Saturday, November 9, 2013

Time Out for Women 2013

 It's been a long time. I had forgotten what I'm missing out on.

As an 8 year old girl, I chose to be baptized and have the opportunity to have the Holy Ghost with me at all times.  Ever since that special day in my life, I've known that I had the power to keep the Spirit close to me. There have been times where I've kept it and could feel the Holy Ghost near me and other times where it seemed almost non-existent because of my stubborn will. But I always knew it was a part of me.

It really has been a while. I have received answers to prayers and felt peace in my life but it has been a while since I have felt the physical touch of angels surrounding me. There is no other way to explain it. It was real. It was powerful.

At Time Out for Women this weekend, I had overwhelming feelings of joy and sadness...yes, at the same time sometimes. It's confusing to be going through a hard time but also realizing how incredibly blessed your life is. Last night, my tears turned into sobs as I listened to Hilary Weeks sing "Beautiful Heartbreak"; one of my absolute favorite songs. I needed my mom and she was right there for me. I felt like a child again, laying my head on her shoulder and crying, and it felt so safe. I'm so lucky she's there for me.

Some of my favorite quotes from the weekend {most of them aren't word for word, just my fast note taking}:

Brad Wilcox:
Growth is optional which is why the atonement is a gift, not forced upon us.
Change is difficult.
We have to stop relying on willpower and rely on His power.
God requires eventual perfection, not immediate perfection.

Sheri Dew:
God will heal us of our weaknesses if we plead with Him.
The Lord will not force us to learn.

Mary Ellen Edmunds:
If we let something stay in our hearts, good or bad, it will grow.

S. Michael Wilcox:
Unless you pour out the grief and bitterness {in prayer}, God cannot pour back in the things that you need.
Never take counsel from your fears.
When I knock, they will open immediately if they know My voice.

Richie Norton:
Sometimes bad things happen so we can become more authentic.
Know yourself by knowing Him.

Laurel Christensen Day:
Fear of failure will plague us.
Be careful that you're not afraid of your own success.
If I want to change, I need to believe in myself.
Fight fear with love.
Don't stop petitioning the Lord for the righteous desires of your heart.
Peace is not always the thing you feel before you face your fears but it comes right after.

Can you tell I loved the speakers? Did any of those quotes speak to you in some way? Those were definitely ones that had stuck out to me last night and today. I have a few thoughts I wanted to add.

I often fear the outcomes in my life before anything happens. I fear the worst because naturally, the worst is just going to happen, right? I'm paranoid about bad things happening because I feel like I've been tested so much these past 3 years. Some days, I have a "Why not me" attitude but other days, I just can't help but feel sorry for myself and wish I had made better choices or tried harder or been better in some way. I could have fixed everything that's happened right? I could've fixed the infertility and the marriage hardships, right? It's my fault, right?
Plain and simple, that is so sincerely wrong.
Every day, I learn something new. Some of the best lessons I've learned recently have been in regards to my faith AND my suffering. I used to think there just must be something wrong with me because God was testing me too much. Did it mean I was oh so very weak and that he needed me to 'buck up'? Or maybe it meant that the good things I was doing in life weren't good enough to earn the title of "righteous". Some days, I listen intently to my Heavenly Father but other days, his words seem almost mixed with Satans and it's a hard job to figure out who is talking and whether I should believe their words.

An important lesson I've learned is that God does not make us feel worried or fearful or worthless. If I'm having those thoughts, I try so hard to recognize that they are from Satan so I can replace them with truth.
The truth is, I'm awesome. Ok, just kidding, but really... ;)
We all are. I'm brave and I'm strong and I know I am important to my Heavenly Father. I know He trusts me, sometimes too much, and I know He is aware of my needs. He creates miracles out of the trials in my life. Some are easy to see, others seem to take days, months, or years to recognize; but He is there.

Time Out for Women this year was my favorite so far because I've been feeling like I was done; like maybe God had made a mistake and accidentally given me too much to handle this time.
Truth? He doesn't make mistakes.
I'm constantly learning and growing and being stretched beyond what I believed to be my capacity. But here I am, alive and actually feeling joyful most of the time. That in and of itself is a true miracle.

The tradition of Time Out for Women is something I'll always be grateful for [Thanks, Karin]. To be surrounded by my sisters and mother for a weekend is something I need every year. I'm so blessed.

The very first video they showed yesterday was almost my exact story but with different people involved; or so it seemed from my view. I know God knew what I needed to hear this weekend.
 How I love these awesome friends of mine. I didn't think I could have more respect and love for them but after this weekend, I sincerely do. Everyone has trials. Everyone has heartache. It's real for everyone and comparing doesn't make your problem any less or more than you currently believe it is. It is what you personally feel, not what someone else thinks or feels.

The hardest part about this weekend was missing my kids. I'm not really the type of mom who loves a weekend away from her kids. Maybe that's because I feel I've been getting too many weekends away from my kids; the biggest downfall that comes with sharing them.
 But tonight was real and the Spirit in our home was strong. It stayed with me from Time Out for Women and it carried through our bedtime prayers and stories. It was the first time in weeks that I had specifically and individually prayed for my children and their needs during this difficult time. I often pray for me and think that will keep them going and that is partly true but this is a family trial. No one is exempt and I don't like knowing that! Why should my kids have to go through hard times? It just isn't fair.
But I know through the power of love from me and their Father in Heaven, they can become whole again and live successful, loving, happy lives. It isn't impossible. It is actually quite possible.

So tonight, I layed down with each child for a few minutes, something that proves difficult when you put them to bed at the same time and it's just you doing so. But I knew it needed to be done and I was determined to remind them of their worth and potential tonight. After saying prayers with Petey, she looked up and me and said, "Mommy, that was the best prayer I have ever heard in my life." And as I cried and held her while she drifted off to dreamland, I was so grateful for the Spirit and the opportunity we have to feel it in our own home.

We are so blessed.
I am so blessed.

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