Thursday, September 18, 2014

A pep talk for a Relief Society President - and anyone else who serves the Lord

I am someone who shares my testimony often. That doesn't mean it doesn't take a lot of courage and that I don't ever feel hesitant or second guess myself. Am I saying too much? Am I saying too little? Am I turning people away? Am I preachy? Am I scaring people, rather than inspiring them?

These are all questions I often hear in my mind. Do any of you ask yourselves the same questions?

I have lived long enough and experienced enough to know that I need to push through those questions and never let them stop me from doing what I feel is right. Yet, I still have moments when I need a pep talk.

One of those moments came this last Sunday.

I have written several times that I am currently serving as the Relief Society President in my ward. Within my stewardship, I am to care for and watch over all of the women ages 18 and older in our ward - about 230 women. Of course, I don't do this alone. There are many, many people who participate in this watch care. However, as the President, I often have women on my mind that no one else seems to worry about. Each week I make phone calls or visits to women who haven't been visited by anyone in a very long time or who don't feel like they fit in and/or who are afraid to come to church and join us,.

I share my testimony and love with these women and invite them to come to church. I do this often and every Sunday, before Sacrament meeting begins, you can find me waiting at the doors to the chapel, or even the doors to the building, looking for those who have promised to come. I want to greet them and help them feel welcome and glad they came.

They don't come. Sometimes they do. Most of the time they don't. I usually feel sadness at their absence but I can't let that drag me down, I have too many other reasons to be happy about all of the women who are there each Sunday.

But I care...sometimes I think I care too much. Is that possible?

That deep caring won't allow me to give up. I have a testimony that I am on the Lord's errand. I know He won't give up and so I can't. Jesus Christ has put into my heart a love for these women and I know how important and precious they are to Him. How can I give up when I know who these women really are...daughters of God?

This last Sunday was a particularly difficult day and my sadness overcame my optimism. I hate to admit it but I thought to myself, "Why? Why, Heavenly Father, why have you put into my heart a love for these sisters if it seems that they will never return? Aren't there more productive ways for me to spend my time and energy?" I will admit to some tears in Sacrament meeting.

But then in Sunday School, the Lord began to answer my question. I was asked to read this paragraph in our class and I choked up on the last two sentences, "The Apostle Paul was a great missionary sent to the Gentiles. After he was converted to the Church, he spent the remainder of his life preaching the gospel to them. At different times during his mission he was whipped, stoned, and imprisoned. Yet he continued to preach the gospel (see Acts 23:10–12; 26)." Gospel Principles Chapter 33

Then the teacher showed this video:

I will admit, once again, to more tears during this short movie - lots of tears.

In this divine answer to my questions, I was not told, "Don't give up." I was not told "Love others no matter what." I was told that I love the Savior. It was as if Jesus whispered to me that He knows I love Him and He knows my heart and that is why He asks me to do the hard things and that's all I need to remember.

It's all because of Him. That's why I go visit and share and encourage and love over and over and over again, often without any sign of progress. Because of Him. I love Him with all of my heart and the deep-in-my-heart reason why I do all that I do is because of my love for Him. If everything else was taken away, I would still want to be part of the Lord's work because it is simply that, the Lord's work and I want to be where He is, doing what He is doing.

I know I am not alone in that sentiment. I know there are many others in our world who feel exactly the same as I do.

And then the thoughts started pouring in...

My mind began to remember all of the verses of scripture that tell of how prophets or servants of God were discouraged, even shedding tears, because their assignments from the Lord were hard and often, no one seemed to listen or even care.

A desire began to burn in my heart. A desire to read the Book of Mormon again and search the Bible again for some very specific messages - messages from those who have felt exactly as I feel. If I were standing with Nephi or Isaiah or Moroni, if they were giving me a pep talk for my daily assignments, what would they say? 

I started that day with 1 Nephi chapter 1 - THE PERFECT PLACE TO START for someone who needs a pep talk from someone who knows how hard being involved in this work can be sometimes. I'm going to write about that one in my next post.

For now I want to say that I am a happy, cheerful, optimistic, hopeful person who also feels sadness and discouragement as I take part in the Work of Salvation. I know I'm not the only one. I'm normal and so is every one of you who has  felt those same feelings.

I'm going to write about the pep talks I am given as I study how those who lived thousands of years ago overcame their fears, insecurities and discouragements and served the Lord no matter what, even when it was hard, no, especially when it was hard.  They have much to teach me and I'm so excited to have them be my tutors in this work.

 I can't think of any better teachers than those who proved themselves to be the Savior's friends, for that is the title I want most of all...I want my dearest, truest, most loyal friend, Jesus Christ, to be able to look at me and call me "friend" as well.


  1. Lisa - I know that through each and every blog you post, I am lifted. I love reading your a way, they keep me grounded. You seem to always write about something I need. Thank you for writing your blog!

  2. Thanks Marsha! My blog posts grow out of my own needs to be grounded as well. :)


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