Last night's General Women's Meeting at the Conference Center was nothing short of amazing. The Spirit was so strong, beginning with the the opening hymn, "Hark All Ye Nations," one of my all-time favorite hymns, and the invocation by a new Beehive girl. Talk about composed! She didn't sound like she might have been the least bit nervous praying in front of an audience of over 21,000 people--including the First Presidency! Then a combined Primary, Young Women, Relief Society Choir sang a new number entitled "Daughters in My Kingdom," and I was in tears for almost the entire rest of the program--partly because of the feelings I was experience and a bit because I wasn't with any of my family. Many years ago Danielle and I began attending all the RS Broadcasts together, then with Kimberlee last year, so this was a little bittersweet. Enough of the reminiscing. We'll go together again in 2015!
The theme of the meeting centered around making and keeping covenants and included two tender videos--one with clips of LDS girls and women from 8 countries and 9 languages singing "I Am A Child Of God," and another showing girls and women of different ages and stages supporting each other as they fulfilled their covenants from baptism and confirmation to the temple and grave.
Sister Wixom, the General Primary President, said that "keeping covenants protects us, prepares us and empowers us." She had the Primary girls stand and sing the first verse of "Teach Me to Walk" then the others joined in with the second and third verses. Her point was that we can all walk in the Light of the Savior because our paths are lit with His love.
Bonnie L. Oscarson, the YW General President, said that to be sisters implies that there is a bond. The adversary wants us to emphasize our differences by comparing ourselves to each other and feeling inadequate, but we should use our uniqueness in serving others. There are no barriers when it comes to Christlike service. If there are barriers we have created them. She quoted Sister Hinckley who said: "Oh how we need each other." I invite you to not only love each other more but love each other better.
In her remarks, Sister Linda K. Burton, General RS President, said to lay aside the things of the world and follow the Savior. As disciples of Christ we are asked to do difficult things but we can't do them alone. We can receive help through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, guidance by the Holy Ghost and with the help of others. She said "you have been sent to earth in this dispensation of time because of who you are and what you have been prepared to do."
The concluding speaker was President Eyring, 1st Counselor in the First Presidency, who said that the path we must take on our journey back to Heavenly Father is marked by sacred covenants. We were tutored by our Father in Heaven before we came into mortality. He helped us understand and accept that we would have trials "perfectly chosen for us." We learned that the Plan of Happiness would help us get through trials and we would help others through theirs. To do this we make covenants which only a few of His daughters have the opportunity to do in this life. We are daughters in the covenant. Heavenly Father sees our great potential, even more than our earthly mothers can see. This gives us a great responsibility. We need to treat everyone we meet as a child of God.
This meeting is always such a wonderful lead in to next weekend and General Conference. I can't wait!