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Dearest New Young Women’s President,
They told me months ago that this day was coming. They didn’t tell me your name, but I was asked to prepare for you to take my place just the same. I took it hard, tears fell instantly and they haven’t stopped. I’m still trying to come to grips with giving you my girls, not because I doubt you, but because I love them so.
It’s crazy to think that a little over 3 years ago I stood in your shoes.
I was completely overwhelmed by the task at hand, down right terrified to be exact. How could I possibly do this monumental task that the Lord had asked of me. How could I be the one to help His beloved daughters gain a relationship with Christ? I was inadequate for the task at hand. I was not special, or powerful, or amazing. I was not a master of the scriptures or the least bit organized.
I was just plain, goofy, weak, imperfect me.
I have learned over the last few years that the Lord can work wonders, even with the most imperfect of us.
I know now that there is a purpose in the madness, even when we can’t see or understand it. I have witnessed miracles in my life and in the lives of those around me. And, I have grown in ways I can’t put into words.
All because of Him… and our girls.
As much as it pains me to say farewell, I know that you will love them.
They are no longer my girls, they are ours.
Sisters in the gospel stand together. They share, they strengthen, and they love. So, I will stand beside you.
Your path will be different than mine. No two experiences are ever the same but as sisters we are here to lift each other. I’ve been where you are, my friend! I have felt your fear. I have wallowed in that same pit of inadequacy. With all sincerity of heart I say to you, “You can do this”. Your calling was inspired and I have no doubt that the Lord has a great and marvelous work for YOU to do.
So, as your head slowly stops spinning and you take those first timid steps as President, I give you these simple (sometimes irreverent, what can I say, I’m still me!) thoughts from my own experience. Hold them in your hands, examine them, and then take what you need.
Create a Strong Board: Pray hard about who should be your counselors, secretary, and advisers. Surround yourself with the very best women you can find! They will be your strength, your comfort, and your dearest friends in this amazing adventure.
Each of them will have their own unique traits and characteristics that will allow them to connect with girls and bring the spirit to your activities in ways you can’t. Counsel with them, ask their opinions, put them to work, and please let them help you. This is no time to be a superhero. You need them and so do our girls.
Have a Plan: I am not a planner, most days I choose to fly by the seat of my pants. But, this is one instance where you must have a plan. Meet with your class presidency and your Young Women’s Board often. Work together to plan activities, budgets, Sunday lessons, and events. Have things planned several months in advance. You can always change things later if something unexpected comes up. Planning brings peace and security to an organization, especially when you have a lot of girls. It may go against your nature, it sure goes against mine, but you will never regret being prepared.
Have a plan, and have a purpose.
Fluff: No matter what you see on Pinterest, Young Womens doesn’t have to be fluffy. If you try to make every last detail of every last activity perfectly fluffy, you will most likely die. Choking on temple shaped cookies or strangulation by value colored streamers does not sound like a pretty way to go.
What I’m trying to say here is, if fluff isn’t your thing than don’t feel obligated to do it!
Every lesson doesn’t need a bedazzled handout and a balloon twisted into the shape of a beehive. Just because some ward had Alex Boye’ singing about how beautiful they are doesn’t mean you have to track down Donny and Marie for your New Beginnings. Less is more. Are you there for the spirit or the show? And, if fluff is your middle name and you want to put your own time and money towards it, than fluff all the things, girlfriend! But, if it’s not, just know that the pesky red handbook doesn’t mention fluff one single time. It’s not required no matter what you see on Instagram. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
It’s your program, you make the call.
Parents: Now that I’ve told you that you don’t have to fluff, you’re probably going to get a call from an angry parent. You’ll get used to that, possibly, maybe, sorta. Ok, I lie, it stinks. Parents will be your biggest allies and some of your biggest trials. Some will see your intent and absolutely love you and others just wont, no matter what you do or how much you love their little girl. You can’t please them all and you’ll break yourself trying. When a parent comes to you with a concern, suggestions, a thought, rant, or wants to fight- say a little prayer, take a big breath, and listen to the spirit. Learn what you can, take what is needed or meaningful, and grow with it. When there is truth, put it to work. When there isn’t, channel your best T. Swift and “Shake it off”.
If you go at it with prayer and an open heart, I promise you that the Lord will smooth it out. Remember, those girls aren’t just important to you. They mean the world to their mothers and fathers, too.
Again I say, you can do this.
Cultivate Faith: You had to have seen this coming, right? You NEED to cultivate faith for yourself. How can you give of living water to others if your own well is dry? Spend time every single day on your testimony, building your own personal relationship with God. Read your scriptures, study conference talks, PRAY PRAY and PRAY some more! Write in your journal- record your thoughts and your promptings. Listen. Attend the temple every chance you get. Fill your heart and your mind with good things and push out the bad.
You will desperately need strength and He will bless you in abundance if you turn your face to Him.
Personal Progress: Learn about the Personal Progress program and put it to work in your own life. If you haven’t earned your medallion, now is the time! You are never too old! I challenge you to start your own journey of Personal Progress. While you do, your testimony will be strengthened and your confidence as a leader will increase. As you work with each girl and watch her set goals and accomplish hard things, you will begin to see what the Lord sees in His beloved daughters.
Your love will overflow.
Cherish Girls Camp: Look forward to it, pray about it, and enjoy every second of it. Girls Camp allows you to have the opportunity to develop unity as sisters in the most amazing way. Take the time to create meaningful experiences and friendships. Camp Director is a very special calling, don’t take it lightly. The environment of your camp can bring you together or tear you apart. Create a place where seeds can be planted and testimonies can grow. Get your girls involved in the planning and give them responsibilities. There is nothing in this world like a Girls Camp testimony meeting around a camp fire. Those are some of my most precious memories, ones I cling to when times get tough.
Miracles can happen and mountains can be moved at Girls Camp.
Cacti: It is hard to hug a cactus but oh, how you must! There will be girls that make it so much harder to love them than it has to be. Love them anyway. I guarantee that you will hurt and you will bleed, a cactus will do that to you. Cacti needs a safe place if it is ever to bloom. Create a feeling of love and acceptance among your girls and your leaders. Help her feel wanted and seen. Pray to the Lord that He will show you her heart, give your love freely, and then be patient as she blooms.
Cactus blooms are some of the most memorable and exquisite.
Listen then Go to Work: There will be many times that the spirit will speak to you, listen and then go to work. You may not understand a certain prompting but sometimes it is not for you. You are His servant and His mantle is placed upon you. Have faith in the Lord, be brave, and do His will. Put aside your own pride, and follow the spirit.
Souls will be filled, hurts will be mended, hearts will be touched, and you will be forever changed.
Be Yourself: God has called YOU to this task at this time, not her, not me, YOU. He needs you. Be confidant in who you are as a daughter of our Father in Heaven. Don’t let your weaknesses stop you from the work He has asked you to do or the growth He wants you to experience. You were called at this time and in this ward for a mighty purpose and only you can fulfill it. Be yourself. The girls will love you. As you honor who you are, our girls will learn to honor who they are. As you are true to your light, they will have the courage to glow too.
Arise, and Shine Forth, my sweet friend.
It will not be easy. You will probably cry. But, if you serve with full purpose of heart this will be a most rewarding, tender, spectacular adventure. Then, sooner than you know it, you’ll be in my shoes… giving a piece of your heart to another sister as she takes her rightful place in the lives of our girls.
I love you, dear sister.
I have faith in you. I pray for you. You are more than your fears and inadequacies. You are a daughter of Heavenly Father who loves you.
You are a daughter of a King.
Your journey begins today, and I am cheering you on.
Hug our girls for me.