Heather Berube and her husband Eric, find joy in their five children and one grandson. As a travel consultant for almost 20 years, she loves to travel and explore with her family and help others do the same. Heather grew up on the West Coast and has served in various music and teaching capacities as well as Young Women, and Relief Society presidencies, and ward and stake Primary presidencies. She also loves learning and currently serves as a Relief Society President with a “positively deviant” Bishop in South Jordan, Utah.
As an avid listener of Leading Saints podcasts, I came across an interview describing the Heart of a Woman Retreat and was so intrigued by the discussion that I registered to attend in October 2019.
In preparation. I read both Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge and Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. The concepts shared in both books opened my mind and inspired heartfelt hope that my deepest unmet desires could be fulfilled, but from just the books I couldn’t quite grasp the practical application of how to do that.
I looked forward with a little apprehension and even more anticipation that I would learn how at the retreat. My anticipation was met with connection and healing far beyond what I hoped for.
The gift and opportunity to “unplug from the world” and connect with God was powerful and life changing. The presentations, while non-denominational, contained numerous familiar doctrines and principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the journaling and reflection time opened my understanding of how to apply them.
The experience is hard to describe but when I returned home, empowered by an even deeper and stronger knowledge of God’s love for me as His daughter, I felt impressed to outline what I learned. By adding the doctrinal support of the scriptures and words from our latter-day prophets, I was hoping to remind myself of all that I learned, and to persuade others to seek their own connection and healing.
These insights and resources can be so valuable to both leaders and those for whom they are shepherds.
How Satan Attacks Our Divine Identity and Wounds Our Hearts
One of Satan’s most powerful tools is to distort our identity as shown by the following examples in the scriptures of how he does this.
Moses 4:11: When the adversary is tempting Eve:
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. (emphasis added)
Moses 1:12-13: Satan came tempting him, saying:
Moses, son of man, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; (emphases added)
Matthew 4:3: Following the Savior’s fast for 40 days and nights:
And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Matthew 4:5-6 :
Then the devil…saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down… (emphases added)
Our identity as a “beloved daughter (or son) of God” is directly connected to our heart and mind. When Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of [God’s] doctrine, he creates confusion, conflict, and doubt about our identity, which disconnects us from our Heavenly Father and can lead us away from His love and peace. We begin to question our worth and ask: Am I Enough? Am I Loved? Only God can fully answer these questions to our soul’s content, and when we look to worldly sources for answers it is often with disastrous consequences.
No wonder Satan has increased the intensity of his attacks on your identity and virtue. If you can be dismayed, discouraged, distracted, delayed, or disqualified from being worthy to receive the guidance of the Holy Ghost or to enter the Lord’s holy temple, he wins.
And while we’re struggling against Satan’s attacks and the difficulties they cause, we also deal with deep wounds — of betrayal, darkness, disease, and other serious difficulties of mortality.
…one thing is certain: there will be moments, hours, days, sometimes years when your soul will be wounded. Our wounds may come from a natural disaster or an unfortunate accident. They may come from an unfaithful husband…, turning life upside down for a righteous spouse and children. The wounds may come from the darkness and gloom of depression, from an unanticipated illness, from the suffering or premature death of someone we love, from the sadness of a family member dismissing his or her faith, from the loneliness when circumstances do not bring an eternal companion, or from a hundred other heart-wrenching, painful “[sorrows] that the eye can’t see.”
How the Savior’s Infinite Love Heals our Wounded Hearts
The Savior was sent to heal the brokenhearted and he will never leave you, nor never forsake you. No matter the cause of your broken heart and wounded heart, His infinite love is a constant and a cure. There is nothing you can do to make God love you more. There is nothing you can do to make God love you less.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, neither angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
These cracks and deep wounds in our heart are how and where His light can get in, the Light and grace of our Savior. He took upon himself our infirmities, …that he may know…how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Think of it! In the Savior’s Atonement, He suffered “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind.” He therefore knows our struggles, our heartaches, our temptations, and our suffering, for He willingly experienced them all as an essential part of His Atonement. And because of this, His Atonement empowers Him to succor us—to give us the strength to bear it all.
Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.
My dear sisters, your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.
How to Fully Connect with Him, His Healing Power and Perfect Love
The Savior invites and pleads with each of us to Draw near unto [Him] and [He] will draw near unto you; seek [Him] diligently and ye shall find [Him]; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. He wants to connect with you and pour into you all of His healing power. He wants your heart, and He wants it broken and your spirit contrite. He wants to Put his arms unfailing round you. So how do we begin this process?
If any of you lack wisdom…ask of God…; and it shall be given [you].
I think we sometimes hear this scripture quoted so often in relation to Joseph Smith and the first vision, that we forget that it applies to each of us individually as well. Simply asking literally opened the heavens to the restoration of all things. Simply asking will also open heaven to our personal “restoration” – the restoration of our heart through the love and atonement of our Savior, Jesus Christ!
Russell M. Nelson:
When the Savior knows that you truly want to reach up to Him, when He can feel that the greatest desire of your heart is to draw His power into your life, you will be led by the Holy Ghost to know exactly what you should do.
Expect opposition! If you are opposed, if adversity comes, and it will, this is a witness to you that you are on the right path. Carry on with courage and faith! Noting that the attacks of the adversary are increasing exponentially and in intensity and in variety, President Nelson said our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater.
Go to the temple. Drink deeply there of His love revealed in His Plan of Happiness for you as His divine and beloved daughter, and for all His children. Study and ponder His word in the scriptures and write down the impressions that you receive. Whatever stage of life you are in, please make time for this. Do not put things of less worth ahead of these things of greater worth. This is not meant to cause you shame or overwhelm, but to offer you a focus which will empower you and bless you. Let Him in; let Him heal your hearts.
President Nelson has given us this invitation:
Ask your Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ how He feels about you and your mission here on earth. If you ask with real intent, over time the Spirit will whisper the life-changing truth to you. Record those impressions, review them often, and follow through with exactness. I promise you that when you begin to catch even a glimpse of how your Heavenly Father sees you and what He is counting on you to do for Him, your life will never be the same!
Although this retreat was geared towards women, the eternal truths are valuable for BOTH women and men. Hopefully, these resources will be beneficial as you counsel with Father’s children who may be weighed down with a broken or weak heart. President Nelson’s invitation and prophetic promise brings hope and healing to all who are willing to seek and ask.