Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Conference Weekend | The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

For some of my newer readers who may not know, I'm a Mormon. This past weekend we had General Conference (hence all the quotes you likely saw flooding Instagram and Pinterest from Mormon bloggers) and I received the boost that I needed. Nobody warned me about the spiritual lull that accompanies having a baby. I go to church, but I'm not really there. I'm focused on trying to keep a baby quiet, still, and happy. This might be an easier task with a less-active child, but Klair is the energizer bunny. She keeps going and going and going... We bring toys, books, treats-- and that usually gets us through the first half... of the first meeting (if we're lucky). After that we end up taking turns walking the halls and make about 8,000 trips to the drinking fountain. She loves that thing, and it's pretty impressive how much water she's capable of drinking from it. 

It used to be easier. Sam and I could trade off taking care of Klair and actually listening to the speakers and lessons. Then, right around the time that she  became mobile, things changed drastically. Sam got a calling to be a primary teacher, which means we can no longer trade off on Klair duty. This means that, if I stay the full 3 hours, I typically end up hanging out in the foyer/hall with an adventurous toddler for 2 of them. I know that we are teaching Klair valuable lessons and instilling within her the importance of church attendance. I've already even seen some of the fruits of our labors in her familiarity with church and how she loves to sing along with the hymns. Nevertheless, going to church is much less uplifting than it used to be.  Listening to the talks and lessons used to revitalize me. It gave me the motivation and direction for the coming week. Having a toddler simply isn't conducive to listening. I'm too busy chasing. I don't get much from the inspirational messages that I grew accustomed to--that I took for granted.

With my toddler-induced religious slump of sorts, General Conference was absolutely heaven-sent. I needed those messages prepared by the general officers and authorities of the church--prepared by the Lord's servants. I needed to hear the words of the Lord through my beloved Prophet, and I feel strengthened because I did. My soul is nourished. I am invigorated. 

Rather than focus on what I'm missing out on, I choose to be grateful now especially during the hard times. Although I might not be able to listen in church as much as I'd like, it's a small price to pay. I think this extends to all of my mommy woes. Is it exhausting at times to be the mother of a toddler? Sure. Is it difficult? Absolutely. But I wouldn't trade it for anything. Taking care of Klair is the hardest job I've ever had, but more importantly it's the best, most joyful experience of my life. Chasing after a toddler is a good "problem" to have. 

I also really liked Sister Linda K. Burton--the Relief Society General President's-- talk. She talked about how she and her husband felt overwhelmed as parents of 4 young children. After much prayer they recieved revelation that it's okay for some chores to be undone. It's even okay if there are times when the kids stay in their pajamas. The things that matter most are family prayer, family scripture study, and family home evening. Priorities. They put these first, and everything else fell into place. It's a formula for success, and it's one that Sam and I intend to follow. We aren't nearly as consistent with these things as we should be, so we're recommitting ourselves. Apparently the fact that I can't get as much from church means I need to take a more active role in compensating during my free time. My "attitude of gratitude" and attempts to refocus my attention on things that really matter has caused me to already feel better, stronger, more spiritually nourished.  

Below are few of my other favorite quotes from conference. This list is not all encompassing... there were so many brilliant things said! But here are a few. 

First of all, my always favorite speaker... Elder Jeffrey R. Holland. I love how straightforward he is. His talk this conference on the character of the Savior and the need to "defend your faith" did not disappoint.  

"...It is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods and smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds. Talk about man creating God in his own image! Sometimes — and this seems the greatest irony of all — these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of ‘comfortable’ God. Really? Just as Christ understood and taught, individuals must remember — even though many in the modern culture seem to forget — that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin, which Christ had an infinite capacity to do, and the warning against condoning it, which He never ever did even once ...pure Christlike love flowing in true righteousness can change the world."

And of course Uchtdorf's talk on gratitude. Brilliant. 

"How much of life do we miss by waiting to see the rainbow before thanking God that there is rain?"
"There are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings" President Dieter F. Uchtdorf 

And a few other favorites: 

"The Gospel is not weight. It is wings!" Sister Jean A. Stevens 

"Today's complexities demand greater simplicity" Edler L. Tom Perry

"The unique burdens in each of our lives helps us rely upon the merits, mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah." Elder David A. Bednar 

Then of course our beloved Prophet/president of the church. I really appreciated how, of all the topics he could have chosen, he spoke on our need to be kind and loving. Our world definitely needs more love and light, and he is such a great example of this. 

"As we arise each morning, let us determine to respond with more love and kindness to whatever might come our way" President Thomas S. Monson

Overall, I am grateful for the opportunity I had to listen to the words of the Lord through his chosen Prophet, apostles, and leaders. I feel that my testimony has been strengthened and my conviction renewed. The Gospel--the good news of Christ-- is true. It brings me joy and peace.

*The images in this post came from my friend and designer, Kaylie Marie
**I tried to provide links to some of the topics that people might not be familiar with. If I missed something and you're curious what in the world I'm talking about, feel free to ask either in comment or email.  

What are some of your favorite quotes from General Conference? 
Or, what are some good spiritual or otherwise uplifting words that have inspired you lately? 

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