In this podcast, Kurt and his wife, Alanna, talk with Melanie Meszaros, Celeste Jensen, and Michelle Miner from the team hosting the upcoming The Heart of a Woman retreat.
Melanie was raised in Ogden Utah, the youngest of six children. She attended Brigham Young University, earned a Master’s Degree in Education, and served in the Vienna, Austria mission. She and her husband have four children and eight grandchildren. Melanie has served in Primary, Young Women’s, and Relief Society presidencies, as Stake Relief Society President, and as a Bishop’s wife.
Celeste is Melanie’s daughter and lives in Hooper, Utah. She has served many years in the Young Women’s program and now serves in Primary.
Michelle was born and raised in Southern California, the youngest of four. She has served in Young Women’s, Relief Society, as a Gospel Doctrine teacher, and a Bishop’s wife. She has eight children and five grandchildren.
The next The Heart of a Woman Retreat will be February 20-22, at Big Canyon Ranch, a Christian youth camp in Wanship, Utah (between Coalville and Park City). Everything is comfortable, prepared, and cared for, and participants will have the area to themselves for activities, learning, and reflection.
5:35 About The Heart of a Woman Retreat: an opportunity to have your heart fed, connect with Heavenly Father, restore your vision of who you were created to be, and refresh your soul in the beauty of God’s creations. It is an introspective focus and learning opportunity. As women, we spend so much time focusing on loving God and loving our neighbor, and we forget to love ourselves.
9:45 The state of the heart of a woman in our culture is exhaustion and shame. We are checklist-oriented and are hustling to earn love from God. When we see the flaws and imperfections in each other, we can help each other on this journey. The retreat can serve as a model for Relief Society leaders to follow.
16:45 Michelle’s story: broken after a divorce, felt abandoned, unworthy, unloved. She knew that God could forgive her husband’s betrayal, but didn’t believe He could heal her heart as well. She did not want to feel and was navigating through her life with her intellect because she did not want to feel rejection again. She was able to lean on others and borrow from them and was able to open her heart to believing again that God loved her.
23:45 Melanie was “religid”: A perfectionist following the letter of the law with precision and not seeing the spaces in-between that Heavenly Father sees. She has been able to transition and become about the relationships.
25:20 Perfectionism’s message was that if you obey with exactness, then things work out, but Celeste discovered that things don’t happen that way. She felt that God was disappointed in her and blessings were being withheld because she wasn’t being good enough. Through the retreat, she learned that she doesn’t have to hustle for God’s love, that she was blinded to the messages God was trying to give her, and that she can turn to him. She is now motivated by his love and accepting of herself instead of coming at life with a checklist mentality.
33:10 Melanie’s introduction to the retreat: she asked God what he felt about her, what he saw in her, and how to hear that. She was able to feel his love, joy, delight, and trust in her, and learn how the Spirit communicates with her. Over time, she has been able to see the gift of this understanding unfolding over time.
40:10 God wants whole women, and when women can give him some space to work in their lives, to believe him, it starts to heal the broken places. She can show up in her callings differently and become what he intends for her.
42:30 Step back from the front lines, renew yourself, throw out the checklist, and focus on your relationship with Heavenly Father. Women—especially leaders—seek validation.
46:15 Alanna’s realization that she avoided connection with Kurt because she cared so much what he thought about her. When we seek validation from Heavenly Father, he always answers in a loving way, even when he gives us corrections.
47:45 We are wired for connection and attachment, and when we get away from our go-to escapes and busyness when we open ourselves up to Heavenly Father, he will connect with us, give us the validation we need, and teach us who we really are.
51:00 First law: love God. But love him because we want to, not because we are forced to. Our agency is about the right to want to give our heart to God. And then He gives his heart to us.
56:35 Read Wild at Heart before reading Captivating and it will be easier to translate the evangelical doctrine and vocabulary into terms that are comfortable for you.
58:50 Returning from the retreat, the gospel experience was different. Michelle was able to see the women in Relief Society differently and interacted with them differently. Celeste was focused on helping the young women seek their sense of self-worth from God instead of seeking it from others, and showed-up as more authentic in her relationships at church and at home. Melanie was able to see how God loves her and all of his children and how he heals and has been able to help other leaders see the hearts of the women they are working with.
- Heart of a Woman Retreat (Promo Code: LeadingSaints)
- Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret to a Man’s Soul, by John Eldredge
- Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, by John and Stasi Eldredge
- Is Elders Quorum Working?