reflected in those who've raised you - that's miraculous. Discovering it now... has expanded my soul...joyfully. It's such a strange way for me to think and feel - to know that I am lovable, without having to follow any set path, rules, guide, or expectation... it's indescribable.

There are still lessons I'm learning, things I'm constantly struggling with, working on, because I'm not yet the person I want to be. I don't know if I'll ever be that person completely, here on this earth, but I know I can work at it each day.

I think about how, there have been challenges I've lived through, and still am working through... and I think about the way my life is now. If you asked any of my old friends from college, and even some of the boys I dated... I don't think they would have thought of motherhood as a natural fit for me. I certainly would not have imagined that 10+ years after graduating BYU I'd be as centered and happy as a mother, as I am now. In fact, if you had told me I would love to bake and cook, and read cookbooks for enjoyment, own a sewing machine... and actually sew semi-straight lines... I'd probably ask if you were smoking crack. I've only just begun doing these things... in the last five years.

If you had told me that going back to a career is totally unappetizing to me now... I'd try to talk some sense into you. I've discovered that loving the role I have as a wife and Mother is a blessing. It's a blessing because so many women, so many blogs, so many talks from our leaders try to convince a multitude of women that their highest role, their greatest gift to humanity, is to be a Mother. I don't have to be persuaded - I know it. I KNOW it. I OWN it. I genuinely raise my hand to the bar and shout AMEN!

Of course... I wish this knowledge came with a cliffs note manual so I wouldn't be so awful at it... I make mistakes... daily... every minute. I find myself apologizing, on my knees asking to help me to be more patient... but in return I'm blessed with the feeling of fulfillment in this role. I know that this season with my little ones is short... too, too short. I can feel it slipping through my fingers like sand every moment and my heart aches, my mind worries... I still have so much to learn and do for these precious girls.

I haven't always kept my eye on the Savior... there are times I slip. But I have testimony of what Sheri Dew stated so eloquently at the TOFW conference, "When we focus on the world we don't see the Adversary or the Savior. When we focus on the Savior we love Him, we see Him and the effects of the Adversary."

When I think of all the things of the world that ail women who happen to also be mothers... the list is endless. From their body image, their need to compare, shopping labels, cliques, wanting it all, an extra job, or owning your own business (when you don't need it), reputation, degrees, titles... there's so many, and they are so varied. If we aren't centered in who we are, we focus too much on what we think others think of us... we forget that others don't matter. We forget that GOD loves us. We forget that all this superficial dressing, superfluous activities and wants... don't matter. We forget that what matters are the lives we influence. Because when we focus on the world - we are influenced by the world. When we focus on God - we influence the ones who are most important.

Sheri Dew told us that there are three things we MUST KNOW.
1. KNOW who you are - I Am a Child of God.
3. KNOW how to Receive Personal Revelation

1. Dew stated that there are two things nearly ALL Prophets teach. First, they testify of Christ - they witness His divinity, and two they preach of US. From Adam and Eve down to this dispensation of the fullness of times - they preach of US. Dew asked "do you think the Lord would take a chance on men and women He couldn't count on? No way." I am here for a purpose. You are here for a purpose. We are a generation different from all others. Ours is the only dispensation that will NOT end in apostasy.

Imagine that. We will always have the priesthood. We will always have temple ordinances. We will always have Prophet who will lead and guide us. The magnitude of that kind of miracle... that we participate in is heavy. It is powerful. We owe it to those that came before to fulfill our missions. To FOCUS on the Savior, to stop our self-pity and constant comparisons with our neighbors. We need to do remember who we are. We may feel inadequate at times, but the Spirit testifies to each of our souls of our power. We are the noble and great ones. Will we live up to that?

2. Dew stated that Christ came with a doctrine of healing. He came to heal us from our heartache, sin, emotional weakness, physical weakness, mental weakness, depression, sorrow, loneliness... everything that makes us feel small, or insignificant. It is vital to our mission to understand the healing power the Atonement.

3. We need to learn the language of revelation. Dew said that we need to learn what it feels like, what it sounds like. That we need to work at it. She said that way the Lord speaks to her has changed over the years. Yet, she is still working to learn, because sometimes she gets it, and sometimes she doesn't. He wants to talk to us, we need to learn to hear it.

Dew also stated, nothing surprises our Heavenly Father. In '98 President Hinckley prophesied about economic collapse. Look at us now. Heavenly Father knew when the world would start to fall apart, and He wanted YOU and me. We weren't placed here accidentally.

We have been sent here to DO.

As a woman I see that my role in this season is to influence for good. Whether that be my most precious daughters, the friends and people I interact with on a daily, or less frequent basis - I have a job to do. I am not craving any other "seemingly more sparkly" position, or one that I, in my small perspective of eternity, deems more important. I already have my call from the Lord. I know who I am. I know God will strengthen me to fulfill my mission joyfully.

When I go through my day I need to remind myself by asking "Who's agenda is this supporting? Christ or the Adversary?"

I KNOW. I know that I am a Child of God. That's just what I know.

With Jenny Oaks Baker, second from the left

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