Last week I went over some General Conference talks and have resolved to watch and take notes on one talk a week as well as my regular nightly scripture reading. I loved conference. It offered me some important answers, some nice pats on the back and some good reminders of things I really need to focus on more fully.
The overall messages I heard again and again was that of discipleship and the importance of centering our faith and our lives on Jesus Christ. I loved that service and love were emphasized throughout (and felt like what I said in this post was underscored by what was said and was not said in conference).
Here are a few specific messages that stood out to me:
- Elder Ballard: Our doctrine is not obscure. If something has been said repeatedly/has been said by all of the apostles, the First Presidency and the Prophet, we can know that it is indeed doctrine. Some people find statements made by one church leader and get all worked-up about what they think is doctrine. They should focus on the overall messages that are repeatedly offered by church leaders instead.
- Elder Eyring: Sometimes we need to change what we're praying for. We may be praying for something very good and righteous and worthy but as we open up our hearts and our request to God's will, praying that the right divine errand will be presented to us and promising that we'll go where the Lord wants us to go and do what He wants us to do, things will unfold in beautiful and often surprising ways.
- Elder Perry: I loved hearing him talk about building a strong family culture and other things that we really emphasize at The Power of Moms through the articles and Retreats and programs we offer. His talk felt like a nice pat on the back for what I'm working so hard to do at The Power of Moms.
- I need to be a better friend and a better sister and a better neighbor. My life is too full of doing and not full enough the listening and waiting and watching required to nurture great relationships and serve as an instrument in the hands of the Lord. I do lots for 1000's of moms out there in cyberspace. But for my sake and theirs, I need to focus more on the people whose lives I can touch in a personal face-to-face way.
- I was touched by the sad stories shared about the death of loved ones, the death of dreams, and so many heart-breaking trials endured by the speakers and those they know. I love what Elder Anderson said about trials - that they refine us and make us stronger, that they help us build a deeper relationship with the Lord, that they help us learn empathy for others. I love this new post by April that echoes and extends on some of these ideas: Light at the End of the Tunnel.
There's plenty more but I'll leave it at that for now.
And I'll end with my Psalm 23. I memorized it as a little child. I've been learning to calm myself when I get anxious about all the stuff on my plate and all the worries I've got and I've found that when I'm feeling overwhelmed, if I close my eyes and recite this to myself,, it really really helps me. Here's the psalm along with my commentary:
- The Lord is my shepherd. (I don't have to know everything and do everything - Jesus is always right there to guide me - how nice it is to have a shepherd!)
- I shall not want. (This seems like both a promise and a command: be content, be grateful.)
- He makes me to lie down in green pastures. (I can choose whether to appreciate how green the grass around me is or think about how the grass is greener elsewhere.)
- He leadeth me beside the still waters. (While waters might seem pretty rough sometimes, if I could see the big picture, I'd likely realize that He's leading me through relatively still waters and making my path much smoother than it would be without Him.)
- He restoreth my soul. (He's there to lift me up when my heart is so heavy and life seems so hard.)
- He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake. (He wants me to be happy so he does all He can, shy of infringing on my agency, to help me choose the right.)
- Yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil. (Again, partly a promise and partly a command - have faith and hope, don't fear, all will be well.)
- Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. (A rod and staff can hurt sheep a little as it prods them to keep them safe and teach them. Hard stuff is often for our good. God wants to comfort us as we go through the hard stuff.)
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (Often my enemies are my own thoughts and my too-long to-do list. He can help me see my "enemies" more clearly and fight them off.)
- Thou annointest my head with oil. (He knows me. He has chosen and annointed me for certain things. I am very special to Him.)
- My cup runneth over. (I am SO blessed - even in the midst of trials, I have so very much.)
- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (My life is full of goodness and mercy and blessings. It will all be OK in the end - it will always be OK - and there's way more good than bad.)