9.26.2009

On Happiness

One year ago, I attended the General Relief Society annual meeting. I had a brand new baby boy who I put in the sling, cuddled next to me, while I sat in the dark cool stake center listening to the talks given.

I hadn't wanted to go. I was in the midst of postpartum depression. I spent every day crying and questioning my ability to be a good mother to my children. The future seemed bleak-- without hope. So the last thing I wanted to do was to put on some church clothes and be surrounded by other people.

But something inside me told me that it would be the best thing for me-- so I went.

The closing talk by President Uchtdorf, titled Happiness, Your Heritage, was deeply moving to me. He talked about how as women we are often too hard on ourselves, and how we can experience the kind of happiness that God may feel-- mainly, through creating and through serving others.

I will never forget how I felt sitting in that chapel holding my new baby. I felt like he was speaking directly to me. And for the first time since having the baby, I felt a spark of hope, of love for myself and my strengths as a woman and a daughter of God. I had already done so much just carrying and giving birth to both of my children. I had talents that I could strengthen and share with others. There were people around me and in the world who were struggling more than I was, and I knew that if I searched and prayed for the opportunities, that I could reach out and help others.

After the broadcast all the women there met in the cultural hall and enjoyed a delicious meal that the men had prepared for us. There were so many smiles and bright greetings from women who I felt so privileged to call sisters. They told me my baby was adorable, even though he scowled his newborn old man face at them. They told me that I looked great, even though I didn't. I felt so grateful to belong to a church that celebrated and honored women. To be surrounded in my life by such amazing people.

It was exactly what I needed.

Tonight I'm going to the annual broadcast again. I pray that I can be prepared to receive the messages that will be given.

p.s. If any of you are struggling, or need a pick-me-up, read President Uchtdorf's talk. It's a great one.