Monday, November 28, 2011

Five years

"The Lord loves each of us too much to merely let us go on being what we are, for He knows what we have the possibility to become." Elder Neal A. Maxwell

This quote by Elder Maxwell has always brought me such comfort, but as I've reflected on how my life has changed since November 25, 2006, when I went through the temple, I realize how beautifully this quote sums up my thoughts and feelings of what the temple means to me.

I never pictured going through the temple single, and so when the promptings began it involved a lot of prayer and fasting as it wasn't how I pictured doing it and the thought of going through single petrified me.

But, it's been the best thing I've done for myself.

I am so glad that I haven't waited until I've was married before I had the blessings of the temple in my life. Because of the covenants and promises of the temple, I've seen how the Lord has/is shaping my life and that his plan for me is better than anything I have envisioned for myself. When I feel small and inconsequential, I can go to the temple and be reminded that the blessings and promises are not only very real, but also very personal and that God is aware of me.

The covenants I've made have provided strength when I wasn't sure I could deal with the stress, worry and loneliness anymore as they've refocused my view and reminded me that my righteous desires are heard and through faith and obedience they will be fulfilled. Which is good because as I've sat in the temple and saw the blessings I haven't yet received (marriage and children), it's been that promise that's gotten me through.

While marriage in the temple has always been on my life list, it's only after going through the temple that my reverence, understanding, and desire to always have this blessing in my life has increase. Family life without the temple is no family life at all.

I love the feeling of love and acceptance that the temple offers. The sweet temple workers who have been so kind in their praise and gratitude. They don't know how much I've needed their encouragement and love. Being single, I don't always have someone who's excited to see me every single day and I've loved the fact that I can I can walk into the temple and have people who are happy to see me.

I couldn't imagine my life without the blessings of the temple. I am grateful for a loving Father in Heaven who knew I needed the peace, strength, wisdom, and love found in the temple and in the covenants. Like the pioneers who knew they needed to blessings of the temple to make the journey across the plains, I know that without the temple I couldn't make my mortal journey.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keep Calm and Carry On

I've loved the phrase KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON since I came across it years ago. I've always admired the spirit of the British during WWII and, for me, the poster perfectly summed up their determination. It's been a reminder to live and love life and to always carry on because life isn't as dark as it may seem. Over the past year KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON has become my unofficial motto as things haven't gone exactly as planned or hoped for. So it's no wonder I have three KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON posters in my bedroom? :)

This pink one was the last acquisition. My roommate gave it to me two months during a particularly crazy and stressful week and it makes me smile every time I see it.

When my bishop called and asked if I could come and have a chat with him on a Saturday morning, I honestly thought it was about some of the stuff I wanted to discuss concerning my current calling. So when the call to be the Relief Society President was issued I was a little taken back. In fact, my first two thoughts were "wow, wasn't expecting that," and "I'm going to be sick."

The past two months have been a roller coaster of emotions. There have been lots of sleepless nights. How do I deal with 130 sisters, half who are under the age of 23? What do I do with the 30 + sisters who are inactive, and another 40 who are semi-active? How do I improve the 30% average of Visiting Teaching? How do I teach the sisters the importance of RS and visiting teaching? How do I deal with the health issues of the sisters (three with hospital stays already)? How do I deal with the mental, emotional, and spiritual questions and concerns of the sisters? How do I get to know them better? What type of example am I being? How can I be more charitable? How can I impart my love for this gospel to them? How can I have enough time to do it all?

But it hasn't all been stress and worry. I've had some amazing moments, especially as I've been able to see glimpse of individual sisters potential and worth. As I've watched an inactive sister come to RS two weeks in a row, or agree to do Visiting Teaching I've been truly humbled because I know that I've been the messenger for the spirit. I've watched sisters willingly serve those who are difficult and do so with a loving heart. I've been grateful for those sisters who've felt that they've got a friend in me who've been willing to open up.

But mostly, I've learned a lot about myself. I've learned it's ok to give up control on certain things (especially if I don't want to have a mental breakdown). I've learned that even though I want to do it all, I just can't, and that it's ok to walk away and say "I'll do that tomorrow." I'm learning to have great patient and love for those who are struggling and are difficult to deal with. I'm learning that help really does come when it's greatly needed. I've learned that sometimes I just need to listen and not to try and fix the problem. I've learned to trust my instincts. I've learned to rely on others (especially my wonderful councilors) and their wisdom. I know at the end of this year, I will look back on all the things I've learned and will be so grateful for the fact that the Lord trusted me enough.

Lastly, I'm really grateful for these wonderful sisters I have beside me. They are capable, strong, spiritual, funny, kind, smart, and make my job so much easier.

Allie (1st councilor), Kaitlin (2nd councilor), and Whitney (secretary)