Today I attended Women’s Conference at BYU and, as usual, it was a spiritual feast. I took notes again, because it helps me to internalize what I’m hearing. I didn’t have time to give any personal commentary, other than this first part. Oh, and I did a cursory spell-check, but this is probably riddled with misspellings and typos. Sorry about that.
The classes I took were:
"To Heal The Shattering Consequences of Abuse" (NOT because I’ve been abused – it had empty seats and I was late.)
“Doing Your Best vs. Being The Best”
“Precious Children, a Sacred, Noble Stewardship: Fulfillment in Motherhood”
“Spiritual Strength in Challenging Times”
Women’s Conference 2009, Day One
So here's my new tactic - take whatever class looks LEAST popular, so I at least get a seat. And avoid the Wilkinson Student Center at all costs. I attempted to go to a class called "Reproving Betimes With Sharpness" how to correct children without them hating you. Apparently it was a hot topic, because there were hundreds of people packed together trying to get it. Sadly, I was at the front of that pack - they said the room was full, but that there were maybe 30 seats left. Since there were only maybe 10 people in front of me, you'd think I was in, but no. There were so many saved seats and bathroom pass holders that no one got in. But that didn't stop the literally 200 people behind me from waiting. Which kept me stuck at the very front of the line, unable to move forward and unable to leave.
I found a seat in "To Heal The Shattering Consequences of Abuse." Disclaimer: I haven't been abused, and I don't think I am learning this in order to help my children recover from my parenting, either. It was just close and had open seats. I'm guessing I can still learn something valuable.
It's a choice to be happy, despite the challenges in your life. Abuse lets someone else take your free agency, leaving you disempowered. God provides a way to heal the consequences of abuse.
Matthew 28:20 - Lo, I am with you always.
What do you do to help someone who has been abused?
Love them, validate them, allowing them to talk about it, help them through grieving process, listen to them, and be there for them. Don't ignore it or belittle it.
Help break the cycle of abuse - it is passed down through the generations. Be a chain breaker - find the strength to stop the pattern and to change the cycle for your future generations.
How do you heal day-to-day?
1. Give yourself time to heal. Be patient with yourself. Allow Jesus Christ to carry your burden while you heal. Don't feel guilty for not forgiving quickly.
2. Daily personal prayer and faith in our Lord. Satan tries to alienate you from God. Through prayer is how you heal, and Heavenly Father wants to hear from you. Through humility the power of prayer will open to you.
3. Hold to the rod. Prayer is how we speak to god; scriptures are how he speaks to us. Go to church, read scriptures daily, attend the temple as often as possible.
4. Seek help. Do not fear, fear is Satan’s tool to keep you suffering. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn't try to fix it yourself. Have faith that you can be healed. Be a survivor, not a victim.
5. Learn to control your thoughts. Whatever you focus on (positive or negative) will magnify. Be grateful for everything. Verbalize the positive. Be productive, not destructive. Your subconscious mind doesn't know the difference between reality and make-believe, so tell yourself positive things. Tell yourself specific things that you are.
Ask yourself positive questions: whom do you love, who loves you and why, what great things will you do today.
You can tell the true character of a man by what he thinks when he doesn't have to think.
6. Develop a strong Amen corner. Surround yourself with people who believe in you, who will be positive. The 5 people you hang around with the most are the people you will be most like. Do they make you feel better about yourself? Have positive people in your Amen corner. (The people who you can tell what your dreams are and they say, Amen!)
Give compliments. It builds up you. Smile at people, be optimistic.
7. Gratitude and service. Be constantly grateful. Be grateful fro what we are given and for what we can give. Be grateful for serving others. It makes you more vital, a partner with Heavenly Father. It is love in action, the way the Savior taught it.
Every morning, pray to find someone to help. Everywhere you go, look for that person. It can change their day, which will change your day. Your days will become more filling, your schedule less taxing, and your family happier. You will maximize your joy.
Doesn't mean you have to have an ongoing relationship, or that they won't have consequences to their actions.
You can't wait until the offender repents; it leads to justifiable anger, but gives them the chance to choose your spiritual progression. You forgive for yourself, not for the offender. It's okay that it takes time. You don't need to see the person face-to-face in order to heal. Forgive so you can move on.
2 Nephi 9:29
Trust is a big issue, but you can always trust Heavenly Father
Proverbs 3:5-6 trust in the Lord with all thine heart.
Most abusers are victims of abuse themselves. Keep your children safe from abuse - it keeps other people from also being abused. Breaking
What we believe about god comes from what we believe about our fathers. If our relationship with our fathers is damaged or difficult, our relationship with God is also difficult.
The Holy Ghost can soften our hearts; can access our hearts when we aren't open to God. Peace comes from the knowledge that the lord hasn’t left victims of abuse uncomforted. Heavenly father knows what's needed if we let Him.
Abuse victims have behaviors to cope with anxiety, terror, etc. But as adults the coping mechanisms don't work. They need to learn autonomy - saying No. Children can't say that, so adults need to learn it, at which point they can start to overcome. They need control over choice, and need to know they have the right to do that.
Time in healing process - two steps forward and one step back. To recover from anything, we have to move ourselves into the present, not living in the past or the future. You can choose good people to be with, you don't have to be around people that harm you. You can determine what happens to your body - what food you eat, when you go to sleep, what clothes to wear.
Pray daily - you can say anything you want to God. Sometimes He'll look at you like you're a 2 year old throwing a tantrum, but He'll be smiling. You don't have to go through a performance in your prayers, because that isn't a real relationship. You shouldn't have to feel like you need to be perfect in order to have a real relationship. Be genuine with Him, so you can be yourself with Him. He knows, he's probably as angry as you are that you've been hurt. We do impotent rage, but He is in charge of how the situation will be judged, and has said that it will be better had abusers never been born.
Bear testimony and have a witness. Be thoughtful in who you choose to tell about your abuse. You are bearing witness that this abuse has happened. Don't try to fix it, if you are the listener, but love them and let your heart break for them.
Heavenly Father loves us and we aren't good at affirming that. It is wrong to believe that we have to be perfect t o have his love. Make a list of scriptures that say god loves us. We don't have to follow the rules perfectly or else we are damned. The whole point of life is that we are born. Just like we love new babies just for being, just for existing - the Lord loves us just that way. He gives us rules to keep us out of danger, but we take it as judgment. Don't. He loves us, he doesn't condemn us.
Don't tell people more than you want them to know. Trust people before you're willing to share yourself. Trust your impressions. You know things about other people that non-abused people don't know. You are more in tune to people because you needed to judge if you were in danger. Use that intuition to keep yourself safe. Don't disregard the knowledge that you have gained. You can do a reality check with your therapist to confirm that you are right. And you might be wrong occasionally, but the Holy Ghost can help you.
You can forgive people that are not trustworthy, that doesn't mean you start trusting them. It just means that you are letting Heavenly Father worry about the situation; you don't have to carry it anymore. I'm done with this whole thing; I'm not going to seek vengeance. The bitterness in our souls, that makes us feel badly, the only antidote is gratitude. You can feel upset about things you don't have, but you’ve been given this whole earth and the beauty in it, and we can't appreciate it if we focus on what we don't have.
Whatever the burdens you’re bearing, you didn't choose, but you wouldn’t trade what you're learning. You know something you wouldn’t' have known if you hadn't been asked to bear this burden.
Doing Your Best vs. Being The Best
Who do we think we are? We are a daughter of Heavenly father. Society teaches us to define ourselves by our talents, job, and age. HF teaches us to define ourselves as his daughter. We need to embrace our talents and be our best - not THE best, just our best.
All of us have abundant talents, beauty, and ability. This applies to all of us. We have to appreciate the good in others and ourselves
Prayer - pray for insight, strength, and generosity. Call on the Lord. We want to be like our HF. Enos 9:18
The work of perfecting ourselves is too difficult, but with the lord's gift of grace, strength we can do better to overcome our weaknesses.
2. Keep expectations within reach - sometimes they get out of hand. Be ye therefore perfect - 2 Nephi 31:20 - steadfastness in Christ, endure to the end, and press forward with hope and love. This is the breakdown of how to get to perfection.
Inflated expectations of the world inflate our view of greatness. With god nothing is impossible.
What defines greatness to you? Do you expect people to be the best at everything? You can be not good at some things. He knows we have limitations. We should be able to see our limitations without them overshadowing our good things. Don't let others' limitations stop us from appreciating them. There’s nothing wrong with having a different path, as long as it's a righteous path. Accept the path you're on. Remember what you'd have to give up to be perfect at something. Remember we were inspired to be on the path we're on. Be satisfied with our best efforts when we're on the right path. Limitations are our chance for growth. Allow us and others to make mistakes.
It's okay to spill milk sometimes. That's why we were given a Savior.
3. Focus on the good. Be true to yourself, and have respect for yourself. We are dissatisfied with ourselves when we try to have the talents of another. We need to have our own talents, not anyone else's. Discover who you really are, discern through our daily life. Don't listen to the people in the world that are dissatisfied with themselves. See the good in ourselves. D&c 112:11 be thou humble
Meditate on your gifts and talents. Pray to see your talents and those of others. Look for the beauty in the people around us. Be cheerful in all that you do, live enthusiastically. God does not dwell in gloom but in light and love.
Don’t self-deprecate or doubt your abilities. Move on from your sins that you’ve repented of. Give burdens to the savior.
Why do we waste energy comparing ourselves to others instead of working on ourselves, to be all we can be? Don't nag yourself with a sense of failure - get on knees and ask for help, then get on your feet and work. Help others to get on their feet too; don't dwell on people's failures.
Weed out jealousy and covetousness and instead focus on love. Don't compare our weakest attributes to someone else's strongest. This is destructive and reinforces that we don't measure up. Don't undervalue our abilities because someone has abilities we don't have.
4. Allow time for personal growth. The race is not for the swiftest, it's about endurance. We need to continually improve. The direction we are moving is more important than our degree of perfection. Make progression a process and a long-term commitment. It doesn't matter how fast we speed along the straight and narrow path.
Look at others through the lord's eyes - he requires diligence, progress, etc. Not perfection in everything today. Where we cannot be perfect, do your best. Cultivate and refine our time consuming verbs.
The lord and the world have a different expectation of perfection. Cultivate your talents and they will show your true self.
How can we be healed from old comparisons? You have to turn to the Savior to be healed. Comparisons are like slivers, small but painful. Don't let the opinions of others affect her. Only God can completely remove spiritual splinters.
If you focus on your pain, you might not notice the spiritual feast in front of you.
2. Defend yourself from feelings of inadequacy. Don't try to become the impossible.
Be like Christ - he had faith, strength, love, wanted to help
Those around him.
Christ was given the opportunities and abilities to fulfill his mission, as we have. Our missions are different. God knows the whole picture. We often glorify the strengths of others, but we are great at our own things. We are given the talents and qualities that will help us on our mission, so we need to develop our own talents.
Don't be dishonest bookkeepers in need of outside auditors.
In prayer ask to see what you did well today, where you fell short today.
3. God wants to completely heal us of comparisons - he wants us t o see ourselves as he does. Put on god's spectacles, permanently. We need a strong testimony of our own worth and divinity.
The doctrine of Jesus Christ is the seed of our divinity. We have the desire to see it grow. Then we have to nourish the seed. We love to be around people that lift our spirits, which is a small taste of what it's like to feel god's love for us. We will more clearly see our mission. We commune with our HF. We weed out toxins that will prevent our seeds from growing. Try to act the way we want to become.
In the middle of a day when I’m focused on my needs, take time to help someone else. Serving others shows us who we are and nourishes the seed of our divine worth.
Visualize the fruit of our efforts - see ourselves the way we want to be.
Session 3 -
Precious Children, a Sacred, Noble Stewardship: Fulfillment in Motherhood
2 Nephi 2:25 - men are that they might have joy. Delight in motherhood, look for validation in role as mothers
Delight in motherhood.
Do we delight in our callings in mothers the way we delight in our favorite fruit? Or do we merely tolerate it?
Who the lord calls, he qualifies. It is not a burden; it's time of celebration. Fulfillment is: To realize completely one's potentiality.
Moms show love in different ways, each mother has different skills and abilities. As we delight our children we find joy. As we serve our families, we will be blessed.
We train and promote our children, nurture them. We need to prioritize our time to make sure our children's needs are being met. We need to provide quantity and quality time.
We need to give up the eternally unimportant things in order to give our children love and attention. We can't put our own wants and needs in front of our children. Resist the tyranny of the urgent. Much of what seems so pressing right now won't matter.
Mosiah 3:19 - put off natural man.
Fruit of our labors with our children should fill us with joy
2 choose to be validated by words of the prophets.
1. Teach children by example, do small and simple things to strengthen them. Fhe, daily prayer, scripture study, attending the temple. Establish righteous traditions and be consistent. Don't underestimate your power as a mother.
2. Continue education. When you educate a mother, you educate a whole family. Education teaches you how to learn. Don't be home because you’re not smart enough to do anything else, do it because you choose to.
3. Take time for yourself. Personal development and take breaks. Be gone for just enough time to miss your family, so you're happy to come back. Not all a mother's activities need to be about their children. Give to the world the best you have.
Spend time with the Lord in prayer and scripture study. The world tells us the only way to be fulfilled is through working outside the home. But we can find fulfillment in the home.
We were given calling as mother of all living, like Eve. If we don't do our part, no one else will. We influence everything, and we can't delegate our role. We are accountable for our role.
We should daily put our energy in the work we are called to do.
Either you will raise your kids, or someone else will.
The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world. We'll have to be satisfied with ruling the world.
Eve knew her divine calling as a mother, and since then Satan has tried to dishearten and distract and disfocus mothers. If Satan can change our focus from the home then he can change the whole society.
Nephites put strength in outlying cities, but lamanites attacked the heart of the land. Satan is attacking our homes. He's not waiting to steal our children when they are away from home; he's attacking in our family room, in our cell phones, in our media room.
What would you see if you looked in the kitchen of the mothers of the stripling warriors? Love, educated women, knew and taught timely topics, made time for scripture study, both personally and for family. And they were good cooks, because you can't raise a stripling warrior on bad food.
To nurture our children, we have to have something to give. We have to have a personal testimony of Jesus Christ and it will be the best influence.
Desire, study, prayer, obedience, service is how you gain a testimony.
We need to be the mothers that leave others with a lighter heart. We should talk of Christ so our children may know where to look for the remission of their sins.
1 Samuel 1:27
Difficult moments are part of life. Children don't come happy, obedient, and with an owner's manual. Learning how to deal with children is what our job is.
Women are too hard on ourselves and have unrealistic goals, which leaves us unfulfilled. Keep a "happiness is" journal. Happiness is eating m&m's. Happiness is not something that just happens, it is a choice that we consciously make. Fulfillment is also a choice that we constantly make, not a place we just arrive at.
4 things that bring us fulfillment
1. Simplify. Being busy is the norm. You feel more like a chauffeur. You want your kids to be involved in everything to make them learn and grow. But there is a limit to what kids can/should do. Make a decision on how these things will affect family as a whole. Just because something is good doesn't mean you should do it - some things are better than good and those are what you should do. Private time between parents and child should be preserved.
Find ways to help children learn and grow in simpler ways.
Simplify our own lives. Say no to things.
2. Take time to enjoy the moment. Children grow and change so quickly. Treasure the doing more and the getting it done less. There are always things that need to be done, but maybe we need to brush it aside to spend more time playing, talking, being with kids. Turn off the TV more to spend time together.
Fun idea: spend 30 minutes and sing anything you say.
Super family activities may be good but not always best.
3. Take time for yourself. Sometimes you feel like you've lost yourself. What happened to the person I once was? That person is still there, but you're now working on something different, with far greater results. Education makes you a great person. You may not apply a calculus equation, but you can apply how you learn.
Mosiah 2:17 - it's important to raise your children but not lose yourself in the process. Learn one or two things to replenish yourself - water cannot be drawn from an empty well. Don't let the time take over, though - find a happy medium.
4. Find teaching moments for the gospel. Create righteous traditions in our homes. Fhe, family scripture study. We try to teach our children but end up learning ourselves.
Sometimes wee sound like Charlie Brown's mother to our children. We aren't always appreciated. Our efforts are not immediately recognized, but they are lifetime results. We will feel proud of our children's progression, no matter how old they get.
Spiritual Strength in Challenging Times
Camille Fronk Olson
We are being emotionally, financially, spiritually stretched; our temporal security is being taken away. The whole country is experiencing difficulties, like the nephites, Israelites, early saints in Nauvoo. Even the 12 apostles saw that daily time with the Savior did not prevent hardship, and pled Lord, increase our faith. Increase in faith requires decrease of fear. With little faith, we acknowledge god's past blessings but are still worried that we won't receive further. We are afraid god will see more stretch in us than we canhandle.
Jesus told them to have faith as a mustard seed. Nothing is impossible, no trial, no loss, no burden, if we have faith in Jesus Christ. We need to act, to do, to be stretched beyond our comfort zone.
Hebrews 11 - by faith, Noah prepared an ark to save his house. Like Nephi who built a boat, but Noah had no water. His actions could not be separated from his faith.
By faith, the harlot Rahab received so much faith that she helped the Israelites. Acted for her reverence for God without fear.
Increase in faith through challenges. God provided better things through sufferings, without sufferings could not be made perfect.
God is never the author of greed and evil that caused wars and financial turmoil. It isn't our environment or the severity of the trial that changes us, but our reaction - ready with faith to go forward and do what he bids us. We need to come to him with humility and sincerity.
Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.
Jesus told his apostles the parable of the unprofitable servant. Luke 17. We are the servant, or the "slave" in Greek. Slavery in 1st century is different than recent slavery. Slaves owned property, were born into slavery or volunteered, because it improved his social standing. It was depending on the standing of his owner, could inherit an improved lifestyle. Frequently freed slaves became roman citizens. We are slaves of Christ, he is our owner and we can improve because of it. He bought us for a price. We chose to become his servants when we were baptized, to go where he wants us to go.
We acknowledge that we are his unprofitable servants. Should we be rewarded for doing our duty? No. Wee don't like being called unprofitable. It sounds like the Lord is asking us to take on more that we can't handle. We want to be told we are fine the way we are. King Benjamin also called us unprofitable servants, because everything wee are comes from god, and all he asks is that we follow him. When we do, he always blesses us. Of what have we to boast?
We are nothing without the grace and power of Jesus Christ.
In Philemon, Onissymus means "profitable" Paul asks him to be forgiven.
Ammon was offered king's daughter, but instead asks to be a servant. Lamoni says profitable servant remembers commandments and does them.
We should find joy in service, not praise. Carry on with perfect brightness of hope. Quotes Mother Theresa - do good anyway, it is between you and god, not you and them.
Increased faith will sustain us in our challenges
Lessons from Parable of Unprofitable Servant
1. Learn to become profitable or worthy, or having merit/deserving praise. Worthy used to mean to be exalted, to be rendered worthy. Jesus Christ declares us worthy even while we have shortcomings. The savior died for us, while we are sinners. We have been rendered worthy through Jesus Christ and have hope for exaltation. We are instructed to call ourselves unprofitable servants; he does not call us that. Only through mercy of Jesus Christ are we made profitable, because of the atonement we all have worth even while we are yet sinners. If we exercise faith we can have the Holy Spirit with us. The spirit can tell us that we are doing something wrong - he is with us because of Jesus, not our own righteousness. We can pray to HF while we are yet broken.
We are called saints not because we are perfect but because of Jesus Christ.
2. We gain experience in relying wholly on the Lord. We need personal experiences that stretch our faith. We must get off the sidelines and practice what wee preach.
We can see the positive side of adversity. Working in the savior’s vineyard brings lasting joy.
3. We obtain a clearer perspective of the Lord and ourselves. We see him as our master. He's not just our elder brother who should look for our every need or make our life easier. Or a wise moral teacher. CS Lewis - either Jesus was the Son of God, or a madman, or something worse. He cannot be just a man, a human teacher.
He is the rock of heaven, the only one that sustains us in the storms of our lives. The more we look to him to better we can see how to prioritize our lives - riches less important, family more. We can be content with our assignment in the lord's vineyard.
Amid all the chaos of life, god shows his hand in the stability of his plan. Through the lord, we can accomplish what He wants.
Instead of looking back at all the reasons he shouldn't be allowed as a servant, Paul instead looked forward in faith. He learned to be content in whatever state he was.
Trials should help us to bolder courage to step out into the darkness and gain the lord's light. If god be for us, who can be against us? Your future is as bright as your faith.