Tuesday, October 22, 2013

thoughts from Conference

Like most General Conferences, the subject that weighed most heavily on my mind while listening to the talks and to the Spirit was how I can be a better mother. And not just a mother but a better individual.

These are a few messages from Conference that stood out to me the most.

First was the talk from Elder Ulisses Soares on meekness. Let me just say that I have struggled for a while with the role of motherhood...not because I don't absolutely love it. Being a mom is the greatest blessing I could ask for. It is also my greatest challenge. I was never a patient person; my stubbornness has gotten me into lots of dark situations throughout my life. Of course everyone knows that patience is one of the most important attributes in parenting, and so it's something that I have to come back to again and again. You could say that I've "been thrown back into the refiner's fire" repeatedly. It's not an easy process changing the natural man's inherent desires.

"Meekness is the quality of those who are 'Godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering.' Those who possess this attribute are willing to follow Jesus Christ, and their temperament is calm, docile, tolerant, and submissive...

Meekness is vital for us to become more Christlike. Without it we won’t be able to develop other important virtues. Being meek does not mean weakness, but it does mean behaving with goodness and kindness, showing strength, serenity, healthy self-worth, and self-control...

...we must learn to control our temper and convey our feelings with patience and gentle persuasion. This is most important within our homes and within our relationships with our eternal companions."

The next talk was by Elder D. Todd Christofferson on the moral influence of women. I loved this talk. It pretty much summed up how I've been feeling for.. well, a very long time. So often I feel like being a stay-at-home-mom isn't enough. I love my job of being a mommy more than anything and there's nowhere else I'd rather be. Still there's this little voice that creeps in sometimes and tells me that I took the easy way out of college, that I had children way too young before I could travel or have vacations, that because I didn't major in a specific degree that I have no worth, that I'm not as sharp or intelligent as my friends who have successful careers. I've wondered if maybe it was Spirit prompting me to explore furthering my education or working from home, but as I listened to this talk I realized something huge. The Spirit would not demean the sacred role of motherhood by telling me that I'm not good enough. This is all Satan's work, and I need not listen anymore. What I'm doing and who I am IS good enough for Heavenly Father. I belong with my children and they belong with me.

"A pernicious philosophy that undermines women’s moral influence is the devaluation of marriage and of motherhood and homemaking as a career. Some view homemaking with outright contempt, arguing it demeans women and that the relentless demands of raising children are a form of exploitation. They ridicule what they call “the mommy track” as a career. This is not fair or right. We do not diminish the value of what women or men achieve in any worthy endeavor or career—we all benefit from those achievements—but we still recognize there is not a higher good than motherhood and fatherhood in marriage. There is no superior career, and no amount of money, authority, or public acclaim can exceed the ultimate rewards of family. Whatever else a woman may accomplish, her moral influence is no more optimally employed than here...

Former Young Women general president Margaret D. Nadauld taught: 'The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.' In blurring feminine and masculine differences, we lose the distinct, complementary gifts of women and men that together produce a greater whole."

The last talk I want to share hits on a slightly different note. When I listened to this talk I didn't realize how much it would apply to me...until something tragic happened a few weeks later. On Sunday- two days ago- my grandma passed away. It was unexpected and (still is) so devastating. My heart has not stopped aching. I keep wondering how my life will ever be the same, as it feels like there's a giant hole in my future. I was very close to her...and it took some time for us to become as close as we were, but once we got there she was a fundamental part of who I am. My mother was her only child by blood (she had other step children from her sweetheart), and I her oldest grand-daughter. Our two children were her only great-grandchildren by blood and she loved them so dearly. I know that all of her other children and grand-children are mourning her loss just as heavily as I am, but she and I had such a unique connection to one another. 

I haven't been able to shake the devastation, but as I read this talk this morning I felt a little more comfort than I've had all week.

"Many of the challenges we face in life can be solved and overcome; however, others may be difficult to understand and impossible to overcome and will be with us until we pass on to the next life. As we temporarily endure the challenges we can solve and as we continue to endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that the spiritual strength we develop will help us successfully endure all the challenges we face in life...

When we face adversity in life and our desire is to emulate the attributes of Jesus Christ, it is essential to be spiritually prepared. Being spiritually prepared means we have developed spiritual stamina or strength—we will be in good shape spiritually. We will be in such good shape spiritually that we will consistently choose the right. We will become immovable in our desire and ability to live the gospel. As an anonymous author once said, 'You must become the rock the river cannot wash away' "

-The Strength To Endure by Elder Richard J. Maynes

My grandma was certainly that "rock the river cannot wash away". She was immovable in her testimony of the gospel and was never afraid to proclaim her faith to others. She lived her life helping others, being a missionary, being a friend to everyone she met, doing geneaology work, and making time for her family. She was always spiritually prepared and I am a better woman for having her in my life. I never want to lose the part of me that came from her--it is my strongest, most determined part. It is the part of me that faces tribulation head on with courage and welcomes adversity. It is the part of me that loves my family endlessly and would put my life before theirs. It's the part of me that completely unravels when I sing certain hymns and bear my testimony in church and hug my children after a long day. She will always be alive in that part of my soul.

I will be headed to Utah for her funeral soon, so I may be absent from my blog for a while. But I wanted to share these feelings and say that I know that these Conference talks can offer comfort and personal revelation even in the hardest of times. I know that Heavenly Father is aware of me and knows my sorrows. I believe with all heart that I will be with my grandma again and that we will embrace one another with tears of joy. This gospel is more than a source of hope- it is a source of knowledge.

Until the next time...

1 comment:

Nancy said...

I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandma; she was a wonderful lady. I'm so glad we both married into the same family so that we could get to know and love each other.

Safe travels, Lindsay! Have fun (as fun as these circumstances permit, anyway) with the family. God bless.