Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Per tradition, we piled ourselves inside our little home over the weekend to watch/listen to the Semi-Annual General Conference of my church. The Conference is divided into four sessions - Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon, Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon - and each two-hour session is chalk full of talks from the men and women that God has called to lead the Church (a difference between my faith and other Christian religions is that we believe in modern revelation from God, so prophets and apostles still exist)! While the Conference is unreal - it's spiritual comfort food on steroids, I swear - it makes for a lot of TV time for kids. A lot. And while we take good breaks in-between the sessions to set the wiggles free, I set a low expectation for the content that I actually absorb. If I get to really inhale around 1-3 talks, I'm feeling good. I start re-listening to the Conference by Sunday night anyway, and I think since I pray before the Conference to get a few answers from God myself, the few messages that I really listen to tend to be exactly what I need + my little heart feels listened to and full.

One of those talks this year was from Russell M. Nelson entirely about joy.  I have made it a point to learn about joy and how to really, truly be joy. It's been my 2016 goal (!), and while I've shared nearly nothing online about what I've learned about joy (so far! Just you wait! ;) ), this talk is officially the culmination of anything you could ever hope to learn about how to find joy: "joy comes from and because of Him." 

Oh I have so much to say on the whole topic (!!!), but I'll peace out with the most indelible part of his message for me here below...
Go liten to the talk HERE to get the comprehensive background story, but in a nutshell, the writer of that impeccable phrase, Eliza R. Snow, was one of the earliest members of my church - and a refugee - as those pioneers were kicked out of their homes because of our beliefs (more than a few times). After one of those episodes, while huddled in a wintry outdoor camp with others, Eliza wrote that if a stranger were to have walked by their scene, because of the cheerful, faithful attitudes of the people, they would have been dubbed as "pleasure excursionists rather than gubernatorial exiles." She concluded, "Saints have the power to be happy under every circumstance." 

That imagery. It absolutely hit me. I saw that scene in my mind's eye and I saw that they were happy.  And I felt that accurately sourced joy enables you to be the same person in every situation - come hell or high water - you have joy. 

So I can be taken for the most content woman in the world while life around is crazy and chaotic? Because I am that content? Sign me up. :)

Over and out - for now (you know me). 



Real quickly, I wanted to share the answer I got to the pre-Conference question that I posted on Instagram on Friday night, since the answer has officially re-wired my brain. :)

The gist of my Q was: how can I better maintain those precious periods of confidence - in myself, in my faith, in the world, in others? Another way to phrase it is "Is there a way to stay strong in your faith and in being your best self? Do you always have to fall back into the valley?"

To my surprise, I didn't get the answer to that Q in Conference - I didn't need to. First, I had this thought come almost immediately after I posted: "So what you're asking is, 'How can you be flawless?'" And that made my skin crawl, because I really don't like flawless. It's just an impossible thing to reach and/or be, and I've already learned how perfection negates the need for Jesus Christ. I'd rather have setbacks and stumbles and be close to Christ through them than forever, always, perfectly "stand."

A verse of scripture I read the very next morning sealed that answer + forever mindset for me. I had never read the verse before, and wasn't seeking it out, which makes me feel like it was straight from heaven (I was heard)! Take a look...

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, yet rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." 1 Peter 1:6-7

He lives to help! He lives to heal me. My imperfect life - the ups and downs of my faith and confidence - is exactly what He needs.

God forever be thanked for the matchless gift of His Divine Son.

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