Jeffery R. Holland came and spoke at church today. He was actually speaking to my old Stake (the church members assigned to the area of Spokane I used to live in), so I snuck in and pretended I belonged. :) I was dying at a chance to hear him speak in person! He's one of the most powerful speakers in Conferences, so I couldn't wait to hear him up close and personal.
His talk was mostly to the Youth, telling them that THE most important time of their entire lives is roughly in the decade of 12-22. In this time they will make some of the most important decisions of their entire lives and this decade will shape who they will be for the rest of their lives. He of course gave room for leeway on this number, but this basic time period has been and will be for most of us the most influential on the rest of our lives.
He also spoke of how his mission meant the world to him and changed everything about his life thereafter. It kinda made me wish I had served a mission, but even more so, made me want to inspire my children (especially my boys) to serve missions. Especially since they are under my direct care for about 6 of those 10 incredibly important years of their lives.
My favorite part of Elder Holland's talk was his testimony. I don't think I've ever heard a more powerful testimony. He said that no one anywhere could help or hurt his testimony in anyway. He has a PERFECT knowledge of the Gospel and Jesus Christ. He knows with 100% certainty that this Gospel is true, that Christ did live and that he will come again. I'm not quite where Elder Holland is in my own testimony, so hearing his, did help grow mine. Hopefully one day I too can have a perfect and unwavering testimony.
My friends attended Conference for the Adults the night before and told me he said something to the effect that our sufferings and trials are not because Christ is displeased with us. Christ loves those who have a broken heart and who do suffer. We grow in our trials and need our trials and Christ loves those whom he allows to go through those trials and if we ever say Christ doesn't love us because we are suffering, than we're saying he never loved anyone who we read about in the Book of Mormon, or anyone that suffers and that is just not true.
After talking with my friends (and reading their notes) :) I felt new resolve to face my trials with gratitude and grace. I think he also said something like, "square your shoulders, stay strong, and endure" when facing a trial. I love that. I've been learning in recent years that Christ really does allow us these trials because he loves us. We will have enough peace and joy to get us through to the next trial. The real trick is learning to have joy and peace even amidst a trial. I don't think I always truly believed this to the core, but now I do and find so much comfort that peace is not found under certain conditions or life circumstances. It's found in Christ. That's it. The really comforting thing about that, is he's always there. No matter where I am or what's happening, he is always there. I suppose that means I can find peace at any time I choose, if I offer up a broken heart to the Lord and follow him in faith. It's a work in progress, but learning to use the atonement more effectively in my life is proving to be one of the most valuable lessons I'm learning in this life.