My friend, Ale, and me with Hilary Weeks
Me with Kris Belcher and her sweet guide dog, Nadine
with the beautifully radiant, Mariama Kallon
Time Out for Women was so satisfying, like the best spiritual meal, at a table surrounded by my best friends. Each speaker gave me something I needed. Each song tugged at my heart. I laughed hard. Tears trickled down my cheeks as I successfully avoided the sobbing cry (like when Hilary Weeks sang the song about wishing she could make time stand still while her children were still young. That was a killer, in a good way. You know, where you just want to play a song over and over again and keep on crying?)
We got to hear from Michael McLean, John Bytheway, and Kris Belcher (my new favorite person--she was born with a cancer in her eyes and as a result of the radiation she received to save her sight and her life as a baby, she ended up with tumors that cost her her sight and one of her eyes thirty years later. She has learned to trust in God and even find humor in her new life. And man, is she hilarious!) on Friday night, and on Saturday, we heard from Hilary Weeks and Mariama Kallon (survivor from war-torn Sierra Leone, saved by minutes from having her arms and legs chopped off by a machete, though her sister was not so lucky, and who joined the Church years after carrying one of the humanitarian hygiene kits around for years given her by the Church. She came and did a fireside for our Stake some time ago, and I've never forgotten her.) We also heard from DeAnne Flynn (who wrote that great Mother's Mite book), Laurel Christensen (her talks on CD are so fabulous for YW--she was fantastic), Mary Ellen Edmunds (always a classic), and Wendy Ulrich.
Several times during the talks, mention was made about "that burden on your heart" or "that heavy trial you're carrying", or something in similar vein. For most of my life, I've always known what that is. Oh yeah, front and center. But this time, I actually had to stop and think to myself, "Hey, what is my heavy burden?" And I realized, I don't feel weighed down.
I mean, sure, things aren't perfect. If I think about it for a minute or two, tears will flow that Dylan is moving out, or that Lyndsay has one year left before she follows. (but to be honest, I've been crying about my kids moving out since they were born!) I still struggle with the fact that I'll never carry another baby within my womb, or give birth, or nurse a little one at my breast. Killer! My marriage isn't perfect, and I'm still crossing fingers that I get accepted into the nursing program. Financial security sure would be helpful. And I miss my parents and siblings.
But, stillness. Peace. I realized I had already commended all of my trials into the hands of Savior, and I trust Him to use them for my good. My heart doesn't feel heavy! I am okay, and even strong, despite sadness over some things and struggles with others. Life will never be free of trial, and peace is possible in the midst of it.
I am so, so grateful.