Keynote speakers Sister Rebecca L. Craven and Sister Michelle D. Craig, counselors in the Young Women’s general presidency, shared messages of growth out of personal weakness at the Thursday session of BYU’s Women’s Conference.
Sister Craven taught about how personal weaknesses can be an opportunity for growth, rather than a source of pain.
“What I love about our Father in Heaven is that he is not fixated on our weaknesses, or what we can or cannot do. He is focused on our progress,” she said.
Sister Craven emphasized the difference between sin and weakness. According to her, weakness is a lack of ability and an opportunity for people to learn, while sin is the willful disobedience of God.
“The Lord gave us weakness in the hope that we would become humble enough and teachable enough for Him to transform our weak place into strongholds,” Sister Craven said, referring to Ether 12:27.
She then shared the story of Preslee, a young girl with cerebral palsy, who shares her testimony and faith in Christ and encourages others to live the gospel.
“She could spend her energy absorbed in comparisons … but Preslee chooses to not let her physical weaknesses overshadow her strength of her beautiful spiritual gifts or impede her capacity to grow,” Sister Craven said.
Sister Craven also warned sisters that Satan capitalizes on weakness and makes people believe that because of their mistakes, they are not good enough.
“In all of our weakness, we are stronger than he is. We are daughters of divine parentage; our covenants give us power to overcome such deception. The challenge, however, is remembering who we are every single day,” Sister Craven said.
Sister Craven invited the audience to recognize the worth within themselves and to rely on the Savior to grow from their weakness.
“By placing our faith and focus on the Savior we are prompted to grow and make modifications in our lives to become like Him,” Sister Craven said.
Sister Craig continued the message of overcoming weakness by referring to the story of the brother of Jared from the book of Ether. The brother of Jared had to come humbly before the Lord to ask for help in his challenges.
“In His mercy, the Lord is ready, willing and so anxious to help us overcome our weaknesses. Recognizing our weakness is a catalyst to change,” Sister Craven said.
According to Sister Craven, those who do not see weakness do not progress.
“This awareness is a blessing, it keeps us humble and turning to the Savior … the closer we get to Jesus Christ, we become aware of our weaknesses and we desire His help in becoming more like him,” Sister Craven said.
Sister Craven used the example of the Lord lighting the stones that the Brother of Jared brought to him as a metaphor for those who humbly ask to be refined in their weaknesses.
“The grace of Jesus Christ transforms and protects,” she said.
Church Media Relations Manager Sister Irene Caso also spoke in the morning session, centering her message on having faith and cheer in the face of trials.
“I believe making an effort to live with a positive outlook and being of good cheer will protect us from the darts of the enemy,” Sister Caso said.
Kimberly Huff was one of thousands of women who attended the conference. Traveling down from Bluffdale, Utah, Huff said she was uplifted by the event.
“The messages were perfect for our day. I prepared myself to come here with questions and they’ve all been answered,” Huff said.