Women’s Conference, chapter 3: Friendship

DSCF2025For those of you who usually come to this blog for the amazing and uplifting stories about boogers, laundry, and night-time diapers, please indulge me several more days of Women’s Conference summaries.  They may, perhaps, be of no benefit to you, but it’s a good exercise for me to review what I learned a week and a half ago, and to think about what I felt inspired to take notes on.  This picture is me and my good friend, Shantel, at Women’s Conference in the Marriott Center waiting for Elder L. Tom Perry’s talk to begin.  It was great to have a friend to share the whole experience with. (It was of course also wonderful to have my mom there, too, but she didn’t look so hot in the picture, so I cropped her out so she wouldn’t get mad at me.  Hi mom.)

I have some friends who are struggling with big things right now– the kinds of challenges that make my trials laughable.  This is why I chose to attend a class called, “The Hand of an Old Friend: Bearing One Another’s Burdens through  True Friendship,” taught by Shauna Harker and Dixie Taylor.  The class didn’t turn out to be exactly what I was expecting, but I learned some good things and set some new goals.

Here is a random compilation of my notes from this class:

  • We should pray to find the gifts in our life’s experiences, and pray to find people that need an extra touch.
  • When we feel spiritually low ourselves, we should fast and pray (and look for opportunities to serve).
  • We feel alone when we are too busy.  We need to pause; make a phone call, send a note, etc.
  • This was my favorite quote from the class and the most prominent principle I walked away with.  Ruby Haight (Elder David B. Haight’s wife) said:  “If you don’t have a loaf of bread, just give a piece of toast.” I was struck by the fact that what we might normally consider a “lame” or unworthy effort can truly be appreciated and make a difference in someone’s day, or life even.  She also quoted Alma 37:6 about “by small and simple things shall great things come to pass.”
  • Hymn says, “In the quiet heart is hidden sorrow that the eye can’t see.”  We should look for the hidden sorrow.  Look for understanding, not judgement.
  • Sheri Dew taught that we should assume that we all are doing the best we can.
  • We gather together for strength, but we bring all our weaknesses and imperfections.
  • Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.”
  • Mark 2:1-5: (Story of man healed by Christ after friends lowered him through the roof) “And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” It was the faith of the friends that healed the man.  We should not underestimate the power of our prayers and faith on the behalf of loved ones.
  • James 5:16: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
  • Christ is our friend.  D&C 84:88: “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”  What am I doing to be Christ’s friend?
  • When feeling alone, excluded, in a new situation, etc., be the first to say hello.  Make the first move.
  • Offer a specific service.  Too often the generic phrase “Is there anything I can do to help?” goes unanswered.  Offer something that you can do to help.  For example, “I’d like to come over and {insert  your idea here: help you fold laundry, bring you a meal, take the kids for a couple hours, etc.}.  When would be a good time?”
  • Look for the good in others.  You’ll always find it.

I’m so grateful for good friends.  Occasionally I need some kind of service (feel free to volunteer right now to do laundry or bring me dinner), but what is the most sustaining to me is a friend’s listening ear– a phone call, a treadmill conversation, a kind comment, etc.  I thank God for surrounding me with kind and forgiving people, who whether in sincerity or due to great acting skills, make me feel important.


14 thoughts on “Women’s Conference, chapter 3: Friendship

  1. “We feel alone when we are too busy. We need to pause; make a phone call, send a note, etc.”

    This sums up my life perfectly. I am way to busy, I get way down. Even though many times my busy is wasting time on mindless things like surfing the web, I still make myself ‘too busy’ for the good things in life I should be doing.

    Thanks for sharing your notes the past week or so, and thank you for this specific quote.

  2. I too like the “We feel alone when we are too busy” quote. I really need to slow down and learn to listen for those whispers.

    You know, I wish like all heck I could have been at Women’s Conference, but I tell you what–I am SO glad I didn’t have to sit in the Marriott Center seats! Being taller than the average woman, I was always incredibly uncomfortable in them, and took to watching devotionals anywhere else I could. Anyhoo.

  3. Steph, thanks once again for posting your notes.

    What really jumped out at me was the scripture James 5:16. “Confess your faults to one another”. I think a lot of times we feel lonely because we feel like we are the only ones going through a certain something. I know I feel like the worst mother most times, but I am sure if I confessed my faults to others, they would jump in and tell me that they are doing pretty much the same things. Maybe if we knew each other’s faults we could support each other with our different strengths.

    Just my two cents. Thanks again!

  4. I, like you, love the quote, “If you don’t have a piece of bread, just give a piece of toast.” Lots of times, I get that perfectionism going and think that if I can’t take their kids for a week, bring them dinner every night, or pay off their medical bills, then I’m of no use. But, I am SO wrong when I think that.

    Over the past few months, I have been taking new medications for chronic pain, and have had several days (and weeks) where I could do little more than sleep and sometimes sit up and read. It’s awful. But, I found that I was buoyed up by many people. And most of them helped with only phone calls, or emails of concern and encouragement. Sure, I had the stellar people that planned my daughters’ birthday party, and brought dinner every week. But anything anyone could do to encourage me and help my family was incredibly appreciated.

    So, what can I do for others? Well, not much, with chronic pain and little energy. But, I can send an email and write a note–maybe even make cookies or banana bread. And, I know from experience that ANYTHING I can do to help is great.

    I love your notes on this–thanks for sharing.

  5. This is such a little thing, but I like the suggestion of offering something specific to help. I mean, chances are if they need something specific they’re not going to tell you what it is anyway. And maybe what you’re offering isn’t exactly what they need, but all service brightens other people’s spirits, so at least I can help someone in that way. And I don’t have to hope they know I mean it when I ask what I can do. I can actually do something for them.

    I really like that. I’m all about practical solutions.

  6. Looks like I need an extra button on that shirt! ohh–la la!
    Most days, it feels like I can usually only manage bread crumbs with my service.
    Over the past few years, I have really cherished the friendships that honor the Lord, and make me want to be better. Laughter and fun is a big part of that, but uplifting conversation and having friends that, as Sheri Dew said – assume that you are doing your best – is awesome!

  7. This sounds like a really uplifting talk; I love many of the notes you have shared here. I know you seem to think sharing these notes are not as great as your regular post, but I really appreciate them. Thanks!

  8. I, for one, am grateful that you are posting your notes. I’ve never been to Women’s Conference – always wanted to – and am living vicariously through you.

    And thanks for attending the exact session I needed to hear. You’re the best.

  9. Well, now I don’t feel so bad about only having a dollar to give a lady that was going door to door for money for her electric bill.

    Also, I’m guilty of saying “Let me know if you need anything.” Next time, I’m totally going to say, “I want to watch your kids. When do you want me to come get them?” That’s a little harder to refuse.

    Another thing that I think is important is accepting help. If someone asks me to watch my kids, my first instinct would probably be to say, “No, that’s okay. We’re good.” But that doesn’t benefit my friend!

  10. I loved the quote about offering specific service. I learned about this when my daughter was in the NICU. The people who called to see which day they could watch my son were harder to put off than the “anything I can do?” requests. (Why do we resist people who want to help us anyway??) I also like the idea of giving “toast” when that’s all you’ve got. I know I worry too much about doing the perfect thing instead of just doing SOMETHING.

    I’ve loved your notes too. I’m hoping to catch Sis. Beck’s talk on BYU-TV. And I’m pondering going to Women’s Conference next year since I’ll already be in Utah…

  11. I am loving this series you are doing. I am getting so much out of them! I, too, adore Ruby Haight’s quote. I need to keep that in mind. Often times I don’t do as much service as I would like to right now because with young kids at home, it really limits what I feel I can do. I suppose toast … even burnt toast … is better to offer than nothing. I need to stop focusing on the loaf I can’t offer and figure out what I can.

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