Women’s Conference Weekly: The greatest champion of womanhood

[Hey, I stayed up way too late last night and gave my blog a facelift. I’ve never done pink before, but I’m hoping this is subtle enough. Feel free to look around the new digs.]

Imacon Color Scanner

Here are some notes from the class I attended  at BYU Women’s Conference called “The World’s Greatest Champion of Woman and Womanhood is Jesus the Christ” by Cheryl Savage and Ann Marie Toone. Please forgive that I am not the most excellent note-taker in the world, but I tried to capture some points and thoughts and quotes that stood out to me as I listened, and hopefully you’ll find them enlightening as well.

From Cheryl Savage:

She opened up by describing her large, young, busy family, and then said, “This is my stage and my season. I am a warrior.”

She used one of my favorite President Packer quotes:

“True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.”

Womanhood comes with its own set of messy mortality.

Satan has done his best to destroy women, but Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan.

Don’t measure your worth or your day by society’s standard.

Elder Craig C. Cardon:

“After we do all we can do, His compassion and grace are the means whereby “in process of time” we overcome the world through the enabling power of the Atonement. As we humbly seek this precious gift, “weak things become strong unto [us],” and by His strength, we are made able to do that which we could never do alone.”

Remember the big picture. Allow the Savior to help you. Find your joy and never forget it.

Cheryl posted up the complete transcript of her talk on her own blog, so go check it out in all its glory. I’m sure you’ll feel uplifted. (Oh, and she quoted my book a few times, which was so nice of her, but I still feel a little sheepish about it.)

From Anne Marie Toone:

Jesus Christ demonstrated deep familiarity with women’s lives. He appreciated them and ennobled them.

  1. Each woman is a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents.
  2. There is a plan.
  3. The Holy Ghost will help us know our role.

The Lord accepts our righteous offerings. He needs His daughters to receive, accept and fulfill their role.

He created men to need women, and He created women to need men.

He gives righteous women more lasting influence than women of the world. (I love that. I believe it so much. This is our great power.)

Women are expected to lead and counsel together with men.

Heavenly Father expects his daughters to use their influence to change the world.

She referred to Luke 10 to show that the story of Mary and Martha demonstrates that women could also participate spiritually in Jesus Christ’s work.

Christ was the greatest champion for us in the preexistence.

Question to consider:

If the Savior is my greatest champion, am I His?

These were both great talks. I could feel the spirit and the cheerleading of my Heavenly Father. He wants us to know how loved and needed and powerful we are. I know women and their work is valued and honored in His plan.

How do you know personally that Jesus Christ is a champion of you?

[Go here to see some of the women’s conference transcripts that are available as well as information about rebroadcasting on BYUTV.]

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The loss of a child

Even though I worry about losing one of my children and I occasionally have nightmares about it, I have never experienced the death of a child. I hope I never do. Sometimes in my dark imaginations, I try to picture what it would feel like, how I would react, how people around me would react, and I speculate about what I could and could not handle.

I recently finished reading a book called In His Hands: A Mother’s Journey through the Grief of Sudden Loss by Jenny Hess. She explains in great detail her experience with grief after the tragic death of her 4-year old son, Russell, just a few short years ago. I hurt for her, I admired her, in some ways I understood her, and I definitely learned a lot from her story. Here is a description:

With the sudden loss of a loved one comes an unavoidable fork in the road. Some succumb to anger and despair, while others seek strength in the healing power of Jesus Christ. When faced with paralyzing sorrow, how can one truly find peace and perspective? In His Hands offers a candid portrait of grief in which one family fights to find a way out of the black hole of grief and into the arms of the Savior. Author Jenny Hess invites readers on her journey from heartache to healing, from the shattering loss of her young son to her personal quest for hope. With grace and wisdom, the heavenly insights gained by one woman navigating through her darkest hours demonstrate that though grief is achingly painful, there are tender mercies to be found along the path.

In His Hands

I cried through most of the first three chapters. This book made me think deeply about two things– 1) Would I grieve the same way she did? I don’t think I would, but I’m sure there would be many similarities, and yet, I simply do not know. I can’t possibly understand what it’s really like unless I’ve experienced a related loss myself. And I don’t want to. Her experience confirmed that for me–it is a dark and ugly path that I hope to God to never have to tread. Her story taught me a lot about all of the many ways that a person and her relationships can be affected by grief. There were so many more emotional, spiritual, mental and even physical levels to it than I ever imagined. I hope that if I ever found myself facing the death of a child… well, I hope I could come through it like Jenny did, and still is. With faith and trust despite the hot pain.

The second thing I thought about was this: 2) How can I help people who experience grief on any level? The scriptures teach us to mourn with those that mourn and to comfort those that need comfort. Her story taught me a great deal about things to do and say and not do and not say when someone is grieving a deep loss. I ate up her examples about things that were helpful and thoughtful to her. People brought meals, ran her errands, made and gave gifts reminiscent of her son, offered gifts and letters and encouragement to her living children, visited her, called her and checked on her, asked her how she was doing and really wanted to know, and were not afraid of her or afraid to talk about her son. People also did and said well-intentioned things that hurt her. I realized that there needs to be some balance between moving on with normal life and also acknowledging the loss and identity of the deceased. I know that people mourn differently, and things that were helpful to her may have been hard for someone else, so I see the value of listening the Spirit and acting and not being afraid to ask questions about what might really be the most helpful or what is hurting the most.

I hope that I will be a better comforter and succorer after reading Jenny and Russell’s story. I think she is incredibly brave. Having written a book myself, I know something of the vulnerability that comes with the territory, and she was very honest and raw with the things she experienced and felt. I know that–although cathartic–it must have been incredibly difficult to do and I’m sure there were fears about how it would be received.

I do not know if Jenny will see this review, but thank you, Jenny, for sharing your journey. It seems that one of your fears is that Russell will be forgotten, but having read your story, I now know Russell even though I never met him. I will remember him, and I think everyone that reads will think about him and continue to keep his memory alive. And thank you for your beautiful testimony of God’s love and plan for His children.

To any of you who have experienced loss or had a front row seat to the loss of a loved one, what are some things that people did or said that was helpful to you? Or meaningful? I would love to have an army of ideas to add to those that Jenny shared in her book because I learned that the healing process is a long and painful road. I want to be someone who makes it better any way I can.

A conversation that made me smile

chocolate-chip-cookies

Today for our morning devotional, we talked about baptism and watched this video about the baptism of Jesus Christ. Clark asked “Wasn’t Jesus related to John?,” and Grant answered that they were cousins. That led to a discussion about the rest of Jesus’ family. “Did he have brothers and sisters?” “Was he married?” I answered with what details we do know from the scriptures and explained that there are some details we don’t know.

Natalie asked, “Is there a Heavenly Mother?”

“Of course!,” I said. “We don’t know very much about her, but we definitely have a Heavenly Mother.”

She grinned and thought for a minute. “Do they have cookies in Heaven?”

“I don’t know. I’m not sure we get hungry in heaven.”

“Well if they do, moms make the best cookies.”

“Oh, so you think Heavenly Mother would make the best cookies ever?”

She nodded. “You’re probably right,” I said.

Then they had a long discussion about all the delicious things that Heavenly Mother will probably make … a doughnut bigger than the Texas doughnuts…a hundred layer cake…

Sometimes I really love my kids.

Bringing some diaper humor back to Diapers and Divinity

I saw this picture floating around on Facebook today and it made me laugh… and remember. Toddlers sure like to keep their moms busy, don’t they? Here’s a sample of what it would look like if toddlers used Facebook.  Funny stuff.

FBtoddlerHang in there, toddler moms! You’re not alone.

I especially wish to praise and encourage young mothers. The work of a mother is hard, too often unheralded work. The young years are often those when either husband or wife—or both—may still be in school or in those earliest and leanest stages of developing the husband’s breadwinning capacities. Finances fluctuate daily between low and nonexistent. The apartment is usually decorated in one of two smart designs—Deseret Industries provincial or early Mother Hubbard. The car, if there is one, runs on smooth tires and an empty tank. But with night feedings and night teethings, often the greatest challenge of all for a young mother is simply fatigue. Through these years, mothers go longer on less sleep and give more to others with less personal renewal for themselves than any other group I know at any other time in life. It is not surprising when the shadows under their eyes sometimes vaguely resemble the state of Rhode Island. … Do the best you can through these years, but whatever else you do, cherish that role that is so uniquely yours and for which heaven itself sends angels to watch over you and your little ones.”  —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

 

Women’s Conference Weekly: Set your DVR!

auditorium

As promised, I will be sharing more of my notes from the BYU Women’s Conference over the next several weeks, but I wanted to make sure that you all know that many of the talks will be rebroadcast on KBYU and BYUTV this coming week. You won’t want to miss these talks. The ones I heard in person were wonderful, and I’m excited to see those I missed while attending other workshops.  Click on the link below to check the schedule, and move quickly to get them recorded:

BYU WOMEN’S CONFERENCE REBROADCAST SCHEDULE

(As far as I can tell, both of those channels’ websites give you the option of watching live online, so you’re not out of luck if you don’t have satellite TV.)

Coming next week on Women’s Conference Weekly: Notes and thoughts from “The World’s Greatest Champion of Woman and Womanhood is Jesus the Christ” by Cheryl Savage and Ann Marie Toone