As my bishop started getting emotional during PEC over my release, the tears started flowing and I cried my way through three church meetings. Yep, kind of embarrassing. I'm sure everybody was thinking what is wrong with her. Nothing prepared me for the removal of the mantle and how physical of an experience that was. As I felt it leave, my heart was crying out "No. Don't go! How am I supposed to get through everything without this extra strength? I don't know if I can do it alone! I'll sign up for an extra year!"
Now that I've had some time to get used to the idea and to reflect on what I learned, I know I was truly blessed as this calling provided me some much needed strength this past year.
So what did I learn?
- The power of the mantle of a stewardship is real.
- If you've got leaders who believe and you and who trust your judgment you can do almost anything.
- There are times when you just have to walk away because you can only give so much.
- That you need to be concerned over the quiet ones. Just because they don't express problems, doesn't mean that they aren't there.
- That very specific thoughts and ideas will come out of no where and those specific thoughts are meant for one of the sister.
- That most of us don't see the power and beauty of visiting teaching and so we don't do it.
- That you truly do lead by example.
- That your secretary is vital to your sanity.
- That in a singles ward there's going to be A LOT of change so visiting teaching is NEVER done!
- That you're not always going to connect with everyone in Relief Society.
- That you don't have the same concerns and fears at 19 as you do at 30.
- That we all need the same reassurance that we are daughters of God who are loved and valued.
- That until someone is willing to change, there's nothing you can do to make them want to change.
- That having the gospel embedded in your life really will solve almost all of your problems.
- That the sisters are so good to listen and respond to the promptings of the spirit.
- That if you follow the promptings you can have an incredible impact in the life of someone.
- That you're given really good moments to help you through the not so good moments.
- That so much of the scriptures applies to whatever calling you've been given.
- That you really do love the sisters.
- That being able to pray for sisters by name is a sweet experience.
- That the "big" callings aren't as glamorous as it seems. It's mostly just a lot of meetings.
- That you learn more from sisters than you probably taught them.
- That you are given extra strength to deal with your personal trials.
- And especially that the single sisters of the church really are amazing! They are beautiful, smart, dedicated, have depth, are truly selfless, and love the Lord. I just want to slap all the boys and be like, what is your problem? Why aren't you asking out/marrying these girls.
I love, love, love my counselors. They were fabulous women who had strengths in areas I was lacking, who always made me laugh, who were wise and kind, who selfless served, but most of all they very devoted to the gospel and inspired me to be better. Since it was a singles ward, change is inevitable and I lost a counselor to marriage, one turned 31 and graduated out, and one to a mission (hence our October release date). Each time I had to say goodbye to a counselor I hated it. But each time I a wonderful girl took their place and I feel so blessed to have served with FIVE amazing women. I've made some wonderful friends and look forward to years and years of friendship.
Us at the end.
Catherine Curtis--secretary, Ange Murtha--second counselor, Sister Allie Engman--first counselor.
I really am so grateful that I was able to work with and learn from this man, Bishop Kenneth Mays and I'm truly going to miss working so closely with him. Bishop Mays had the ability to make me feel wonderful about everything I did--which was especially helpful on those days when I felt like I was lacking and that there was so much more I should be doing. He was constantly singing my praises. He was grateful for and valued my input. He allowed me to take my wisdom, inspiration, and experiences and to make decisions. When I presented anything to him he always said "I trust you president." His willingness to cheerfully serve made me want to complain less and to follow his example. He always had my back and when I had to deal with illness, injury, mental problems, addictions, suicide attempts, etc. he made sure that I received the support I needed to deal with these things.