Sunday, April 03, 2016

General Conference

I would think that every single person had favorite talks throughout the three sessions of General Conference. Different speakers would speak to our hearts as we sought inspiration. I was very anxious and excited for Conference this time. More so than other times. I needed to have my decision to retire verified. I don't want to make a mistake or cause our family any undue stress because of this decision. I made the decision to do so about three weeks ago and felt very peaceful and even exited about the new adventures that might await us once the daily grind of work was behind me. I had earnestly sought God's guidance through the process of making the decision. I fasted about it. I went to the Temple seeking approbation. And I prayed day and night to know that the Lord approved of my desire. The Lord was very quiet. In fact, I felt nothing. I didn't feel like it was right or wrong. After a week or so, I finally said, "Ok, then God is trusting me to make this decision on my own. If it's wrong, He had better let me know before it's too late." So I told my boss and got things under way. (It nearly takes an act of Congress to retire from BYU.) I felt peaceful until a week ago. And then one day I woke up grumpy and out of sorts for no reason at all. The days got darker and darker. I had difficulty sleeping. I was cranky at work and treated Jim horribly. All our old financial issues kept coming to my mind. All our moves and our insecurities would not leave my head. I felt terrified of leaving my job. I tried to examine my thoughts. Where did this darkness come from? God doesn't work in darkness. He works with light. And Joseph Smith's statement "Fear and faith cannot reside in a person at the same time" would not leave my mind. I was fearful. Should I exercise faith that after all I could do would be sufficient for the Lord to make up the deficit? He hadn't at some points in our lives--at least not in the way I would have wanted. So what about now? For three days I felt dark depression and great fear. I finally requested a Priesthood blessing from Jim. I explained to him what was going on in my head. He gave me a beautiful blessing and the darkness immediately left. I was able to turn in my last papers and did make the final decision that retiring is what I needed to do. It has been peaceful for the last two days.

And so, as Conference approached, I was hoping that I would feel even stronger in my resolve. All the talks were good and there were snippets in each that I could apply to my situation and need. I knew my decision was right. And then Elder Holland spoke and I had a small vision come to my mind that is very sacred. I do not know how this will all end, but I did see and know in my mind's eye that my place is in the home. It always has been. I just had to take a detour for a while. Now I am to return to prepare for whatever is to happen in the future. Tears were streaming down my face. I am at peace.

I asked Ammon what his favorite talk was and he didn't even hesitate. He said his favorite was Elder Paul Johnson's about the atonement. It gave him hope and he said he can't wait until all his family and friends can see him whole and well.

And so we go to "tomorrow" and the high from this weekend might lessen but I will take Elder Holland's suggestion that we do not let the tomorrow's get us down. I will anxiously wait to read the words that were spoken so that I can remember what I heard in all it's detail this weekend.


Jess Clark said...

I wish to encourage every one of us regarding the opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun.

Paul pleaded with those new members in much the same way President Gordon B. Hinckley is pleading with new members today. The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul says to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble—to these he says, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Then this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you: “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.

“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. …

“… If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

“… We are not of them who draw back unto perdition.”

From Holland, Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence"

Mike and Adrianne said...

Thanks Mom. I hadn't read this yet when we talked on the phone. I have felt a serious struggle in my mind lately about some decision to make and I have had equally good and bad thoughts about both choices. It has been incredibly difficult for me to decipher the feelings. I have thought over the talk Jess mentioned above a hundred times trying to decide if I was ever illuminated or not. ha, ha. I guess I'll figure out what I should do eventually but I appreciated your testimony and you post. I am so happy for you to retire and to feel this peace. Love you Momma!

The Duke said...

Thanks for your comments. And Jess, I appreciate you sending me Elder Holland's talk. It is such a powerful one. Even with that, the struggle seemed to overtake me at one point last week. I was so fearful. I was not doubtful about my testimony or issues with doctrine. I was doubtful about my ability to make a proper decision that would not put my family in abject poverty. It's been a ride. I still don't know the final outcome but am moving forward in faith that the message I received in Elder Holland's talk this last Sunday was meant just for me. I am meant to be home now to prepare for whatever is to come my way. And something will come, whether it's a mission, surgeries, death, etc. And maybe just some peace for a while.
Good luck with your decision, Adrianne. I love you, too.