Conference Address Reminds Sister of Her Divine Identity
Contributed By Pat Burton, Church News contributor
- God will comfort us in our trials as we turn to Him.
- God often speaks to our hearts through the words of others.
“Here on earth, we identify ourselves in many different ways. … Some even identify themselves by their occupation or their hobby. These earthly identities are not wrong unless they supersede or interfere with our eternal identity—that of being a son or daughter of God.” —Donald L. Hallstrom, Presidency of the Seventy
Over the past year there have been many changes in my life. I retired, with gentle family pressure (“We never see you, Mom—you work too much!”), from a job that I loved and where I felt mostly appreciated. I developed some sporadic tremors in my hands that made my calligraphy business very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.
I was released from my Church calling and not given another one. My son found his birth family—a wonderful blessing for him, but I had no idea he was searching. Even though I knew in my mind that feeling a little threatened and insecure was irrational, my heart filled with many tears. And worst of all, both my children moved away within the same month (not too far, but I had been able to see both their houses from my front porch before), taking my grandchildren with them, of course.
So there I was, wondering about who I was anymore. I was no longer the office manager in a busy dental practice. I couldn’t be a calligrapher, something I had loved for more than 30 years. I turned over my Cubmaster responsibilities to someone else and wondered why the Lord didn’t have any use for me, when several other ward members had more than one calling. And I felt unsure about my status as a mother and grandmother. In short, I felt like I had lost my identity.
I became discouraged and depressed, and although my husband was wonderfully loving, supportive, and encouraging, I still grieved over the things I had lost. I tried everything I could think of to feel peace—I went to the temple, studied and pondered the scriptures, fasted, prayed constantly, and did what I could to serve others. But still the darkness remained. And what little light I had was dimming quickly.
Then, on Saturday morning, April 2, 2016, Heavenly Father wrapped His arms around me and whispered in my ear, through the words of Elder Donald L. Hallstrom of the Presidency of the Seventy: “Here on earth, we identify ourselves in many different ways. … Some even identify themselves by their occupation or their hobby. These earthly identities are not wrong unless they supersede or interfere with our eternal identity—that of being a son or daughter of God.”
In all the change, loss, and turmoil in my life, I had forgotten. I had lost sight of who I really am and who—and whose—I’ve always been—a very, very beloved daughter of my Heavenly Father. And that will never, ever be taken away from me. Thank you, Father, for helping me remember, and for loving me eternally, simply because I am Thy child.
—Pat Burton, Dixie Ward, Layton Utah Valley View Stake