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This past Sunday, one of my sweet Laurels taught a lesson
that surprisingly had a lot to do with what I have been thinking about
and focusing on these past few months.
I took it as a sign that instead of just talking about it to my mother,
it was time to put my thoughts into writing.
I dedicate this post to you, Ryann Roberts.
Thank you for your courage and for being the nudge it took for me to write this post.
I see you, my dear, and you are amazing.
I ran across a quote a couple of months ago that made me stop and think…
Every day I am faced with a choice, I can compete with the women around me or I can love them.
It seems that in this fast-paced world, competing has become the norm and love has been forgotten. I wonder why that is? What is it that causes us to bristle up around another woman, instead of embracing her as one of our own?
Years ago, women would get together for quilting bees, to help bottle fall’s harvest, or even just simply to sit and share a cup of tea. These days, we hide behind our screens, afraid to go out because we feel fat, scared, or hurt, or imperfect. We feel less because she throws better parties, has “good” kids or has perky boobs and we don’t. We feel less because she is married and we aren’t or she is cool and we think we are not worthy. She works, she stays at home, she has 6 kids, she has none, she eats organic, she eats fast food, and the list goes on and on.
When did what we do define our ability to give love or our worthiness to be loved?
When I was put in as the Young Women’s President of my Latter Day Saint ward 3 years ago, I was completely overwhelmed and scared out of my mind. I had 4 little children, a traveling husband, and a severe case of the “Not Enoughs”. How would I ever give the hours of service that the Lord and this calling required? I have learned since then that God never asks us to do anything that He doesn’t provide a way for. He proceeded to surround me with the most amazing group of counselors, secretaries, advisors, specialists, and camp directors that a President could ever imagine. He filled my life with strong, capable, loving women. When my hands were heavy and my shoulders were tired, these women lifted my burdens. They cheered me on and worked by my side, even through the hardest times.
Our goal with the girls in our stewardship and with each other was unity, compassion, and friendship and through that, we created a place where we could go to feel the spirit and rejoice in sisterhood.
It has been one of the most powerful experiences I have ever been a part of.
Does that mean that all of us were best friends and hung out every weekend? Did every single one of us adore each other? Haha! The short answer is no, none of us are perfect. Because we are all imperfect, there will always be other imperfect women that we don’t mesh with or that push our buttons. That is life and that’s ok. But, just because we aren’t best friends doesn’t mean we can’t lift, support, empower, and love each other. We can want the best for another not because we “like” them, but simply because they are our sisters. Sometimes it takes effort, humility, and a good bite of the tongue but we can do it.
When we do an amazing thing happens.
I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this before, but I just keep coming back to this beautiful talk by Bonnie L. Oscarson, the General Young Womens President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
If you haven’t read this talk, I strongly encourage you to and if you already have, please give it another glance.
As I thought hard about this, I thought back to something my sweet friend J.L. said once and a goal I made soon after. J.L. told me that every morning when he woke up, he prayed to know who he could serve that day. His words have stuck with me all these years and I have tried to put his practice to work many times in my life. While thinking of his challenge to me, I realized that service can come in many forms. So as I have said my prayers each morning these past couple of months, I have prayed to know who God would have me serve today and which of my sisters I can lift.
You see, I desperately want to be a builder.
Over the past 3 years, life has taught me that love is not built overnight, but rather nail-by-nail and brick-by-brick. I used to think that the service I was looking for was supposed to be big, but now I see that service and building don’t need to happen in some grand fashion. Just simple almost insignificant acts of love like a kind word, a hug, an extended hand, a small gift, an afternoon… something that speaks to the heart and says, “I see you.”
Building is hard work.
It takes breaking ourselves down and offering our hearts. But, if we build up others they become stronger, and in return, we are too. As our hands become callused our heart becomes tender and true strength can then become an integral part of who we are. I know all too well what sweet Marjorie Pay Hinckley felt when she said, “Oh how we need each other.” I need you, sister, I can not face this life alone.
May we become strong women together as we lift each other up.
After all, when women support each other, incredible things can happen.