Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives

If you haven't yet taken the opportunity to listen to or read the BYU Women's Conference addresses from our new general Relief Society leaders, I would highly encourage you to do so. (Find various ways to access their talks here. I'm quoting Sister Bingham in this post, but you won't want to miss Sister Eubank's keynote and presidency address and Sister Aburto's heartfelt talk.)

Many things that these powerful, faithful women shared are relevant to the purposes of this blog. For example, it's so clear that our leaders know our hearts and our struggles trying to figure out how to have balance in our lives and to make important decisions. Listen to these words from Sister Bingham
“Many of us have questions....What model should I choose as my own path? How can I express my individuality and develop my particular talents? What is the best timeline for me to pursue an education or further a career or focus on my family? What is my role in the kingdom of God on earth? How can I fulfill my divine potential? These questions can trouble our minds and hearts."
So often, we can be fearful in navigating these questions, but our leaders constantly urge us to be centered in the truth of our divinity and to trust God to help and guide us. 

I'm reminded of this quote from Elder Scott:
Throughout the ages, many have obtained guidance helpful to resolve challenges in their lives by following the example of respected individuals who resolved similar problems. Today, world conditions change so rapidly that such a course of action is often not available to us. Personally, I rejoice in that reality because it creates a condition where we, of necessity, are more dependent upon the Spirit to guide us....Therefore, we are led to seek personal inspiration in life’s important decisions.
Perhaps you remember Sister Beck saying something similar, specifically addressing the complexity of women's lives "The ability to qualify for, receive, and act on personal revelation is the single most important skill that can be acquired in this life."

There are no easy answers to the kinds of questions that weigh on our minds and hearts as women in today's complex, last-days, hastening-the-work world. But I, too, rejoice in the reality that we will never fully find our specific answers "somewhere out there." The most powerful women I know are those who are grounded in God and in their confidence in His guidance. Each of us has work to do! But for each of us, how that unfolds will be a little different. (Be sure to read Sister Eubank's keynote and how she explores the richness that comes from the combination of our unique gifts and missions in life.)

Again, here are thoughts from Sister Bingham:
The wonder of [God's] heavenly economy is that every single one of us can be spectacular because of our unique bundle of talents and abilities. Unlike the world, in His kingdom there is no winner’s platform that only has room for one or two. Each of His daughters has been taught and prepared and gifted premortally with marvelous potential to become a queen in the celestial kingdom.
And each of us has unique gifts and talents that God will use in His time and way to allow us to be instruments in His hands at this critical time in His work. In truth, there is no ordinary work when it is consecrated to and guided by Him.
So, what “extraordinary thing” will you choose to do? Choose something according to your available time and resources. “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means … but be diligent.” Whether your “work of salvation” is largely in the home at this time in life or your influence extends to a global scale, or somewhere in between, the Lord is pleased with your efforts when you are focused on serving God’s children and the eternal goal of returning to Him as a “new and improved” version of your spiritual self. ~Sister Jean B. Bingham
I'm excited for this blog to be re-launched, and for us all to engage with each other as we seek God's help -- and each other's support -- in finding our personal places in God's grand plan and the hastening of His work.

How have you felt God's guidance in the unfolding of your extraordinary story? What helps you embrace your life where it is at the moment?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Welcome Back!

About a year ago, leaders and members of the worldwide BYU Management Society began to meet and discuss opportunities for a Women's Network within the society. Many of us (men and women alike) were enthusiastic about supporting women in their various endeavors, and we began discussing ideas to connect like-minded women globally.

We experimented with a few ideas and ultimately determined that a webinar speaker series addressing career and personal development would be the most effective method for reaching this large audience. We've had several fantastic speakers over the last year address topics such as finding balance, building a business, planning for flexibility, and challenges women face in their careers. However, the time limits of webinars don't allow us to address all of the questions and topics submitted by interested listeners, and thus we determined it was time to rejuvenate this blog.

The purpose of this blog is to connect women from all stages of their careers and lives to discuss personal, educational, and career development in the context of faith and moral, ethical leadership. We encourage thoughtful, kind discussion as we begin to address the myriad topics brought forth by women of faith across the globe. We hope you gain new insight as you follow this blog, as well as provide support to your fellow women seeking to learn and grow. In essence, we hope this blog can become a community of faithful women helping one another reach their goals.

We recognize that each of us has different goals and aspirations. President Nelson describes well some of the different qualities to which we can aspire:
The kingdom of God is not and cannot be complete without women who make sacred covenants and then keep them, women who can speak with the power and authority of God!
President Packer declared:
“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.”8
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.
We hope that each of us can bring our different skills, interests, and aspirations to this discussion as we seek to improve together. What topics would you like to see addressed in upcoming blog posts? Leave a comment below.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Being Creative and Compassionate

In October 2008, President Deter F. Uchtdorf addressed the women in the Church with this quote, "He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father's perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we, as His spirit children, can and should emulate."

I have thought about this quote often in recent weeks and reflected on how true it is. When I am doing something creative or showing compassion towards someone else, I feel so much happier in my life. There are so many disruptions in each of our lives that pull us away from these two truths. Yet this is divine insight for all of us on who are Heavenly Father truly is. He is our Creator and the Father of our spirits. His greatest joy is to see us progress in this life through our own creative endeavors and through our compassionate service towards others. If you see life in that perspective, the rest of our challenges and trials seem quite moot.

What have been your experiences with being creative and compassionate?