Monday, November 7, 2011

Set me Free to Find my Calling...

    This is part 4 of my journey to New York. Actually this part is about Richmond, Virginia. I was able to take part in a very special and inspirational weekend at Time Out for Women. It was wonderful, filled with amazing speakers and music by Jenny Oaks Baker and Jericho Road. 

    The theme of the whole program was "Choose to Become" and discovering our possibilities because "all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23). We were given the Choose to Become Challenge, where we were asked to think and act on the question "Who am I going to become in the next year?" (to anyone who hasn't already taken the challenge, GO FOR IT!) I've thought about this for a long time and although there is a lot of things I want to become, there is one word to describe this woman I want to be: Courageous. Courageous in my scripture study, my prayers, my talents, stepping outside my comfort zone. So to become this courageous woman I want to be at the end of next year, I'll be choosing one way each week to be courageous. This week is prayer. Honestly, my morning prayers are sometimes nonexistent or if I remember, in the car on the way to work. So, next week I'll report on my progress! Keep me in your prayers and I'll keep you in mine! :)

Continuing on... 
    Mariama Kallon - She was the first speaker for the Saturday Session. A wonderful woman who has been through the unimaginable from surviving in Sierra Leon. She said a lot of things that touched my heart. What I noticed the most was her ability to quote scripture. She would look at her notes occasionally during her talk but when she would say a scripture, she looked straight at the audience with a small fire in her eyes and conviction in her tone. I loved it and admired it. She also had a quote:
"She that is too busy to pray is busier than the Lord wants her to be."
That will be the quote for this week. :)
She talked a bit about her mission as well. She got me thinking about what my "good cause" to be anxiously engaged in was. As she talked about being anxiously engaged in something she would say LDS stood for something as well as Latter-Day Saint:
I love it! This woman was so inspiring. She kept going on to ask us "why should I give way to temptation because of my affliction?" Strong words coming from a woman who had been through so much affliction in life. Through prayer and scripture study, she was able to let go of the heartache and move on with her life. Inspiring to say the least. 

    Linda Eyre & Shawni Eyre Pothier - They tag teamed it up and taught us a little something about making life holier. A simple question I got out of the whole thing was "What can I 'tweak' in my life to be holy?"
They had some simple suggestions like:
-Saying 'I Love You' when buckling your kids up (CUTE!)
-Playing music during chores 
You may think a certain trial is too hard to make holy. But you can change your perspective on that. Ask yourself, Is this going to make me bitter or better?
The basic principle is to pick a situation that isn't holy, maybe hectic, and turn it into a special time. This is going to make the Savior a part of our lives. After all, it is all about the Savior and showing our love for him.

    Brad Wilcox - One of my favorite speakers. You know the kind that say something and totally change your life forever? Yeah. He's one of those guys. He opened with talking about when he was a mission president. One of his missionaries was discussing what would be the ultimate experience. Most of us would say seeing Christ. This missionary had a different idea. The ultimate would be Christ seeing his countenance in us. Mind blown. Hadn't thought about it like that. And the learning didn't stop there. Brother Wilcox then spoke about the first miracle that John starts with: Jesus turning water into wine. He then went on to say how the story wasn't about the word of wisdom, marriage, or titles. It was the principle that Christ can change anything, so he can change me. I don't know if this is news to anyone but I was sure surprised when I learned it. I loved it. And it didn't stop there! He told us his conversion story. It actually happened on his mission. He was seriously questioning if God was even there. So he studied with fervor, pondered day and night, and prayed like he had never prayed before. After a while of this routine, his mission president was able to simply answer all his questions. 
"Is there a God?" 
"Does he know me?"
"Does he love me?" 
Now by this time EVERYONE was in tears. It was crazy. Needless to say, he was one of my favorite speakers because of how much I learned. 

    Marrilee Boyack - What a ball of fun! She was also an inspiring person as she outlined what kind of person we all can become.
B = "I am BOLD." like Deborah from the Old Testament (Look up the story. :) It's awesome.) 
E = "I am ETERNALLY MINDED." We all make choices but are those choices eternally minded? Are we thinking about all the consequences of our actions?
C = "I am CREATIVE." Don't conform and Don't compare.
O = "I am OUTWARD FOCUSED." Service is always needed. And we are so very good at that as LDS women.
M = "I am MEEK." Like the savior, we don't need to be important to the world; We just need to do what the Lord wants.
E = "I am ENLIGHTENED." We can all be enlightened by the spirit if we listen. I decided I need to listen to promptings and act on them faster.
U = "I am UNIQUE." We all have our qualities that make us who we are, and letting them shine is part of becoming the best we can be.
BECOME U! Cute huh? I thought so. :)

    Laurel Christiansen - For this talk, the girls were able to join us. She talked about her Optimist Experiment. This turned into the Faith Experiment. She opened with a quote that I LOVE:
"Do the thing you THINK you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt.
Love it! And so did all the hundred or so girls sitting behind us, who began clicking their pens, making a sound that sounded like rain and confusing the women who didn't know what was going on. Kinda funny. Anyways...
There were three components of Laurel's Optimist Experiment:
Pray with Faith
Think with Faith
Live with Faith
For the first two, I learned that we need to have faith in God, not faith in the outcome we are predicting. For the last one, I learned to not quit. Beware the temptation to quit! Master your fears and face your doubts! It was awesome. 

To top it all off, Jericho Road sang one last song that was amazing! I may want to sing it at some point...

Homeward Bound
In the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing and the sky is clear and red.
When the summer's ceased its gleaming, 
When the corn is past its prime,
When adventure's lost its meaning,
I'll be homeward bound in time.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

If you find it's me you're missing, if you're hoping I'll return.
To your thoughts I'll soon be list'ning, and in the road I'll stop and turn.
Then the wind will set me racing as my journey nears its end.
And the path I'll be retracing when I'm homeward bound again.

Bind me not to the pasture, chain me not to the plow.
Set me free to find my calling and I'll return to you somehow.

Int the quiet misty morning when the moon has gone to bed,
When the sparrows stop their singing,
I'll be homeward bound again.

I am so thankful for my experience I had in Richmond and I am glad that I could be there with my dear friends. Maybe next time I'll be able to go with my own mother. :)

Just another Love Like Crazy moment.

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