Ok, Since coming home from TOFW I've had some time to sit down with my notes and really process what I learned and what meant the most to me at this time in my life. I want to share just two of my most memorable moments with you.
Michael Mclean was one of the presenters and I learned something about him that I would never have supposed. He shared with us that he suffers from clinical depression. As he told his story and then sang songs about being on a mission to be happy, it really touched me. I have depression as well and being able to relate to much of what Michael was saying made his message that much more meaningful to me. Michael is a very famous musician in the LDS community. He is known for his inspiring music and spunky personality. I know from personal experience how hard it is to have depression and a spunky attitude like his. I sat there listening to his music and story thinking...if he can do then so can I! He sang a song called You Don't Know, it referred to the trials in our lives and served as a reminder that you don't know how long they will last, how long until "this too shall pass", whose love is going to intervene, how heavens going to turn it around, or what lessons there are that you can't see. I realized how important it is to keep these things in mind because they are the kind of things that can help bring hope during the challenging times. Speaking of hope, Michael sang another song that I truly felt was just for me. As he sang it I literally felt like he could read my mind and knew exactly how I felt on my bad days and gave me a lesson to look for hope until I find it and then let it pull me through. Here are the lyrics to that song: (I also put this song on the little IPod to the side if you want to listen along with the lyrics)
Words cannot explain how much this song touched me. I literally felt as though the Savior was holding me in His arms as this song was sung.
The other thing I really want to share with you comes from Mary Ellen Edmunds. She told us about a place called Death Valley, CA. It is the lowest, hottest, and driest place in the United States. It is a deep bowl about 156 miles long and 292 feet below sea level. The depression works like a convection oven, recirculating hot air and making the valley one of the hottest places on earth, with ground-level temperatures that can reach 200 degrees in summer. It's also extremely dry, with less than 2 inches of rainfall a year. Then came the rains of 2005. Winter storms that brought mudslides to Southern California dropped 6 inches of rain on this thirsty desert and a miracle happened. Flower seeds that had been in hibernation for decades sprouted to life. A rare burst of color filled the area and Death Valley became a beautiful Garden of Eden. Seeds had waited for hundreds of years in hundred degree weather to bloom in beautiful colors. She told this story and then she asked...Have you ever gone through a trial that seemed to never end? Have you ever wondered if God knows who you are or if He has completely forgotten about you? You may be a seed, a seed waiting for a little bit of rain, but keep the faith, keep the hope. You are a child of God. He loves you and He will bring you the rain.
I am once again in tears as I recount these two beautiful moments for me. They are definite reminders that I am not alone in this world. Heavenly Father is watching over me and loves me more than I will ever understand.