I have just returned from spending one day at BYU Women’s Conference. What a feast I experienced. I have attended this conference in the past, but never have I felt this unity in spirit before.
The theme was Psalms 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and a shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” What was different about this year’s conference was everyone was talking about the theme, boldly.
Sheri Dew gave the opening address. She was her typical bold self as she explained what grace is. I attended three other sessions, plus the evening performance. All of them focused on what grace is, and can be, for each one of us.
Let me share with you a few things that struck me as truth. I can’t go into it as much as I would like, because I have been inspired to study it more and that will take more time. So, here are just a few notes and flashes of inspiration.
Christian faiths believe in grace as a saving grace. Jesus Christ died for us
Christian faiths often accuse The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as not believing in grace, but only in works. We do believe we must work out our own salvation, but there is so much more to it than that.
Sis. Dew suggested that we replace the word grace with power. Jesus Christ died for us, therefore, we are saved by His power. His power benefits all of us; it enables us to perform all the requirements that must be performed during our earthly sojourn.
We have been given weaknesses so we can ask for His grace to work our weakness into a strength. We are not expected to overcome these weaknesses on our own, but to call upon God to ask Him for help, enabling Him to come to our rescue. He gives us the strength to overcome. He gives us power to do hard things. His grace is sufficient to carry us through as long as we call upon Him first.
All of us have a mission to perform on this earth. Just read your Patriarchal Blessing to find out what it is. You are not alone in this performance. In fact, the only way to fulfill this mission is to call upon the Lord. His power/grace will enable you to do what is needed to succeed.
Each one of us, man and woman, have access to the power of God, which He bestows BECAUSE of His priesthood.
- We have been given keys of authority. Certain men hold keys of the priesthood, and certain callings hold keys of authority. Parents hold keys of authority over their children. Presidencies hold keys of authority in their callings over various auxiliaries. The power of God can be manifest when those who hold these particular keys call upon Him to help solve the issues they face. They can receive the proper inspiration to use this power to guide, direct, strengthen, and teach those they hold responsibility for.
- Both men and women have equal access to this power.
We will never lack for divine power. God is waiting with an unending supply as long as we ask Him.
Paying attention to our hymns can grant us an understanding, and a great appreciation for, the atoning sacrifice for our Savior. There is poetry in those hymns that can bring us the comfort we seek.
- How Firm a Foundation (especially many of the verses we don’t always sing, but especially note the last verse)
- Come, Come Ye Saints
- Come Thou Fount
- There is Sunshine in My Soul Today
- I Stand All Amazed
Find others that capture this doctrine.
Know that every contact we have with the Lord enables change within us. We can receive grace before, during, and after anything we must do. Think of what you can accomplish when you combine yourself with Christ. Your power is enabled and made more able.
Brad Wilcox said, “It’s not about supplementing. It’s about covenanting. Two friends on a first name basis. Whenever God speaks to us-through revelation or inspiration-it is Grace. He encourages our relationship with Grace. Grace is the presence of God’s power.
But we too must offer grace back to God. Our Church activity, our compassionate service, our desires to hasten the work and build His kingdom are all ways to offer grace back to Him who has given grace to us. Grace for Grace.
There were two conditions offered by Christ’s sacrifice:
- Unconditional blessings are free for all. Grace.
- Conditional blessings demand that we must participate. We must strive whole-heartedly, not half-heartedly. Grace for Grace.
Our attitude must not be to appease Christ, but to engage us. He is with us in our own Gethsemane’s.
During the evening concert, in between each of the musical acts, various guests were invited to share their thoughts on the atonement. Each had an example and testimony of how the atonement has blessed their lives. During their Gethsemane, they had to learn how to give again, only through the grace of God.
I would like to study these past talks, mentioned in the conference, more carefully. You may like to do so as well:
- “Irony: The Crust on the Bread of Adversity,” Neal A. Maxwell, April 1989.
- “Deny Yourselves of all Ungodliness,” Neal A. Maxwell, April 1995.
- “For Times of Trouble,” Jeffrey R. Holland, March 1980.
- “Repentance and Change,” Dallin H. Oaks, November 2003.
- “Our Sisters from the Beginning,” Bruce R. McConkie, January 1979.