Friday, March 4, 2016

His daughter.

I can still remember the moment.
I was seated atop a small cube shaped dresser in my parent's room in our cozy two bedroom apartment in Compton. I must have been 9. My father stood across from me, his arms folded. The door to the room was shut, and he was waiting for words to break free from my mouth.
But I couldn't.
I was terrified.
I felt 3 parts frustration 1 part extreme vulnerability.
I couldn't look my father in the face. I was squirming atop the dresser. I realized I had to say it. I had to voice my feelings.
"I'm not superwoman. I can't do it all."
& yet, superwoman I became.

I was raised on the principle of ambition. My parents raised me to be a leader. Tough love was a way of life in my house. I would get frustrated at times with all the extracurriculars my parents enrolled me in, the summers spent doing hours of extra homework, the early morning Saturday chores, but now I am nothing but grateful. There's a reason this was the most played song on my hitclip (remember those!?!?!)

I was raised to be an independent woman. 

I never felt "less than" because I was a girl. I was at the top of my class and excelled (& still do!) at everything I put my heart into.
I am brave. 

Now lest you think this is one of those, "I don't need a man" posts, let me assure you it is anything but! I believe and strive for marriage. No, rather this is a collection of thoughts that have been forming into an overwhelming love for my personal role as a daughter of God.

I have been re-listening to Elder Russell M. Nelson's most recent general conference address and have felt so strongly that everything I want to be in this life is found in these words:
"'We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out. ...
'We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.'
Today, let me add that we need women who know how to make important things happen by their faith and who are courageous defenders of morality and families in a sin-sick world. We need women who are devoted to shepherding God's children along the covenant path toward exaltation; women who know how to receive personal revelation, who understand the power and peace of the temple endowment; women who know how to call upon the powers of heaven to protect and strengthen children and families; women who teach fearlessly."
I am a daughter of God. My value is not dependent on someone's ability to see my worth. I was created to be a joyful being, and my potential is limitless.

During my time in California last month, I got to hear a broadcast especially for the pacific northwest area of the church. Elder Renlund spoke and mentioned casually via a really great story about loving others with differences that his wife was an attorney. My heart skipped a beat. I KNEW there was a reason he was my new favorite apostle (my previous fav. apostle passed away...). I decided that I somehow had to learn more about Sis Renlund. It wasn't a want—this was a dire need!

Imagine my surprise when less than a week later as I was checking my inbox I followed a prompting to open an email I would have normally thrown away. Sis Renlund was coming to speak at a Women in Law event!!!!!!! I could NOT contain my excitement. I'm pretty sure I yelled a fairly audible scream.

The luncheon with Sis. Renlund was an indescribable experience. I was surrounded by powerful, covenant keeping women. I could feel the righteous purity encircling everything around me. Many of the most powerful women I know at BYU were gathered in that hall in the Hinckley center. There was Kim who just was accepted to two PhD programs; Katie who is one of the most graceful dancers I know; Prof. Augustine-Adams who intimidates me in the BEST way possible with her knowledge of the law. There were also women from random portions of my life ther like Julia my fast formed friend from my time in Argentina and Amber whose prose, plays, and creativity have me beaming with righteous envy (that's definitely a thing).

Powerful women know each other.
We gravitate towards one another.

I softly heard the spirit witness to me that I was surrounded by some of the most elect and noble of Heavenly Father's daughters.
"Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. ...  Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. ... She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:1,25-26)
Sis Renlund's message was more than just a plea for excellence for law students. It was an applause to all women who seek higher education. She shared an experience from a time when she was serving as a Relief Society President. Sis Renlund used her education to help better the life of a woman who was living in poverty, by helping her to reclaim funds that she was entitled to. Apparently, Sis. Renlund's Bishop shared with her, "Every Bishop in the church needs a Relief Society President who's a lawyer." She shared that half jokingly, but it absolutely embodies my desire to use my education and talents to help bless the lives of others and build the kingdom of God.

Remember abovementioned Amber? She absolutely inspires me! Her knowledge of Mormon women in history never ceases to amaze me. It is because of her love for the role that LDS women play that I knew she was the PERFECT person to invite to go with me to the Church History symposium today in Salt Lake. The Symposium was entitled "Beyond Biography: Sources in Context for Mormon Women's History." 
^^Amber & I at the symposium! We both have iPhone 4s so, yay for horrible camera in low-light quality!!!

My heart is palpitating just thinking about all that I learned and felt while in attendance. Sis Julie B. Beck was the keynote speaker at the conference and I felt such a love for my calling in the church. I consider it a great blessing to be serving as a Relief Society President during such a time as this. I am humbled by the trust that the Lord has placed in me to continue the work of an organization with such a rich spiritual legacy.

I strive to become a woman who He can call one of His "good and faithful servants."

This picture is a repeat, but I just felt like it as fitting perfectly with this post. This photo was taken on my mission on a VERY historic day. The first ever Missionary Leadership Council with the first ever Sister Training Leaders of the Texas Houston East Mission. I was on my 5th transfer when I was called. :) Just a little youngin'. 


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