This morning I had the privilege of sitting through 2 HOURS of church and listening to (almost) every minute of it. I'm pretty sure the last time that happened was about 5 years ago, so this was monumental.
We had a special Stake Conference with Elder Bednar presiding. Chase and I sang in the choir and our family were kind enough to watch the kids while we sat on the stand (about 10 feet away from Elder Bednar!). I can't begin to thank my family enough for this blessing because of all the meetings I've been to in the last five years THIS was the one I needed to hear. This was the one I needed to be able to focus on. So, family, thank you. A MILLION TIMES, THANK YOU! No, YOU rock, and you know it (line, anyone?).
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this blog is because of my experience this morning. It's not very often that I walk away from a meeting with a better understanding of my self, my worth in the eyes of the Lord, and a better vision of my divine potential.
I started to write a summary of his talk, but I just can't do it justice. And honestly the bottom line is this: the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. Our time on this earth is a probationary period. Because of this we are given trials and tribulations. Some come as part of our mortal experience, and some are given to us individually to test and refine us. What matters in life is the priorities we set and the goals we are striving to accomplish. If we find ourselves making excuses for not doing those things we know we should do - and which will bring us true and lasting happiness - it is NOT because, "we don't have time." That's a lame excuse (those are Elder Bednar's very candid words). It's because we don't think those things are important to us. If we're not having Family Home Evening, scripture study and prayer, it's because we are simply choosing not to. If it's important to us, we'll do it.
On the flip side there is the message of hope. We can change. The atonement and saving grace of our Savior Jesus Christ is the one thing that can truly enable change in our lives if we seek after it. It often seems we are asked to do too much. Or we feel that our challenges and trials are just too great a burden to overcome. When we feel this way it's easy to forget that the Lord is there and will strengthen us and give us the ability to overcome ANYTHING. We may think no one else can ever understand our pain/weakness. But the Savior has overcome every trial and hardship and knows how best to succor our needs. In Him we can find true relief.
I could literally go on for days about how awe-inspiring it was to hear Elder Bednar speak today. It is truly wonderful to be in the presence (did I mention I was 10 feet away from him?) of an Apostle of the Lord, a sacred witness of Jesus Christ. I'm grateful I was able to be there. Moreover, I'm grateful for the strength I gained in my testimony of God's Only Begotten Son. I am filled with a knowledge that God our Father lives. He sent His Son to live on this earth and teach us a better way; a way that, if followed, will lead us directly back to live with Him. He has, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, restored the fulness of the gospel on the earth in this dispensation. Through this we are able to have the Priesthood, the literal authority to act in God's name. Through this sacred authority we can become families, united for eternity. I find so much strength, hope and happiness in this sure knowledge.
I love my Savior. I know that He loves me as well. If any among my readership does not have that knowledge I would encourage you to get on your knees and get back in touch with the Father who created you. Regardless of denomination I think we all can benefit from a relationship with God and His Son. May we ALL do what we know is right and live to the potential within us.