This weekend was the LDS General Conference where we get to stay home in our jammies and listen to the Prophet and Apostles give us comfort and guidance. There were a few messages that stood out to me and I wanted to share (watch the talks here or go to www.lds.org).
From Marriage - Watch and Learn by L. Whitney Clayton -
This message helped me to know that even if I'm considered "old fashioned" by many in society, the desires I have for a happy relationship/marriage are not a thing of the past. It was comforting to see Elder Clayton encouraging married couples to seek a higher standard in their marriages. A few excerpts that really stood out to me are as follows:
"The best marriage partners regard their marriages as priceless. Husbands and wives are to treat each other as equal partners. They respect each other, make decisions unanimously and are entitled to an equal voice."
"Where there is respect, there is transparency which is a key element of happy marriages. There are no secrets about relevant matters based on mutual respect and transparency."
"Loyalty is a form of respect. Successful marriage partners are fiercely loyal to each other and don't do things that might betray the sacred trust of their spouses. They never do or say anything that approaches the appearance of impropriety either virtually or physically. Love each other with complete devotion."
"There are those who are.....single parents (...etc) and these circumstances are full of challenge and heartbreak. May heaven bless you richly. Seek after forming the ideal of an eternal marriage, including striving or preparing to be a worthy spouse. Trust the Lord and his perfect love for you. One day every promised blessing for marriage will be yours."
The Home, the School of Life by Enrique R Falabella -
"In order to contend, you need two people and I will never be one of them. We need to live a celestial life. The words I love you, thank you very much, and forgive me are like food for the soul. They transform tears to happiness, they provide comfort to weighed down soul and confirm tender feelings of the heart. We need to make our homes a piece of heaven here on earth."
I loved that first sentence soo much. It made me want to be a better parent and teach my boys the principles of love and compassion for others, especially our family.
Lord, I Believe by Jeffrey R Holland -
The message rattled me to the depths of my soul and left me literally sobbing because I have struggled for so long with the fact that I couldn't positively say "I know what is true and what is not" when it came to religion. I have questions and doubts, and this helped me to know that it's okay. It is comforting to know that there is a higher power who "gets it" and understands that sometimes believing is the best we can do for now.
"Even if you can do no more than desire to believe, Alma declares, let this desire work in you even until you believe."
"For all who wish for more faith, remember this man. Hold the ground you have already won even if it's limited. When those moments come and issues surface where the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not your issue. It is the integrity you demonstrate towards the faith you do have and the truth you do know."
"When problems come and questions arise, do not start your quest for faith with saying how much you do not have. That is like stuffing a turkey through the beak. Let me be clear....I am not asking you to pretend to have faith you do not have. I am asking you to be true to the faith you do have. Be as candid about your questions as you need to be. But if you and your family want to be healed, don't let those questions stand in the way of faith working it's miracle."
"In this world, everyone is to walk by faith. Be kind regarding human frailty, your own as well as those who serve with you. Except in the case of his only Begotten Son, imperfect people are all God has had to work with. That must be terribly frustrating but he deals with it. So should we. Be patient, kind and forgiving."
"When doubt or difficulty come, do not be afraid to ask for help. The scriptures phrase this earnest desire as being pursued by full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God. God will send help from both sides of the veil to strengthen our belief. Belief is a precious word and an even more precious act. Never apologize for 'only believing'. Christ himself said 'Be not afraid, only believe'."
"If your faith is a little tested, lean on mine. Hope on. Journey on. Honestly acknowledge your questions and concerns but first and forever fan the flame of your faith because all things are possible to those that believe."
As most of you may know, I have not always made the best choices in the world. My choices led to pain, heartbreak and neglect of those things most important to me. When I realized the errors of my ways, I struggled to know what direction to take my life. I did not know what to believe in or what path to follow to obtain the happiness I so desperately wanted for my little family.What I did know was that I did not want my boys to follow in my footsteps. I wanted to set a better example to them. I started going back to church on and off, and it was the only place that I was able to find peace. The more I went, the more our situation improved. Our family was blessed in ways that I can't even start to comprehend or explain.
This isn't to say I have found my cure all. I still have my vices that I struggle with daily. I still have so many doubts and questions as to what is the truth. I do not know without a doubt that the LDS church is the true church. But what I do know is that my family is happier. We are more connected and more at peace. I am able to better handle my responsibilities as a mother. My boys are more obedient and helpful (for the most part). So that is enough for me. I may not know for a fact, but I do believe.