If ye have love
This past weekend was the first ever General Women's Broadcast for our church. For those that don't know, twice a year (in April and October) we gather to hear words from our leaders, who pray about the messages they feel God wants us to hear, the results of which they give at a meeting we call General Conference. It used to be that before the October session of Conference, the adult women would have a special meeting in addition to the regular broadcast, and the youth aged women would have a broadcast before the April meeting. They recently combined these meetings so that all women and girls aged 8 and over meet twice a year together, instead of once a year separately. I was so pleased to hear this announcement, excited by the prospect of hearing from our female leaders twice a year instead of just once (female leaders speak at sessions of General Conference as well, but they speak specifically to women at the Women's session).
I was a little uncertain about girls ages 8-12 being invited as well--because while I might have things in common with teenagers still, what do I have in common with an 8 year old girl? But I was astounded at the leaders' ability to speak to both the old and the young present at the meeting, as they addressed issues we all have in common.
My favorite message of the evening was given by President Linda K. Burton, leader of our women's organization, the Relief Society. She spoke about being disciples of Christ, a topic I realized I hadn't thought about closely in awhile. She mentioned that women often have distorted identities today (I thought immediately of the increasing objectification of women and how that distorts the way we think about ourselves) but that it's important to remember our true identities as disciples of Christ.
That statement was very empowering for me--I often struggle in knowing who I am, but I often forget that I am a disciple of Christ. As I listened to her words, I thought, "But what does that mean? What does it mean to me to be a disciple of Christ?"
Later, as I thought back about her words, I remembered the words of Christ himself.
"By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
To me, the most important aspect of being a disciple of Christ is loving--learning to love everyone around me, and trying to show that love in every way that I can. In my own way, I try to follow the first and second great commandments, to love God, and to love my neighbor as myself.
I was encouraged also by President Burton's words when she said, "You have something to give and are willing to give it." I know one of the best ways to show love for someone is serving them, but I don't always know what I have to give. Sometimes I feel discouraged about my ability to reach out and love, because of my social anxiety and mild depressive tendencies. I don't always feel like I have the energy to reach out and love someone, and it's easy to get down on myself because of that. But something about President Burton's talk reminded me that I only need to do what I have energy for--that frankly, on days when I don't have the stamina to make someone dinner or reach out and be a loving friend to someone, that's ok. On days when I'm feeling better, I should try to remember to take the opportunity to show someone love. In that vein, since the conference I've felt inspired to include in my daily prayers a plea for God to help me to love someone that day. I'm only a few days in, but I hope having the desire in my heart will help me remember to use kind words with my family and show love to my friends, and to look for opportunities to love all of God's children.
I am so grateful to the women who spoke at this meeting for their thoughtful and inspiring words, and I look forward to hearing from the rest of our leaders later this week!
(This post is sponsored by the Sister Missionaries in our ward, who encouraged me to share my faith online. Thanks Sisters!)