Sunday, September 26, 2010

Released and Relieved!

It's with a bit of relief and also sadness that I reflect a little on the time I've spent as a Relief Society president. I literally feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. It's getting easier every day to focus more on my family and home responsibilities and not have the constant thoughts about the needs of the sisters. I'm really going to miss certain parts of the calling, though. I enjoyed being able to meet with some sisters that I normally wouldn't have had much contact with. I loved getting to know many of the sisters better. And I had finally gotten pretty comfortable conducting on Sundays and will miss being able to sit up front and see the faces of the women I've grown to love so much.

After all is said and done, the two main things I learned as Relief Society president are:

1) God loves everyone.
It doesn't matter who you are, what your situation is in life, or what other people think of you. He loves you. And I was blessed to be given a small portion of that love for every single woman in our ward. It's hard to put into words the feeling that I've had for the women I've served. I've gotten to know many sisters that others have judged to be different, weird, annoying, or hopeless. In every single case, I've found a reason to love that sister. I've felt the all-encompassing love that God has for each of them. Not once have I ever met someone and felt that God didn't care about them and neither should I.
The love I was given for others only amplified the pain that I felt when I would hear of a sister who felt she had been judged, shunned, or didn't fit in. This didn't mean that I was somehow immune or blind to certain sisters' idiosyncrasies. I often got to know others quite well, warts and all. I saw the things that set them apart and sometimes made them hard to understand. But I could also see that under it all was a good person who had the same feelings as every other woman on this planet. And I knew without a doubt that each sister was special to God.

2) God will make weak things strong and He will get me through any challenge I face.
I can only pray that I remember this one as I face future trials and challenges. It's human nature to trust in Him for awhile but quickly forget His power when faced with something new and scary. I was confronted by so many of my fears and insecurities over the past 3 years and haven't completely conquered many of them, but I was given the strength and help to do everything that was asked of me. Whether it was teaching a class, talking to people I didn't know, being in charge of so many things at once, or just dealing with the overwhelming scope of my calling, God carried me through it all.

I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to serve in this capacity. I couldn't have done it without the amazing women who served by my side and many who served behind the scenes. Every one of you has taught me and shown me examples of who I want to be.


Mama D said...

As one of those sisters you got to know well, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being such a wonderful example of the love of our Savior. When I was struggling the most, you reminded me of His love, and His belief in me and my capacity to endure well enough for now.

Thank you. You are appreciated and have done much good in the ward!

Papa D said...

God bless you, Patty, for your beautiful spirit and your willingness to serve. You've touched so many hearts and been a tremendous example of faith in agreeing to try to do what you couldn't normally do.

I have been uplifted and edified by your posts here, as well. Thank you!

Melisa Summy said...

Thank you Patty for seeing something in me beyond being different, weird(!), annoying, and hopeless! When church was feeling like a scary and overwhelming place, you were a lifeline that I held onto tightly (sorry if I almost strangled you) when I needed the courage and acceptance to come back to church as a truer and happier version of myself. Your Christ-like love and support helped me to feel the love my Savior has for me again. I looooovvvvveeee you so much Patty!!!!!!

Erin said...

Thanks for letting me serve with you. I often felt more like a ball and chain you were forced to bear - you were such an example of faith and charity - and I I'm glad you are released - you worked so hard and deserve to focus on yourself and your family now - but I'm so happy you accepted this stewardship for a time. It was good for ALL of us! I'm glad you learned and loved, and glad I could follow along next to you. I'm better for it.

chelle said...

You truly are amazing. I wish I could of been in RS while you were in there. It is fun to see how much you have changed (grown) in the last 3 yrs. Our ward was blessed to have you serve so faithfully for so long. Thank you!