While Audra is doing who knows what in the laundry room (I am a little scared to look, to be honest), I thought I would try to conceptualize some of the thoughts/inspirations I have of the conference this last weekend.
There were 6 speakers and 2 musical presenters, and all were amazing. I will not go into what all of them said, but I would like to share some things which they talked about which inspired me.
Many of them talked about trials they had endured. One woman, Emily Freeman, spoke of her little boy being diagnosed with diabetes. She said when they came home from the hospital, having learned all of the procedures they would now have to do, she pricked his finger to check his blood count, and he reached up and pinched her cheeks as hard as he could- and she let him, because she felt like she deserved it for hurting him with the needle- and he said, "I hate you! I hate this!" and ran off to his room. She then fell on the floor and cried for hours.
She went on to say that after about 5 years she and her son took part in a research study. One of the questions they asked was, "If you could go back and be rid of your son's diagnosis, but also lose all of the knowledge you have gained, would you do it?" She said she had to think about that for a long time- her first impulse was of course to say yes. But, she said, after thinking about it she finally said "no." She said, "all of those nights I spent in prayer, all of those discussions about the Lord I have had with my son, the knowledge I have gained that I am not in this alone- I wouldn't change that for anything, even if it meant making my son better." I thought that was quite poignant- I am pretty sure I would have wanted the diagnosis changed!
Then another woman, Kris Bulgur (who in my opinion was the highlight of the weekend) talked about how she had been diagnosed with eye cancer when she was 7 months old and had to have her eye removed. Then, after she married and had 2 kids, the cancer came back into her other eye. She talks about this horrible period of her life, and how she kept saying, "I had cancer- that part of my life is over- this isn't supposed to be happening to me." She said the doctor gave her two options: "We can remove your eye and you will die. Or, we can go behind your eye to remove the cancer, you will lose your eyesight (leaving her totally blind), and you will probably die." She said she went to Temple Square in Salt Lake and walked up to the statue of the Christus and just fell at His feet and wept. She said all she wanted was to be able to see her Savior's hands, and she couldn't. She talked about the faith and courage she needed to be able to get through all of this- about how she prayed and prayed that she would get better, and the Lord answered her by simply saying, "I am with you"- not saying she would be made whole, but that He was by her side. She said, "of course God's going to give us things we cannot handle- if not, what's the need for Christ?" She also said, "There are obstacles you can not pray away- it does not mean we don't have faith, but that we need to turn to Christ," and that "we may have to go through a sad story, but we don't have to live our lives through that sad story." It was very powerful- especially as everybody in the room was bawling! Her testimony of Christ was just...unbelievable- and I am glad I got to hear it.
Ardeth Kapp talked about changing our sphere of the world- whatever our world is. She said, "the Lord wants us to make an impact on our area of influence- we must be willing to accept that challenge." I really liked that. So often I feel like I want to do something that really makes a difference in the world- I don't know, cure cancer or something (though I would probably need to know at least something about medicine to be able to do that!). But, I CAN help and change my sphere of influence right here in Highlands Ranch, CO. I liked that.
I learned, once again, that whatever trials I think I have- there are people who are really suffering and struggling- cancer, lay-offs, sick children. I know that I am incredibly blessed- BUT, I also know that because of that I have an opportunity and responsibility to reach out to those around me and help lift others up. I want to do that. I have tried, but of course I never feel like I do enough. I wish I was wealthy and could pay for treatments for friends who are ill, or whose children are ill. I wish I could always know the perfect thing to say, and have the perfect solution for those who are enduring trials. But, I don't. However, I can do my best to try and be of service to others, to help with fundraisers, to bring dinners, to help baby-sit- whatever others may need. And, I can be grateful for everything that I have- for health, for the opportunity to stay home with my children (not saying this is the right move for everyone- it just happens to be for us right now), for the knowledge I have that Jesus is the Christ- that He is my Savior and Redeemer, and that He loves me more then I can possibly comprehend. Trials will certainly come (as I may soon find in the laundry room), but I can look to my Savior for guidance and support, and for that I am grateful.
There are many other things I can discuss. And, for those of you who attended, forgive me for not having exact quotes- this is what I gleaned from what was presented, and I would love it if you added your own comments about what you learned as well. It was just a truly uplifting weekend- a spiritual renewal of sorts- and I am grateful I went. I am hoping we can make this a yearly tradition- a yearly recharge of our emotional batteries. Thanks, mom, for calling me and asking me to tag along! It was absolutely wonderful!!!