Sunday, October 27, 2013

Favorite Quotes

I loved Conference. I still love it as I listen to the talks again and again. One of my favorite quotes comes from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland:

Of greatest assurance in God’s plan is that a Savior was promised, a Redeemer, who through our faith in Him would lift us triumphantly over those tests and trials, even though the cost to do so would be unfathomable for both the Father who sent Him and the Son who came. It is only an appreciation of this divine love that will make our own lesser suffering first bearable, then understandable, and finally redemptive.

This comment has been on my mind as I try to do what my body needs to heal, knowing that there is value also in the pain and the process. (For the record, when I speak of healing, I am referring "only" to damaged ligaments and a chronic headache... What was easy to overcome in my twenties is not so easy anymore - but age brings wisdom, so I'm willing to take it slow rather than give up what I know.) It is teaching me to recognize and be grateful for answered prayers. It is teaching me faith and patience. It is teaching me how to fill my quiet, resting hours with things that are virtuous, lovely, of good report, and praiseworthy. And it is teaching me to trust my Father, knowing that this experience will be for my eternal good. With His help, I will be a better woman for what I am learning.

Another favorite quote comes from Elder Russell M. Nelson:

Recently I heard a chorus of children sing the beloved song “I Am a Child of God.” I wondered, “Why haven’t I heard that song rendered more often by singing mothers or faithful fathers?” Are we not all children of God? In truth, not one of us can ever stop being a child of God!

Today in Stake Conference, we sang this beautiful hymn. It was pretty awesome. The primary children were on the stand, with about 8 little ones playing their violins. Those children led us in singing these simple words:

I am a child of God
and He has sent me here,
has given me an earthly home
with parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me,
walk beside me,
help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
to live with Him someday.

I felt like after we sang that opening hymn and then heard the Primary children sing "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" that we had been edified so much that I could have gone home happy even without the other hour and 45 minutes worth of talks and music. (That part was good too, for the record. But the first ten minutes were pretty wonderful.)

Last night, during the evening session of Stake Conference, my friend The Opera Singer performed a beautiful rendition of "More Holiness Give Me". It reminded me of the first quote I shared by Elder Holland, and gave the Spirit an opportunity to teach me. Later in the meeting, a member of our Stake Presidency shared that same quote in his talk, and I felt that my Father in Heaven wanted me to know that He knows what I'm feeling and what I'm experiencing. I felt His love.

You'd never guess it by what I just shared, but the theme of our conference was on "Hastening the Work" and how we can be better missionaries to share the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those around us. It's pretty incredible to think of all the Lord is doing to move His work forward to prepare the world for His Second Coming. And we get to be a part of it!

Friday, October 11, 2013


Last weekend we had the semiannual General Conference of the Church. It's one of my favorite times of year - a chance to hear from living prophets and apostles who speak the word of God. Four sessions, two hours each, filled with inspiring messages and Spirit-filled music, that build my soul and fortify me for the next six months.

In the past I have tried to approach Conference with a question or two about things going on in my life, and then I listen carefully to inspired talks and to the Spirit. Invariably, the Lord provides answers to those questions through the words of His chosen servants. This time was similar - I had one question, one that has been on my mind a while, and I sought help from Conference to learn an answer. The second talk contained what I felt was the answer I had requested - or at least the first part of it - and I was anxious to learn more as the sessions continued.

After the first session ended, I went out to run errands. My plan didn't go quite how I had expected, and I didn't ever get to my grocery shopping. There was another plan executed instead (a harder one, but in the end, it was a better one). I came home with the help of a friend and spent the rest of the weekend (and much of this week) lying on the couch, learning how to be still, to be served, and to be healed.

And by design, I believe, the rest of Conference focused my attention on the new message I needed to hear. Here are some of my favorite parts of what I heard (and have listened to again and again this week):

"Though we may feel we are 'like a broken vessel,' as the Psalmist says, we must remember, that vessel is in the hands of the divine potter."

"Only the Master knows the depths of our trials, our pain, and our suffering. He alone offers us eternal peace in times of adversity. He alone touches our tortured souls with His comforting words: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' Whether it is the best of times or the worst of times, He is with us. He has promised that this will never change."

"I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee."

"God's promise to the humble is that He will lead them by the hand. I truly believe that we will avoid detours and sadness in our lives as long as we walk hand in hand with the Lord."

There have been miracles and blessings this week - blessings I would not have noticed or counted but for this alternative plan. I am glad for what Conference has taught me so far. And for what it will yet teach me:

"The greatest blessings of general conference come to us after the conference is over. Remember the pattern recorded frequently in scripture: we gather to hear the words of the Lord, and we return to our homes to live them."