Monday, September 21, 2009

sweet assurance

sharing things of a spiritual nature, things that pertain to the soul, can sometimes be...uncomfortable.
like putting on an itchy wool sweater on your bare lil skin.
or like walking up and talking to somebody that you don't know in a new setting...and in a big group (a situation i am finding myself in often these days).

i was talking to my mom about this years ago, and she explained something to me that completely made sense. she said,
"spirituality is initmacy. that's why some people are apprehensive to share spiritual things with just anybody. spiritual matters are intimate."

i've thought about that a lot in my life.
and i've come to realize that it's true.
the people i'm closest with, that know my true self, know my spiritual self. and it's easy to be spiritually intimate.
people i don't know so isn't as easy.

this last weekend, i was privileged enough to attend a women's conference out here in Nor Cal called "Time Out For Women." i had never been before... in fact, i had never heard of such a thing. as far as i was concerned, it was a place where all the naughty moms went to get the justice they deserved for putting their naughty toddlers in time out.

luckily i was wrong.

it was a spiritual feast. a feast to fill my starving soul....and to be honest, i didn't even realize that i was hungry. life does that sometimes. gets your soul all depleated of energy and nutrients...without you even knowing it.

well, i've been trying to figure out a way to convey the immense power and rejuvenation i felt from this conference to you... and i've had a hard time getting my feelings out.

and i think that it's maybe because of what i told you before...that spirituality is intimacy. and i haven't really figured out a way to be intimately spiritual on my public lil blog without being preachy, dramatic, and (my least favorite) insincere.


i keep feeling impressed to share some of my feelings.

::hot tears trickle down face::

because there are simply things that i can't stop feeling. things i can't not remember. and things i can't not share.


here i go.
we arrived to the meeting.
i felt hopeful that i would be uplifted.
i knew that i'd probably feel the spirit.
i was worried the meeting might feel a little...long. after all, it was scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30...three hours. on a friday night. whoa.
still, i was feelin' pretty optimistic.
you see i was there with my mother-in-law and some cute ladies from my new ward.
we were staying in a cute, fancy shmancy hotel that night.
there were lots of delicious treats we had brought...including homemade snickers (a recipe i definitely need to share. positively divine, sinful, and delicious in every way. remind me!)
so i knew regardless it would be a fun night.

well, sister Wendy Watson Nelson, Elder Nelson's new wife, spoke first.
and almost the first thing she said (next to a couple of jokes and a brief introduction) was this:
"what's the one question you need answered tonight?"
she then explained that someone many years ago advised her to always go to General Conference or another spiritual meeting with a question. He promised her that she would get an answer to that question every single time. so she did.
and yes.
it worked.
{of course}.
she then gave the following admonition:
"do the same. think of a question that is weighing your mind down tonight. write it down.
if you can't think of one tonight, take my thirty day experiment. take a question, one question that you need answered, with you to the scriptures each day. they will tell you all things what ye should do."

this hit me.
it worked for Wendy Watson Nelson.
it had worked for me before.
so maybe i should write down a question.

i thought really hard about my life.
i thought about what things may be weighing me down.
one stood out above all.

"where does the Lord want me and my family right now?"

a little background: hubby M and i have been looking for weeks and weeks for a place to call our own. we found this beautiful house just down the street. oh yeah, but it was like 2 million dollars.
yeah, everything here is mega expensive.
or mega ghetto.
or mega-not-what-we're-looking-for-in-some-way.
so we've been a bit discouraged.
and i've been wondering,
"does our house even exist?"
"will i ever get to sit on my beautiful black chair or use my lovely aprons again?"
"am i going to be a moochy-daughter-in-law for the rest of my life?"
"where the heck are we supposed to be??"
so you can understand the importance of the answer to this question to me.

fast forward a couple of hours, a bathroom break, some fantastic violin playing, and onto Sister Sheri Dew's talk.
she is an amazing person.
but more than that, she is one of my favorite things: REAL.
well, at one point of her talk, somewhere near the end portion, she randomly said:

"i feel impressed to tell you something. search the scriptures D&C 138 & Abraham 3. read about the noble and great ones. then get on your knees and ask our Heavenly Father if the noble and great ones refer to you. a little hint: it does. we are here now because we are supposed to be here now. you are here now because you are supposed to be here now. for reasons we don't undersatnd, we have been chosen to be here now. do not doubt where you are, for you are where you should be."

i looked around the room.
"is anyone else squirming in their seat right now?," i thought.
i wanted to stand up and say,
"hey, Sheri, did you read what i wrote on my paper?
are you cheating?
how did you know i had asked about where me + hubby should be right now?"
but i knew better than to do something silly and embarrassing like that.
i knew she didn't cheat.
i knew that Heavenly Father was doing just what Wendy Watson Nelson said He would do: answering my question.

the place me + hubby M are supposed to be right now is: right here.
i don't know why.
i don't know for how long.
but i do know without a shadow of a doubt:
we are where we are supposed to be.

it was such a peaceful moment for me.
it was yet another moment that i felt humbled that Heavenly Father is aware of me. and my little, but large (in my eyes) needs.
it was yet another moment that i was strenghtened in the truths that i know.
the most important being:

i know there is a Heavenly Father.
a greater being.
a God.
and i know i am a daughter of that Heavenly Father.
and i know that He can, and does, speak to me.
and most importantly,
i know that He knows and loves me.

the theme of the conference was "Sweet Assurance: the certainty that comes when you know life's truths." there were many other amazing moments of this conference. i wish i could share all of them with you. but instead, i just chose a little that i just had to share, maybe selfishly (so that i won't forget), to say that i do receive sweet assurance when i remember life's truths.

and so, i have now become spiritually intimate with all of you.
i've shared a little piece of my soul.
please don't go smash that little piece of soul in someone's face like a piece of banana cream pie.
that just wouldn't be nice.

::sheepish lil grin::


*oh yes, and don't forget to enter my giveaway here! you have till Thursday at 12:00 am PST to enter! xoxo*


emjohead said...

i can for sure understand that sharing those tender moments can be at times scary... once upon a time a 22 year old girl had more than just a strong impression to go on a mission at that exact moment. even though she thought she had better plans in her mind of how her life should've been, she reluctantly agreed and left. my inspired question going into zone conference on Feb 20, 2008 was just like yours but most definitely in a different setting. ‘why am i here right now? Why? Why couldn’t I have been here 3 months prior, or a year earlier for that matter?” pres. Higham stopped mid sentence and said ‘I just want you to know that you are within 20 feet of where God wants you to be right now, and don’t you ever doubt that.” then went on with his training. God is aware of us. He wants our questions answered because of His love for us. He most definitely is in the details of our lives. Just wanted to share my similar story/spiritually intimate moment with you.

Ashley said...

Thank you :)
Love your guts.

Danielle said...

This was simply beautiful! Really, thank you for sharing... sometimes it's really needed to have a lovely reminder-- my testimony grows hearing others. Thanks! and thanks to craighead too!

Adrienne said...

I've heard of Time Out for Women. I've been wanting to go for a long time. I'm so glad it was what you needed. You are blessed for sharing such an experience.

Hilary said...

What a beautiful experience. Thanks for sharing something so close to your heart! Love ya.

Amy said...

I'm super jealous you got to go to! Especially to that specific session... my mother in law and her mom and sisters were there too! :)

I went to one, here in Orlando with Tiff once- it was amazing. A complete rejuvination... sort of like a mini EFY for me.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and testimony- I needed to hear that today. really bad.

blair said...

Okay, I must confess, I read your blog often. Your words and photos always bring a smile to my face. We went to high school together and have several common friends but I don't know that I have actually met you, which is unfortunate. However, I am so grateful to you for reminding us all what is truly important in this life. Thank you.

Jons and Celeste Leigh said...

Marci, yet another reminder of why I love you. Its amazing that we can hang out so few times, yet feel such a special bond. I know part of that bond I feel is because of the amazing friend you have always been to Jon. And I am so lucky that the Hartleys/Chapmans have so willingly extended their love to me as well! I love moments like these, those tender mercies from the Lord. And I'm touched by your sincerity. Love you girl. Best of luck with all of these new transitions in life!

The Hurst Family said...

THANKS! I love you for being spiritually intimate with me on your blog. By the way, you should see the progress in Caleb's writing. I'm amazed. I've worked with he and my little Evan in a small group for a couple of weeks now and Caleb is starting to totally get it. His handwriting is still week, but he's starting to get the phonetic spelling thing. Now we need to push those spaces. I love him and you.

The Hurst Family said...

Just reread that and totally am embarrassed by my spelling errors. Good writers read what the wrote to see if it makes sense. You think I'd get that as often as we say that in first grade. Oh Well.

Kristi said...

I have heard of those Time Out for Women conferences. I've been wanting to attend one. One day I will. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Good reminders for us all.

anne said...

That was beautiful and something I needed to hear right now. Our family is going through some things and it's good to know He is aware of us. I'm definitely going into Conference with a question and I know it will be answered. Thank you.

Tiffany Johnson said...

love this post. Just reading it gave me a sense of need for more spirituality in my life. Thanks for the reminder that Heavenly Father knows us and knows what we need and that we need to just ask and have a little more faith.

we miss you guys terribly


Mel said...

Let the de-lurking begin! No seriously though, I read your blog all the time...and love it. But really I'm only commenting because I wanted to say Thank you. I am having the HARDEST day. Like verge of tears all day (as tears well up in my eyes). And there's a lot to why, but in the end it was so refreshing to read your post today. In some way it's made me feel better, and I am not so ungrateful as to not say Thank you...So Thank you for posting something spiritual.

Savannah said...

marce~ thank you for listening, and thank you for sharing something so special to you. it looks like i'm not the only one who really, really, really needed to read those words. if i could, i would reach my arms out to you and give you a great big squeeze...thank you!

mere/tay(xoxo) said...

that picture of you and elli is stunning why such stunnig-ness?? can somebody please help me understand what caused such beauty?? the, the colors. i heart it. so. much. xoxo

Carly said...

Thanks Marse...I needed that.