Sunday, November 8, 2009
I should've been enjoying a blissful Sunday nap. But I was so fired up I couldn't sleep.
Today started out lovely... we had our Stake Conference - we witnessed a very peaceful transition from our wonderful previous Stake leadership, to our new equally wonderful Stake leadership.
Our former Stake president, President Wood was a great man. I never knew him personally - but always appreciated his kind heart. I will miss President Norman - one of Wood's counselors. He and his wife were two people who demonstrated genuine love and concern. I still remember how President Norman's wife would lift my spirits each Sunday when I was pregnant with my oldest. She is a brilliant ray of sunshine and he is a very good man.
My husband and I were able to renew our temple recommends right before Stake Conference. So we were two of the last people that the other counselor, President Harrison interviewed. He is now the new Stake President. I never knew him, until that interview, and discovering he was our new leader for this stake felt so perfect. In my interview with him there was something about looking into his eyes. It was holy. It actually brought me to tears in the interview. It was like he could see into my soul and he was so loving. I felt my Savior's love through his eyes. And when he asked me after the interview, "how has the Savior blessed you recently?" I lost it and ... probably did a lot of ugly crying. Those questions asked in the interview bring out my fierce testimony of the gospel... it shakes me to my core...because I wish I could place my heart out on the table and show them that yes, yes I do... I do believe and will stand and fight for what I believe on every battlefront, no matter how often I have to do it.
In light of the rabble rousing in the House and Senate seats of our government, I couldn't help but feel how lucky a people we are to have these peaceful transitions. That there is a hallowed trust that peacefully passes from person to person.
We had a couple seventies also speak at the conference. A few things they said totally resonated with me. I have forgotten their names...and will work on finding out what those names were. The first area authority, Elder Tinney (sp?) to speak said this, "God wants our exaltation more than we do." I thought that was so interesting. In light of our trials, our success, our daily lives, nothing surprises God. We are here with our own tailor made earth experience - meant to teach us, to exalt us. The hardest thing for us ... or me, is to not ask "why me?" but ask "what can we learn?"
He also spoke about how meeting with many Bishops and leaders in the So Cal region he asked about the youth. And the constant refrain he heard was "we can't compete with the world." He told us that "We don't compete with the world, the world cannot compete with us." (I like to add the world cannot compete with God) We shouldn't try to compete with the world. Our job is to do our duty, do the things we're supposed to, pray, hold family home evening, read our scriptures, pray often, follow the Prophet, the SIMPLE things... do them with our families and bring the Holy Ghost into our homes, our lives. When we stand in holiness, our homes become holy places and we will not need to compete with the world because, as Elder Jardin said, "holiness is not dull; it is irresistible."
They also strongly advocated more family time, gospel time, in lieu of competition sports, extracurriculars, and other activities that keep the kids running around and the parents frazzled. If we're not taking the time to eat family dinners with each other, play games with each other and be present... we are missing out on what our mission is. In the end, the number of trophies, competitions, applause will not matter. What will matter is how close our children are to their Father in Heaven. What will matter is their knowledge of their mission here on earth. Those other things matter... perhaps to our ego, to peers, to... the world - but they don't matter in the eternal perspective. Like all those PSAs about spending time with family...it really is that simple.
They also spoke about, what is the greatest sin. The greatest sin is a sin against the Holy Ghost. I'd forgotten that. The reason why is that witnesses of the Holy Ghost are absolute, perfect, and the adversary can't imitate, can't duplicate it's truth, nor it's peaceful calm. It is our responsibility to cultivate an environment conducive to this spirit, to share, to witness of it.
I have a great friend, Carrie. She is incredibly accomplished - but she doesn't constantly bring up her past career in every little conversation...like some women are apt to do. I admire her immensely for this. I admire many of the women I surround myself with who understand the value of, and cherish their role within motherhood.
She and I talk of our frustration sometimes that some women don't see the eternal perspective of how important their calling is. We often discuss how in light of the challenges our children, and our children's children will face, we can't be lax when it comes to those simple things. Sure, growing up, we might have experienced some laxness - but this is a different time. We can't afford to not hold FHE. We can't afford to not teach our children lessons from the Book of Mormon. We simply must do all in our power to arm our children for the battles they will have to face. And they will be forced to face the battle head-on. We can't fail them when it comes to character, testimony, faith and knowing who they are.
We've also talked about how we used to look at the pioneers who struggled for survival... and think... we could never do that. And then to hear that they looked on our day in awe. I'm starting to understand that awe. We aren't just battling to survive. We're battling for our souls. There used to be a time where the world was outside our homes... maybe even outside our communities. But with the advancing of our world ... it's in every hand held device, every word from a neighbor, classmate, teacher, grocer...
Carrie's mentioned how she has always felt she had a special mission. Something huge and meaningful to accomplish. She knows that that mission is teaching her children, preparing them, guiding them. I love having a friend like her. I feel that, that mission is mine as well. In a world where nearly everything is replaceable, easily purchased, or simply cut out and remodeled.... this mission of motherhood for each of our children ... this mission, this calling, is irreplaceable.
As a mother I simply can't afford to be insecure about my role. I can't afford to search desperately for self-fulfillment...and to be honest, I am past that, thankfully. I may be insecure about other things, but when it comes to motherhood - I know it's where I belong. I know that it is more important than easy accolades, fame and fawning praise from others. I know I belong here, in my home, fighting the battles that come, arming my daughters with strength...and constantly picking myself up, starting again when I mess up. I believe that letting my daughters see me make mistakes, and pick myself up, shows them that when they make mistakes, they can pick themselves up and brush off the dirt and try again.
Today's meeting a was a vigorous wake up call. A call to remind me, urge me, require me to understand that if I want to be a beacon to my children, if I want to aide them in their life's mission - that I have to be living my life in a way that I can feel, hear, and respond to the whisperings, promptings of the Holy Ghost. I'm understanding how necessary it is to provide a home where that spirit can reside. It's not something that would be nice to have, an accessory - it's something that is required.
I have another friend, M--, who is dealing with her own trials. She and her family have leaned on the promptings of the Holy Ghost. She is one lady I know who invites that spirit into her home on a daily basis. Tonight she told that recently she was hurriedly getting her home in order to escape a potential situation, she felt the spirit tell her "I'll tell you. I'll tell you if you need to go."
She listened to that spirit and they had a wonderful day as a family. But she was ready to hear it. She was prepared, because she was doing what she was supposed to do. She's a great example to me of faith and doing the simple things that matter most.
I think about the challenges we all face, will face, have faced. These challenges are the reason why we need the Atonement. We can't do it alone. We aren't able to. We need Him. As we face the challenges, as we travel through them, I now realize, more than ever, how much I need to cultivate that spirit, the spirit that will help me to know the right thing to do, say, to protect us from the challenging transitions of life, and fill us with peace.
I believe we are a lucky people. How lucky to be loved by a God who prepares a way for us. How lucky to have a God who wants our exaltation more than we can understand. How lucky to have a God who loves us, as we are, individually.