This weekend was our 183rd annual General Conference, where we as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints get to listen and watch as our living Prophet, Twelve apostles, and other leaders of the church speak messages of hope, happiness, peace, and inspiration to our hearts. I look forward to this every time, and know that after the weekend's over, I am left feeling a renewed conviction in my heart to be better, to live better, to act better, and to love better than ever before.
It's a powerful feeling to have in our home, as I know Micah and I are both feeling the Spirit touch our hearts, and both working towards the same goals.
Anyone who has access to a computer, television, or radio can partake of the messages from our church leaders. Many people who are not of our faith do, and many people are uplifted. It's an amazing world we live in, where we can share truth with one another so quickly; where we can click on a button and have access to the powerful messages our Heavenly Father wants us to know.
In our church we believe that we have a living prophet today, just like in the scriptures of old. We believe that messengers are still sent from God to teach, correct, and inspire us in this modern world. I think most people think of a prophet as an eccentric guy with a long beard, shouting on the streets about the end of the world; however, this prophet is a soft-spoken, loving, intelligent, scholarly, and kind elderly man, who has been called of God to lead the people of the world closer to Godliness. His intentions are pure. He isn't looking for money, and he doesn't get paid. His desire is simply for people to come closer to God, so they can experience the immense blessings God offers them.
Some of the messages that really impacted my life this weekend were messages about absolute obedience to God and trust in the Lord. I feel that I have a significant amount faith in this area of my life, but as my life continues to grow and change, I realize that I need to adjust to new levels of obedience. For example, when I was 21, I was newly feeling out my relationship with God, and just beginning to trust his guidance in my life. I had to trust him fully that coming back to church, keeping all of His commandments, forsaking drugs and alcohol, and living the laws of chastity were what He wanted me to do. Because of my obedience at that time, In return, He poured immense blessings into my life. I can still feel the sacred power of that time in my life--it was a beautiful and special time of recommitting myself to God, and believing fully that my obedience to Him would bless my life immeasurably. And it has. I have experienced blessings in my life way beyond what I ever imagined. I have God to thank for all that I have--my husband, my children, my internal feelings of peace and happiness, my integrity, and my ability to overcome challenges that I never thought I could overcome. He has showed me a path to greatness, and I will be forever dedicated to Him for that.
Yet now that I am 34, I find that He requires a new level of obedience from me. I am not a young girl anymore! I no longer struggle with chastity--I am a married woman! I no longer question the Word of Wisdom--alcohol, drugs, and chemical dependencies have no place in my life! I no longer push against honesty and integrity--I am true to myself and what I believe! And I no longer treat His commandments like a buffet, picking and choosing what appeals to me--I know that I am blessed when I keep every last one of them, and especially when I repent for the ones I totally mess up on!
Because I am older and in an entirely different stage of life now, It's time for me to recommit to being more obedient. The rules have changed, and the bar has risen. I can feel this with all my heart.
My Heavenly Father has been patiently waiting for me to recommit to Him in the ways that I need to grow. For me this means having absolute faith and trust in the Lord that the things I am doing will result in happiness, and blessings, and closeness to God. For me this means faithfully attending church every Sunday, honoring and keeping the covenants I have made with God in His Temple, faithfully serving in my callings, reading my scriptures every.single.day, and making time each morning and night and throughout the day to pray. This also means trusting the Lord that He is guiding me as a mother, believing that my calling as a mother is divine.
Yes, the levels of obedience have changed over time, and will continue to change as I continue to trust in Him fully.
In summary, the main message I walked away with from General Conference this weekend was that it's time to recommit to obedience. It's time to walk forward with even more faith, and watch as the blessings are poured out over my life.
God wants this for all of us and I know He is ever so patiently waiting for our understanding to come.
Here is a wonderful message from our living Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, about the blessings of obedience, called Obedience Brings Blessings. Enjoy!