Monday, August 20, 2012

Special Edition: Stake Conference Part I (Christi)

This weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to attend Stake Conference with Kerri. And how awesome it was, indeed.

For those of you not familiar, a perfect explanation of how our church is organized into local congregations may be found here. Twice a year we have Stake Conference, a time to gather and learn together as a larger group and also see those we don't see often. It's a great time to learn and strengthen each other.

Alright. Now that everyone is in the loop, I can continue on with lessons learned at Stake Conference.

Lesson 1: It's NEVER too late to come back. 

  I learned this lesson quite awhile ago, but this weekend was a nice reminder. 4 years ago, I made the BEST decision of my life when I decided to go back to church. Seriously, it was the BEST thing I could have ever done for myself.  I plan to write down my (re)conversion story in a future post, but for now, just know that I really feel this was the best decision in all my 29 years. During the time I was "away", I met my best friend Kerri. So not all bad. But I will tell you that it took me a whole lot of tears, heartache, embarrassing moments and years to get back to a place where I am comfortable in the gospel.

   Kerri is on this journey herself at the moment. She has recently decided to come back to church, and I couldn't be more excited for her. I'm excited for her  as she works toward remembering that our Heavenly Father loves her. Attending her first stake conference (well, sort of. She did come to mine so she could see me sing in the tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City!!) was nothing short of exciting. I never thought we would be in this place as best friends, and I am beyond thrilled. There is so much joy in the gospel, and it is so fantastic to be able to share that with someone, especially someone you love as your own sister!

  If you have wondered about coming back (or even joining) and are scared, it's ok. It can be scary making serious life changes. But they are changes for the better!! We are always here for you. The one thing I wish were different about that time period in my life was knowing someone who had been through the same thing. Someone to talk to as I made my way back. So email us if you want to chat or just need some support. Believe me, Kerri and I have put ourselves through some pretty terrible stuff. So chances are, we have been in a similar situation. It's a process, but not one you have to do alone!! 

Lesson 2: STOP IT. 

  Again, more of a reminder. Maybe this should be titled "lessons reminded" rather than "lesson learned"??Anyhoo, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the first presidency gave a wonderful talk on this very topic in the April 2012 General Conference of the church. He had this to say: 

"This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!"
The stake president brought this talk up in his own talk during the Sunday session. And what a great reminder it was!
Ok, dirty laundry time....I have trouble with gossiping. I do not like backbiting, and I believe people always have reasons behind why they are doing something, and so we are not to judge or speak ill of them. I don't like speaking ill of people, but I still do (in some instances) when I'm angry (Hey! That's why this blog is about becoming Mary. If it wasn't, it would be called Perfect Patty and probably not be of any worth). That being said, thanks to my parents and some wicked awesome genetics, I am sooooooooooooooooooo nosy.  So nosy. I don't share info or spread rumors, but I like to know what is going on, how people are doing, what is happening. It isn't malicious, in fact it is usually the opposite. I like to know that people are doing ok, not talk trash about their outfits. Some of you may not classify that as "gossiping", but I do. Gossiping means discussing someone when they are not there to defend themselves. 
And this is a lesson I certainly needed a reminder in. Why, you ask? Because not one hour later, I was in a bad mood (veeery persnippety due to my headache and some other, ahem, lady issues). Riding in the car, I said something not so nice about a woman who had spoken in that day's meeting. It was something along the lines of "Wow, that sure felt more like a baptist revival than a talk in an LDS church, right?" (Please note that this is in no way intended to be a negative comment toward those of the Baptist faith. I celebrate all those who come together in Christ. It was simply an observation of the different ways our faiths address our congregations.)
Really, Christi?! Seriously?
A negative comment about someone who just spoke, even AFTER the reminder that we need to stop this behavior! I should have done the walk of shame for that one. Seriously. I am of the belief that church, above all, should be the one place where we are able to go and be free of judgement. There is enough garbage in the world today that we need a place where we can go to be 100% supported and uplifted. And there I was, spewing trash from my mouth without thinking about it. Great. Nice one, girl.  I'm sure the woman I was referring to is awesome. In fact, the things she had to say were of great worth in regard to raising children in today's world. Someone should've slapped me. I blame Kerri for not making it happen. 
And so, lesson #2 has been duly noted. Put that one in the back pocket for future reference. As in:
 " Dear Christi, get your crap together."  Thanks, conscience. 
Do any of you struggle with these things?? What are your favorite parts of stake conference??

**Keep your eyes peeled for Special Edition: Stake Conference Part II (Kerri) here soon!!**


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