To some, church could be considered to be a 4 letter word. To me, Sunday is my favorite day of the week. It is also my busiest day of the week and the most interaction I have with any given group of people on a consistant basis. For this challenge, it is the hardest day of the week for me.
I feel very priveledge and honored with the leadership role that I have been given. It has given me the greatest opportunities to learn and grow. With leadership comes responsibilites and also trials that have helped me with my progression in my own personal mission.
At church today, I kept having the lyrics to the song "I'm trying to be like Jesus" repeating in my head over and over again. I could not get the tune to stop, which to me was a sign that I was being taught a very important lesson.
Flashback May 2000.
At this time of my life, I was not an active member. Brian and I were married for a couple of years and finding and figuring out our own independence. At that time, we did not have personal testimonies of church and going on a regular basis and I would have rathered had a finger removed than go to Relief Society.
My last experience of going to Relief Society at that time, was that I sat in the middle of the room and no one sat on the row with me. I had women all behind me and women in front of me talking to each other through me as if I didn't exist. I hated it! I was so angry that not one woman acknowledged that I was alive or even present in the room. It was painful to me and completely turned up my insecurities. After the 3rd week in a row of trying to talk to someone and never really fitting in and having someone first talk to me, I walked out of the Relief Society room in the middle of a lesson and sat in foyer waiting for Brian to come out so we could go home.
Thankfully, I had a loving Bishop who walked past me and was intune with the pain I was feeling. (Oh, and by the way, to know me you would know that I cannot hide my emotions, so I am sure my face was like a flashing marquee sign for the Bishop as he walked by.) He was a very wise and gentle man and gave me wonderful counsel. He also put me in a calling in the Primary, which was wonderful for me because at that time it began to grow my testimony which was basically at a primary level.
That experience has left a huge mark on my heart and my brain. I need to say first of all that I take full responsibility for my attitude towards Relief Society at that time. Who would want to talk to a pouty 20 year old who was getting angrier and angrier every week? Second, I waited for someone to approach me first and no one really knew Brian and I in that ward. I did not go out and introduce myself to others, we did not attend ward social events and we interacted with our neighbors as little as possible. We made a conscience decision to withdraw ourselves from our ward.
Today, as I am responsible for 24 young women, I make sure that each and everyone of them receive either a hand shake, a high five or a hug from me every time I see them on Sunday or Wednesday. I will not have 1 girl feel the same way I did 9 years ago when they are under my watch. They are each special daughters of God, and I want them to know of their great worth. I look forward to seeing them every week and I love them and they are wonderful and wanted.
My downfall is that I have only been treating the young women this way. It's easy to be myself with them and talk to them because they are pure and good. They look at me as a friend and they easily have the love of Christ with them. How can you not love the Young Women?
I have to remember that there are wonderful people around me who are adults and who may also be feeling the same way I did 9 years ago. Hence why I believe the song "I'm trying to be like Jesus" was repeating in my head. If we all followed his example, we would all love and be kind to each other. I could imagine the greatest joys of seeing my ward friends and we would celebrate in discussing the doctrine's of Christ. If he were in the room, he would make sure that we were all greeted and calling us by our own individual names. And so today, I was trying to be like Jesus.
At church I thanked Sister B for generously giving Shae cookies during Sacrament. I celebrated with Sister L that both our YW posters were approved and now hanging in the basement of the resource center. I complimented Sister W on her new beautiful green shirt and the awesome green necklace which made it amazingly stunning. I hugged Sister T because she had my calling before me and has always been a big cheerleader for me. I turned around and said hello to the people behind me in Sunday school and wished a Happy Birthday to Sister B, even when I don't really know her that well. I hugged and embraced all of the young women and I hugged and embraced all of the YW leaders. I truly love them! A new girl was in our class and I ran right up to her and introduced myself as I could see that she was feeling insecure and I held onto her hand as long as I could so she would know that we were so excited to have her there. I walked down the hallway and smiled and said hello to everyone I passed.
We also had the Draper Temple Dedication. I had the pleasure of bringing 3 young women with me and I whispered to my Laurel YW president as we waited the hour to begin to only find out afterwards that we were not suppose to be speaking at all. Why Brian didn't inform me of this, I don't know? Now I feel so dumb. Oh well!
I am hoping that if everyone said hello to each other at church and recognized that they were there, what a more Christ like place it would be. The say that change can happen with just 1 person, and if anyone is feeling the same way I did 9 years ago, then I find it part of my mission to find out who they are, introduce myself and make a new friend. And after pondering this thought for quite some time, this mission has nothing to do with the challenge, but has all to do with the Savior.