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Spiritual Journal Entry #2: My April 2014 LDS General Conference Experience
It is amazing how each time I listen to the guidance and direction given by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, during the General Conferences, I come away with a firmer testimony of the Gospel and of the prophet and leaders of the church. I look forward to conference, because I know that I am going to be spiritually fed. I know that by preparation I will be able to receive personal inspiration, revelation and guidance for the questions and concerns that I have in my own life.
As I listened to this past conference I think that I could point out something in each one of the talks that I could apply personally into my life. I can truthfully say, that I KNOW that my Heavenly Father, knows me, loves me and is mindful of my needs. I received answers to prayers and the spiritual guidance I personally need to help me to strive to be better and follow his plan.
In preparation, we held a Family Home Evening the Monday preceding General Conference. At this Family Home Evening we each wrote questions that we were going to seek the answers to during conference. Yes, even my 4 year old son participated in this exercise. Throughout the week we were supposed to pray to our Heavenly Father and ponder the question we had written down. I must admit I had more than one question/ concern that I was pondering and praying about. When conference came we were to listen intently, believing that we would receive the answer to our question, then when we received it we were to write the answer/or personal revelation that we received down.
With young children I think it is important to prepare them for conference. Our children knew before hand what was to be expected. They knew this because we reminded them and also, because we have made it a tradition or habit. We found something that works for our family, so we stick to it. This is what we do: we all gather together in our family room; our children bring their color books, paper and stickers; they are given an activity page to do that pertains to conference (my children really enjoyed doing the General Conference Bingo, they used marshmallows as spacers and when they got a bingo they were able to have a little treat); they were also asked to quietly listen to receive their answers to their questions. I have to admit, they did pretty well. And even though at times I really wondered if they were actually listening and if they were getting anything out of conference, I later found out that they actually were. After Saturday's sessions of conference I asked them if they received their answers, they brought their papers to me showing me that they had been listening and had received their answers. As we later were discussing conference with extended family members, my oldest son (10 year old), even corrected us on a detail that was in one of the stories.
As I prepared myself for conference I sincerely petitioned my Heavenly Father that I would receive guidance for the specific things that I needed. I have found that if I take notes during conference, I pay closer attention and am able to right down the personal revelations I receive.
One of the concerns I was seeking help and answers to was how to be a better mother, how to teach my children to have more love and respect for each other and myself. As I listened to conference I was touched by the spirit many times and received the direction I needed. I was impressed as President Henry B. Eyring, spoke about the importance of family prayer, scripture study and sharing our testimonies with our children. He said that young children are more sensitive to the spirit. That memories of the scriptures and hymns will last the longest. As a mother I feel the urgency and importance to safe guard my children. I feel the responsibility to teach them truth and righteousness. I worry about whether I am doing enough, to give them that firm foundation that as they get older they will be able to remain steadfast. The thing that comes to my mind is that the most important thing that I need them to know and have a testimony about even at their young ages is that they are God's children. I have felt impressed to the importance of helping them to have a relationship with their Father in Heaven. That they know that he knows them and loves them and that his love is an unconditional love, that they can talk to him and seek his help at any moment in their life. Elder Richard G. Scott, spoke about how love is a powerful foundation to influencing others. I know that I need to put my focus into showing my children my unconditional love for them. I hope that they will never doubt the love that I have for each one of them.
I have been concerned with the selfish attitudes that I have seen in my home. Some examples of this is the fact that my children can not agree on what to play with. They each are so focused on their wants and are unwilling to sacrifice their desires to make the other happy. This usually ends up in anger, unkind words and sadness. Elder W. Craig Zwick's talk addressed this issue. He said, "Destructive words can take a situation from Hazardous to Fatal." I can say I can fully agree with this concept. When we are angry we are in the Hazardous zone, but when we use those destructive, ugly words then the situation truly does become fatal. Words can not be erased very easily from ones mind. They pierce and create an open wound and drive away the spirit. As Elder Zwick's talk explains that EMPATHY is the key. When we are empathetic to the way the other person feels, instead of being so consumed by our own thoughts, feelings and needs, then we are better equipped to solve a situation. This will be something that I will be trying to instill in my children is the characteristic of empathy. That when the situation arises have them put their selves in the other persons shoes and the decide how they are going to act or react.
I could go on and on about the feelings and thought that I received during this conference, but I won't go on much more. I just have to say that I came away from conference being more energized to be a better disciple of Christ. To put him first in all things, to stand true and steadfast, to be Grateful in all things, and to truly love the Lord and all of God's children.
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