Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tender Mercies

1 Nephi 1:20 "...But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance."

I have remarked to a few people over the break how fortunate the timing of my call as Relief Society President was. Because I found out a week before break, and because we didn't have piano or violin lessons that week, I was able to stay late and plan most of the rest of the school year. I got so many things photocopied and organized, so that my job will come easier to me. I know there will be some changes made as the year goes on and I know that I will still need to do some planning, but I feel so relieved that I got so much done.

In addition, I had a two week break in order to get some things organized in my home, time to process this new calling emotionally and time to get started on my calling. I was able to attend the temple twice during the past two weeks, watch the Auxiliary Training and Worldwide Leadership Training from last year, watch the Leadership Training Library, read most of the handbook, and complete a few other things that help me feel more prepared to serve as Relief Society President.

Anyway, I have been saying how good the timing was and how lucky I was that the call came when it did. Suddenly, yesterday, it occurred to me that this wasn't just good fortune. This was a blessing from my Heavenly Father. It was one of his tender mercies. (I am a little slow to catch on at times, I admit.) He is aware of me. He knows that I care deeply about both my own family and my students. I truly believe that being a teacher is part of my mission here on Earth and that even though I can't teach the gospel at school, that my good example, my love and my kindness to the children I teach makes a difference for them. Despite this deep conviction that I am supposed to teach, I still worry that I am not home with my children as much as I could be or should be and so I guard my time with them pretty closely. It is important to me to be there for them in the evenings and to be able to help them with homework, read to them, listen to them, supervise them as they practice piano (Ella and Michelle) and violin (Michelle), cook dinner for them, read scriptures and pray with them. So other than my monthly book club, I try hard not to schedule activities for the evening. I realized yesterday that my Heavenly Father is aware of my time constraints, my desires to be a good mother and wife and teacher and is aware that I tend to "stress out". So, being the kind Father that He is, He extended this call at a time when I could do my best to prepare for it, process it and begin to plan for it. It will require sacrifices, and it will take me away from my children sometimes. But I also know that it will strengthen my faith and bless my family in ways that I probably can't even imagine right now.

In addition to these tender mercies, the Lord has witnessed to me that this call came from Him. That I am supposed to be the Relief Society President right now. I still struggle with self doubt at times, but I have felt his love enfolding me and I have felt the spirit testify that I can do this. In addition, I know that the counselors I chose are who he wants to serve with me in this presidency. We had our first presidency meeting last week, and I feel so much calmer and better since meeting with them.

I tried to express this in my testimony today, although I'm not sure I expressed it very well. I mentioned that I have felt like I couldn't possibly add one more thing to my plate, but that due to the timing I feel like I've been able to take care of my other responsibilities so that I will be able to handle it. Our former Bishop, Bishop Gustafson, stood up and shared his testimony. As part of his remarks, he said that when our lives seem too busy and we feel like we can't handle one more thing, that's when we often need to accept a call or make a change so we can receive the Lord's blessings. I have felt the truthfulness of this...already I am learning things that I feel quite certain I wouldn't have learned otherwise. I am being challenged to stretch in ways that I wouldn't have if I continued to teach Sunbeams. I love the Sunbeams, and I would happily have taught Sunbeams for many years. They are so full of love, and I often felt that I received more from teaching them than I gave. But it is time for a change, for new chances to grow, and for more opportunities to serve. I am grateful that my Father knew this and provided this opportunity to me.