Saturday, October 8, 2011

Time Out for Women

This is the second time I have attended Time Out For Women. It is a two day event with inspirational speakers, music, and sisterhood. I was excited when I bought my tickets, but as the event approached, I started to feel dread.

I am not sure why. I had an amazing time the last time I went. I was going with two amazing women who I am lucky enough to call close friends. This was an opportunity for me to be with other women who share my faith. Why would I dread this?

I go back and forth in my struggle at church. Not in the Gospel. I love the Gospel. I know the Gospel is true. I have been struggling with the people. Well, at least that is what I thought.

This week, I learned that I was struggling with me.

I was teaching a novel in one of my classes this week, and it hit me. I have been having a "mini" crisis of faith, and I was pulling away from the thing that could help me the most. As I was teaching this novel, it hit me, and I said to my class, "Which is the best way to get through such a crisis? Do you draw closer and truly try to understand what you are struggling or do you turn your back and walk away?" The answer was obvious to both my students and to me, but in that moment of dissecting a literary work, I realized that walking away was exactly what I was doing. I was not turning my back on the Gospel, but I was turning my back on the people in the Gospel.  Pulling away from the people in the church gave an opening to the adversary to place doubt in my head and in my heart.

So, with renewed excitement I went to TOFW. I listened to the women speak from the heart. I felt the Lord bless me in my own testimony. I did not connect to all of the speakers, but there were two who I felt were talking directly to me. I needed their words. I needed to feel their message.

Then, something even more amazing happened. In the middle of Merrilee Boyack's presentation, the power went out. Not just a flicker, but a full on black-out. How grateful I am for Sister Boyack's optimism. She walked to the center of the room and continued her presentation. It was amazing.

When she was finished, Hilary Weeks took to the piano and sang "I Know that My Redeemer Lives". It was the most beautiful rendition of my favorite hymn. There in the dark, the piano filled the hall and the Spirit filled my soul. I wept.

The room remained dark as the final speaker of the day, Emily Freeman, took the stage. The event was going to be cut short, and Sister Freeman was only going to bear her testimony. In the middle of her testimony, the lights came back. She started from the beginning. I know that I am not the only one who prayed for the lights to come back on to hear this amazing presentation. I needed to hear what she had to say.

At the end of the day, I felt the Spirit stronger than I have in a long time. I am so grateful for the events of this week that led me to TOFW.